I still remember the very first time I was speaking to someone in Australia. She was telling me how much she enjoyed having a winter birthday. I was telling her that I loved my summer birthday. Turns out our birthdays were days apart. It’s one thing to know about something like hemispheres and another to know about something like hemispheres! This week let’s share what we know.
Pre-K Crowd: Your child may or may not get it that some places are warm while others are cold. Maybe your child has visited relatives in a different part of the country. Maybe your child has seen a movie with different weather than you are experiencing. Then again, maybe your child is too young to have realized that not every place is warm or cold at the same time. For this week, let’s not worry about that. Let’s start by having your child notice the weather and weather-associated “things.” Then have your child draw or dictate or “write” a letter to someone, telling about the weather where you are and the sorts of activities you can do in that sort of weather. If you don’t have anyone to write to, use the form at the bottom of this post and send the letter to me! The point of this activity is to help your child learn that writing to someone is another way of telling something to someone. It should be as natural as speaking.
Grades K-1: The same idea will give these kids something to think about, too. Explain to your child that the purpose of the letter he/she will write is to tell someone else the types of things you do during the winter. For this week, let’s keep the things we write about geared to the weather. (So, if you live in Florida you will not be doing the same things as someone who lives in Quebec.) Have your child think it through and include some details such as whether or not a bathing suit is part of the fun. What sort of snack follows the activity? Is it indoor or out? The more details, the better. And please, don’t worry about punctuation yet. Pictures are okay, too. If your child has no one to write to, please use the form at the bottom of this post to send a letter to me.
2nd Grade: For this group, how about breaking out a map or a globe and explaining that the weather is different in the different hemispheres? Those above the equator have winter in December/January/February, while those below the equator have summer. Then tell your child you’d like him/her to write a letter about the things he/she loves to do in the winter — weather-related things. It’s probable that this group will have plenty of ideas, especially if you encourage your child to include details about equipment, snacks, etc. If that’s the case, have your child make a mini-book. Just take some plain paper and fold in half from top to bottom, then fold it in half from side to side. Do it with several sheets, staple the spine, and cut the tops of the pages. You’ll have a mini-book that most kids this age love to fill with words and pictures. Of course, if your child has no one to write a letter to, there’s a form at the bottom of this post for a letter to me.
Grades 3-5: These guys definitely have heard of hemispheres. They may have filed the info away for now, though, so a look at a globe or map couldn’t hurt. Their letter can be quite detailed. You might suggest they make their letter have a few paragraphs (which may make sense to them and may not). Help them brainstorm what they’ll write about. Then suggest they write a bit about each thing. Tell them they can use an opening sentence, three details, and a closing sentence about each thing they cover. If that brings a huge cry of complaint, just let your child write. We’re going to get to the editing process in another month or so. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard sometimes to bring something I’ve just written to someone who pokes at it. There are a very few people who can tell me what they think any time, but sometimes, I just want to share before I edit. This may be the case for your child. So when we do start editing, we’ll do it with older pieces and leave the freshest pieces to age a bit. For now, the main thing is that your child is discovering that writing is fun!
PS: This would also be a great time for you to write a letter to your child. In your letter you could write about the things you did in the winter when you were a child. You could also write about your favorite things to do now with your children. If you both sat down to write, had some hot cocoa and a snack, read bits back and forth to each other … Nothing creates a word lover like another word lover!