Sunday, January 22, 2012

Creating Wonder with Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

I've decided to participate in the non-fiction picture book challenge 2012 (Twitter: #nfbp2012) organized by and  I am going to try and post a non-fiction book or series that I have used in my classroom and has created "wonder" for my students.
The first book that I have chosen to feature is Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner.  Kate Messner has written a couple of other books that I have read to my second graders, Sea Monster's First Day and Marty McGuire.  She is a wonderful author and person.  On top of being an author she is also a teacher.  You may want to check out her website

Over and Under the Snow is a story within a story.  The story is about a girl and father cross country skiing through a forest.  The story within is what happens under and over the snow with animals during the winter months.  The illustrations also show what the animals are doing under and above the snow.  The book gives just enough detail about each animal to hook a student to want to learn more about them.
Below are some wonders from that you may want to explore with your students after reading the book.  They gave my students some more information to extend the book.

#51 What do Bees do in Winter?
#144 Do all Birds Fly South in the Winter?
#188 Are frogs and Toads the Same?
#203 What is the Difference Between a Rabbit and a Hare?
#410 Who takes the Longest Nap?
#469 What do Animals Squirrel Away for Winter?
#410 Who Takes the Longest Nap?

Besides using the book to create wonder and the links above to extend the book, some other ways to use Over and Under the Snow in your classroom are:
  • cutaways (non-fiction text feature).
  • mentor text (repeated lines, "Over the snow..." and "Under the snow....")
  • mentor text (descriptive language/word choice)
  • mentor text (how to organize text)
  • details in illustrations (perspective)
  • vocabulary

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