Welcome to the fourth edition of Teacher Tuesday, where I match one of my books to a year level, and offer some activities for sharing the book in the classroom. In previous weeks I shared activities for Looking Up, Do Not Forget Australia and The Floatingest Frog.
This week, with Christmas getting ever closer, I’m focusing on a Christmas book: Snowy’s Christmas. And, because this book can be a little hard to get hold of, I am also offering signed copies, posted anywhere in Australia, for $15. You can contact me directly.
Using Snowy’s Christmas in a Year Two Classroom
Published by Random House, 2011
ISBN: 9781921042546 (Paperback)
Format 24 page Picturebook, RRP $14.99
Available directly from me. Contact me HERE.
Blurb: ‘Snowy hopped to the billabong. The face reflected in the water was not rugged and red like the other roos, but soft and white.’ Snowy is feeling left out and doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas with his friends. But then a mysterious stranger arrives by the billabong and suddenly Snowy’s Christmas is looking up.
Sally’s Recommended Grade Levels: Year K-3, but these suggestions focus on Year 2.
- Australian animals
Year 2 English
- Identify visual representations of characters’ actions, reactions, speech and thought processes in narratives, and consider how these images add to or contradict or multiply the meaning of accompanying words (ACELA1469)
- Identify aspects of different types of literary texts that entertain, and give reasons for personal preferences (ACELT159)
- Before reading: Look at the front cover. Explain that Sally Murphy is the author and David Murphy is the illustrator (As an aside, because students may ask, David is Sally’s brother-in-law). Discuss: What does an author do? What does an illustrator do? Prompt students to look closely at the illustrations while the story is read, looking for anything that ways the words and pictures show the same things, and ways that the pictures show something different or extra.
- During reading: First read-through – read whole story without asking questions. Let students enjoy the story.
- After first read through: ask students to name any differences/similarities they saw.
- Re-read, prompting students to look especially at the kangaroo characters and what their various facial and body expressions show about how they are feeling. As students contribute, discuss which expressions reflect the words, and which add to or even contradict what the words are saying.
- After Reading: Have students divide a sheet of blank paper into four. In each square students draw a picture of Snowy feeling a different emotion: sad/surprised/excited/happy.
- Reread story, or simply view the pictures, asking students to identify anything happening in the pictures which is NOT part of the story of the kangaroos and Santa. As you read, build a list of the various animal characters shown in the book – koala, wombat, echidna etc. If you have multiple copies of the book, this could be down in groups. If only one copy is available, it can be a whole-class activity.
- Discuss: Why do illustrators – and in this case, David Murphy – include details in the pictures which are not in the words? Does it add interest? Does it make the story easier to understand?
- Art: Have students draw/paint animal characters. Alternatively, provide preprinted animal stencils (there are a good range on this site HERE). These could be cut out as classroom decorations.
- Create events and characters using different media that develop key events and characters from literary texts (ACELT 1593)
- Innovate on familiar texts by experimenting with character, setting or plot (ACELT1833)
- Discuss different texts on a similar topic, identifying similarities and differences between the texts (ACELY1665)
- For the following activities, a picture book version of the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is needed.
- After reading Snowy’s Christmas, share the book of Rudolph
- Before reading: Ask students to listen carefully to the story, prompting them to consider whether it is similar to another book they have recently heard.
- After Reading: Discuss – are there similarities between Snowy’s Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Explain: Sally Murphy wrote Snowy’s Christmas as an attempt to tell an Australian version of the Rudolph story.
- In Groups/Pairs: Students to complete a table noting how the two books are similar or different in areas including: Plot – Beginning, Middle, End/Characters/Setting/Illustration Style/Other. Groups to discuss which book they prefer, giving reasons.
- Report back to class and discuss.
- Writing: As a class, or in groups, work to rewrite another Christmas story or song into an Australian version. For example, the story of Frosty the Snowman.
Other suggestions for using Snowy’s Christmas your classroom include:
- Writing: What happens next? Students write a story about what happens to Snowy after Christmas. Does he go back to live with his mother? How do the other kanagaroos react? Does he have any more adventures?
- Art: There are many ideas for Christmas and Kangaroo activities available online. For example, make this kangaroo planter as a pre-christmas craft activity.
- Email the author (that’s me!) Your students can write to me through this website, and share their responses or ask questions.
- The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas, by Colin Buchanan and Glen Singleton
- We Wish You a Ripper Christmas , by Colin Buchanan and Roland Harvey
- Christmas At Grandad’s Farm, by Claire Saxby and Janine Dawson
- Christmas At Grandma’s Beach House, by Claire Saxby and Janine Dawson
- A Very Wombat Christmas, by Lachlan Creagh
Mostly, I’d love to remind you that while I love to see my books used in classrooms, I also love to see kids just enjoying them. Reading a book should be pleasurable – whether it’s being used in the classroom or not. So allow your students to enjoy reading Snowy’s Christmas. And, if you do want a copy of Snowy’s Christmas I am offering signed copies, posted anywhere in Australia, for $15. You can contact me directly.
If you find this useful, or have any suggestions or comments, do leave a comment. And, if there is a particular book or year level or topic that you would like covered in a future edition of Teacher Tuesday, let me know.