Saturday, January 4, 2014

East Coast Snow Day on the West Side

Hello All! My name is Marlie Strosnider and I am from Salt Lake City, Utah. I am in my second year of teaching kindergarten and rounding off my first year with Teachers Pay Teachers and my store is Curriculum to the Core.  I am very excited to be part of this new blogging community.

I am currently in Salt Lake City, Utah but I am originally from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. There are many things I love about living here- the mountains, the skiing, the wonderful people, the hiking, and so much more! There is, however, one thing that I was missing about Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and that was a SNOW DAY!
Our School Covered with Snow

I have been watching the news and have seen that the East Coast will be getting hit pretty hard with some snow in the next couple of days. I am writing this blog post while my mother sends me updates on a traffic jam on the PA turnpike that my parents have been sitting in for the past hour and half. Although this kind of snowstorm is nothing to miss about the East Coast I started to become nostalgic on my experiences growing up with my loving grandmother.

Snow days were not just a chance to miss school, it was a day filled with fun activities when my mother (who is an accountant) would ship my brother and I off to my grandmothers (who was a teacher) to get out of her way during tax season.

My grandmother was a very active woman. She loved being outside all the time. This meant that my brother and I were not going to be allowed to stay in doors and watch TV like some of my friends did on snow days. We would have to go outside, even if it was negative degrees outside, to play. Thank goodness my grandma was a knitter because we had back-ups of mittens whenever we needed them, you know those old style mittens that would just soak up every bit of water once you tried to make any resemblance of a snowball.

Well, we got hit pretty hard with some snow the week before winter break and here in Utah there is no such thing as a ‘snow day.’ The kids were enjoying their snack, at least those students who made it into school that day, and my aid and I were talking about our childhood memories of snow days. My aid is from Poland and also was a child who benefited from snow days. One of my students asked me: “Miss Strosnider, what is a snow day?” Once I heard that I felt a little sad, I was sad because this little girl would never experience all the fun times there is to be had during a snow day. That is when I decided to make an announcement to my class. I told them that if we could keep the Christmas excitement to a minimal and focus on the Jesus’s birthday (I work at a Catholic school) then I would reward them with an “East Coast Snow Day.” I even told them that I would bring my snow pants and play with them outside on the day before winter break.

Now I am very lucky to work at a school that allows me to do silly things like this with the kids. Not working in a public school does have its advantages sometimes. I am also lucky to have a principal is who is also from the East Coast and allowed me to host my snow day.

I emailed the parents and told them about the “East Coast Snow Day” and asked them to send their kids in with the hold kit and caboodle (snow pants, gloves, boots, hats, scarfs, etc.) I received many emails with parents expressing how excited they were and many offered to bring in shovels, and toys to play with outside.

While most classes are winding down the first half of the school year, my kinds were outside enjoying the snow. I was very pleased that every single one of my students brought in the necessary materials to have a successful snow day. I had parents bring in shovels, an igloo block maker, and spray bottles. I have a list of fun activities that you can do with your students in the snow.

Painting Snow!
Snow Paintings:
One of my favorite activities when I would attend my grandmother’s house on snow days was snowman painting. Snowman painting was what my grandmother called it. She would challenge us to build the tallest snowman we could and then paint him! Now, you may be asking… how do you paint a snowman? Well the answer is with the spray bottles! My grandmother would fill up 4-5 spray bottles with water and dye the water with food coloring. We would then go outside and paint the white snowman to resemble tie-dye.

Snow Races:

When we were outside in the snow, I challenged my students to snow races. We would run, skip, slide, roll, and any other action they could think of from one side of the playground to the other. The kids loved this. They probably just loved their teacher rolling around in the snow with them, but hey happy students equal a happy teacher! 

Building with Snow:
My aid helped the students try to build a huge snow fort as well as snow castles. One of my parents had their child bring in several plastic kid shovels. It was truly one of those moments when you see a kid, be a kid. I think as teachers sometimes we forget how little the students really are. I was elated when I saw so many smiling faces by just seeing them shovel snow into a large pile. We later made this into a math opportunity; we measured our snow pile and tried to build other ones higher. They enjoyed trying to make a snow pile that was as tall as them.

Snow Science:

Now this is something I was planning on doing with the kids. Because we had a half-day, I was unable to squeeze this in. I will be doing this once they return and we work on our penguin / snow / winter units. This is an activity I picked up from another kindergarten teacher last year. It was called: “Would You Eat This Snow?” This is a great activity to do with the kids, especially if you have some kids trying to catch snowflakes on their tongue or picking snow up and eating it. What you need is a clear plastic container, and snow! It’s a pretty simple experiment. You take the kids out first thing in the morning to collect snow into the clear plastic container. Its better if you have a large container so all the kids can help scoop some snow. You then bring it in and ask the students if they would eat the snow. Hopefully the snow you collect is a nice white color. The students record their observations and draw what the snow in the bin looks like. Place the container in an area that will receive sunlight so it can melt. By the end of the day, students will see what that white snow actually looks like when it melts into water. It turns into a grayish liquid with particles floating around. At the end of the day, ask your students again, “Who would eat this snow?” and watch how their reactions change. You can download the worksheets for free here:

There are so many things you can do to incorporate education with the snow. I hope teachers can bust out their winter gear and have some fun with these snow activities with their students. I truly enjoyed my “East Coast Snow Day” with my kinders and I know they LOVED it.

Even my pug Olive loves snow days! Sorry, I couldn't resist. 

What are some snow activities you do with your students?


  1. I live in Arkansas and we do not always get snow days but it is exciting when we do. So sweet that your students were able to have this experience.

  2. I live in Arkansas and we do not always get snow days but it is exciting when we do. So sweet that your students were able to have this experience.

  3. It's so funny you mention the lack of snow days! I am also in Utah and there can be 24 inches of snow without a "snow day" in sight. I always thought it was incredibly unfair because there are LOTS of books, movies, and television shows that depict them but I never got to experience them myself. Good for you for sharing that with your students!

  4. What a fun idea! And a memory your students will carry forever! How fun!

  5. I am from PA and we just had lots of snow and a snow day on Friday - in fact it was our third snow day already this school year. As an adult I have forgotten how much 'fun' snow is for children. Thank you for the reminder! Oh and I must do your snow experiment when we return next week.


  6. This blog site is pretty good! How was it made . I view something genuinely interesting about your site so I saved to my bookmarks . You can visit my site.
    Salt Lake City tax attorney