Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

Archive for the ‘Snow’ Category

Snow Pellets and Raindrops: how words feed and groom our thoughts

“Snow pellets on my jacket are like raindrops on the roof,” I said to my husband.

Coral shovelling snow PM edit small
I had come inside after shovelling overnight snow off the driveway. But, the snow  falling this morning was different from any snow I’d seen before. The snow I knew was like big, soft flakes. This snow was like hard, tiny pellets.
“Snow pellets aren’t like raindrops,” he remarked with a grin.
“Okay. The sound of snow pellets on my jacket are like raindrops falling on the roof,” I replied.
“What if it’s a wool jacket?” he asked.

“You’re right. I can make it better. ‘The sound of small, snow pellets on my polyester jacket remind me of the raindrops falling on the tin roof when I was little.’

Or better still. ‘The sound of tiny, crusty snow pellets bouncing off the crisp, polyester shell of my jacket reminds me of the raindrops dancing on the tin roof when I was a little girl in the old mallee farmhouse.’ Yes that’s it, that will do.”

Our conversation continued…

“You know what this is like?” I realised, “It’s like talking about  being specific and adding details with my Year Ones when we are doing Shared Writing. I remember…”

Martha brought her toy bunny to school and wrote in her Journal: 
I have a bunny.
It is white.
It has a pink ribbon.

After our Shared Writing about ‘being specific’ and ‘adding details’ she said, “I could write like that about my bunny.”
“What do you mean Martha?”
“The details. I’ll do it and show you,” she said and went off to write in her Journal.
She shared her writing with the class. She read: “I have a soft, white, toy bunny. She has a bright, pink ribbon round her neck.”

But my favourite example of ‘adding detail’ was from Suzy. One day, completely out of the blue, she wrote in her Journal: “I brought my adventurous, big, brown bear and he got into lots of trouble…”. Sometimes it takes a while for new ideas to become a part of children’s thinking. And it’s a wonderful surprise when it all comes together.

But back to the snow pellets… “I think that crusty, pellet-type snow is called corn snow. It’s a term I haven’t heard for years,” he reminisced.

Corn snow on Boxwood PM edit small
Snow pellets/corn snow on Boxwood

Corn snow on Coral's wool hat PM edit small

Tiny snow pellets, or corn snow, on my wool hat

The more we talked, the more our words “handsomely groomed and fed” the thoughts in my head (O’Neill)…

“What’s also interesting is the contrast,” I mused. “The sound of raindrops dancing on the tin roof above my bedroom when I was a little girl put me to sleep, but here, the sound of the crusty, snow pellets bouncing on the crisp, polyester of the snow jacket wakens my senses. I stopped shovelling and put my arm out so I could see the snow pellets bouncing off the sleeve of my jacket and hear them pinging and singing as they bounced off my sleeve.”

The last four lines of Mary O’Neill’s (1966) delightful poem, ‘The Wonderful Words’, came to mind…

But only words can free a thought
From its prison behind your eyes.
Maybe your mind is holding now
A marvellous new surprise!

Come to think of it…

O’Neill’s words would make a great poster to inspire budding writers in the classroom!

Early morning noise…

What is it? Look out the living room window.
A yellow machine up the road. A man in it. Another man by the side of the road. What is he doing?
Dress quickly. Add warm coat, wool hat and mitts, grab the camera and rush out the door.
Exciting morning. Watch a back-hoe clear snow out of a ditch to help icy waters flow through the drains.


Man and machine at work.
Imagine how children would love to watch this on their way to school.

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I love to see the clean swathes of ice and snow
the back-hoe takes from the ditch.

Go for a walk…


Slushy snow melts slooowly,


and icy water makes small creeks


and  large puddles.


At roadsides…


a frozen dinosaur appears…


and a large, cookie face gives a crooked smile as I pass!

Signs of Spring: Hooray!

With a sunny 7 degrees today there are welcome signs of spring.


A rhododendron escapes its cold enclosure
and its shiny leaves welcome the sun.


Sedum spears appear as snow disappears.


Rocks break out and absorb the sun’s rays whilst


 dock wood dries out and feels warm again.


But… roads soften and crack


and garbage is uncovered.


Thankfully and gradually, buds appear


and burst in happiness against a brilliant blue sky.

A Walk in the Park

A walk in the park.
A short walk in the snowy park.
Delicate, soft snow. Deep, top-of-the-boots snow.
Grey skies overhead, clouds swelling


 At the riverbank, bare branches protrude


and summer grasses rest over winter.

Snow slides down the bright, slippery slide: where are the children?


A lonely leaf resists winds and hangs on as long as… ?


Two dark blue berries hang on, too… for early birds in spring?


Black and white reflections in dark, cold water.

Through a pipe darkly: whooshing water
with receding ice
and a blanket of snow.

A walk in the park – and back again…

Serious Snowstorm Number Two

The second serious snowstorm starts around seven in the morning and lasts all day and all night: soft, silent, swirling snowflakes floating, fluttering, falling.


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…


Morning breaks with brilliant sunshine,
brilliant, blue skies and brilliant, white snow…


 superbly fresh, white, powdery snow.


It’s pretty on Boxwoods…

and soooo pretty on Blue Spruce.


It makes a snow-topped table with spectacular edges


and windswept waves and dugouts around the bushes.

Snow is useful, too!

Snow sculpture is special…


and spectacular!

When it will fall?

Serious Snowstorm Number One

The first serious snowstorm of the season starts in the afternoon with bitterly cold, driving winds


and the cedars bend and the birch trees shiver
in almost whiteout conditions.


In the morning, the ‘double-shovel’ snowshoveller appears
and bit-by-bit, foot-by-foot pushes the snow down the driveway


and then, the driveway looks like this.


The big, yellow snowplough cometh…


and the big, yellow snowplough goeth.


Cedar Waxwings arrive; to see if the ‘double-shovel’ snowshoveller
and the big, yellow snowplough have done their jobs!

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