Teacher CyberGuide
Katy and the Big Snow
by Virginia Lee Burton
CyberGuide by Elaine Kiesner


This supplemental unit was developed as a part of the Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE) Project, funded by the California Technology assistance Program (CTAP).

Disclaimer: The links here have been scrutinized for their grade and age appropriateness: however, contents of links on the World Wide Web change continuously. It is advisable that teachers review all links before introducing CyberGuides to students.

This supplemental unit provides resources for students in Kindergarten to focus on Community Services as presented in Katy and the Big Snow.


During these lessons, students will:

create maps,explore mapping skills,learn about the inter-relatedness of community services, create a book of their own and use a Learning Log.

Language Arts Standards:

History Social Science Standards:

Implementation Overview:

After reading the book Katy and the Big Snow to the whole class, discuss what happens as the snow falls on Geoppolis. Discuss why the big plow,Katy, is needed. After the discussion, begin Student Activity 1. 

Description of Materials, Activities and Websites:

Student Activity 1: Explore and draw a map.

Introduction: During this activity, students will be introduced to maps and map symbols. They will use the letters, N,S,E and W to represent directions and they will be introduced to the Compass Rose. (Note: Due to the age of these students, words or pictures are accepted forms of recording. Also the teacher will be showing the content of the websites to the students in order to facilitate access to the information.)

Website: Working With Maps

URL: http://www.usgs.gov/education/learnweb/MA/

Website: Finding Your Way with Map and Compass

URL: http://info.er.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/finding-your-way/finding-your-way.html

The Task: Having explored these websites with the teacher, students will discover the direction of the four walls of their classroom. These will be labeled with big letters representing North, South, East and West. The children will then label a large sheet of paper with these letters on the appropriate side, top and bottom. They will select something that is on or near that wall, and illustrate it. In this way they will establish a very simple depiction of the directions in their own classroom and in effect a simple map.

They will discover that these four letters (N,S,E and W) are the main letters on the Compass and the Compass Rose. Using two intersecting lines, they will form and label their own Compass Rose.

Process: After guiding the children through the Internet sites, the teacher will help the children use the compass to discover the directions in the classroom. These will be clearly labeled. There will be a discussion about what is located along the North wall, the South wall etc. After the discussion, the children will get paper and will label their papers with the correct letters for the four basic directions. The teacher will assist those having difficulty. Once they have the letters on their paper they will select an item on or near each wall and represent it. They will be guided to add two intersecting lines to the center of their paper and label those points with the appropriate letters. In this way they will form their own Compass Rose.

Evaluation: The creation of their own "map" and "Compass Rose" will show how well the individual student has learned the concepts covered in the lesson. To improve their oral language they will have the opportunity to share their map orally with the class. They can include why they selected the items they did for illustration.

Student Activity 2: Explore how the weather affects our lives.

Introduction: During this activity the students will turn their attention to the weather and how it affects their lives. They will discuss how they learn about the weather. Does it affect what they wear? Does it change their plans about where they will play? In order to become more familiar with weather and more specifically snow, the teacher will guide them through several websites and activities. (Note: It will be beneficial to time this lesson close to the time when snow is expected, if not in your area, an area that you can observe by web cam. Leonard's Cam World offers many web cams and the sites are selected to be appropriate for children. http://www.leonardsworlds.com/camera.html

Website: Automated Weather Source


Website: Snow Activities

Url: http://www.teelfamily.com/activities/snow

Website: Snow Crystals

URL: http://metsun4.geophys.hokudai.ac.jp:20080/crystal/gallery.html

Website: Growing Crystal Gardens

URL: http://www.ponyshow.com/kidsnet/science/crystal.htm

The Task: Since the weather is a major influence in determining when the big snow plows are called out to open highways, the students will observe weather changes on a regular basis. Select a school site near your own school from those shown on the Automated Weather Source website. Compare this information with the data that you collect at your own site. Develop a graph to show the changes. In order to learn more about snow, explore the "Snow Activities" website. Viewing the "Snow Crystal Gallery" should amaze the students. By now students should be ready to demonstrate something that they have been learning as they have observed the various sites. Growing their own crystals will help them to appreciate crystals. Their Learning Logs should have some information they may wish to look at. They will then decide how they wish to share what they have learned.

The Process: This activity will begin with a discussion about how weather affects our lives. What would snow do to our town? What is snow? These questions will lead to observing and recording weather changes in your local area. If it does not snow where your school is located, select a snowy area that you can observe online concurrently. As a class, select the activities you wish to pursue from the "Snow Activities." Have students create a "cut and paste" snow scene. Once the pictures are completed, allow children to give their own picture a "wash" of 3 tablespoons of Borax to one cup of water. As their pictures dry, crystals will form over their artwork. Look at these crystals with a microscope. Students will note their observations in their Learning Log.

Evaluation: Students should be able to describe a "crystal." They should also be able to show that a snowflake has 6 sides or points. They should be able to describe how to observe weather changes. Their artwork will illustrate what they have learned about what snow looks like and how it affects the local landscape.

Student Activity 3: Exploring Community Services

Introduction: One of the major points in the story of Katy and the Big Snow is that it is important for people to have access to Community Services. A lively discussion will ensue when you try to decide which services are essential and which ones are less important.

Website: Los Angeles Police Department

URL: http://www.lapd.org/

Website: Post Office

URL: http://members.aol.com/dierdorff1/darwin/tour-20.html

Website: Downtown Lawton, Oklahoma

URL: http://www.cityof.lawton.ok.us/downtown.htm

Website: Utilities

URL: http://www.icg.ca/icg02.html

Website: Hospitals

URL: http://www.med.stanford.edu/lpch/virtual.tour/

Website: Fire Station

URL: http://www.kerncounty.com/fire/media/main.htm


Website: Airport

URL: http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/lgb/airfield.htm

The Task: As a class, view the websites selected because they represent the requests for plowing that the big snow plow, Katy, received. List the important functions of these community services. Try to prioritize a list of these services and support your reason. Students may use their Learning Log to support their reasons.

The Process: Students will need to be taken on these tours by an adult. Each site has been selected to illustrate an area of the town that needed plowing. Most of the sites are "Virtual Tours" and they are not all from one locale. In some cases the sites are only one photo. After taking the tours, the students should list the important functions of that particular site. These can be written on large chart paper. Once that has been done, the charts can be moved around as the students try to decide which place should be plowed first because it is the most important. They must support their reason with something they learned on the tour.

Evaluation: Students will be assessed on their understanding of the concept of community services. They will illustrate this understanding by placing the Chart Papers in a prioritized order. Their understanding will also be shown through the reasons they give in support of their decisions. 

Student Activity 4: Create a book about Katy.

Introduction: The students will create a book of their own based on the important events in the story, Katy and the Big Snow. The book will have a cover, 4 - 6 pages, with simplified, student dictated text and student illustrations.

The Task: After reading and rereading the book, the student will select 4 - 6 pages that they feel are the most important. They will retell the story content for those pages in their own words. Illustrations will be added after the text is on the page. Their book should show who Katy was, why she was important, what she had to do, when she had to do it, and where she had to work.

The Process: One copy of the book Katy and the Big Snow will be taken apart, laminated and reassembled. The students will use this book to select the pages that they feel best illustrate the answers to the questions about the story. Once they have made their decision, they will dictate the content of their book to the teacher or other adult. The pages will then be illustrated by the student. After the books are completed, the students can share them and read them to one another.

Evaluation: The student's own book will demonstrate how well they have answered the who, what when, where and why questions about the book. Their illustrations will give insight into what they recall from the story as well. 

Notes from the Teacher/Writer of this CyberGuide:
This lesson is currently being field tested. 

If your students have used this CyberGuide
please take a minute to complete the Teacher Evaluation. http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/teach.eval.html
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