Every morning after the children come to preschool, we settle into our morning group time and talk about the weather.
It’s been interesting how much learning, growth, and development I have seen stem from this simple process of documenting and talking about the weather.
Documenting the Daily Weather
Miss Abby and I both take similar approaches to documenting the weather each day. Miss Abby has the younger students while I work with the PreK students so you will see from the photos that the children are at various stages of development in their ability to draw symbols, hold a writing tool, and share their ideas with us.
Each day, our weather helper of the day is asked to draw their weather picture on our small clip board. Some of our students begin the year with lots of “scribbles” but to the child, every scribble has a story to tell.
Going to the Window
Sometimes, the child goes over to the window to draw on his or her weather chart. We find going to the window and touching the window helps the children to recognize what the weather is like that day more fully (cold, hot, sunny, cloudy, and so on). Going to the window also inspires more conversation and we can ask questions like “What do you see?” “How does the window feel to your hand?” “Did you need a coat on today?” And so on.
Some children may already know what they want to draw so they stay in the helper chair and get to work.
We then ask the children to tell us about their drawing and they will tell us things like “It is cloudy” or “It is sunny and rainy.” There is no right or wrong answer and we don’t challenge their weather stories, we simply document the words that the children use on their paper.
Singing about the Weather
Then we share and sing about the weather with the whole group using some of the weather words the child has chosen to share with us that day. One of the greatest things about all of this is that I have never had the children question or be critical about each other’s drawings. The children seem to accept their difference in drawing styles easily. Now they may challenge each other on what the weather is like. One child may say it is sunny and warm when there is snow on the ground and the others will challenge this but the children still stay more focused on discussing the weather. Of course, we as teachers also treat each drawing as it is a prize possession because each one really is.
After singing about our weather, we place the weather chart on our weather board so we can continue with our weather pattern throughout the week. On some days, we go back and review the weather and on other days, we move on to our next thing. It all depends on where the conversation leads us and the interests of the children.
Changes in the Weather Drawings
As the year progresses, we begin seeing changes in the children’s drawings. Lines for raindrops often start to show up…
And circles with lines for sunshines start to be added to their drawings…
The drawings gradually become less scribble and more defined…
By the end of the year, many of our older students are turning their weather chart into full weather stories with people and symbols. The children will begin to tell us stories such as “It’s sunny and cloudy and this is me and my friends playing outside.”
We print the weather words that the children give us on the weather chart and sometimes will even print out the full story. We always add the child’s initials and date the document as well. All weather charts are saved and put into the child’s portfolio to give parents at the end of the school year. It is a wonderful collection of drawings that are meaningful and demonstrate progress, understanding, and skills throughout the school year.
I posted a brief note about the weather helper on my Instagram awhile back and one of the comments was that her student’s wouldn’t be able to sit still and wait for the child to draw the weather. So I thought I would also share how we manage this process.
- First, it is important to note that we do not have a long, set routine of other things we do in the morning circle. Our weather is the most important part of our morning routine and then we move onto our story and other activities for the day.
- Second, on some days, this process goes by very quickly – only taking a couple of minutes – and on other days, it can take longer (especially as the children get older).
- Third, I’ve been doing this for four years now and every year it just keeps getting more intriguing to me. I started out making it a quick routine but over time, I realized that it had the potential to be so much more so we always take our time to really explore, talk about, and investigate the weather through this process.
- Fouth, I find that as the children document their weather symbols and stories, they become more interested in the weather and the process is so much more meaningful. I will never use a preprinted weather symbol again – not because it is wrong to do so – but because once you fully embrace a process similar to this and see the results, it’s a game-changer on what works the best.
Finally, as the children become more interested in this process and want to draw more elaborate weather stories, I have had to come up with a few short routines we can do to keep the children from getting bored while we wait. Some days we need these routines and other days we don’t. We do things like pass around our letter board for the children to talk about and trace with their finger.
Or we use the time to have conversations about other things we are or will be exploring that week…
There are some days when the weather is so interesting, we all just stop and join our helper at the window and everyone discusses the weather together while our helper continues to draw.
I hope I haven’t lost you on this rather lengthy post but I wanted to do my own documenting of our weather helper process as it is a process I have really grown to love and believe in. I’ve seen children feel so accomplished, build confidence, and build new skills with this short morning routine and it just gets me all excited!
Available on Amazon
Links to Grow On
What will the weather be today? by Teach Preschool
Graphing the Weather by Teach Preschool
Weather Word Wall Art by Teach Preschool
Cloud in a Jar by Teach Preschool
Exploring Raindrops and Clouds by Teach Preschool