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December 08

Snowflake Bentley illustrator Mary Azarian was born in 1940.

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Snowflake Bentley illustrator Mary Azarian was born in 1940.

Grades K – 4
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Illustrator Mary Azarian won the 1999 Caldecott Medal for Snowflake Bentley, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Azarian is a skilled woodcut artist who is strongly influenced by her love of gardening. You can enjoy additional examples of her work in A Gardener's Alphabet, Farmer's Alphabet, and Barn Cat, written by Carol P. Saul.




There are ways to bring snow to your students regardless of the weather outside your classroom. If you're fortunate enough to have a supply of snow outside your window, take a mini field trip outside with your students. Have them each hold a piece of black paper to "catch snowflakes" for inspection. Be sure to have magnifying glasses available so students can take an up-close look. Ask students to sketch some of the structures they observe and then compare their drawings to identify both similarities and differences among snowflakes.

If you're located in a warm winter climate, you can still offer a snowflake experience to your students. The SnowCrystals.com website offers a tutorial for Growing Your Own Snow Crystals. (Use caution as this experiment uses dry ice.) These homegrown snow crystals can be closely examined by students using magnifying glasses or microscopes.




  • National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)

    This website provides snow-related data and resources, including images, data sets, articles, and more. Students can use the information found here for activities such as research projects or creating snow quizzes and snow books.


  • Snowflakes Under an Electron Microscope

    Students can access stunning microscopic images of snow crystals on this page. Connect a study of geometry and art by having students create their own unique snowflake designs.


  • SnowCrystals.com

    This website provides an informative look at the science of snow. It suggests experiments and activities, and also offers a snowflake guide and frequently asked snow questions.


  • Make-A-Flake

    This interactive resource allows users to create original snowflakes.



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Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Let's Build a Snowman

In this lesson, students use both fiction and nonfiction texts, the Internet, and a K-W-L chart to learn about how animals survive the winter.


Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Teaching Shapes Using Read-Alouds, Visualization, and Sketch to Stretch

Visual clues in winter-themed books used in this lesson encourage students to make real-world math connections.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Using Snowflake Bentley as a Framing Text for Multigenre Writing

Using Snowflake Bentley as a model, students create a working definition of multigenre text and then use that definition to create their own multigenre piece about winter or another theme.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Picture Books as Framing Texts: Research Paper Strategies for Struggling Writers

Students use picture books as framing texts for research, freeing them from the language of encyclopedia sources and allowing them to focus their attention on the content of their papers.