Testing/Assessments & Learning Standards
July 31, 2015

Lesson Plan: When Winter Comes

Source: Research and Educational Services
Share This Article...

LESSON TITLE: When Winter Comes

TEACHER: Angela Anderson


GRADE: Kindergarten 

TIME FRAME: Lesson times vary from about 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the day


Reading Level/Lexile: Guided Reading Level: K  Grade Level Equivalent: 2.9 

What rubrics will be used in this lesson? No rubrics are needed.

Any special seating arrangements for the students? (Cooperative learning groups, pairs, etc.)  The first park of the lesson will be on and around our class alphabet rug.  Then the children will work at tables and on the floor in small groups. 


Download lesson plan ( pdf / Microsoft Word / View as HTML


NYS P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics

NYSED Classroom Videos

The NYS Education Department has classroom videos available in ELA (3 elementary, 1 secondary), mathematics (2 elementary, 2 secondary), and a European history lesson. The videos are presented un-edited and formatted to highlight specific NYS Learning standards as they are implemented.

Go to EngageNY to view the videos.


  • Books related to the theme (see “resources”)
  • Enlarged list of academic vocabulary (posted on the easel)
  • Warm-up movement poem (Susan Griss)
  • Post-Its
  • Multiple copies of When Winter comes
  • Chart paper
  • Construction paper
  • Pencils, Markers, Crayons
  • Popsicle sticks, Poster paper 


Summary: This book is about a child, her parents and the family dog, discovering what happens in the world around them, during the winter.


What will students know or learn from this text?

The students will be able to identify the setting (time and place), author’s purpose and key details from the text. They will also be able to demonstrate their understanding of higher level (Tier 2) vocabulary.

Where is this text taking us? What unit will it be a part of?

Winter (Seasons) theme (including Animals in Winter)

How will I know what they learned?

  • Observations of the children’s (purposeful) movements during the lessons
  • Q&A
  • post-it notes showing text-based evidence
  • The students’ posters depicting what they learned

Enduring Understandings:

In our part of the country, during the season of winter, there are many changes that occur. The children will demonstrate an understanding that there are distinctly different things that happen around us during this time of the year. 

Student Objectives / Outcomes

Students will be able to identify setting, author’s purpose, key details and academic vocabulary, using textual evidence.  They will demonstrate their understanding through the use of movement, verbal responses, written responses and artwork. 



Reading Standards for Literature

  • RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • RL.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding
  • RL.K.4 Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
  • RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings and major events in a story.
  • RL.K.2 With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
  • RL.K.6 With prompting and support name the author and the illustrator and define the role of each in telling a story.
  • RL.K.7 With prompting and support, describe relationships between illustrations and the story in which they appear.

Writing Standards

  • W.K.8 With guidance and support, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources.
  • W.K.11 Create and/or present a poem, dramatization, artwork or personal response to a theme studied in class-with support as needed.

Speaking and Listening Standards

  • SL.K.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly.

Content Standards:

  • Science- Seasons (Winter)/Weather 


This lesson incorporates all of the pedagogical shifts demanded by the Common Core State Standards. 

Academic Vocabulary: Isabel Beck, Bringing Words to Life, categorizes vocabulary into 3 tiers when considering which words need the most instructional attention. Beck suggests that students will benefit the most academically by focusing instruction on the Tier 2 Vocabulary Words. Tier 2 words are likely to appear in texts across content areas, essential for understanding this text.


High-frequency, multiple meaning vocabulary - words that appear with high-frequency, across a variety of domains, and are crucial when using mature, academic language (coincidence, reluctant, analysis)


Give Definition

Determine from context:















Specific differentiation for the lesson for English Language Learners and / or students with disabilities

My groupings of 2-3 children will be balanced, in terms of strengths and challenges.  Movement activities are especially helpful for my active learners, as well as my ESL students who learn from seeing and doing. 


Day 1:

  • Teach new vocabulary and movements that we will encounter in the book.  (RL.K.4)

Day 2:

  • Read When Winter Comes with movements.  Teach students the repeated verse and choral read it (RL.K.10)  (RL.K.3) 

Day 3:

  • Reread When Winter Comes and use the illustrations to retell the story.  (RL.K.2)  (RL.K.6).


Day 4:

  • Revisit When Winter Comes and ask text-based questions. (RL.K.1) (RL.K.4) Children work in groups to gather information from the text (several copies to use) and write the information on post-its.  (W.K.8)  Children will share the information gathered on post-its.  (SL.K.6) 

Day 5:

  • Put it all together…reread with purposeful movement to enrich understandings.  Informally assess using movement (e.g., “Show me what the ____ does in winter.”).  Work in small groups to create what will later become a story mural. Writing may also be added. (W.K.11)  Children will share their posters with the class--recalling/retelling key details from the text. (RL.K.2)


C= central ideas/general understanding:

  • “What kinds of things happen in winter that do not happen during other times of the year?”

D= key details:

  • “How do the illustrations help the author achieve her purpose?”
  • “How do they help us understand what happens in winter?”
  • “Can you show and tell me what happens when winter comes?”

V= vocabulary:

  • While looking at each illustration… “What does this picture tell us about what ______ do in the winter?”
  • “Who can show and tell me what _____ do in winter?” (Using evidence from the text, children show, tell and act out various vocabulary words.

S= text structure:

  • “What do you notice about the way this story is written?”  (It has a rhyming text and a repeated verse throughout the book).

AP= author's point of view:

AP= author's point of view:

  • “What do you think was the author’s purpose for writing this book?”
  • “What does the author want us to know about winter?”
  • Knowing what we do about how authors get their ideas… “Why do you think Nancy Van Laan might have chosen this topic for a book?” 


(Part to whole, literal to inferential/evaluation)

  1. “What do you notice about the way the story is written?”
  2. “Is there a part that you think we can all read together?”
  3. “What was the author’s purpose?”
  4. “How do the illustrations help us to understand the story better?”
  5. “What do the ____ do in the winter?” 
  6. “What do you notice in the beginning versus the end?”…  “What does that observation tell us?”
  7. “What is the setting of the story?”  “How can you tell?”
  8. “What information did you find in the book?”  “Show me on your Post-It.”
  9. “What does (Insert academic vocabulary) mean?”  “Can you tell me or show me?”
  10. Using the posters, “Can you show and tell me what we learned from When Winter Comes?”


Formative Assessments:

  • Q&A, movement observations, post-its, verbal sharing.

Summative Assessments:

  • Culminating Activity: group posters (artwork, writing, Q&A during the activity and sharing at the end)


What was I thinking about during the lesson writing? 

Formative Assessments: Variety of techniques showing the progress of the lessons for student understanding.  (See above).

Teacher reflection on the process of development of the lesson incorporating the shifts and reflections on implementation.


  • What was I thinking about during the lesson writing - the students and implementing the shifts
  • Why I chose the lesson- It fit with our winter science theme.  It was a developmentally appropriate way to teach new, higher-level vocabulary.  The movement piece makes books come to life and helps the children to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter, as opposed to merely sitting and listening to a story.
  • Struggles to make the shifts come to life- There is a lot of thought, time and preparation that go into lessons like this.  The results make it well worth it!


  • What was the effectiveness of the instructional design?  I thought that the sequence of lessons had a good flow and each lesson was effective (the children met my intended objectives).
  • What concerns or issues do / did I have?  During the whole group movement activities, some of the children had a difficult time respecting one another’s personal space.  Otherwise, things went smoothly.
  • How will / did I revise the lesson?  I was planning to do a four day sequence but ended up doing five, so that there weren’t any lessons that were too long for the children.


  • **When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan
  • Animals In Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder
  • Winter Wonderland by Jill Esbaum
  • Time to Sleep by Denise Flemming
  • Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by II Sung Na
  • Over and Under by Kate Messner
  • What Do Animals Do In Winter? by Melvin and Gilda Berger
  • What Happens To Plants In Winter? by Rebecca Felix

and more…


NYSUT Footer
Our Voice, Our Values, Our Union