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Valentine Rebus Fun - Using Rebus Puzzles to Solve "Heart" Problems

Many of my students love figuring out rebus puzzles. (a visual puzzle in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and individual letters.)  In a nut shell, they are essentially little pictures which cryptically represent a word, phrase, or saying.  Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, I decided to have some fun and create 26 rebus puzzles for the month of February.

Hearts and Valentines is resource that features familiar expressions that contain the word "heart". (e.g. "From the Bottom of My Heart" or "Cross My Heart") Each illustration in this 13 page resource uses a picture or symbol to represent a common word or phrase.  Students must use logic and reasoning skills to solve the 26 rebuses. So that you don't have to figure out each one, the answers are included.

Each day during the month of February, put up one "Heart" illustration as a student focus activity, OR, if you choose, place two or three up at one time or all of them up at the same time. Students are to figure out which Heart expression the picture represents. It can be fun, but also a very challenging Valentine's Day activity!  Look at the following images and try to work out what they mean.

The first one is "a heart full of love." Were you able to figure it out?

The second one is a bit more challenging. The answer is "a heavy heart." Did you solve it on your own?

Challenge your students to make some of their own "heart" rebus puzzles. A few in this handout were created by middle school students who prove they can be very creative!

Completing a Glyph for Groundhog's Day, February 2, and Interpreting Data

On February 2nd in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, was celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog emerges from its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather! (YIKES!)  No shadow means an early spring. I'm hoping for the latter although our winter here in Kansas has been pretty mild.

No matter whether he sees his shadow or not, it is always fun for students to do special activities on Groundhog's Day.  In my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, I feature a Groundhog Day Glyph. Glyphs are really a form of graphing, and students need the practice. In addition, glyphs are an excellent activity for reading and following directions, and they involve problem solving, communication, and data organization. 

This glyph has the students coloring or gluing different items on a groundhog based on information about themselves. Students are to finish the groundhog glyph using the eight categories listed below.

1) Head covering
2) In the Sky
3) Eyes
4) Around the Groundhog’s Neck
5) Flowers
6) Umbrella
7) Color the Groundhog
9) Name

Examples of the first three categories can be viewed on the preview version of the resource. So that each student has the same groundhog to start with, a printable outline is provided on page 4 of this six page activity. This handout also contains a page where the students are asked to identify the characteristics of someone who did their own groundhog glyph. An answer key is included. Kindergarten teachers can easily adapt this activity since the instructions include pictures.

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Measuring Snow - A Winter Craft for the NOT so Crafty, Like Me!

I am not a very crafty person; so, I am always looking for items that are easy to make that I can give to my grandchildren. One year, I gave them a snowman making kit that included buttons, a carrot, six rocks and two sticks. This year, I am giving them a Snow Measuring Tool.  Not only was it fun to use, but it also helped them to practice using a ruler. Here is how you can make one!
Here is the list of supplies you will need:  

1) A paint stick - free at most paint stores
2) A permanent marking pen
3) Something to glue at the top of the stick (You can make it, or be like me and purchase one from a craft store.)

First, using a ruler, mark off every inch along the paint stick. I was able to make nine marks. (Notice I used the plain side of the paint stick and not the side with all of the advertising.) Now write the inches beside each corresponding mark.

When that is completed, glue the item you have chosen at the top of the stick.  I really wanted to use a snowflake, but my local craft store didn't have any; so, I settled on using one of Santa's reindeer.  Which one, I'm not sure since it didn't come with a name.(Hint: My husband used Gorilla Glue so the reindeer wouldn't fall off.)

When it snows, venture outside and stick the Snow Measuring Tool into the snow and read the number of inches that have fallen. If it isn't exactly on an inch mark, then have your child estimate using fractional parts.

While you are measuring the snow, think about this saying: "Ten inches of snow equals one inch of rain." I am sure you have heard that claim as it is a commonly shared belief that seems to be repeated every time it snows a few feet. But, is the saying true? The immediate answer is: Sometimes.

When the temperature is around 30 degrees, one inch of liquid precipitation (rain) would fall as 10 inches of snow, presuming the storm is all snow. But, the amount of moisture in each snowflake differs depending on the temperature which in turn changes the snow to rain ratio.

For example, if a big January snowstorm occurred with colder temperatures (such as 25 degrees), the snow ratio would be closer to 15 inches of snow to one inch of rain. In fact, weathermen take this into account when forecasting how much snow a location will receive. There have been storms with snow closer to 20 degrees, moving the snow ratio closer to 20 to one. And, when it's warmer, say 35-40 degrees, the ratio moves to 5" of snow to 1" of rain.

So, after your children measure the snow in your yard with their Snow Measuring Tool, try converting the inches of snow into inches of rain based on the 10":1" ratio. By doing so, you may become your neighborhood's weather forecaster or even better, a first rate mathematician!

Your children might enjoy this snowman glyph. It's is an excellent winter activity for reading and following directions, and requires problem solving, communication, and data organization.

"SNOW" Much to Learn About Snow

Snow is much more than white, wet and cold. There are many unusual facts about snow that make it unique and one of the more complex types of precipitation.

  • Although snow appears white because of the countless tiny surfaces of each snowflake crystal reflecting most the wavelengths of light, snowflakes are actually colorless. Snow may take on other colors thanks to particulates (microscopic solids or liquid droplets) in the air or even from different strains of algae.
  • Many places around the world hold certain world records pertaining to snow. The most snow to fall in a 24-hour period occurred in 1921 in Silver Lake, Colorado. It received 76 inches of snow. That's over six feet!
  • Snowflakes come in many different shapes, and their sizes are determined by how many ice crystals connect together.
  • The largest snowflakes ever recorded fell in the state of Montana. The snowflakes were 15 inches in diameter.
  • The average snowflake falls at a speed of 3.1 miles per hour.
  • Snow that has been compacted after multiple melting and refreezing cycles is know as snow pack.
  • A snow storm describes a heavy snowfall that results in several inches of snowfall. A blizzard is classified as a snow storm combined with wind, which obscures visibility.
  • Snow can be heavy or light depending on its water content.
  • An avalanche occurs when snow that has accumulated on a mountain is disturbed by a thermal or physical impact, which causes the snow to rush downhill in a large mass. Preceding an avalanche is a phenomenon known as an avalanche wind caused by the approaching avalanche itself, which adds to it destructive potential.

If you find these snow facts interesting, try working a crossword where all of the words begin with the word "snow." This FREE resource includes two winter crossword puzzles; each with 25 words that all begin with “snow.” One crossword includes a word bank which makes it easier to solve while the more challenging one does not. Even though the same vocabulary is used for each crossword, each grid is laid out differently. Answers keys for both puzzles are included. Click under the title page to download your free copy.