Winter Wonderland

Students explore the beauties of winter through a variety of texts about winter, learning about winter weather and weather forecasts and how different animals and plants survive winter. 



Unit 5


Unit Summary

In this unit, students explore the beauties of winter. In the first part of the unit, students learn about how snow forms and the different types of snow that fall in the winter. In the second part of the unit, students explore how animals survive in the winter and the ways in which animals meet their basic needs, even when the ground is covered with ice and snow. In the last part of the unit, students read a variety of Jan Brett texts and use what they have learned about snow and animals to make inferences about what is happening with the different winter animals in the text. By the end of the unit, students should have a strong grasp of what makes winter unique and the different ways animals survive in the winter. Due to the timing of this unit, it is our hope that students will have plenty of opportunities to interact with the vocabulary and content in the natural world around them.

In reading, this unit is predominantly a collection of informational texts and builds on skills and strategies from earlier units. At this point, it is assumed that students are inquisitive consumers of text and are able to ask and answer questions about a text in order to deepen their understanding of the content. Students will continue to focus on finding the main topic and supporting details, but with an added emphasis on using diagrams and information to identify key details. Students will also focus on learning new words, and using those words when talking or writing about the text. In this unit, students practice using all of the strategies from previous units to hone in on their speaking and listening skills. Students continue to work on continuing a conversation through multiple exchanges, requesting clarification when needed, and speaking audibly. Solidifying these speaking and listening skills sets students up for success in later units. In writing, students continue to build writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question. Students learn how to write complete sentences and use correct ending punctuation. Building on work done in previous units, students also continue to explore narrative writing, writing a short narrative focusing on retelling what happens in the beginning, middle and end. Students also continue to refine their informational writing skills, using informational writing as a way to solidify their understanding of new information. 

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • What makes winter beautiful?
  • What do animals need to survive the winter?

Reading Focus Areas

  • Readers use diagrams and illustrations to identify key information in a text. 
  • Readers learn new words when reading a text. Readers use those words when talking or writing about the text. 
  • To understand an informational text, readers think about how details are connected. 

Writing Focus Areas

Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Create simple sentences orally and in writing.
  • Create statements, questions, and exclamations orally and in writing.
  • Ask questions using “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.”
  • Use correct end punctuation.
  • Capitalize the first letter of a sentence.

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Narrate a single event. 
  • Tell what happens in the beginning, middle, and end. 
  • Use precise words to help readers visualize what happens. 

Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Name the topic they are writing about. 
  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to include some information about the topic. 

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges. 
  • Requests clarification if something is not understood. 
  • Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly.  



beautiful blizzard cozy curious droplet embarrassed evaporate hibernate meteorologist migrate over ridiculous search sleet snow flurry snowstorm store tame track under wild

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 5, view our Kindergarten Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • Describe local weather patterns during the winter.
  • Explain daily weather changes that are unique to winter:
    • Snow, snowflakes, blizzard, flurry
    • Ice, icy, freezing
    • Sleet, hail
  • Describe the basic characteristics of animals, including:
    • Animals need food, water, and space to live and grow.
    • Animals get food from eating plants or other living things.
    • Animals survive winter in a variety of ways.
      • Some migrate and fly to warmer climates.
      • Some hibernate and sleep through the winter.
      • Some gather and store food for the winter.
      • Some animals search for food all winter long.
    • Pets have special needs and must be cared for by their owners.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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Unit 4

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