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 understanding of the content. In this unit, students will continue to be challenged to identify the main topic of a text, retell the key details that connect to the main topic, describe the connection between ideas in a text, and use the illustrations and words to describe and retell what is happening in a text with varying levels of teacher support.

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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. 

This unit builds on the work students have done with informational text in previous units. 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. 

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.

In this unit, students continue to work on producing complete sentences orally and in writing. Students review how to ask questions and learn how to use exclamations.

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. 

In this unit, students write a short narrative with a focus on telling what happens in the beginning, middle and end. 

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. 

In this unit, students continue to work on writing informational texts as a way of solidifying understanding of key unit content. 

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.  

In this unit, students practice using all of the strategies from previous units to hone in on their speaking and listening skills. Based on data from previous units, teachers can decide what support to provide students to ensure they are successful in tiers 1 and 2 of the three tiers of academic discourse. The focus areas and discourse in this unit align with tiers 1 and 2 of the three tiers of academic discourse and all rows of the Academic Discourse Rubric. See the Teacher Tool on Tiers of Academic Discourse to help support students with the focus areas for this unit.



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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