Monday, March 2, 2009

World Wide Weather

March has come in like a lion. But the daffodils are still poking their heads through the wet snow. It'll be a mixed bag for weather this month, but we're on the way to spring!

How's the weather in other parts of the world in March? On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World's Weather offers the answer for over a dozen different locations, from the Arctic to Australia. Marilyn Singer's poetic text is engaging and simple without being simplistic, while Frane Lessac's illustrations of snowy and steamy landscapes delight the eye and the imagination. Your own copy should cost less than $10, but the book is available in many community libraries (hopefully your own school media center, too).

Younger students will love this read-aloud-and-share-the-pictures treat. And you'll know you're covering goals in language arts, social studies, and science in a global context. It's a very visual and specific addition to the standard globe-and-flashlight presentation on seasons. Be sure to read the Author's Note at the end for a great explanation of seasonal reversal and global climate patterns. If you're beginning the day with a weather report, as many teachers in the primary grades do, the learning here will add a great global context.

Middle and high school students can share On the Same Day in March with younger students as part of a volunteer or service learning project in a community library or a school program. Bring along a globe and a box of seasonal items (gloves, scarf, umbrella, sun hat, etc.) After the reading, play "what should I wear?" With the older students' help, the younger students dip into a grab bag of locations, pull one out ("Kenya"), find it on the globe, and then choose what they might wear for the March weather there.

Maybe we can't do anything about the weather, especially in mad March. But let's use the opportunity to teach globally!

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