The subject of weather always seems to interest students, so taking advantage of that interest to work on writing skills makes sense. Combining science and language arts can help your students achieve greater success. As the students reflect through writing activities on the science facts they learned and weather experiences they or others have had, they process the learning deeply rather than just hear others delivering disjointed facts.
Daily Weather Report
Assign students to report on the weather daily. Require that they write up the daily weather in the form of a descriptive weather report. Ask students to include an interesting extra weather fact and new weather vocabulary word each day. Have them research to find any famous, historical weather events that happened and include that in the daily weather report too. Each day, after collecting the daily weather reports, select one or two students to present the weather to the class for the day.
Weather offers a promising subject for poetry because of the opportunities to use descriptive language when writing about weather. Teach students how to write different types of poetry such as haiku, acrostics, diamanté and quatrain. Create a class word wall containing weather vocabulary and descriptive language suitable for describing types of weather. Have students write and illustrate different weather poems. Compile the poems and illustrations into a class weather book.
Ask students to consider their favorite or most scary weather experience. Allow students to write about a positive or a negative experience but insist that it be a real event so that they practice writing from real life. If time allows, offer students the opportunity to write both types of stories. Before writing, have students share the most descriptive part of their experience verbally so that they can share the types of vocabulary that might be used to write about their weather experience. Have students create a plan and rough draft, then revise and edit so they take the story through the entire writing process before publishing.
Research historical weather events, and locate as much factual text, picture, video and audio material as possible. Before showing these to students, explain that they will create a fictional weather journal in which they write entries as if they were experiencing the event. Have students create the journal and decorate it with weather drawings. Share the materials you located on weather events with students and have them take notes, keeping in mind the journal writing task. After viewing the materials and discussing the causes of the weather events, have students create the journal entries. Explain that the entries should be written in the voice of someone experiencing the events and should also include enough facts to show that students understand the science behind the weather event. For example, someone experiencing the eye of a hurricane would likely describe the air pressure and relative calm as the eye passed overhead.
- weather vane 2 image by Lee O'Dell from Fotolia.com