And Tomorrow's Forecast Is…
Students will create original short stories that feature distinctive weather phenomena, such as lightning, thunder, tornadoes, blizzards, rainbows, and so on.
What You Need
- scientific reference materials pertaining to weather and weather patterns
- examples of age-appropriate fiction that incorporates weather as a major element
- Story Map 1 (PDF file)
- writing materials or computers for word processing
What to Do
- Ask students to list exciting or interesting weather events, such as lightning, thunder, tornadoes, blizzards, and rainbows. Ask them if they can think of stories in which a weather event plays an important role. (The tornado in the Wizard of Oz is one possibility.)
- Read aloud a few examples of stories that incorporate, in a dramatic way, various weather phenomena. Some examples include The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats); Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig); Ernest and Celestine (Gabrielle Vincent); and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams).
- Discuss with students what role weather played in the stories. How did it add to the plot? How did it affect the characters and the choices they made? What words did the author use to describe the weather? Was the story real or made up?
- With the class, brainstorm a list of weather phenomena. Select one as a story starter. Now model the process of developing this starter into a complete story. Suppose you select thunder and lightning as a story starter. Now you will need a setting, a main character, and some sort of problem or challenge related to the weather. For instance, two friends are having a sleepover. During the night, there is a thunderstorm. One of the friends is afraid. How does the other friend help?
- Pass out copies of Story Map 1. Remind students that the problem should be caused by the weather event they have selected. Have students, working on their own or in pairs, create their own stories based on a particular kind of weather. Their stories may be entirely fictional or drawn from real-life experience. Before they begin writing, they may want to learn more about weather by using the Internet or other resources available in the classroom.
- Guide students through the various steps of the writing process. Once students have produced a final, edited version of their work, they may want to add illustrations.
- Invite them to share their work in oral presentations.
- Students could also write poems about the weather.
- Read aloud Judi Barrett's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. This is a humorous picture book about a town where people get all the food they want from the sky. Things are just fine until the weather changes for the worse, and the food that falls gets larger and larger. Using this book as a model, engage students in creating stories of their own about preposterous weather. (See Internet Resources.)
- Web Weather for Kids!
- Here students can learn about types of clouds or how hurricanes and blizzards get started, for example. They can also read true stories about severe weather.
- National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
- This site provides links to information about a range of weather phenomena, including thunderstorms, floods, and tornadoes.
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Linking Technology & Literacy
- Using Judi Barrett's popular picture book, this site provides step-by-step instruction for teaching children how to create their own weather forecasts with graphic support.
- Cloudy with a Chance of…
- Also inspired by Judi Barrett's book, this site offers a lesson plan for teachers who wish to have their students create their own version of the book.