Responding to winter
by Jill Fuller (revised, originally published in 2001)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the variety of winter weather, and reflect on our response to the season.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the YouTube video ‘Antonio Vivaldi – Winter’ and the means to play it during the assembly. It is 9.23 minutes long and is available at: https://youtu.be/TZCfydWF48c
- Have the YouTube video ‘Antonio Vivaldi – Winter’ playing as the children enter.
Allow some quiet listening time after they are settled.
- Ask the children if they know what the music is.
If they don’t, tell them that the composer is an eighteenth-century Italian called Antonio Vivaldi. Explain that he wrote the music to portray a ‘sound picture’ of one of the seasons. Invite the children to decide which of the four seasons the music describes and to give reasons for their decision.
- Ask the children to imagine that they have been asked to create a ‘word picture’ of winter weather. What adjectives would they use? Grey, bleak, cold, windy, wet, crisp, bright, fun?
- Draw out that during the winter months, we experience a wide range of weather.
Ask the children to give some descriptions of winter weather. These could include mist, fog, showers, heavy rain, floods, gales, snow, mild days, cold days, bright sunshine and so on.
- Discuss how the weather affects our choice of activities and pastimes. For example, in winter, we might prefer playing active games at playtime rather than sitting around. Perhaps we’d rather have hot soup for lunch instead of sandwiches. Maybe we’d prefer to play football rather than cricket.
- Ask the children what their favourite winter weather is and why. What do they enjoy about rain, wind, mist and so on?
- Discuss how the different types of weather affect our mood.
Ask the children the following questions.
- How do you feel when it is windy, foggy, overcast, tipping with rain, crisp and sunny?
- Do you think we should be aware of how the weather affects us? For example, would it help us to realize that windy weather can make us excited, or lack of sun can make us feel sad?
- Sometimes, being aware of how different things affect us can help us to make good responses and to understand why we feel a certain way.
Time for reflection
Play more of the YouTube video ‘Antonio Vivaldi – Winter’.
Ask the children to listen to the music again.
Invite them to be aware of the weather today and in the coming week. Ask them to reflect on how the weather affects them and how they feel.
Invite the children to close their eyes and imagine different aspects of winter as they listen to the music.
Can they feel how the composer wanted them to experience cold, ice, snow, frost, shivering and so on?
Thank you for change.
As the world turns, the seasons turn.
As the seasons turn, the weather turns.
As the weather turns, we turn up our collars against the wind,
Turn up our heating against the cold
And put up our umbrellas against the rain.
We see the world with winter eyes:
Trees with no leaves, bare branches in the wind,
Snow painting everything shining white.
Thank you for change.
‘Frosty the snowman’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6zW225k_O0 (2.17 minutes long)
‘Winter’ from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, available at: https://youtu.be/TZCfydWF48c (9.23 minutes long)
- Make an anthology of poems and rhymes about winter weather, and then write your own. You may like to consider the winter scenes in C. S. Lewis’ book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Make a graph showing different types of weather over a week, or several weeks.
- Compose a winter sound sequence, exploring the season.