Kids, News

Toronto’s Snow Day!

Last Wednesday, Toronto braced itself for a huge winter storm. Cities in the U.S., like Chicago, were reporting snow and high winds. That storm was headed for Toronto.

A full day before the storm was to hit Toronto, the city’s airport cancelled flights. They didn’t want planes to be in the air during bad weather.

Kids everywhere in the city crossed their fingers. They wanted the schools to be shut down for a “snow day.” And around 6:30 a.m., they got what they wanted.

The Toronto public and Catholic schools – and many other schools – said there was going to be too much snow. They declared it a “snow day,” and closed most (but not all) of the schools.

However, Toronto never got the blizzard that everyone thought it would. There was snow, but it was pretty light and although it made it a bit harder for cars to drive, it wasn’t impossible.

Chris Spence is the one who gets to decide if Toronto public schools will be open or not. He is the head of the Toronto District School Board.

The last time most kids in Toronto got a snow day was in 1999. Then, there was a massive snowstorm. There was so much snow, the mayor even called the military to help the city shovel itself out.

That storm was very different from Wednesday’s storm. There was much more snow in 1999 and it made driving very unsafe.

Spence decided to close the schools at about 6 o’clock on Wednesday morning. He needed to decide early, because he had to tell all of the parents. He looked at the weather forecast, and he talked to some weather experts. He decided the storm might make driving unsafe for the teachers and other school workers.

When there is a snow day and the kids stay home, it can be hard for some parents. They may have to take the day off work so they may not get paid for that day. Or they may have to hire a babysitter.

Spence said that, given the information he had to work with early on Wednesday morning, made the right call – to give the kids a snow day.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
Many children in warm countries around the world have never even seen snow!  How you would describe snow to someone who has never experienced it before?  When you describe snow, be sure to mention how it tastes, feels, sounds, smells and looks.  Try to use as many adjectives (describing words) as you can in your description.

Reading Prompt
Many students in Toronto woke up and found that they had a surprise “snow day” – a mini holiday from school.  They spent their day building snowmen, they went tobogganing, or they stayed inside to watch movies or play games.
If you could plan your perfect “snow day,” what would you do and why?  Would you plan activities that take place inside or would you prefer to spend the day playing outdoors?

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6)

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6)

Grammar Feature: Contractions
A contraction is when two words are shortened and an apostrophe takes the place of a letter.  For example, “I’m” is short for “I am.”
There are two common contractions in the article: didn’t and wasn’t.  Do you what these words are short for?
There is another contraction in the article – o’clock – which means “of the clock.”  This word is used a lot, but some people don’t know it is a contraction.
Can you think of other contractions?