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5-Day: Exploring Jan Brett

This week 5-Day has been delving into Jan Brett's storylines and amazing illustrations, specifically The Mitten. These are great launching places to explore not just literacy, but also math concepts, science, an increased awareness of art and illustrating, intrapersonal feelings about a story and interpersonal relationships when in dramatic play.

For Literacy, the children have been looking into the sequence of a story and how it unfolds through retelling. They have discussed their favorite parts of stories and drawn their own unique pictures expressing them. Initial sounds have been written through painting with the letter "M" and through dry erase boards while writing the names of the different animals in the story.

For Math, the children talked about symmetry and mirror images. To engage in this exploration, each child created a matching mitten set, a left and a right. The activity focused on making sure what was drawn on one mitten was equally represented on the other both in color and position. This process was extended into dramatic play with the children matching the mittens and then hanging them up to dry. The class played a roll and graph game and a matching memory game with the animals from the story to reinforce numbers up to 10 as well as memory skills.

For Art, the children began a mural which they have added to each day. First, they started painting the blue sky, referring back to the book when the character Nicki saw his white mitten up against the blue sky. Next, we made a snowy ground with shaving cream, glue and glitter. Our third step was to paint an animal from the story. Each child chose an animal and then looked at the book to see what colors Jan Brett chose when she did her drawings. They then used specific colors to paint, oftentimes paying special attention to how a fox has black legs or the bunny has grey and black on its ears. A lot of attention and focus was used to accomplish this task. The fourth step was adding some 3-dimensional features by gluing on pompom noses, eyes and yarn for fur. Finally, the mural was completed by adding some pine trees to the scene. We are hanging the mural up by our meeting area; please come by to see what your children have accomplished.

For science, we turned the discovery table into a winter wonderland by adding water to instasnow and watching it grow and grow and grow!! Lots of cooperative pouring and scooping has been going on as they try to fill up a huge snowman. The class also looked at snowflakes by carefully squeezing glue onto a six-sided shape, then pinching salt over it. After the glue dried, the children dropped blue coloring on it and watched as the salt absorbed the color. We hope to hang these on our tree by the writing table.

Snow and ice also came to the block area in the form of Styrofoam and felt so we could create ice castles. When arctic animals came to visit, these block creations were inhabited by penguin and polar bear families.

Our dramatic play area became a cozy corner where the class could cuddle under a blanket and read to the babies, hang up some matching mittens or write some words they know from the story.

Books read this week include some by Jan Brett: The Mitten, The Turnip, Annie and the Animals, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

We have had a wonderful week and will continue looking deeper into more books by Jan Brett.

Cathy and Kristi

Cathy and Kristi

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