5-Day: Learning about Sequence, Symmetry and Sudoku through Jan Brett's Stories
Welcome back everyone! It's good to be back in 5-Day and Happy New Year to all.
During the first weeks of January, 5-Day will be delving into the stories of Jan Brett. Her books are a wonderful launchpad for concepts and ideas and she is a Massachusetts neighbor. We began this week with her book, The Mitten.
This story lends itself to introducing the concept of symmetry and mirror images, which we enjoyed working into our classroom activities. Using a pair of mittens, stickers and markers, the children designed their own unique pair of mittens with thoughtfulness and focus. They were very careful to make sure that any item they placed or colored on one mitten was the same on the other. In the science corner, the children created symmetrical buildings with mirror boxes and different blocks during the week, placing the concept of symmetry on a more concrete level. They also worked on visual differentiation by playing a mitten matching game. In another activity, they employed logical thinking in order to finish sudoku puzzles, trying to figure out where the missing pieces were supposed to go. Finally, the children used mittens as measurement tools to figure out how many mittens tall we all were and they also graphed the characters from The Mitten in a counting game.
Sequence is a large part of Brett's books. We built on this concept and the idea of plot development in many ways. First, we familiarized the class with the story through large group readings. Then, the children retold the story through words and music and also reenacted the story with puppets. Next, they brought in their own creativity when given a literacy prompt -- "My mitten was so big a ______ could fit in!" We also worked on letter identification by using bubble letters that corresponded to the animals in the story and then tracing the names of these animals.
To reinforce the winter scene in the book, our dramatic play area was transformed into a cozy corner with mittens to hang and match. At the easel, we painted with dripping icicles. At the sensory table, we had snowy white bubbles. And, at the block area, we explored imaginative play with a snowy styrofoam setting and forest animals. At the end of the week, the animals had traveled to the sensory table, while the block area became an ice rink.
As always, your children are practicing their fine motor skills by cutting and writing, stretching their imaginations through books and play, and using their creative gifts through play dough, art tape, beads and games.
We see many acts of kindness throughout the day, which keeps us warm during these cold winter days.
Caroline and Cathy