Last week we began our Jan Brett Author Study in TK with activities inspired by "The Mitten", "Comet's Nine Lives", "Hedgie Blasts Off", "Trouble with Trolls" and "Annie and the Wild Animals". We had loads of fun check it out...
Language and Literacy Activities:
Our TK'ers loved reenacting "The Mitten" as they pretended to be the various characters of the book with the help of animal masks downloaded from Jan Brett's website. www.janbrett.com
We were asked to do this activity again and again!
While Jan Brett's stories are compelling I noticed that the children were even more interested in her border artwork! This inspired a brainstorming session about what kind of Border we would use if we wrote a story about snowmen. This sparked some amazing comments from my students:
"A happy Snowman"
"A Snowman with tears"
"A Snowman dancing"
"A Snowman melting"
"A Snowman sleeping"After our discussion, I gave them paper to bring their ideas to life!
The next day, we read "Comet's Nine Lives" and I asked them to draw a picture of their favorite part of the story. What I found most interesting about this project was how much my students have grown in the past few months. Back in September, most of them could not draw representational drawings. A few weeks ago in an attempt to make art less intimidating to my students I gave a mini art lesson before we sat down to draw. As a child, I had absolutely no artistic ability at all! In fact, it isn't until quite recently that I discovered how to do it! It's really all about finding the shapes in what you see. I gave this tip to my students as we discussed what our favorite parts of the story were. One child mentioned that they liked the picture of the lighthouse and I explained that a lighthouse is simply a rectangle with a triangle on top. Then, I told them that Comet's face is just a circle with 2 triangles for ears. One child asked how they would make the waves from the hurricane. I drew squiggly lines. Then I gave them paper to work on their own. I was AMAZED with the results! So many of my students drew lighthouses with waves. A few drew cats and even added themselves into the scene! It was very exciting to see.
This boy not only drew the lighthouse and the waves
but began to draw a patterned border around his artwork, Jan Brett style!
Another great activity for older children is a 3-D Diorama. My daughter did the one below for a school project about "The Mitten". She drew 3 separate pictures from the book and glued them to the inside of a shoe box. Then she made an owl and the mitten (with animals inside) out of clay and added them! My daughter is 10 years old, much older than my preschool students but it's a great project and I wanted to add it for inspiration. She was also asked to write a short paragraph about what was shown.
"Annie and the Wild Animals" is another great story by Jan Brett. It's about a little girl who leaves Corn Cakes near the woods in hopes of finding a new pet. Last week for our Science unit we baked our own Corn Cakes but instead of feeding them to wild animals we ate them ourselves! I just used Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and they came out delicious! (This is also a great Math Activity since it requires measuring)
1) We played a game of concentration with character cards from various Jan Brett books. These can also be found on www.janbrett.com
2) I created a few Math Sheets. This counting game was used after we read "Comets Nine Lives":
This one was used after we read "Trouble with Trolls":
I'm also tried to recreate a page from "The Umbrella" for my sensory table. This was a very popular station!
Fine Motor Activities
We made a class mural of Hedgie in outer space inspired from "Hedgie Blasts Off." You can download the artwork from Jan Brett's website, www.janbrett.com First we enjoyed finger painting with black paint on a large sheet of butcher paper. Once it dried, we colored the artwork, cut them out and glued it onto the mural. It turned out beautiful!
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Yours in Learning!