Thursday, January 6, 2011

"The Mitten" Activities

Our kindergarten classes are reading and comparing two versions of the book “The Mitten”. One is by Jan Brett and the other is by Alvin Tresselt. Our first activity was a Mitten Math activity using a SMART Notebook file. There are ten pages set up for the students to use to create their own addition sentences. They first drag down the number of animals they want on each side of the mitten, and then write the number sentence below. The ability to choose the kind and number of animals to count is exciting for them. The practice writing the numbers with a mouse not only develops mouse skills, but really reinforces how to write the number as it is more difficult to do with a mouse than with a pencil. There is a final page where they can create any picture they want using the animals if they finish the math sentences correctly. Since we did a similar activity with pumpkins at Halloween time, I required that they had to have at least four animals on each side. Additionally, they could not keep repeating the same number sentences. 


In a 45 minute time period, with time to log on to the computers, listen to the instructions and then work, only a few students reached the free draw page (I would continually check their work and ask for corrections.) What is really helpful about using the SMART Notebook file is that each page is saved for you to see. When using physical manipulatives and writing down the number sentences, the manipulatives are rearranged for the next sentence and you can't always check the students work. Additionally, it is easy to have the student correct their mistakes after you check it.


A second activity done to reinforce the storyline of “The Mitten”, help the children create their own version, and learn about creating a slide show (a technology skill), we developed a multi-page Smart Notebook file for them containing all the animals in both stories. The students will draw a mitten, choose an animal to put in it and delete the remaining animals from the page. They will then complete the sentence with the beginning word “The” (capital letter as it starts the sentence and also a spelling word) and the animal’s name to the best of their ability. The title page will include “Illustrated by” their name. Since we do not have a color printer at the moment, we will print the slides two per page, and the students will illustrate all pages with markers or crayons. They will cut around the slides (cutting skills), and assemble the book. We will be starting this activity next week and I plan on allotting two 45 minutes class periods for completion of the computer work. The illustrating and assembly will be done during center time in their classrooms.

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