Giving children props and ways to retell and re-imagine a story can enhance their literacy skills and learning. I spent some time last week creating the characters from Jan Brett's The Mitten. My hope was that they would give the children in my class ways to retell and re-imagine.
I used the character line drawings on her web page, here. I printed them out and then traced them onto 1 inch thick poplar. I cut them out with a scroll saw, sanded them, and used my inexpensive (and very old!) wood burner to burn in the designs. I used non-toxic watercolors, and sealed them with homemade wood polish. Once I gave them a final brush with a little steel wool, I packed them up and brought them to school.
They work perfectly with this lovely tree I purchased from mamakopp. Just look at the owl balanced in the branches!
And . . . look what happened! Be still my heart. One of my sweet boys . . .
retelling and re-imagining.
What story props do you use in your classroom?