Unit on The Mitten by Jan Brett

Inspired by this free unit study.

Language Arts

We read The Mitten by Jan Brett three days in a row. This is one of my favorite picture books, and it was Marty’s absolute favorite when he was about Missy’s age.

Rhymes and Songs –– Each time we read The Mitten, we did some mitten-themed rhymes, songs and fingerplays. I really believe in the importance of repetitive songs and rhymes for little ones. They help develop auditory memory and other auditory processing skills, among other things. And it’s something I haven’t done NEARLY enough of with Missy. πŸ™‚

I improvised a fingerplay to go along with with this rhyme:

Warm Mittens
I wiggle my left hand,
I wiggle my right,
Inside of my mittens,
So warm and so tight.

I wiggle my pinkie,
I wiggle my thumb,
So when I make snowballs,
My hands don’t get numb.

and Missy had me explain what “numb” meant. πŸ™‚

We sang a variation of this song:

The Mitten

(tune: The Farmer in the Dell)

The mitten in the snow,

The mitten in the snow.

Help us please so we won’t freeze,

The mitten in the snow.

A _____ squeezes in,

A _____ squeezes in.

Help us please so we won’t freeze,

The mitten in the snow.

* continue with different animals

Mitten ABCs — She taught herself her letters last summer. Because it was worth reviewing, and because she wants to do TREASURE HUNTS (following a trail of flashcards to the hidden prize) like Big Brother does, we did a treasure hunt with these appropriately mitten-themed cards which I downloaded from Bry-Back Manor.Β  In this way, we reviewed the capital and lower-case letters.

Kittens, Mittens & Rhyming — We read the nursery rhyme “The Three Little Kittens.” Then I introduced some rhyming cards I’d made, starting with “kitten” and “mitten.” Here are a few of them:

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The backs are color-coded (for example, the backs of “frog” “dog” and “fog” are one color, and the backs of “kitten” and “mitten” are another), so the activity is self-correcting.

We also did this rhyme:

My poor little kitten lost her mitten
And started to cry, boo-hoo.
So I helped my kitten to look for her mitten.
Her beautiful mitten of BLUE.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under my mother’s bed.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored RED.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under my father’s pillow.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored YELLOW.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
On the hand of my brother’s toy clown.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored BROWN.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under the laundry so clean.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored GREEN.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Inside a grocery bag.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored BLACK.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under the kitchen sink.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored PINK.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Inside my favorite shoe.
And this time the mitten was just the right mitten,
For it was colored BLUE!

Nomenclature Cards — We looked at some name cards, in English and Spanish, for the kinds of animals in The Mitten. Then, at my suggestion, we shuffled them up and played a few rounds of concentration with them.

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Go-Together Cards — I introduced a small set of “go together” cards I’d made. I showed her that a card showing a tiny pair of mittens went with a card showing a baby’s hands. Then she paired them herself with minimal help. (big hands/gloves, markers/paper, train/tracks, baby/diaper, etc.)

Math

Ordinal Numbers — Missy colored the animals and the mitten provided here, then she put the animals in the mitten. As she did that, I reinforced ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, etc.)

Counting and Reading Numerals 1-9 — She worked with these Matching Cards I’d made. She seemed to have no trouble matching each numeral (1-10) with a set of that many snowflakes.

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Science

Living vs. Non-Living Things — The Mitten is full of animals, which are living things. We did this Living vs. Non-Living activity which I downloaded from A Little Bit of Montessori.

Again, I color coded the backs so it’s self correcting. (The backs of the cards portraying living things are orange, and the backs of the non-living things are a different color).

Animals in Winter — The Mitten shows animals in winter seeking refuge from the cold. Missy and I made a cave, from chairs and blankets, where we could hibernate together. We crawled in with several books and a flashlight. Then we read two books about animals in winter:

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We also did an activity on characteristics of animals in The Mitten and an activity on animal adaptations in winter, downloaded from this Homeschool Share unit, for her notebook.

Sensory/Practical Life —

She practiced writing the letter M (while I reinforced the /m/ sound) in colored sand. This is as close as I plan to get to “teaching handwriting” for quite a while. I think schools tend to push the paper and pencil thing way too early.

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We made a snowy animal scene with shaving cream and opal glitter and played with it for a while. Even my 10-year-old wanted in on the action.

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Of course, once Little Mr. Testosterone got onto the scene, there was a lot of chasing and a few skirmishes. πŸ˜€ At one point, a rabbit was even flying through the air. Aggressive flying rabbits … WAY too Monty Python for me. πŸ˜‰

Missy liked this activity so much, she wanted to do it every day that week. The day we talked about how animals adapt to winter, I added a toilet paper roll to be a cave.

In keeping with the winter theme, she made homemade play dough snowmen –an idea which I shamelessly stole from this post on Piseco’s blog.

It was fun. I took out all the little Sculpey hats and stuff, plus a little scarf I’d made from felt. I asked her what she thought we’d make. She guessed “little men.” She helped me make the playdough; I filled the measuring cups and she poured. Next I rolled a big ball, and a medium sized ball — then she guessed what we were making.

She made a wonderfully bizarre creation:

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2 Responses

  1. This is a wonderfully presented Unit! I am looking for some creative ideas on how to combine this book with Social Studies, outside the box ideas. I thought that you may have an idea or two. THANKS!

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