Activities for a First Grade Unit on The Mitten by Jan Brett
written by: Tracey Bleakley
• edited by: Sarah Malburg
• updated: 2/14/2012
The Mitten by Jan Brett is a favorite winter story for young children. It can easily be used to teach many language arts lessons or as an addition to a Jan Brett author study. Use these ideas and activities to add some math, science and art to a unit on The Mitten.
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There are many ways to incorporate math into a first grade unit about The Mitten.
There are several fun graphing ideas for The Mitten. Read Jim Aylesworth and Alvin Tresselt's versions of The Mitten. Then have the students vote for their favorite and graph the results. You could also graph whether the students wear mittens, gloves or neither, or graph their favorite animals from the book.
Give your students the following problem to solve: If every student in the class wears a pair of mittens to school tomorrow, how many mittens will there be? Let the students solve the problem and write about how they solved it. Then gather the class together to discuss their solutions and problem solving methods.
For a more challenging problem to solve, list all of the animals who ended up on the mitten and have the students figure out how many legs were in the mitten right before the bear sneezed and all of the animals flew out. You can modify this problem for struggling students by only having them find the number of legs after the first three or four animals crawled in the mitten or by having them find the number of eyes in the mitten instead of legs.
Teach or review even and odd numbers by reading Missing Mittens by Stuart J. Murphy. After reading the book, give the students math counters and show them how to put them into pairs to decide if a number is even or odd.
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Here are a few ways to add some science to your unit on The Mitten.
Do some snow or ice experiments with your first graders. Fill a small bowl with snow (or crushed ice if snow isn't available). Have your students predict how long it will take to melt. Record the temperature of the snow before it melts and after. Discuss with your class how long it took to melt and how the snow changed.
For another experiment, give small groups of students an ice cube and have them make a plan to make it melt the fastest. Have each group try their plan and record how long it took for their ice to melt. Discuss the different things they tried and which ones worked best.
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No first grade unit would be complete without some fun craft projects!
Let your students make paper bag puppets of some of the animals in The Mitten. Later, they can use their puppets to recreate scenes from the story.
Give each student a large mitten shape to decorate. Provide stickers, fabric scraps, markers, beads and any other small craft item for the children to use to decorate their mittens.
Provide the students with mitten-shaped sponges and several colors of tempera paints. Have them use the sponges to make patterns on large sheets of paper.
These fun activities that go with The Mitten unit are sure to make it a favorite book in any first grade classroom!