As the weather turns colder, we need a chilly theme for the classroom. Mittens are a great one!
It’s nice to have a fun theme that doesn’t involve holidays, and this one may even help your students remember to wear their mittens.
There are lots of mitten designs in borders and cutouts, and many of the winter bulletin boards feature their characters in mittens. The picture here is of mitten cut outs from Trend, and it has enough open space to use for games and centers. This is a small version, but there’s a large version, too, which lends itself to bulletin boards.
Smaller cutouts, such as Punkydoodles or Ellison diecuts, are great for graphing. If you have trouble finding them, remember that you can cut paper hearts and with just a little surgery end up with mittens. Use your graphing pocket chart or make paper strips on your bulletin board, and keep track of the weather, the number of kids dressing appropriately for the cold weather, or the lunch count.
If you ask around, you might also be able to gather up a good quantity of mismatched real mittens for sorting and classification work.
Use the Ukrainian folktale “The Mitten” as your literature focus. One of our favorite picture book versions is by Jan Brett, and she has lots of great printables to go with it:
- Masks from Jan Brett for all the animals in her book The Mitten.
- Her coloring page showing all the animals in the mitten.
- A design your own mitten coloring page.
- A put the animals in the mitten game to download and put together
- Use a mitten themed incentive chart to keep behavior on track during this exciting time of year.
Save time and use TCR’sliterature unit for Brett’s The Mitten. It includes pocket chart activities, math and critical thinking reproducibles, animal picture cards, and a map of the Ukraine.
Brett’s version isn’t the only one. Here are some more choices:
- Alvin Tresselt‘s is charming, and uses great vocabulary.
- Barbara McClintock illustrated Jim Aylesworth’s version, and it’s as lively as you’d expect from that terrific twosome.
- Enchanted Learning also has a printable version, with lots of activities. Here is the main link to their mittens materials.
- Bry-Back Manor has an online version on one page, with links to a lacing project.
Another possibility is “Three Little Kittens,” a traditional nursery rhyme. Paul Galdone and Tony Ross have done great picture book versions of the rhyme. This rhyme lends itself to all the usual rhyme work, and also to counting, sequencing, and discussions of onomatopoeia, caring for one’s possessions, emotions, and responsibility. Note that the kittens, rather than just feeling sad about their lost and soiled mittens, found and washed them, and discuss how we can take responsibility for our actions and make up for our mistakes.
- PreKinders has a printable version.
- Here is a printable version from England that is a bit different. It has a Christmas connection, too. Practice skimming and scanning by having students race to find all the differences between the two versions. If your class contains both fluent and emergent readers, divide the class and let the fluent readers use this for scanning practice while you help the others read through both and compare.
- The Internet Public Library‘s performance is a fun listen.
- Here is an illustrated version.
- Use any version and count the mittens by twos for a pleasant start to skip counting, addition, or even multiplication.
- Here is a printable maze in a PDF file. Another maze has tangled yarn for the paths.
- Learn NC has a nice lesson plan designed for the Galdone book, but it could certainly be used with any form of the rhyme. It involves quite a bit of preparation, including baking or buying a pie, but it will be a memorable experience.
- Use paper plates as pies, and practice fractions, too!
Finish up your mittens theme by inviting a knitter to come to class and show the kids how it’s done.