The Mitten – Activites, Lesson Plans and Ideas


The Mitten, by Jan Brett is an excellent book to read with your ELL students during the long Winter doldrums that continue on after the return back to school from the long holiday break.

I’d like to give my friend Miss Christie a special shout out for reminding me about what a fabulous resource Jan Brett’s book, The  Mitten is for ELL students.


The main reason I like The Mitten is because it’s the  perfect Winter themed activity that is great to use during the January/February doldrums.


The sites I’ve included below, contain lots of activities,  lesson plans and ideas that you can use in your classroom.

The Teaching Heart

Homeschool Share

Carol Hurst

Hubbard’s Cupboard


Jan Brett’s Site – Includes some really cute PDF printouts that you can use to have the children retell the story while they  “tuck”  the animals inside the mittens.


Left Mitten

Right Mitten

The Animals that you can tuck inside the mitten.


How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Posted by admin on January 31, 2011 in Christmas, Dr Seuss, Holidays, Using Movies to Teach English, Winter Themes

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a classic that you can use to spice up your English class around Christmas time.

Here are a few ideas that you can use to get everyone in a Grinchy mood at Christmas time:

  • Read How The Grinch Stole Christmas aloud to the class, be sure to use before, during and after reading activities.
  • Turn one of those days after the exams into a movie day. Show the movie (for the older students) or show the old Chuck Jones cartoon version (for the primary students) complete with popcorn and refreshments.
  • After viewing the movies, hold a trivia contest using this Grinch quiz (scroll down for the answers.)
  • If you have to put a Christmas production together, you can take a short snippet of the original Chuck Jones cartoon and have the kids read the script while the audience watches the cartoon on screen.
  • Click here for a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas Reader’s Theater script that the students can read after they have read the book, watched the movie, and played the trivia game.

Click here for links to Dr. Seuss videos.

The Gingerbread Man Free Reader’s Theater Script

Posted by admin on January 31, 2011 in Free Reader's Theater Script, Holidays, Powerpoints, PPT, Reading, Winter Themes

The Gingerbread Man isn't just for Christmas anymore!

I wrote a Reader’s Theater for my class a few years back because I was fed up with prospect of having to pay for a decent Reader’s Theater script. With that being said,  I’m willing to pass the script on to you at no charge. Just remember, that it is copyrighted by me, so you can’t republish it under your name.  Besides why bother? It’s free to use in your classroom or school production. Just make sure to mention my name somewhere on the script and/or program.

I have two options to choose from, a Powerpoint and a PDF document:

Cast of Characters:

  • GB – Gingerbread Man
  • N1 – Narrator 1
  • N2 – Narrator 2
  • N3 – Narrator 3
  • G1 – Grandmother
  • G2 – Grandfather
  • MM – Milk Maid
  • Goose
  • Dalmatian
  • Fox

I taped a classroom production of it back in 2008 and posted it on Click here if you would like to view it.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted by admin on January 18, 2011 in Chinese New Year, Holidays, Music, New Years

Chinese New Year is a happy time of year. Why not get the kids excited about it with these fun filled of activities?

It’s my first Chinese New Year in China. Yippie!

Back home in The States, I usually celebrated the Lunar New Year with my Chinese friends. There was always a big celebration at the local university with lots of entertainment and yummy food.

Below, I have compiled a list of resources you can use in your classroom to help get the kids excited about Chinese New Year too:

Additional resources:

New Years Activities

Posted by admin on January 4, 2011 in Holidays, New Years, Winter Themes

Happy New Years Everybody!

Start the kids off right with a New Years resolution activity with this cute Resolutions to Ring in the New Year printable. This is what I did, first I explained what a resolution is. Next, I modeled it for them and showed them my example. Since I live in China now, I used the following example, “I want to improve my Chinese.”  I put the sentence pattern on the board, “I want to improve my _______.” Each student was required to write the sentence (with the blank filled in) on the bell and draw colorful designs on it.

I followed it up with this cute little bear worksheet to reinforce sentence structure. On the drum, the students had to complete the sentence, “This year, I will…” using the two resolutions from the bells. For example, “This year, I will… improve my Chinese and English.

For more fabulous New Years printables, check out Activity Village’s New Years page, abcteach’s page, and apples4teacher’s page.

Mom’s Break has some nice resources, such as a New Year’s trivia printable and more.

Parent’s Magazine has some printable New Years Cards.

The Teacher’s Corner has a loads of New Years thematic paper with lines to choose from.

Throwing a New Years party? Check out these elegant printables over at Living Locurto. Or these classy looking party invitations over at Love The Day.

Suite101 has a whole page of printable New Years links and Kaboose has loads of crafts that you can do on a budget with the kids.

Gingerbread Man Thematic Unit

Posted by admin on December 22, 2010 in Christmas, First Grade, Grade 2, Holidays, Reading, Uncategorized

"Run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man!"

I’m kind of picky when it comes to Christmas stuff. I don’t go for the usual Santa Claus fare, but I do like gingerbread and in particular, I like the story, The Gingerbread Man.

If you teach emergent readers DLTK has a nice little Gingerbread booklet that you can print out. The focus is on I can… sentences. I copied and print it out and then stapled it together in order to save time in the classroom. On the first day, I read it to the kids and let them start coloring it, then the bell rang. The next day, I read it to them again and made them follow along, broke them up into pairs and then they had to take turns reading the booklet to each other. Once they were done, I let them finish coloring it.

Family Fun Magazine offers a PDF download that I’m using to create a gingerbread man booklet. There are two sizes of gingerbread men. I picked the littlest size and then fooled around with the copier to make 4 men to a page. You will need seven men for the following activity.

I’ve condensed the story down, so just write the following on the board:

Title Page – The Gingerbread Man

Page 1 – There once was a little old woman who decided to bake gingerbread cookies.

Page 2 –  When the cookies were done baking, out jumped the little gingerbread man!

Page 3 – “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”

Page 4 -  he called as he dashed out the kitchen door. No one could catch him, until…

Page 5 – he came to a river and was outsmarted by a fox.

First, read the story to the students, most of them are already familiar with it. Then show them your sample. Be sure to write the procedures on the board (1. cut 2. staple 3. write sentences 4. draw 5. color.) Otherwise, a whole lot of class time may be wasted. I try to stick to the same general procedures every time I do this sort of activity so the kids know what to expect. Plan on stapling the hands and feet, but make sure that there are 7 men for each booklet and that the hands and feet aren’t too short, otherwise one of the men may try to get loose!

Kidzone has a whole page devoted to a gingerbread man thematic unit and  little giraffes has a nice page on the gingerbread man too and don’t forget to check out virtual vine’s gingerbread page.

American Thanksgiving

Posted by admin on November 20, 2010 in Holidays, Thanksgiving

Genki English just put out a new Thanksgiving song. Download it while you can. You don’t want to miss out on any Genki English jewels, trust me. The kids love Genki English.

Click here for some funny Thanksgiving flash cards.

I am into doing “sentence patterns” with the kids, so I tend to throw a “sentence pattern” up on the board, while one student asks a question and the other student answers it using the proper “sentence pattern.” It is critical that you circulate around the room and correct any bad habits or laziness on the students part.

This is what I’m doing with the Thanksgiving flash cards provided in the link above – the question is, “What is the ___ doing?” The answer is based on this sentence pattern, “The ___ is ___.” For example, “The pilgrim is hunting the turkey.” The flash cards say, “hunt the turkey” so you will have to modify it.

Reader’s Theater is always fun for the kids and helps improve fluency and confidence.  Here is a sample of three Reader’s Theater scripts –  The Meal Must Go On, A Turkey Takes a Stand, and Turkey Trotten,

Christmas Lesson Plans & More!

Posted by admin on December 19, 2009 in Christmas, ESL games, Holidays

Christmas is big deal in Western countries and I’ve compiled a few links to help you put together a fun lesson.  There are lots of ways to approach this fun holiday.

You could go for a multi-cultural theme…

Santa Clause around the world

Here is a link to a page at Hot Chalk. There are tons
to chose from. They’re divided up by discipline.


Pictures of screaming kids sitting on Santa’s lap. It’s funny – what can I say? You could cherry pick a few of them and ask conversational questions like:

  1. Why is he/she crying?
  2. Do you think he/she is afraid of Santa?
  3. How old were you when you first sat on Santa’s lap?
  4. What do you want for Christmas?
  5. What is your favorite Christmas charity? Why?

…You get the idea…

Santa cam – maybe you could catch him. He wasn’t in when I checked. Probably out delivering Christmas gifts.

Best Sites for Adult ELL’s
This one looks real good. Totally appropriate for an adult intermediate class.

Oh, this one is good. I used to get their free downloads in my inbox all the time. It is worth signing up and then archiving the lessons for future use (just in case.) Scroll down for the Christmas activity.

Listening activity

Fluff Stuff
You could use this as a time filler. The videos (that I looked at) on the site were non-verbal and professionally done.

Santa at the North Pole

This is the link to the official NORAD Santa tracker. My BF’s hubby actually pulls this one up to get the girls excited about Santa Claus. You could throw it into the lesson as a transitional activity. While you are preparing for the next activity.  Tell the students that you are going to do a “random Santa Check.”

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