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.

Winter Camp PowerPoints

The activities are built right into the PowerPoint. Bring some some extra paper along so you can create the menus and make sure the kids bring their notebooks and crayons with them too.

This year our Winter camp will be held in another building far away from the new campus, so we don’t have access to a copier. Fortunately, we will bring the LED projectors with us, so I decided to put everything on PowerPoints, instead of handouts.

Below are the three PowerPoints I used for camp. They don’t have to be exclusively used for Winter camp. Take a look at them and see if they could be useful to you…

Winter Camp 1.1 – This PowerPoint reviews when to use before and after, ordering food, descriptive food words and a few conversational activities that can also be used as writing assignments. I’ve thrown in a creative writing assignment too. The kids have to create their own menus. I’ve provided a sample Mexican menu on one of the slides, but you will have to search for your own Italian menu or use Luigi’s Italian menu instead. After the menus are done, they take turns placing their order. While one pretends to be the waiter, the other one places their order.

Winter Camp 1.2- This PowerPoint has lots of grammar and conversation exercises, as well as, a classroom survey. Everything is built right into the presentation. All the students need is a piece of paper, a pencil and an eraser.

Winter Camp 1.3- This short PowerPoint reviews some simple grammar and requires the student to identify several activities within a paragraph.

Polar Animal Thematic Unit

Posted by admin on January 6, 2011 in Winter Themes

Focusing on arctic animals is a delightful way to keep the kids interested when the weather turns cold.

Winter time is the best time to introduce arctic fun!

Below is just a sampling of all the polar bear stuff that I could find online:

You can take it a step farther by including arctic animals in your unit:

Winter Thematic Unit

Posted by admin on January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized, Winter Themes

Find out where fresh maple syrup comes from.

Teacher’s Pay Teachers has a free Winter thematic unit for emergent readers or a Winter syllable sort.  Just click the download button and save to your desktop. has a page devoted to the topic of Winter. Download the Winter clothes worksheet here and the Winter words alphabetical order worksheet.

Here is a short rundown of other Winter themed resources:

PBS has a boatload of Winter resources for those of you that teach middle school and high school:

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.

Penguin Thematic Unit

Posted by admin on December 24, 2010 in Penguins, Winter Themes

Janruary is the perfect time to start a penguin themaic unit.

Since Christmas is over, it’s time to move on to Winter themes…Woo-Hoo! It’s penguin time!

First School has some cute preschool stuff. Check out the heart shaped penguins and the phonics worksheets.

Story It has penguin shaped writing paper with lines, A Kids Heart has penguin themed report paper, and DLTK has one too. Or you can mosey on over to abcteach and type in the text to create your own penguin shape book.

Reader’s Theater is always a treat for the kids. has a cute Tacky the Penguin Reader’s Theater script that I’m sure will be a hit with the kids. Click here for a Tacky the Penguin lesson plan. If you want to mix it up a bit, you can print out the Little Blue Penguins Reader’s Theater Script, but beware – the students have to write the ending!

Literacy based penguin themed lesson plans can be found here, here, and here. If you are not in an English speaking country, the books mentioned may be difficult to find, but with a little planing ahead, you can always order them from Amazon. Or cherry pick some of the activities and incorporate them into learning stations or as classroom experiments.

Follow this link to a primary science reading activity with three comprehension questions.

Check out what other teacher’s have found that worked in their classroom. You’ll find some really cute ideas posted. One teacher posted the lyrics to a song that you can sing to the tune of I’m a Little Tea Pot!

Vickie Blackwell has compiled an extensive list of penguin links, but some of them require membership to access the pages.

Scholastic offers a professional PDF document that has cute penguin templates that the kids cut out and tape to a base. Directions are included.

If you sign up for the free newsletter at The Mailbox you will get access to a tubular penguin craft,  an egg carton penguin craft, Sno-Kiddin’ award templates, a reading comprehension worksheet and penguin paper craft templates. That is, if you type “penguin” into the search box.

DLTK has a cute color penguin counting book and quite a few  penguin crafts and worksheets.

I found this cute little Penguin Paper Chain somewhere, but I have no idea where.

Kinderkorner has some Penguin Prose that you can turn into a sequencing sentence strip activity. For example, take a look at this sentence strip activity for first grade – I’m at Little Penguin Sentence Strips. Read the poem, pair the students up and then have the students arrange the sentences in sequential order. You’ll probably have to repeat it several times.

You can also make a booklet for first grade, (1 I’m a Penguin Booklet) and a cloze booklet for second and third grade (2 I’m a Penguin Booklet.) Cut the page into fourths and staple together. Then let the kids illustrate the pages themselves.

If you have way too much time on your hands, you can record a penguin poem with authentic penguin sounds in the background. You can download Audacity and then go to Partners in Rhyme for royalty free penguin sound effects. Or you can just download the penguin sounds and turn it into a loop that you can play while you read or to motivate the kids while they are working in their seats.

In the meantime, you can try downloading – Penguin Sound Bites to play as an introduction. Let the students listen to it and then have them try to guess what kind of animal it is.

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