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.


The Fly Swat Game


The fly swat game is very versatile. You can use it for spelling, academic vocabulary, math and just about any subject that requires students to identify a word, sentence, phrase, number or equation.

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this game.

Here’s how we play it in my classroom. First,  I divide the board up into two sides, a side for the boy’s team and a side for the girl’s team.  Next,  I assign a score keeper.  The score keeper sits on a little stool off to the side and keeps track of the points.

On the board,  I put up the vocabulary words we are studying or short sentences that focus on the grammatical skills we are building.  I’ve even  put up clocks to reinforce time-telling skills.

This is also a great game to play for test reviews and reinforcing vocabulary.


Literature Circle Response Cards

Literature Circle Reading Response Cards divide and chunk down the roles, so English Language Learners (ELL) can participate in Literature Circles in an authentic and meaningful way.

Literature Circles can be overwhelming even for native language speakers, but there is a way to get ESL students interacting with the text without having them freeze up in a panic.

Literature Circle reading response cards chunk down the roles in to manageable bite size pieces. I wish I could take credit for this one, but I happened to stumble upon it while browsing through the website.

While some of these TPT free worksheets may not be exactly broken down into chunk sized pieces, you can be the judge as to their usefulness in your classroom adapt them to meet your student’s needs.

Literature Circle Jobs

Non-Fiction Reading Response Cards

Guided Reading Prompt Cards


Classroom Surveys


Classroom surveys are a great way to get your students speaking "authentic" English.

Amazingly enough, for the first time this year my first, second and third graders are all working on the same theme at the same time.

The worksheets I created are available for download. Just right click your mouse and click “save as.”

Fruit and Vegetable Class Survey – use this Word document to get the students speaking and writing English. Class surveys are always a hit. Just be sure to monitor them closely, to make sure everyone is using English. Typically, I have them write the sentences and that usually generates spontaneous conversations about spelling and grammar.

What Do You Want To Eat? – use this Word document to get students used to using new food vocabulary. You decide on which vocabulary words you want your students to focus on – the worksheet is divided up into categories. The students ask their classmates a simple question and they fill in the blank. I deliberately doubled it up so you can cut the paper in half and then have the students use their own notebook paper to write the sentences.

Free Prediction Worksheets

Prediction is a skill that every student needs to master.

Prediction is a skill that is on most standardized tests.

You can download a copy of the prediction worksheet that I whipped up for my class, below. I saved it as a Word document, so you can add additional columns/rows. It is best to use with picture books that are light on text. You can adapt it to go with any book you choose.

Prediction Worksheet

Below you will find links to other resources that contain lesson plans and worksheets all geared to mastering the fine art of making predictions.

Have Fun Teaching – links to a website that has some worksheets.

The Teacher’s Corner links to a page with a lesson plan that reinforces prediction skills.

Reading Rockets – links to a website that lesson plans and anticipation guide templates.

Making predictions about pictures – links to a pdf file.

First Lines- explains when and how to use this strategy.

The Reading Lady – links to a page with a list of PDF worksheets and Word documents you can download for classroom use.



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.

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Party

Posted by admin on January 7, 2011 in Dr Seuss, lesson plans, Reading

Dr Seuss' birthday is a great way to promote reading English books.

In March, I plan on getting the primary school excited about reading English books by hosting Dr. Seuss’ Birthday party. I believe Dr. Seuss’ real birthday in on March 3rd, but you could throw a birthday party anytime in March. has some fantastic ideas for how to host a Dr. Seuss party, birthday party ideas, and birthday party project activities.

ehow also has suggestions on how to make homemade Dr. Seuss costumes, Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes, and a Cat in the Hat costume. Of course, no proper Dr. Seuss birthday party would be complete with out the famous Cat-in-the Hat hat. is a fantastic resource for all things Dr. Seuss.

More ehow resources to make your party a sucess:

Additional resources to use in the classroom:

Here are some ideas to promote Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the love of reading using Dr. Seuss’ quotes:

  1. Assign quotes to the students and then hold a poster contest. Pick the best illustrated posters to prominently display on the bulletin board and all around campus.
  2. Take the quotes to a sign maker and have them create colorful banners that can be reused.

Quotable Dr. Seuss quotes:

The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

- Dr. Seuss

“A person’s a person, no matter how small. “- Dr. Seuss

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
- Dr Seuss

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.”
- Dr. Seuss

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, me thinks you can think up if only you try.”

- Dr. Seuss

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter,
and those who matter don’t mind.”

- Dr Seuss

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
- Dr. Seuss

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
- Dr Seuss

“You are you. Now isn’t that pleasant?”
- Dr Seuss

Click here for links to Dr. Seuss videos.

Cook Up Your Own Interactive Lesson Plan

Posted by admin on June 9, 2010 in lesson plans

Sometimes you just have to think on your feet and be creative. When you see that your loosing your student’s attention, it is time to pull out that metaphorical bag of tricks. I always like to combine something practical with something fun.

One particular lesson springs to mind, I cooked it up while standing in line at Panera Bread. Panera Bread is a chain in the eastern portion of the US that serves a wide range of soup, salad, and sandwiches on freshly beaked bread.  Anyway, I decided to buy a some bread. After much thought, I decided sourdough and ciabatta bread. I then went to the library and got several books on baking bread. We sampled the bread and walked through the step by step pictures on how to make the bread. This was a great conversation starter activity because most the ladies had made bread at home before. We discussed how to activate the yeast and how long it takes for the dough to rise, how to make flat bread/pita bread and so forth. Also, I picked up a nonfiction book that told us why the ciabatta bread has holes in it, as well as, the history of sourdough bread.

So the point of this post?

Always be looking for ways to connect with your students and keep it fresh! If you keep your mind engaged, you can always cook up an interactive lesson plan that will be fun for all.

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