Jan Brett's The Mitten: Language Arts Activities for First Graders
Make a Class Book
Students will have fun making a class big book based on the The Mitten by Jan Brett in this fun activity. Tell the students that you are going to work together to rewrite the book The Mitten. Brainstorm new ideas for the setting and the item of clothing for your new story. Maybe the animals are at the beach and crawling into a sunhat to find some shade or hiding in a rubber rain boot during a rainstorm. Once you have chosen your new setting, start rewriting the story on large pieces of chart paper. Have one or two pages to introduce the problem and then use a predictable sentence to add new animals to the story. You might write, "Next a _____________ crawled into the hat and the animals made room for him." Try to keep the same sentence frame until the end of the story so that when it is finished, you can add it to your book center and the students will be able to read it. When you have finished writing the story together, give pairs of students a page to illustrate and then bind the finished pages into a book. Your students will love reading their own version of The Mitten over and over again.
The Mitten is a great book to use to teach or review using Venn diagrams with your students. There are two other popular versions of The Mitten, one by Jim Aylesworth and one by Alvin Tresselt, that can be used for comparing. You might read one of the new versions and complete a Venn diagram together as a class and then read the other one and have the students work individually or in pairs to compare it to Jan Brett's version.
There are some other Jan Brett books that would be good to use with Venn diagrams also. The Umbrella follows the same story pattern as the mitten, but it is set in the rainforest and involves animals taking refuge in a large umbrella instead of a mitten. The plot of The Hat is different, but it has a similar setting and a story that revolves around animals and what happens when they find a lost article of clothing.
Instead of Venn diagrams, you can also use these books to teach your students about text-to-text connections.
A favorite feature in Jan Brett's books is the way she tells another story through the illustrations in the borders of her pages. Bring in several copies of The Mitten and let your students look closely at the borders of the pages. In some of the pictures, we see the little boy Nicki as he searches for his lost mitten. Have your students write a story about Nicki's search for his mitten. The pictures can give them ideas for what to write about. This a good chance to review beginning, middle and end with your first graders. Remind them that they know the beginning and ending of this story and can write it in their own words, but that they can use their imaginations to tell what happened in the middle when Nicki was looking for his lost mitten.
These activities to do with The Mitten by Jan Brett are a great way for students to enhance their language arts skills while reading a book they will all love.