The Mitten Theme/Unit for Your Classroom!

The Mitten : A Ukrainian Folktale
Jan Brett (Illustrator)

School Binding / Hardcover

I love making a unit out of this book during the winter months.
Below you will see some things I have tried with my class. I also have
included some great links, free printables, and more goodies that will make
your mitten theme a hit! So put on those mitten and pick up a warm idea or two!

Updated - January , 2011

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Before Reading The Story

Make two large cutouts of mittens. On one mitten place the words: glinty, snug, quickly, warm, drowsy, plump, swelled, and enormous. On the other mitten place the words: shrank, dull, tiny, flat, wakeful, loose cold, and slowly. Discuss the words with your class. See if the are able to tell you two words that are opposites.

Some Related Videos To Share

Creative Writing with Mittens!

Make cutouts of mittens and write one of the following on each mitten...

It was so cold outside...

Here it was the middle of July and it started snowing!

Just as we finished building the best snowman ever, the sun came out!

The first time I put on iceskates...

Guess where I found my mittens!

If it doesn't stop snowing soon...

The sled, with me on it, went faster and faster until suddenly...

Be sure to check out Teaching Heart's Winter Warm Up Packet for some Mitten Themed Printables as well. 

Did You Notice?

Notice the details: the plates over the fireplace, Nicki and Baba's clothing, Nicki's boots, the thatched roof with the crossed sticks to hold it in place, the birds' nest near the chimney.

Why did Brett put the eye-catching embroidery in each frame? Is it merely decorative or does it pull your eye to something important.

Look at the background of each frame

Notice the parts of the book which are very realistic. She has shown or told about the animals who live in that area, their specific natural habitat, their appearance and their defense mechanisms.


Get this Unit For Lots of Ideas and Ready to Use Activities

A Guide for Using The Mitten in the Classroom

Fun With Mitten Math

Cut 13 small mitten shapes and write the numbers 0-12 on the mittens for each student. Have the student glue them on to a snowy scene in the correct order.

Mitten Graph - Give each student a large mitten on white paper. Have the students color the mitten with their favorite color and then cut-out the mitten. Make a giant graph out of the colored mittens. Generate questions and statements based on the graph. "How many students like red mittens?"

Identify the point at which the tale and the mitten have stretched beyond credulity. Find out the sizes of each of these animals and get into some math activities by estimating how big the mitten would have to have grown.

Graph how many mittens tall every student in your class is. Guess and see how many mittens away the office, bathroom, etc.are from your room.

Class Book Idea

Here is a blackline from our CD. You could make a class book and title it, My Mitten Was So Big. Give each student a mitten shape page with the sentence, My mitten was so big that a ____________ fit inside it. Then the student fills in the blank and illustrates their sentence.

Mitten Poems, Songs, & Fingerplays

Sing! Sing!

The Mitten in the Snow (to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell)
The mitten in the snow
The mitten in the snow
Help us please so we won't freeze
The mitten in the snow
A ________ squeezes in
A ________ squeezes in
Help us please so we won't freeze
The mitten in the snow

Warm Mittens

I wiggle my left hand,
I wiggle my right,
Inside of my mittens,
So warm and so tight.

I wiggle my pinkie.
I wiggle my thumb,
So when I make snowballs,
My hands don't get numb.


Mittens are warm,
Mittens are grand,
Mittens are like Shoes for my hands.


Related Nonfiction Books

Life in the Woodlands

Eyewitness: Mammal

Digger : The Story of a Mole in the Fall

Atlas of Animals : A First Discovery Book

Questions To Ask About the Story:

Questions To Ask About the Story:

What color was the mitten? / How many animals went into the mitten? / What was the boys name?

Why did the animals go into the mitten?/ Why was Niki's mitten so big at the end of the story?

Can you think of any other animals that might like to go into the mittten to get warm? / What time of year does it get cold? Where would the animals in the story normally live?

What might have happened if the bear had not sneezed? / What if Nicki would of found the animals in the mitten?

How would it feel to be in the mitten?

Other Books about Mittens - CLICK ON A TITLE TO LEARN MORE

Andrew's Magnificent Mountain of Mittens

Buying Mittens

The Mitten Tree

The Mystery of the Missing Red Mitten (A Pied Piper Book)

Knit Mittens!
Missing Mittens (Mathstart: Odd and Even Numbers, Level 1)
Mittens, Mittens & More Mittens
The Missing Mitten Mystery
M Is for Mitten: A Michigan Alphabet (Discover America State by State. Alphabet Series)
The Mitten Gift Package
Where's Your Mitten, Josh? (Oshkosh)

The Mitten : A Ukrainian Folktale
Jan Brett (Illustrator)

School Binding / Hardcover

More Ideas

Click here and then print the page. Cut each animal out and have it laminated. Use the animal pictures to make math stories for you students to solve.

Make a class big book about a class of first graders whose teacher loses their mitten, what happens next?

Graph how many mittens tall every student in your class is. Guess and see how many mittens away the office, bathroom, etc.are from your room.

For a mitten snack you can have each child bring in a mitten. Supply a box of animal crackers, tell the students math problems like put in 2 tigers and 1 elephant, how many animals are in your mitten? You could also use pita bread halves to be an edible mitten.

My Mitten Easy Reader by - Have your students complete this sight word book by coloring in the mittens to match the text. Click here to view and print this book.

Make a Mitten Glyph

Red Mitten I like winter best
Blue Mitten I like Spring Best
Yellow Mitten I like summer best
Green Mitten I like fall best
Star Design I am 6 years old
Polka Dots I am 7 years old
Cotton on the cuff I liked the book The Mitten
No cotton I did not like the book The Mitten

Our Mitten Glyphs - a sign to print and display with mitten glyphs (k-2)

Compare and Contrast

Click the book to learn more!

A great lesson with the books The Mitten and The Hat is to compare and contrast the two books with your class. As a group complete a Venn Diagram on the two stories. Click here to download one - enlarge it to use with your class. After you have compared the two books as a class, have you students team with a buddy and complete a compare and contrast sheet. Click here to download a Compare and Contrast activity sheet you can use with your students.

Here are some interesting Hat Links!

Match the clothing of the animals

Teachers Share Their Mitten Ideas!

Teachers Share Their Ideas!

Patti wrote: My class always enjoys making a large mitten from construction paper. Cut the mitten on the fold and staple open sides closed leaving the wrist part open. Photo copy the animals. Have the children discuss the sequence the animals go into the mitten and place them into their mitten in correct order. This activity can be done over if necessary. There are notes for the story called Literature Notes from Frank Schaffer. It is a large folding card with a lot of activities for the story.

Michelle wrote: Try acting the story out. Use a white sheet for the mitten. Students crawl under the sheet as each new animal crawls into the mitten. At the end, someone can pull the sheet off and the "animals" scurry away. Students love this activity and will want to do it over and over and over.......

You can make a HUGE mitten for the bulletin board. (I even use cotton balls on the cuff part) Then each child can choose an animal and say how they come into the mitten, for example The Cat Crawled in, The snake slithered in, The rhino ran in.

Rewrite the story through interactive or shared pen writing from the mitten's point of view. How did it feel to be lost and have all those animals craw inside?

The white mittens Baba made for Nicki are hard to spot if lost in the snow - thus my activity using white mittens cut from wallpaper. I have this old wallpaper book that is mostly made up of white pages with different textures and occasionally a thin stripe of a different color that is not really obvious unless you are looking. I cut out fronts and backs - enough to make a pair of mittens about 4 in high - in 7 designs (but all white with different textures.} I glued them together like mittens and before laminating them I put a different day of the week on the backside of each pair. (that means you have to write "Monday" and "Monday" on each one of the pair.). The center is for visual discrimination and detail but it will also help them to learn/recognize the spelling for each day of the week and will be an easy check for correct pairing and self correcting.

Cinzia wrote: TEACHING WITH THE MITTEN: Although many of the ideas posted above are cute- many of them do not teach literary skills that your principal may be looking for. When I taught first grade (I teach 2nd now), I used a big book as a Shared Reading. The purpose of this was to read a book with the children so that all the children could read the book with you. Here's how it went: Monday: Give background. Read the book to the kids. Discuss the book. What parts of the book could really happen? What makes the book interesting? Where does this story happen? What would be another good title for this story? Tuesday: Read the book again,the children help, this time have the kids (one at a time) come up to the big book and find particular words. Ie: Who thinks they can find "snow". The child can find it with a flyswatter with a hole cut in the middle (large enough for a word to show through the window) or with highlighter tape (it comes off) or in some way that helps the other children too. Then you ask how they found it. "It started with s" etc. Wednesday: You and the class read it again. This time you cover up certain words (nouns)with small postits that the children must figure out. You do this ahead of time. Thurday: The class reads the book again but this time you don't help. Using a pointer helps the children stay together. You then do a group activity connected to the book-like graphing their favorite character (as mentioned above) or making a Venn diagramn of the similarities and differences between two characters, etc (on large butcher paper). Friday: The children read it for the last time and create their own class book based on the story. For example you might decide to write a book called the hat and have different animals come and join the hat. The students tell you what they want to have happen-you write it for them and they draw the picture. Each student completes one page of the big book which you later assemble for the children to read on their own.

Some More Related Links!

  What the Teacher Wants shares some great ideas too... Click here for the Mitten Idea!  Not sure if the download is working yet, but the idea is cute!

This blog (
Swamp Frog First Graders) is pretty awesome...  I think you will agree.  Lots of sharing going on here.  There are many Mitten ideas too with great printables...

Check out
Animals in The Mitten Probability Activities
Then check out Counting On Mittens
Lastly, check out Mitten and Hat Number Sentence Sort

Be sure to check out Teaching Heart's Winter Warm Up Packet for some Mitten Themed Printables as well. 

I have a copy of this story;The Missing Mitten Mystery (Picture Puffin Books) coming to me soon.  I saw this activity from Our Random Acts of Reading!!!


The Mitten story prop printables

Put the Animals in the Mitten

Bookmarks from the Story

Color the Bear From the Story

Color Animals from the Mitten

Jan Brett's Teacher Guide

Mitten Animals

Mitten Ideas

Mitten Lace Craft

Some Mitten Ideas Are Found
on our CDROM #2
Two Free Goodies From Our CDROM

Our Mitten Glyphs - a sign to print and display with mitten glyphs (k-2)

Mitten Text to Self Connection - student writes how the story relates to his life (1-3)

The Mitten in the Snow
Emergent Reader by Marcia
My Mitten
Easy to read book. Students must color the mittens as they read the text. Free From
Winter on Teaching Heart Blog Teaching Heart Printables!!!

Teaching is a Work of Heart 2011003