If you are a fan of Jan Brett’s many beautifully illustrated books, you could spend hours on her website, www.janbrett.com, looking at all the resources she has provided to accompany her books.
The Mitten, Jan Brett’s charming adaptation of a Ukranian folktale, is about a boy who loses one of the white mittens his grandmother knit for him, despite her prior admonition that white mittens are easy to lose in the snow. Forest animals crawl inside, one by one, until the bear sneezes them all out, and the mitten goes flying through the air, to be found by the boy just in time to show his grandmother that he can be trusted not to lose them. They are both left wondering why one mitten is so much larger than the other, and only the amused readers and the forest animals know the answer to that question. This captivating story provides the perfect opportunity to encourage re-telling a story with paper props to help with recall.
You can find all the animals and mittens to print at Jan Brett’s website here.
I printed the front and back of the mittens onto construction paper from her website (not pictured), pre-stapled the front and back together, and let students cut around the edge of the mitten. Since it’s pre-stapled, it’s great for those new to cutting, since exact accuracy doesn’t affect the desired outcome, which is to be able to put the animals inside the mitten. Animals can be colored, or not, and students can use them to re-tell the story to family and friends later. We practiced together once, and they were so proud that they could recall the order all eight of the animals crawled into the mitten.
These die cut mittens (pictured below) are good for practicing fine motor skills, but if you don’t have the die cut, and still want to do it, you could cut the mittens out of construction paper or card stock, and use a hole punch around the edges. Wrap a small piece of tape around one end of the yarn, to provide a firm tip for easier lacing.
Some of the 5-year olds whip-stitched (shown below), some laced up and down, and some did a combination of both. And of course, some went randomly back and forth from right side to left side, and needed lots of extra guidance to stay along the edges. All the more reason to practice lacing!