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Unit Study on The Mitten by Jan Brett — Part I

January 13, 2009

Trishy seems to thrive on having the additional structure and one-on-one time. I am borrowing many of my ideas for The Mitten unit study from here and here.

Language Arts

She taught herself her letters last summer. Because it was worth reviewing and because she wants to do TREASURE HUNTS (following a trail of flashcards to the hidden prize) like Big Brother does, we did a treasure hunt with these appropriately mitten-themed cards which I downloaded from Bry-Back Manor. In this way, we reviewed the capital letters.

We read The Mitten by Jan Brett. This is one of my favorite picture books, and it was James’s absolute favorite when he was about Trishy’s age.

We did some mitten-themed rhymes, songs and fingerplays. I really believe in the importance of repetitive songs and rhymes for little ones. They help develop auditory memory and other auditory processing skills, among other things. And it’s something I haven’t done NEARLY enough of with Trishy. ๐Ÿ™‚

I improvised a fingerplay to go along with with this rhyme:

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.

and Trishy had me explain what “numb” meant. ๐Ÿ™‚

We sang a variation of this song:

The Mitten

(tune: 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.

* continue with different animals

We read the nursery rhyme “The Three Little Kittens.” Then I introduced some rhyming cards I’d made, starting with “kitten” and “mitten.” Here are a few of them:

The backs are color-coded (for example, the backs of “frog” “dog” and “fog” are one color, and the backs of “kitten” and “mitten” are another), so the activity is self-correcting.

Trishy is challenged by the concept of rhyming, even though we’ve always read books, nursery rhymes and such. This confirms my gut feeling that there are some mild auditory processing issues going on. The Aspergian genes that run in my family show up in various ways. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I helped her with the activity (following her lead), then we put it on her shelf so she can play with them any time. I’ll also keep re-introducing them throughout the week, as long as she’s interested. This will blossom in the fullness of time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We also did this rhyme:

My poor little kitten lost her mitten
And started to cry, boo-hoo.
So I helped my kitten to look for her mitten.
Her beautiful mitten of BLUE.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under my mother’s bed.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored RED.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under my father’s pillow.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored YELLOW.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
On the hand of my brother’s toy clown.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored BROWN.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under the laundry so clean.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored GREEN.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Inside a grocery bag.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored BLACK.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Under the kitchen sink.
But, alas, the mitten was not the right mitten,
For it was colored PINK.

I found a mitten just right for a kitten
Inside my favorite shoe.
And this time the mitten was just the right mitten,
For it was colored BLUE!

Math —

Trishy colored the animals and the mitten provided here, then she put the animals in the mitten. As she did that, I reinforced ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, etc.)

Then she worked with these Matching Cards I’d made. She seemed to have no trouble matching each numeral (1-10) with a set of that many snowflakes.

Science —

The Mitten is full of animals, which are living things. We did this Living vs. Non-Living activity which I downloaded from A Little Bit of Montessori.

Again, I color coded the backs so it’s self correcting. (The backs of the cards portraying living things are orange, and the backs of the non-living things are a different color). Trishy had more trouble with this concept than I expected. I offered the simple explanation that “things that are alive are usually things that grow.”

Again, we’ll be putting it on her shelf and re-introducing it from time to time. I am a big believer in the idea that if you make ideas and activities available, kids will get them when the time is right. There is no need to push it until she “achieves mastery.”

Sensory —

She practiced writing the letter M (while I reinforced the /m/ sound) in colored sand. This is as close as I plan to get to “teaching handwriting” for quite a while. I think schools tend to push the paper and pencil thing way too early.

In honor of The Mitten, we made a snowy animal scene and played with it for a while. Even my 10-year-old wanted in on the action.

Of course, once Little Mr. Testosterone got onto the scene, there was a lot of chasing and a few skirmishes. ๐Ÿ˜€ At one point, a rabbit was even flying through the air. Aggressive flying rabbits … WAY too Monty Python for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.E. — Her dad took her outside. They ran around, played “chase,” and kicked a soccer ball around.

Trishy and her dad also played Don’t Break the Ice, and he taught her to play the electronic game “Simon” (Fine Motor Skills, Sequencing and Visual Memory)

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