K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Jan Brett’s books will be used to integrate English Language Arts, Art, Science, Social Studies, and Technology/Computer Skills.

Students will create a class multimedia presentation.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

4 hours


  • Art materials
  • Map of the United States
  • Books and materials by author/illustrator Jan Brett

Technology resources

  • Access to the internet
  • Multimedia software (eg. HyperStudio, Powerpoint, Kids Pix Slide Show)
  • Projection device to connect computer to large screen television.


  • Write to Jan Brett, PO Box 366, Norwell, Massachusetts, 02061 on school letterhead to request a teacher’s pack of activities.
  • Check out Jan Brett materials from the media center and pull together classroom materials in a center.
  • If you have a pet store nearby, perhaps you could borrow a hedgehog to keep for a classroom pet for a few days.


Activity 1

At Jan Brett’s Home Page, scroll down and click on About Jan Brett. This links to biographical information about the author/illustrator and includes a picture. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on speaker icon to Hear Jan Brett talk about her books. Discussion can include Brett as an author (person who writes the story) and illustrator (person who draws the pictures). Take time to read some of her books.

Activity 2: Science

Research hedgehogs using an electronic encyclopedia or simple animal books. Discuss the habitat and care of hedgehogs. Go to the Bake Hedgehog Cookies portion of Jan Brett’s website where you can find the recipe for preparing Hedgehog cookies. Read Brett’s books about hedgehogs while the cookies are baking.

Activity 3: English Language Arts

Before starting this activity, have an email address for someone you can send an electronic postal card to. From the Jan Brett website, click on Send an Email Postcard. You will have 5 categories to choose from to send a postcard. Click and follow prompts to complete and send your card. I would recommend sending from the first two categories, saving Animals of The Hat, The Mitten, and The Town Mouse for later activities. Go back to home web site and click on Email Jan Brett. Again follow prompts to create and send email. Discussion could include the difference in sending a postcard or email through the internet and through snail mail.

Activity 4: Social Studies

On a map locate Brett’s hometown, Norwell, Massachusetts. On the map locate the state and town where your school is located. Use the legend mileage scale to get approximate miles between locations. Norwell is located near the Atlantic Ocean. Discuss your area. Go to the Norwell Chamber of Commerce website and click on links to visit the library, points of interest, etc. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Email Norwell Chamber” to request more information about Norwell.

Activity 5

On the home webpage, click on Activities, then Character Masks. Download pictures of the animal characters from The Mitten, cut out and laminate. When reading the story to the students allow them to take turns wearing the masks acting out the characters. Students can color characters using the Coloring Page. At this link, you can click on the speaker icon to hear Jan Brett tell about the writing of her story. You can return to Send a Post Card link and send one of The Mitten characters post cards to a friend.

Activity 6

On the home webpage, click on Activities. Click on Download and Print Coloring Pages, Learn to draw a Hedgehog, and Make The Hat into a Play. Read The Hat to the students and use the activity pages to reinforce the story.

Activity 7: Multimedia

Choose several Jan Brett books the students enjoyed. In a graphics folder, download graphics from Jan Brett’s web page to use in your class multimedia presentation. On a large drawing pad or chalkboard, make a storyboard including the title of the book and four or five sentences about each book for each card. With your computer connected to a large screen television for students to view, use HyperStudio or other software to create a multimedia presentation reflecting the story by the students. Include a title card, graphics, and credits card.


Assessment will be observation of student participation in preparing email/snail messages, wearing of masks acting out characters, activities sheets, group discussions, and input into multimedia presentation.

Supplemental information


Other Activities:
At the Jan Brett home page, check out the other Activities to use.

Note: Jan Brett does give permission to copy, print, and reproduce all materials from her site to use in your classroom.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Computer Technology Skills (2005)

Grade 1

  • Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.
    • Objective 2.07: Use multimedia software to illustrate words/phrases/concepts. Strand - Multimedia/Presentation
    • Objective 2.08: Explore Internet resources and information using teacher-created bookmarks/favorites and discuss the variety and types of information found as a class activity. Strand - Telecommunications/Internet

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.06: Discuss authors'/speakers' use of different kinds of sentences to interest a reader/listener and communicate a message.
    • Objective 3.07: Compare authors' uses of conventions of language that aid readers including:
      • kinds of sentences.
      • capitalization of first word in a sentence and proper names.
      • punctuation to end a declarative and interrogative sentence.

Information Skills (2000)

Grade 1

  • Goal 4: The learner will EXPLORE and USE research processes to meet information needs.
    • Objective 4.09: Present information in a variety of formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia).

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 1

  • Goal 5: The learner will express geographic concepts in real life situations.
    • Objective 5.02: Investigate key features of maps.