The Gingerbread Man: Creating a Community in Kindergarten
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
During the month of December, the gingerbread man and his aliases take over my kindergarten classroom. Because there are so many different versions of this story and so many related activities, I will be breaking my post into two parts.
Our Gingerbread Man unit began with an introduction to the variety of books that have been written about our runaway friend. Each day I choose a book to read and afterwards we compare and contrast the characters, settings, and events in each story and add to our character graph.
This year, I began the unit with the traditional old favorite folktale as told by author Karen Schmidt in The Gingerbread Man.
Before reading each story, my students discuss which types of animals or characters they believe will be featured based on past versions we have read. They also like to make predictions as to whether their fast-running friend will be eaten in the end by a sly old fox or be quick and outfox his nemesis.
Last Friday we read Gingerbread Baby, in which the protagonist, a little boy named Mattie, builds a gingerbread house to hide the gingerbread baby. That sparked a discussion about who in the class has ever built a gingerbread house. I think we will be making one out of graham crackers during our final week before winter break!
My students also really enjoyed listening to the story of The Gingerbread Girl and were very surprised by its ending. They also loved the variety of characters that were introduced. Although the kids noticed many similarities between the stories, they were quick to point out how the gingerbread girl tricked the fox.
As the next weeks unfold, we will add these titles to our chart:
Building a Community
The gingerbread stories are great for exploring community, an important component of our social studies curriculum. The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School is a great way to introduce kindergartners to all of the people in their new school community environment.
Skipping forward to December when the school and classroom communities have been established, I like to start talking to my students about where each of them lives and help them define what community means. We learn about the many different people who make up a community and how they contribute to it.Then, we build a gingerbread community and choose which helpers we would like to be a part of it. I always find it interesting when certain students choose the teacher — this is almost always the student who works hard and helps their classmates.
To build our community, I gave the students templates of houses and buildings to trace and cut out. After that, their imagination can run wild. I provide them with a large scrap basket of construction paper, scissors, and glue.
Tip:. I used scrapbook adhesive glue dots to adhere their work to the butcher paper. They peel off easily so I can return the work to the students. I use them for our graphs and I used them to adhere their gingerbread men to our other class mural.
After our discussion of gingerbread houses and what they were made of, we decided to make a mural of one. First we brainstormed on chart paper what it should look like. Second, I made the frame with brown butcher paper and drew the icing for the rooftop and window. Then students cut it out and completed the rest with little help from me. This was a great project to do during our week of rainy day recesses.
Creating the gingerbread men for our mural was another project we did this past week. I found some gingerbread men made out of craft foam. I cut rick-ack ribbon into small pieces and had the students apply them with glue dot adhesive. They added wiggle eyes and a red sequin or pompom nose and drew a mouth with a permanent fine tip marker. To finish, they used craft foam shapes for buttons. I had each student write their name and the year 2012 to the back side. They will be taking them home later as an ornament, after I attach a ribbon to the back. For now they will just be part of our gingerbread mural.
Below is a glyph we made with our 3rd grade reading buddies to dress up our school office bulletin board and windows.
Until our winter break we will continue to read about the gingerbread man. Be sure to come back next week for part two of the "Gingerbread Man Takes Over Kindergarten." This is modified list will give you a few ideas as to what I have planned next:
- Pocket chart retelling
- A gingerbread poem
- Emergent readers activity
- Retelling using puppets and a gingerbread house
- Gingerbread cookie baking and tasting
- Chasing a gingerbread man
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas and book suggestions to get your started with the theme. I look forward to sharing all of the fun we have with you next week.