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December 7, 2016 5 Days of Gingerbread Fun! By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    I absolutely love December! Yes, the kids get a little bit crazy this time of year, and all they seem to be able to think about is snow falling outside and the upcoming holidays. So, in my mind, this is the perfect time to dive into all things gingerbread. It is such a fun and whimsical theme — one that teachers love to teach, and students love to learn from. The weeks before winter break can become long, so take a little extra time to plan some exciting activities to ensure you and your students are having fun learning this month.

    One of the reasons I enjoy teaching the gingerbread theme is that there are so many different versions of the Gingerbread Man to read aloud and share with my students. I like to begin with the original story of The Gingerbread Man. By doing this, it gives us the chance to compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of the characters in all the different versions. These stories also give me the perfect opportunity to teach my children about important story elements such and character and setting. I have so many different versions that the challenge actually comes when I try to fit them all into a week’s time. The kids practically beg me to read all of the gingerbread man stories, and that just tickles me pink!

     

    Day 1: Getting Them Excited — The Gingerbread Man Hunt

    I can’t think of a better way to get my kids excited about our gingerbread unit than going on a rousing gingerbread man hunt around our school! I bake gingerbread cookies for the kids, and get them packaged and ready for a special delivery to our classroom. Before the cookies arrive, I read that original version of The Gingerbread Man. I follow with The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School because it goes so well with the hunt. My students love the story and just as we finish reading it, our secretary delivers the packages to our classroom.

    Let’s just say, the kids are beyond excited! Before school begins, I leave clues around the school — the first clue gets delivered to our classroom with the boxes of cookies. You will need to prearrange with all the school VIPs before you send your students off on this playful gingerbread man hunt. Our staff is so awesome and are more than willing to help us out and be a part of our gingerbread man hunt around the school!

    The final clue leads us back to our classroom, but that tricky little gingerbread man is nowhere to be seen. The kids search frantically until finally, one of the kids spots the cake and note left behind by the gingerbread man. Not only do the students have a fun time on the hunt, when they return to class, they get to have milk and cookies for a snack. We save the yummy gingerbread cake for our snack in the afternoon (I think both cookies and cake in the morning might be a bit too much!).

    If you would like to do a gingerbread hunt with your kids, here is a complete set of the clues the gingerbread man leaves behind. Have fun! :)

     

    Day 2: Writing — Gingerbread Man is Missing!

    Even after recess, the kids could not stop talking about the gingerbread man and all his shenanigans. Some even said they saw him at recess — their wonderful imaginations make me smile and love my job that much more. With their excitement at a pretty high level, I channel some of that energy into a fun writing project. It was one of my own students who inspired me to create this writing paper. He told me that we should post missing signs around the school because that’s what people do when they lose things and want to get them back. And boy, what a great idea it was. The kids have so much fun writing and I absolutely love reading their words. This is probably one of my favorite bulletin boards this year.

     

    Day 3: Science — A STEM Challenge and Experiment

    Kids love science! As soon as I say the word experiment, I instantly have my kids’ attention. I must admit that we don’t get to do it as much as I would like, but I try to squeeze it in whenever I have the opportunity. These two activities are perfect for our gingerbread unit.

    STEM education is so important. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM is important because it permeates every part of our lives. These challenges inspire our students to think creatively and solve problems all while having fun building and creating. We begin with a talk about why the gingerbread man needed the fox to cross the river. Ultimately, the kids conclude that the gingerbread man would fall apart if he got in the water. So, we take on the building bridges STEM challenge to see if we could help the gingerbread man safely cross the river. My kids do an amazing job, and if kindergarteners can do STEM, anyone can do it!

    This simple gingerbread man experiment is a great way for encouraging thinking, problem solving, and observing for our very youngest learners. Before putting our gingerbread men into the different liquids, we make predictions as to which liquid would make the gingerbread man cookie fall apart the fastest. I leave the cookies in the bowls for the week and the kids check on them throughout the day. I love hearing what they have to say as they observe and draw their own conclusions about what has happened to the gingerbread men.

     

    Day 4: More Writing and a Craftivity

    Well of course we had to make gingerbread men. Our unit wouldn’t be complete without these little cuties. I traced the gingerbread men for my kindergarteners, but after that they were on their own to decorate to their little hearts' content. Each and every gingerbread girl or boy is unique, which is one of the reasons why I love them so much. They make the sweetest bulletin board and I smile every time I pass by them as I walk down the hallway. When we make a craft, I usually have some kind of writing project to go with it. Here is the "Eat More" writing template for you to use with your students.

     

    Day 5: Gingerbread Houses

    Making gingerbread houses is one of my all-time favorite activities we do during the school year. The kids always get so excited to decorate their little houses, and it is a wonderful way to bring your gingerbread unit to an end. We invite our families in and they too, get a lot of joy and happiness by doing this fun activity with their child. I have terrific parent volunteers who happily prepare our graham cracker “Gingerbread Houses” prior to the big building day and I am so grateful for the help! I let the kids take their houses home that same day, and yes — I also let them eat a little bit of the candy. If you take the time to fit this activity into your schedule, I promise you: you and your kids will have a “sweet” time!

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you do with your kids during the crazy weeks that lead up to your winter break. Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Here are some other activities and ideas from my Top Teaching blog posts: “Christmas Handprint Crafts With Book Pairings” and “12 Tips to Get the Most out of Winter Break.”

    Thanks for your support and love!

    Hope your December is full of fun!!!

    Shari :) 

     

     

    Check out my other blog posts!

    I absolutely love December! Yes, the kids get a little bit crazy this time of year, and all they seem to be able to think about is snow falling outside and the upcoming holidays. So, in my mind, this is the perfect time to dive into all things gingerbread. It is such a fun and whimsical theme — one that teachers love to teach, and students love to learn from. The weeks before winter break can become long, so take a little extra time to plan some exciting activities to ensure you and your students are having fun learning this month.

    One of the reasons I enjoy teaching the gingerbread theme is that there are so many different versions of the Gingerbread Man to read aloud and share with my students. I like to begin with the original story of The Gingerbread Man. By doing this, it gives us the chance to compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of the characters in all the different versions. These stories also give me the perfect opportunity to teach my children about important story elements such and character and setting. I have so many different versions that the challenge actually comes when I try to fit them all into a week’s time. The kids practically beg me to read all of the gingerbread man stories, and that just tickles me pink!

     

    Day 1: Getting Them Excited — The Gingerbread Man Hunt

    I can’t think of a better way to get my kids excited about our gingerbread unit than going on a rousing gingerbread man hunt around our school! I bake gingerbread cookies for the kids, and get them packaged and ready for a special delivery to our classroom. Before the cookies arrive, I read that original version of The Gingerbread Man. I follow with The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School because it goes so well with the hunt. My students love the story and just as we finish reading it, our secretary delivers the packages to our classroom.

    Let’s just say, the kids are beyond excited! Before school begins, I leave clues around the school — the first clue gets delivered to our classroom with the boxes of cookies. You will need to prearrange with all the school VIPs before you send your students off on this playful gingerbread man hunt. Our staff is so awesome and are more than willing to help us out and be a part of our gingerbread man hunt around the school!

    The final clue leads us back to our classroom, but that tricky little gingerbread man is nowhere to be seen. The kids search frantically until finally, one of the kids spots the cake and note left behind by the gingerbread man. Not only do the students have a fun time on the hunt, when they return to class, they get to have milk and cookies for a snack. We save the yummy gingerbread cake for our snack in the afternoon (I think both cookies and cake in the morning might be a bit too much!).

    If you would like to do a gingerbread hunt with your kids, here is a complete set of the clues the gingerbread man leaves behind. Have fun! :)

     

    Day 2: Writing — Gingerbread Man is Missing!

    Even after recess, the kids could not stop talking about the gingerbread man and all his shenanigans. Some even said they saw him at recess — their wonderful imaginations make me smile and love my job that much more. With their excitement at a pretty high level, I channel some of that energy into a fun writing project. It was one of my own students who inspired me to create this writing paper. He told me that we should post missing signs around the school because that’s what people do when they lose things and want to get them back. And boy, what a great idea it was. The kids have so much fun writing and I absolutely love reading their words. This is probably one of my favorite bulletin boards this year.

     

    Day 3: Science — A STEM Challenge and Experiment

    Kids love science! As soon as I say the word experiment, I instantly have my kids’ attention. I must admit that we don’t get to do it as much as I would like, but I try to squeeze it in whenever I have the opportunity. These two activities are perfect for our gingerbread unit.

    STEM education is so important. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM is important because it permeates every part of our lives. These challenges inspire our students to think creatively and solve problems all while having fun building and creating. We begin with a talk about why the gingerbread man needed the fox to cross the river. Ultimately, the kids conclude that the gingerbread man would fall apart if he got in the water. So, we take on the building bridges STEM challenge to see if we could help the gingerbread man safely cross the river. My kids do an amazing job, and if kindergarteners can do STEM, anyone can do it!

    This simple gingerbread man experiment is a great way for encouraging thinking, problem solving, and observing for our very youngest learners. Before putting our gingerbread men into the different liquids, we make predictions as to which liquid would make the gingerbread man cookie fall apart the fastest. I leave the cookies in the bowls for the week and the kids check on them throughout the day. I love hearing what they have to say as they observe and draw their own conclusions about what has happened to the gingerbread men.

     

    Day 4: More Writing and a Craftivity

    Well of course we had to make gingerbread men. Our unit wouldn’t be complete without these little cuties. I traced the gingerbread men for my kindergarteners, but after that they were on their own to decorate to their little hearts' content. Each and every gingerbread girl or boy is unique, which is one of the reasons why I love them so much. They make the sweetest bulletin board and I smile every time I pass by them as I walk down the hallway. When we make a craft, I usually have some kind of writing project to go with it. Here is the "Eat More" writing template for you to use with your students.

     

    Day 5: Gingerbread Houses

    Making gingerbread houses is one of my all-time favorite activities we do during the school year. The kids always get so excited to decorate their little houses, and it is a wonderful way to bring your gingerbread unit to an end. We invite our families in and they too, get a lot of joy and happiness by doing this fun activity with their child. I have terrific parent volunteers who happily prepare our graham cracker “Gingerbread Houses” prior to the big building day and I am so grateful for the help! I let the kids take their houses home that same day, and yes — I also let them eat a little bit of the candy. If you take the time to fit this activity into your schedule, I promise you: you and your kids will have a “sweet” time!

    What Fun Activities Are You Doing This Month?

    I would love to hear all about the fun things you do with your kids during the crazy weeks that lead up to your winter break. Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and activities.

    Here are some other activities and ideas from my Top Teaching blog posts: “Christmas Handprint Crafts With Book Pairings” and “12 Tips to Get the Most out of Winter Break.”

    Thanks for your support and love!

    Hope your December is full of fun!!!

    Shari :) 

     

     

    Check out my other blog posts!

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