A Gingerbread House makes an excellent backdrop for notes as you discuss the characters, settings, and the beginning, middle, and end of every gingerbread story the class reads.
Read one gingerbread book each day, and as a class, document the characters, settings, refrain, and ending of each story.
Every day, the class should review the notes for the previous stories before starting a new one. Then, while filling in the details of the current day’s story, your students should compare it to the stories they already read.
You can incorporate the Super 3 research method (Plan, Do, Review) into your gingerbread unit by making gingerbread friends!
PLAN: For their “plan,” each student should draw a gingerbread friend they would like to make.
DO: After completing their friend, the student should take their drawing to the decorating area for the "do" step where they will use candies and colored icing to recreate their plan on a real gingerbread cookie.
REVIEW: After executing their plan, they should "review" it alongside their cookie and self-evaluate how their initial drawing and the final cookie compare.
In several versions of The Gingerbread Man fairy tale (including this one), the Gingerbread Man is outsmarted by a wily fox while crossing a river. Once your class is already familiar with the original story’s ending, start another read-aloud. As you near the end of the story, ask your class: “Now that the Gingerbread Man is on the fox in the water, is there a way that he could escape?”
Write down all the (very creative) answers your students come up with, and inevitably someone will suggest, “He should jump into the water.” Pretend that you haven’t considered this possibility and say, “We should do an experiment and see if this solution will work!”
The experiment is simple: Put a gingerbread cookie in a basin of water, and wait to see what happens! Ensure that each student sees the results by taking turns observing the bin. Have your students complete a data sheet to document their observations, predictions, and the outcome. They will discover that, alas, jumping into the water wouldn’t save the Gingerbread Man, as he would have crumbled into a soggy mess!
Gingerbread Men are infamous for running away, and you can stage your own classroom escape using an actual gingerbread cookie, a cardboard cutout, or even a gingerbread doll. Announce with great distress that your Gingerbread Man has gone missing, and you need the class’s help tracking him down.
Each student should create a “Lost Gingerbread Man” poster to hang in the hallway. They can decorate a pre-cut gingerbread man and write descriptive words that include where he should be returned if he is found.
While traveling through the halls the rest of the day, instruct your class to be on the lookout for the runaway cookie. But they need to be quiet, because if they make too much noise, he might run away again! At the end of the day, a very helpful teacher should bring the Gingerbread Man back to the classroom, saying that they found him thanks to all the posters the class made. What a relief!
At the end of your fun and festive gingerbread unit, there’s only one thing left to do: Read more sweet stories about gingerbread cookies!
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