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Gingerbread Theme

Compiled By: Editor

Ideas for a fun-filled classroom gingerbread unit

Gingerbread activities
Posted by: Cindy

Hi- Gingerbread is a fun unit to do with younger kids. Its Christmasy without the religion and Santa issues.Of course you can use the Gingerbread man/boy stories. You can make puppets to retell the story. They can be finger or more elaborate puppets. They can rewrite the story and come up with different adventures for the gingerbread man. This book could lend itself to lessons on hard and soft g sounds. You could make word family books in the shape of a gingerbread man or house. Use patterns from the story man=an family, run=un family...Make gingerbread man shaped flashcards for math facts or create a memory-type game using rhyming words. Create a gingerbread man glyph- Use a large shape g-man cut out on white paper and supply a list of questions. Are you a boy or girl? Draw square eyes for boy, triangle for girl. Do you have any pets at home? yes= glue on yarn hair, no= glue on paper hair. How many siblings do you have? 0=no buttons on his shirt, 1= one button on his shirt.. and so on. You could make g-bread houses using the kid's milk cartons and graham crackers. And of course you can bake gingerbread cookies or bring in premade ones and decorate them.Have fun!

Gingerbread lessons
Posted by: Jen

I do a week long gingerbread unit. On the first day we make a giant gingerbread man. Then we go back to our room and read one of the versions of the gingerbread man. We discuss that we hope this does not happen to our gingerbread man(in the mean time I have a teacher take the gingerbread man out of the oven and cover it and place it in the freezer). We start to find clues around the school where our gingerbread man has been. We smell him too. (I get the staff to spray cinnamon air Every day we write in our journal our predictions. One night I send homework. They have to write whether or not they have seen the gingerbread at home. The really get into it. On the last day we find the gingerbread man and we celebrate. We eat him. lol. We incorporate other activities throughout the week. Math, language arts, etc.
hope this helps.

Gingerbread Houses
Posted by: Kathy

I've done gingerbread houses for years and it's great fun for this age group--really lets them show their creativity.

In the past, I've used graham crackers for the houses, but actually milk cartons work better because they don't fall apart! You can cover them with the edible glue before decorating them. (You could even color the "glue" if you want to get fancy.)

If you use the graham cracker houses make sure they have plenty of time to dry before decorating them as it's very frustrating for all concerned when they collapse! (The ideal thing would be to have a room mom come in the day before and make one or two for each child. It's kind of hard for this age group--especially if you have a large class.)

Some of the things you will need for this project:

Cake boards to set the display on (Cardboard covered with aluminum foil also works well, but takes a lot of time unless you have a mom who would do it for you!)

"Edible Glue" (You need lots--there's nothing worse than running out! I have parents make this and send it in--one less thing for you to do!!)

Plastic knives to spread glue

Christmas candy to decorate houses and yards--You can get whatever you want, but some I almost always get from year to year are:
Candy canes (small ones work best)
Pretzels (for fences)
Gummy Bears or Grammy Bears
Christmas tree cookies
Chocolate covered snowmen or Santas
Peppermints (Red and green)
Licorice sticks (String for decorating)
Red and green M & M's
Red and green gumdrops
Graham crackers
Red hots

The list could go on and on...but you get the idea. I usually make a list of what I want and then assign each student something to bring that goes into a "class pile." The first year I bought all the materials myself and I'll never do that again!! It makes a real showy project and I've never had parents complain about sending things in. I save the leftover candy from year to year. (And warn the children they should not eat their project because of the old candy!!)

You can make a really cute train out of Snickers bars. If you do that, have each student bring, 3 Snickers bars, a roll of life savers (for the light)and a Reeses peanut butter cup for the bell in addition to the candy or edible glue you've assigned. You can use one of those orange slices for a cowcatcher. They are really cute!

You have to go step by step with making the train, but they can use their creativity with decorating their houses.

Some things I've found helpful:
Cover the floor area where the children are working as the "glue" is really hard to get out of the carpet. A plastic table cloth or paper on the desk/table area also helps in clean-up.

Organize the candy the night before so it is set our for children. I usually put signs up by the candy and only let the children take so many of each kind. (Otherwise they tend to stockpile the candy inside the houses which defeats the whole purpose!!) Also, all unused candy goes back to the table. (If they know this rule upfront, they won't be as tempted to take more than they need.)

I have sometimes let them choose one or two pieces to eat before we start the project (or at the end) which keeps them from asking to eat it throughout the project. You have to put them in the mindset that the candy is an art medium, not a food!!

I think you will have great fun with this project! We always do!!!

another idea for gingerbread men
Posted by: Jayne

I am not able to host any gingerbread people this year; although, it is a cute idea. I just thought I would add another idea a long-time teacher just shared with me. After her children's gingerbread people ran away, she had them send out a notice to all the other rooms in the building to be on the look out for them. Then each child built a trap to catch their man. While the traps were being made, word would trickle in from other places that Jason's man had been seen in the library but they couldn't catch him, and Lucy's woman was seen near the art room, etc. When the traps were finished, the children set them before they left at the end of the day near where their person was sighted. The next morning all the traps were full! Traps were made out of tp tubes, margarine tops and tubs, pipe cleaners, construction paper, straws, etc. - whatever was available, and spare gingerbread men were available to test it on. Notes were then sent thanking all who help find them and reporting on the happy ending. Great fun and lots of good learning.

Flat Gingerbread Activity
Posted by: Sarah

Hello There!
This request is similar to one posted previously this month. I am also in need of 10 willing participants from different states. The project will consist of each participating class to make 10 paper gingerbread men, depicting facts about the area or state that you live in. I will include a link at the end of this email to a site that has a similar project. This shows examples of gingerbread men they had received while doing their project. Then, those 10 will be sent out, one to each of the participating schools from all around the US. This will teach the students many different skills including geography, map skills, writing and social studies. A bulletin board can be made with a map and when the gingerbread men are received, a map marker can be placed from that school. We will need 9 schools to participate, since you wouldn't send one to your own school. If you are interested all I will need from you is your school address, and your name, so that I can give a list of school names to all participants. If you are not interested, please share this idea with another First grade teacher. I would like to get this project started right after Thanksgiving, so that the gingerbread men can be mailed out by December 10th. If you are interested please email me back by November 29th. This will allow for other classes to be contacted if you cannot participate. Here is the link to the similar project to give you a better idea.
Thank you,
Sarah, Upstate NY

gingerbread display
Posted by: Jana

I'll share a gingerbread activity that would make a great bulletin board ( found on the web.) After reading several versions of The GIngerbread Boy (which is a great unit to teach in Dec/Jan,) tell the kids we will pretend the GB has been set loose in an alphabet full of food. First you create a list of corresponding alphabet foods-- for example, A-apples, B-Bread, C-Cookies, etc. Use a cut out shape of the GB boy running with a sentence starter on his tummy which reads, 'The Gingerbread Boy ran with _________'the kids finish the sentence. Then, in one hand they create the food and glue on, in the other hand they make the letter in upper/lower case and glue on. They can also add details, faces, clothes, etc. You can create a neat landscape in back, then put the GB's in ABC order running along. We put a copy of this poem with our display: 'Running through the alphabet, eating all he can, you can't catch him he's the Gingerbread Man!'

Gingerbread Baby
Posted by: kcg

I read the story, The Gingerbread Baby first so they could enjoy it. It is written by Jan Brett also (aren't her books awesome??) Then I randomly handed out puppets (made by printing them from her site... then glueing them onto paper bags). I had them sequence the characters as they appeared in the story. Then,I reread the story and the kids used their puppets to act it out. They love it!! I reread it again so all could have a turn. There wasn't a puppet for the gingerbread house so I made one up myself. They had the best time. Then they all made a gingerbread house of their own.

These were really fun activities that all enjoyed!

gingerbread theme
Posted by: Kris

Two years ago I did a gingerbread theme at Christmas time and my kids had a BLAST with it. I did an intro of making a big gb man with my kids and baked it at school. While it was baking, I read one of the many versions of the gb man, and had another teacher sneak in the kitchen to let the gb man out of the oven. The kids looked everywhere for him! For the rest of the week the gb man left us clues around the school as to where he had been--I took pictures and wrote little poems to go with the places he had been (the nurse's office, the prinipal's office, computer lab). The students wrote every day about where they thought he was, and made signs to post around the school. By the end of the week the whole school was in on the fun, even 5th graders were telling us they had seen it! We finally found him in the library (of course)and there were gb babies for us to eat! We read many versions of the story including Jan Brett's, and The Stinky Cheese Man and did compare/contrast with each one. The kids also made cinnamon dough Christmas ornaments for their parents. This unit was so fun during the week before Christmas when you need something exciting to keep them focused on school! Those kids still ask me how that gb man got out of the oven in the first place!! :oD

Posted by: melanie

My sister has made them with her classroom every year for the past ten years. She uses the eggwhite frosting and has moms make it that morning. She said it does not work well if you make it the night before and refrigerate it. You can refrigerate it that morning if needed. Store in a bowl with plastic wrap RIGHT AGAINST the surface of the icing to keep it from drying out. She uses 6 batches for every ten students!!! The recipe below makes one batch.
3 large eggwhites
one box powdered sugar (16 0z)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Blend together and beat on high for 7 to 8 mins.

Her students each make their own house on Chinette plates and use lots of frosting to create snow as well as hold the graham crackers together. They use an empty milk carton from their cafeteria lunch to use as a frame for their houses. Then they frost the outside of them and place the graham crackers on the carton to make walls and a roof. They use sugar cones placed upside down and frosted for snowy trees. They then decorate them with small candies, etc. Each plate comes out beautifully. Lost of little candies and confections make them gorgeous. The small gingerbread cookies that they have this time of year look cute, too. Candy canes, gumdrops and sprinkles are also used by her students. I'm going to try it this year. (Am I crazy?) She usually has supplies on hand to make the frosting in case they need more. She asks students to bring in the supplies from home.

Gingerbread Town
Posted by: MrChapp

I also made a gingerbread town to practice both map skills and economics. We would have a gingerbread town planning meeting and decide what businesses we NEED and what businesses we WANT. I usually shot for about five of each. I had three different building patterns-- a basic house, a tall building for wants, and a short, long building for needs. Each student was responsible for one building or house.

They traced the patterns onto brown construction paper and decorated them with basic office supplies-- white reinforcements are frosting, bright garage sale stickers are gumdrops.

Then we'd put the buildings on a bulletin board designed to look like a map-- all the businesses went on Main Street and the houses went on Gingerbread Lane or Peppermint Path. We made sure to include a map key and a compass rose.

I would do that at the start of our gingerbread unit, then base activities off of it. For example, when we wrote stories about where the gingerbread man ran, we included locations on our map. The students also made their own maps and we would practice writing directions on how to get from one place to another using cardinal directions.

I got a lot of this out of an older Mailbox magazine for primary grades. I don't remember what year, but if you search the archives on the website, you may be able to find info.

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