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Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Peek Inside Our Gingerbreadland!

It's been a busy couple of weeks in my classroom!  
We've taken the Polar Express to Gingerbread land and if my kids have their way 
we're not coming back!   We've been reading, comparing, and analyzing  
many different versions of The Gingerbread Man.  We started out
 with a traditional version by Jim Aylesworth. My kids got such a kick 
out of trying to decide when this story takes place. One of my kiddos is convinced it 
happened "a thousand years ago"!  His evidence? "Well, just look at that stove!" 
and  "Their family picture is black and white!"  

We started by answering the question, "What is a gingerbread man?".  
We used this circle map to help us define a gingerbread man.

We've been comparing story elements and determining
equivalent characters for some of our
 stories then recording our ideas on class charts and in student booklets. 

We discussed the story problems from the different character's points of view.  
We made a nifty anchor chart which I forgot to take a picture of! 

Can I just say that I A*D*O*R*E this book?  
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
is my new favorite version!  

Available on
The Musubi Man captured my heart a few years ago,
 but he has since been replaced!  

My kids love it which makes me love it even more!
They all made so many connections to this book, the most popular being getting
hurt at school, having to be brave, 
and looking for the nurse's office. What child hasn't had to visit the nurse?  
They were quite impressed that he knew how to ask for directions!

I love it because it lends itself to so many second grade
Common Core reading standards.  
We talked a lot about cause and effect and how the characters
responded to major events in the story. The next day we discussed character traits
and how good readers can infer and draw conclusions about the type of person
a character is by the things the author shows
 us that they say, do, or think. We've spent a lot of time with adjectives so far
this year and our first graders work a lot with "five senses" adjectives
(words that describe how something looks, feels, sounds, etc.) 
so we spent some time on adjectives that describe a person's character.

We made these cute little characters and students brainstormed character traits. 
 They wrote about specific story events and the character traits they could
infer from them.  This led to a good discussion to answer the question
"Why does the author include the things he/she does in a story?" 

 During our literacy stations the kids made these missing posters.
They had to include a description of the character and one of my favorites
 is "He's wearing black Sponge Bob pants!". 

We have so many activities planned during this unit I had to come up with a way
 to keep my kiddos organized! We made these gingerbread house folders
for all of our writing, learning, and projects.

We made gingerbread flow maps to sequence the story events.  
Students chose their favorite version and wrote the main idea 
(this is still such a hard one for my kids) on the body. 
 This was easy to differentiate, and I had some of my students write the 
main ideas withsupporting details on the legs.

Students wrote their own versions with the prompt "What if the fox was a cookie?"  
They used this prewriting page to note their ideas for the beginning, middle, and end.
They also wrote adjectives to describe the fox during each stage of the story.   We attached them to litttle cookie sheets to display.  I love this one!  
We've talked about a recurring theme in many of the gingerbread man versions being 
 the little old woman and the little old man desperately wanting a child.  
Here, they wanted a pet!

To get a jump start on data and graphing for next quarter and to tie in some math
to our unit we did some decorating for data with gingerbread cookies!  I had my wonderful
parents send in gingerbread cookies that we found at Michael's craft stores. Wilton
 makes these and so far I've been able to find them for the past three years.
Don't want to find cookies? You can also do this on construction paper!
The glyph key is color specific rather than candy specific and I've included a large template to use .

We started out by decorating our cookies as glyphs, rearranging the cookies so that students
didn't know which belonged to whom. They then drew the data they saw, interpreted it and tried to determine who the cookie belonged to. Next, we all took one bite of our cookies and 
created a pictograph.  After lunch, we recorded the data on student sheets translating it into a 
bar graph and tally table.

I placed the students in groups for a little graph chat. They used task cards to guide
 their discussions and then added a written response.

All of these activities and so much more can be found
in my Catch Me If You Can! unit.
It is loaded with 124 pages of comparing and analyzing different versions
The Gingerbread Man. It includes comprehension activities, writing activities,
crafts, graphic organizers, literacy centers, and math integration!

Of the 27 activities included, 5 are book specific to the following books: 
The Gingerbread Girl   by Lisa Campbell Ernst
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, by Laura Murray
The Gingerbread Cowboy   by Janet Squires
The Matzah Man   by Naomi Howland

All 22 other activities can be used with any 
Gingerbread Man versions you have available.
Best part? There's even a detailed lesson plan and pacing guide 
for a complete 3-4 week gingerbread unit!

You can find this unit by clicking the button below!

Decorating for Data can now be purchased separately!
It includes all of the printables, templates, and chart parts you
need to print and go!

You can see MUCH more of our
Gingerbread fun here!

You'll  definitely want to stop by Monday-Friday next week
for 5 Days of Freebies! 
I'll be posting a new gingerbread freebie
 for you each day!

PS~ Are these not the cutest little Ginger-bets ever?  They were made by my friend
Michelle at The 3am Teacher and I just can't get enough of them!  There are two different sets
 and both are so stinkin' cute!  You can find them {Here} and {Here}

Have a great weekend, friends!  Only 10 more days until break for me!


  1. I ♥ all things gingerbread! I really enjoyed reading about all the great activities your class did! Can't wait for the freebies next week!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Linda! :)

    Bren P.
    The Teacher Diaries

  2. What a fun gingerbread unit. I love your gingerbread sequencing!

    The Hive

  3. What an ADORABLE unit! I love it!

    Thanks for linking up! :-)

    2nd Grade Pad

    1. Thanks, Cynthia! I'm so glad you're having the Christmas linky! I've found some adorable crafts!

  4. I loooove all the gingerbread activities!! It looks like your kids have been busy!

  5. Wow! We must be friends from another life. I do many of the same activities and have for __ __ years! Of course yours are much cuter and have good aesthetics, mine are pulled from all over the place! I'm going to look into the full unit! :) Thanks!

    1. Hi there! Thanks for your kind words! It's nice to find kindred spirits, isn't it? I've been teaching for __ __ years, too!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. I'm your newest follower! Found your gingerbread activities on pinterest and LOVE them!

    Learning is for Superstars
    My TPT Store

    1. Hi Sarah! I'm so glad you found them and hope your kiddos enjoy it as much as mine do! Thanks so much for stopping by and following. Be sure to stop back next week for 5 Days of Freebies!

  7. Linda, is you Gingerbread activity packet available for sale?

  8. Hi friend! I'm so glad you stopped by!

  9. I am starting this tomorrow with my class and I am so excited! Such an amazing unit!


  10. Sweet! It's the season for all things Gingerbread ;)