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Monday, December 17, 2012

Inside Our Gingerbreadland Part 2

Well, we finished our last district benchmark test today and I am one weary teacher!
The whole taking computerized benchmark tests, in the computer lab, with 75 minutes
 to get 25 second graders logged in, settled and answering 45 math questions about
wears me out! We made it through  and I'm really proud of all of my kids and how far
they've come.  My kids' favorite part of our  testing routine is getting to drink Smart water.
I give them a little bit in a tiny paper cup.  Just enough to boost their confidence, but not
enough to need a bathroom break in the middle of the test!  I didn't realize how important
 this little ritual was to them until I ran out!  A few of my kids actually started to panic!
Luckily, while they were at recess I grabbed a couple of water bottles I had in the fridge
and poured them into an empty bottle from the day before. Whew! Crisis averted!

I know many of you are already out for the holidays, (5 more days for me!) but I
 thought I would share the rest of our gingerbread escapades in case you'd like
some ideas for next year!

Today, we read The Matzah Man and discussed how in this version, unlike in The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, the author's word choices directly tell us the type of person this character is.  We did a little twist on the inferring to identify character traits activity for Loose in the School and instead, found text evidence of the character's behavior and statements to support the author's descriptions.  Students wrote character trait labels and then wrote their evidence underneath.

These are some of the literacy centers we've been working on the past couple of weeks.

One of my favorite writing center activities is to have my kids make a gingerbread man escape prevention manual!  They think of  four different plans for preventing his escape and I get such a giggle out of reading them!
 "...Have Santa Claus come with his sleigh and swoop him up!  Santa Claus will give him to you."

 So funny! It says, "My plan of not letting the gingerbread man go is to put him in a cage
 and leave him until he gets old." and "Make a trail of cupcakes all the way to
a cage to trap the gingerbread man."

                                                    And of course, when all else him!

One of the activities we did last week was a gingerbread jog.  I placed reading riddles all around the classroom and students went on a scavenger hunt to find and solve the riddles.

These are some of the thinking maps we did with our unit. The kids make ceramic
gingerbread man spoon rests in Art hence the definition of a gingerbread man as a spoon rest!

These turned out so cute!  After reading The Gingerbread Cowboy one of the things we did
was to make candy cane cactus ornaments!

If you'd like to see more of  our gingerbread unit, you can view my Part 1 {Here}

You can find all of these activities and so much more in my Catch Me If You Can! unit

This is another little activity we did in our literacy stations during our gingerbread unit.  
We've been working with the syllables -tion and -ture and  played 
Capture the Cookie in Motion! After our lesson I gave the kiddos holiday themed 
sticky notes and had them be on the lookout for words to add to our chart.

You can find this one too, in my TPT or TN store.

Last week, we did this little writing activity.  We've been talking a lot about kindness 
and how people shine when they are kind.
I had the kids think of a time they felt good about their own acts of kindness and write them 
inside these little Christmas lights.

                                        This is one of my favorites from last year!

You can find this as well as a Secret Santa of Kind Words 
class activity in my Christmas Kindness Kit 

On Thursday this week we'll have our annual Holiday Book Exchange!  My kids are really looking forward to it!  I send a note home to parents asking them to send in any unwanted books.  We lay them all out and then pick names out of a basket to see which team gets to go first to choose their new book!

Before I go, I want to leave you with a little holiday gift!
Here's a quick and easy holiday activity and door display
perfect for that last week before the break!
click {HERE} or on the picture to grab a 
copy from my TPT shop!

Wishing you the happiest of holidays to you and yours!


  1. I love this unit Linda! We are having so much fun with it. We even decorated our classroom doors to go with the unit. Come check it out!

    1. Hi Heidi! I'm so glad your kiddos are having so much fun! It's been all things gingerbread in my class, too! Your door is adorable, you really went all out!
      Have a restful break and wonderful holiday! You deserve it!

  2. Loving this unit so very much! My kids love it, and we are having so much fun. My whole team is doing some version of Gingerbread stories and we have used the theme to create our classroom doors. Please go check it out!


    1. Thank you so much for all of your kind words and support Heidi! You are so sweet, and I truly appreciate it!
      Your kiddos are so lucky to have you for their teacher!

  3. I love the thinking maps! Will you be adding those to the gingerbread unit on TPT?

    1. Hi there! Yes, the maps are included in the unit with the exception of the brace map. I'll add that one to the unit for you. If you go to your My Purchases page you will see a little flashing notice that says *updated* once a file has been updated or added to. You can then redownload the file. I plan to add some more things, so be sure to check for updates before you use it next year.

      Thank you so much for asking, and I'm thrilled you like it!
      Happy holidays to you and yours!

  4. I love your Escape Prevention Manual! Priceless. :-) I'm a new follower.

    Craft of Teaching

  5. Linda,
    Thanks for linking up with the New Year Linky at I am your newest follower! I love your blog designs...I could learn a thing or two from you..your layouts are so engaging! Sigh...I still have a LOT to learn! Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Ms. M! I you need any help you can always email me. We'll learn together!

  6. Hi Linda!! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog :) I'm thrilled to have found yours, it is fantastic! I am happy to be your newest follower! I can definitly relate to your district test frustrations. We are going to be doing ours on the computer for the first time at the end of this year, ooooh yes, this should be so fun in KINDERGARTEN! Sheesh, whose bright idea was that?! HA! Happy New Year!

  7. Hi Khrys! Kindergarten kiddos on computers for high-stakes testing....CRAZINESS! Our Kinder teachers have older buddies come in to help log everybody in. We make sure everyone has a popsicle stick with their username and password on it for the buddies to type in for them. After that, it's anything goes! The littles just like to click on anything that catches their eye! Oh boy, could it be any more stressful for teachers?
    Thanks for stopping by, friend!