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Christmas is my favorite time of year, so I decided to focus on my holiday unit. In first grade, we study a few gingerbread books during our unit in December. You can see the books below!
Click these links to grab the books on Amazon.
The kids just LOVE this unit. It usually lasts one full week. I use many read alouds (like the ones listed above). I really enjoy these specific books because they are not the general Gingerbread Man story. These titles give students an experience with a variation of that classic story.
During the week we work on many skills. We compare and contrast characters in stories We look at how the character changes from the beginning to the end of the story. We analyze the differences between two books by the same author. We determine who is talking at various parts of the story. We sequence events and describe character inside and outside character traits. We write about the books and even do gingerbread math activities! Seriously, you can take your students in SO MANY different directions with these picture books. Plus, students always LOVE them. I mean just looking at the covers makes me happy! They are just so fun and engaging when read aloud.
On the very last day of school before our December break, we make gingerbread houses! The children are literally jumping in excitement on this day. To make the gingerbread houses, you will need: milk cartons, graham crackers, holiday candy, icing, and ice cream cones (optional).
You can purchase the milk at the grocery store, and just dump it out, but that is a HUGE waste. I simply ask students to keep their milk cartons at lunch. They then bring them back to the classroom, where I wash them out with soap and water. We designate one section of our counter by the sink as the "Milk Carton Section" and let our dear custodian know so that she doesn't throw them away. As we get closer to the day, our collection grows!
The day before, I wrap all milk cartons with wax paper and hot glue the edges. This allows the icing to stick well. To add to the fun, I purchase ice cream cones so that my students can make trees. I place many different treats in the middle of the table for them to choose from.
You can purchase white and green frosting around the holidays at the grocery store. However, I have also dyed the white frosting with green food coloring. That works fine too! From there I just let them go to work. I let students use skinny popsicle sticks to spread the icing (no knifes allowed!).
I hope you enjoyed our gingerbread houses! Maybe they will inspire you to include gingerbread books in your classroom this year! I promise you, your students will absolutely LOVE the literature and the experiences that you bring to make the books come to life!
(Background from I Teach. What's Your Superpower?, Ornament Clipart from Krista Wallden, Fonts from KG Fonts & Hello Literacy.)