Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gingerbread Unit Review

Gingerbread Fun

We read several different Gingerbread stories and compared and contrasted how they were they the same and different from each other.   The students also really worked hard on identifying characters, setting, problem, solution and details of the stories that we read.  We also did many different activities to make learning reading, writing, math and science concepts fun and meaningful for the student's during the month of December.  We wrapped up the unit by doing a Gingerbread hunt (the Gingerbread men ran away!).  Here are some pictures we took during the unit and descriptions of what the students learned during these activities.
 Some of the students made 3-D Gingerbread houses like they learned about in The Gingerbread Baby to learn about flat shapes (squares) and 3-D shapes (cubes).  This hands-on activities helped build fine motor skills while reinforcing math concepts.  This activity also helped them recall details from one of our gingerbread stories.

 Many of the children became frustrated trying to make the graham crackers stick together and used problem solving skills, team work and advanced vocabulary while trying to figure out ways to engineer their structures.

We also did a non-standard measurement unit during December and it was easy to use our Gingerbread theme to help the students make connections.  The students used a variety of objects to measure items around the rooms.  One of the learning centers for math involved measuring Gingerbread cut outs of different shapes.  The students were encouraged to find different ways to measure the gingerbread men.  Math vocabulary such as length, width, height, are and perimeter were used during this activity.  We used different sized marshmallows over several days to show that measurement depends on your tools.

The students were also encouraged to make estimate how many marshmallows they thought it would take to measure.  They then had to fact check their estimation.  The students worked independently and in groups to do this exercise.

The students labeled the Gingerbread man during Writing Workshop to practice sounding out words and using labels to help the reader understand what they are writing.

Salt was used as fake "snow" with alphabet and popcorn word cards to help students with letter formation and popcorn word recognition.  This made practicing these difficult fine motor skills much more fun!  Some used fingers and some used tongue depressors to write the words.

Pretend "gingerbread dough" in dramatic play and dough stampers were used to make words, blend sounds and practice popcorn words.

In dramatic play they re-enacted details from several of the gingerbread stories we read during Reading Workshop to increase comprehension skills, retelling in sequence, remembering details and using vocabulary to strengthen speaking and writing.
"Run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!"
We started practicing the foundations of sentence structure in Writing Workshop making sure we put finger spaces between our words when writing.  We practiced as a group on write-on/wipe-off boards to understand how much space should be put between words so the reader can read our words.


To wrap up the unit we had a Gingerbread Tasting Party with Gingerbread Cookies, but before we could try them they ran away, just like in some of the books we read!

We came back from lunch and found crumbs where the cookies had been.  We searched all over the school looking for them!  They ran away from every Kindergarten classroom!

 We looked everywhere for clues to try to find them.  We observed liked scientists to try to figure out where they could have gone!
We made signs and posted them around the school like in the book The Gingerbread Man Loose In School that we read.

We built traps and placed animal crackers out like in The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers hoping that having animal friends waiting for them might lure them back to our rooms!

We placed our Gingerbread Houses out hoping giving them a home like in one of our Gingerbread stories we read by Jan Brett would cause the Gingerbread Men to come back!

We made beautiful Gingerbread Houses for our cookies hoping they would like them and come back.

We made Gingerbread Friends for our Gingerbread boys and girls to play with in dramatic play hoping that would make our cookies want to come back.

In the end it worked and after Specials classes, when we returned, they had all come back to every Kindergarten Class!  They students were so excited.  What they had learned and remembered from reading all of those different Gingerbread books helped them solve a problem and find a solution, just like in the characters in the stories we read!  This was a great text to self connection.  It was also a great way to apply what they had learned to a real life problem and realize that what we learn in books can help us in our life and help us use that knowledge to solve problems.
These are some of the books we read during our Gingerbread Unit.  We used these books, which part of the Gingerbread Man we ate first and other fun concepts to reinforce what we had learned in math about graphing.  Below is one example of a graph we created in one of the classrooms.
In this graph the students voted on which Gingerbread book they enjoyed the most during the unit.  We then graphed each response to find out which story the class liked the most (expanding math vocabulary), the least, how many votes each book had, how many votes total and how many books all together and total.  This was a way to visually organize and compare their data!
The unit was a huge success and the students learned so much.  We hope you enjoyed this little view into some of our December learning objectives and we hope this gives you some ideas of how you can support these concepts at home.