How is it already December?! I mean seriously, it’s crazy how fast this year has gone by! Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am guessing your students have been amped up this week. They are excited and anxious, all at the same time. Maybe they are having a hard time focusing. Sound familiar?
This is an exact description of what my classroom was like in December. I needed to direct that excitement into something seasonal and fun so I thought…gingerbread man activities! I LOVE gingerbread man books and there are SO many variations to choose from. I love their repetition, but with a surprising twist. I love that they lend beautifully to text connections and compare and contrast. Also, isn’t it the best when your students can chorally read along with you? They are engaged!
I spread out the gingerbread activities over two weeks, but you can do these activities however you want, depending on the amount of time you have. Since my students are learning and mastering concepts with these gingerbread activities I am willing to table some things to make the time in our schedule for these fun activities.
So, let the gingerbread games begin! Here’s how I reel in my students in the month of December by planning fun gingerbread-themed reading and writing activities.
Gingerbread Man Activities to Teach Compare and Contrast for Reading Comprehension
This is a quick break down of how I use different gingerbread man stories to teach compare and contrast for reading comprehension:
- We read the story
- I always start with an older classic that most students are familiar with.
- I will choose some favorites and have students vote on others they want to hear.
- Keep all versions we have read out for kids to explore.
- There are also various stories to read online, too!
- I remind the students of the different elements involved in a fictional narrative. I use my mentor posters for visuals as we do this.
- I leave posters up for the remainder of the unit.
- We walk through the different story elements of the book we read.
- I have done this in multiple ways, but we read another version so we can compare.
- Read back to back depending on the length
- Read another later in the day where there is a natural break, after recess, during snack etc.
- We complete a Venn diagram whole group. (I record ideas on the board they copy)
- I typically won’t do this more than twice. That’s a lot of writing and after two Venn diagrams, the kids can typically able to prove their understanding of the similarities and differences through discussion.
- Students may complete an additional comprehension extension dependent on what we need to review.
- I have an engaging gingerbread guided reading bundle that has great comprehension resources)
There are so many great versions of the classic gingerbread man story that are great resources to teach compare and contrast for reading comprehension. Click here to view the ones I’ve used with my students in my Amazon store! (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Gingerbread Man Themed Narrative Writing
I created a Gingerbread Narrative Writing Unit with everything you would need to keep your students on track and excited while writing their own unique versions of the gingerbread man.
- First, we revisit the story elements from the different versions we read to inspire unique features they may want to include in their own stories.
- Then we brainstorm a very rough version of our stories.
- My biggest recommendation is to break apart every section of the story.
- On one day we will plan our characters, their traits, and the problem.
- The next day we work on the beginning. We all know that the narrative genre can lead to classic never-ending stories, and by breaking the elements apart we can avoid this.
- By the time you are working through the middle and into the end, your students will be showing so much independence and (no joke) asking not to stop!
- After we are done doing some small edits (they are big stories) I have published in many ways.
- I have had kids orally read and parent volunteers type. (this is a great at-home volunteer project)
- I have had kids partner with a 5th grader and collaborate during the typing process.
- I have also had kids dictate to me and I type
- I have also made it an at-home project to type the final draft (if parents have a computer)
More Gingerbread Man Activities for Science and Math!
I also love to incorporate gingerbread into other areas of the curriculum, like science and math! My gingerbread fun pack includes science, multiple math activities, and coloring choices!
For example, we love to snack on gingerbread cookies so why not incorporate some learning into that?! Each student receives a gingerbread man and for my gluten allergy kiddos a gingerbread marshmallow (found on Amazon or Target), and a blank graph. We count down from 3 and all take one bite. You have to bite a leg, arm, or head. We then take turns reporting and graphing what part of the gingerbread man we ate. I cannot tell you how many laughs we get, it’s pretty dang cute.
However, before we eat our gingerbread buddies we measure the height, width, and perimeter of our gingerbread men using mini marshmallows.
Lastly, we do some fun science over a couple of days watching our gingerbread men break down in the water. We have tried different types or brands of cookies as well as different liquids. It’s pretty fun to have that going on in the background and surprising how long that gingerbread can hold it together. Ha!
The kids love all the gingerbread things we do and I honestly enjoy it so much myself. I love that it offers something with a winter them that doesn’t have to directly involve a holiday. The kids are engaged and excited to see what we will read next or what surprise activity I have in store. My favorite part is hearing the excitement in their voice as they read their own gingerbread man stories to me and their peers.