Monday, February 29, 2016

The Gingerbread Boy, Part 2

February Week 4

We started out this week reading The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray.

This is a very cute story about a class baking a gingerbread man, who runs away from the classroom. He gets lost while the children are at recess, and visits several staff members and various rooms before returning to his classroom.

We also read Catch that Cookie by Hallie Durand, which has a very similar story line and is equally entertaining.

The Lost Gingerbread Man

After reading to my kids, I showed them a gingerbread man cookie I had baked the night before. I told them we would decorate it and share it after lunch.

But when we returned from lunch, the cookie was missing and we found this note!

LOST! Posters

Like the children in the story, we promptly created signs to inform the rest of the school that our gingerbread man was missing!

They read, "Lost! If you find him, bring him to Kindergarten."

On Tuesday, this message was on our whiteboard. We took a long walk around the school to look for him, and ask a few staff members if they had seen him.

First Bite Graph

We created a graph to decide where we would like to bite the gingerbread cookie first!

Their reasoning was hilarious- "We have to bite his leg so he can't run away anymore!" and "We have to bite his head off so he can't see where he's going!"

Wednesday they had a writing prompt: "I think the Gingerbread Man is...". We reread the original Gingerbread Man story, and for the first time, I had the kids run the puppet show on their own. The narrator did an awesome job!

The Cookie Hunt

Thursday we had a new message awaiting us in our classroom after lunch:
The kids knew right away to check the library! He wasn't there, but left us another note.

This was an easy one too- the office. No gingerbread man, but we did find the Principal and another teacher, who were so intrigued they decided to follow us around for the rest of the search! Here's the note that was in the office-

To the lunchroom/gym- where the middle school kids were having P.E. Most of us stood aside while I sent one student to grab the clue- to avoid injury caused by stray basketballs. :)

This one was tough! Some children suggested we go back to the kitchen, and others suggested the post office! I let them brainstorm until someone finally figured out that it must be the staff room.

They were SO excited about this, and we literally could not keep them from running noisily down the hall back to our classroom! After a quick search, they found our Gingerbread Man, and a plate of his friends, along with a final note.

We began playtime, and one by one, I had the kids come over and decorate their cookie.

When centers were done, we skipped our computer lab time for the day and instead enjoyed our cookies and a quick movie. We reviewed our "First Bite" graph to determine what part we should bite first

I'd never seen some of the kids so excited! One of the parents told me later that her son had been talking about the Gingerbread Man all week, and she's sure it will be something he'll remember for the rest of his life. Hearing that made my day and made all the extra work so worth it!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Gingerbread Boy, Part 1

February Week 3

We continued our Paul Galdone author study this week, and read his version of The Gingerbread Boy.

We also read The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth.

The characters differ a little, but both these versions are good.

Next we read one of my favorites, Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett.

In this version, instead of the Gingerbread Baby being eaten at the end, he is made a Gingerbread House to live in.

If I Were a Gingerbread Boy/Girl

The kids wrote about what kind of gingerbread boy or girl they would be.

The templates for these are available for free on TpT.

Story Retelling

We made simple popsicle stick puppets together (templates here), and I created a stage from a box.

This is honestly my first true attempt at doing puppetry and plays with children. I am taking Sally Haughey's dramatic arts class through her website, Fairy Dust Teaching, and I highly recommend it! This is the 4th online course I've taken with her. Truly valuable stuff.

For a couple days I told the whole story with puppets (and without the book) by myself. The next few days, I had kids volunteer to be characters, and I narrated. On Friday, I heard the kids retelling the entire story in the reading center during playtime. This is the first time I've ever seen them be able to do this! Love it!

Gingerbread Man Addition

To integrate some math, we did some Gingerbread Man button addition. For some reason they all wanted to make angry cookies!

 Gingerbread Houses

We spent about 40 minutes creating some incredible Gingerbread House drawings. My kids are getting so awesome at visual discrimination and following directions, while still managing to be creative.

We gathered on the carpet for this project with pencils, paper, and clipboards. I opened The Gingerbread Baby to the last page with the gingerbread house.

I modeled drawing each shape and line step-by-step. They showed me a thumbs up when they were ready to move on.

When we finished sketching, we each grabbed a sharpie and traced our pencil lines.

After tracing, children filled in their drawing with watercolor. 

I worked alongside the kids for the painting portion. I found that this works better in some situations- the kids that want more guidance can check on me, while those who don't need guidance can just get to work. Another benefit- I don't have to rush. I'm modeling taking my time with my work.

Learning How to Draw from an Author/Illustrator

Thursday we watched Jan Brett's video, "How to Draw a Gingerbread Boy," and later they wrote about their freshly laminated gingerbread house paintings. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood

February Week 2

Last week we reread several of Paul Galdone's books and reviewed them. At this point in the year we are already familiar with Henny Penny, Cat Goes Fiddle-i-Fee, The Three Little Kittens, The Little Red Hen, and The Three Little Pigs.

This week we focused mainly on Little Red Riding Hood.

This is one of Paul Galdone's books that I'm really not fond of. I find it a little too wordy and don't think it flows incredibly well. 

So we read this version by James Marshall as well, which I like much better. The illustrations are whimsical and there are several places in the story where the kids just crack up.

Book Reviews

This is the form I use for reviews. The kids color the number of stars they think the book deserves, and then draw about a character or scene that they liked.

Character & Setting Art

We did a Deep Dark Woods craft to learn about character and setting. The kids love wolves so they were into it! The idea was from Bubbles Academy. They cut their own trees from half sheets of brown paper and Nature Paper from Lakeshore Learning. I had templates made for them of the moon, wolf, and red riding hood.

Character Profiles

We also completed a Character Profile for the Big Bad Wolf. This is part of my Little Red Riding Hood Unit I have on TpT. They love this.

This student said the big bad wolf is "mad, very mad." His favorite food is pizza and his favorite game is playing with cars.

This big bad wolf's favorite food is penguin, and favorite game is tag.

Story Sequencing and Retelling

Finally, we made our own finger puppets. I found a free, adorable template on Krokotak.

I put out our puppet theater so the kids could act out the story during centers. It was a big hit!


Book List

Besides the two books above, we also read:


Pretty Salma by Niki Daly



Lon Popo by Ed Young

Friday, February 26, 2016

Jack and the Beanstalk

February Week 1

This week in math we learned about measurement. They catch on to this pretty quickly, so we don't spend too much time on it.

To make it fun, we use the Jack and the Beanstalk story. :)

First, of course, we read the story.

Beanstalk Craft

Next, to get them talking about the story, we made a picture of Jack up in the clouds. We also did a little writing in our journals to tell whether we would climb the beanstalk, and what we would do once we were up there.


Giant Hand Measurement

We now do math in small groups in my classroom. That way, kids get more 1:1 attention and we get done faster, which means more time for play!

We estimated the unifix cube height of the giant hand (and our own hands traced inside), and then checked if we were right.

Above is an example of a child's estimates.

Giant Foot Measurement

I made a mistake with this one- I made the "Giant Foot" too small! Some of the kids had bigger feet than the template. They didn't mind though!

The children found tracing their feet challenging, but their estimates greatly improved the second time around.

Thanks to Fairy Dust Teaching for these ideas. :)