Monday, December 5, 2011

Gingerbread and some other random thoughts...

I know, I know...I promised to tell you what we were doing with gingerbread, but seriously, it just slipped my mind.   I'm not trying to lead you on - really!  So, let's see, in reading we began by reading the classic The Gingerbread Man  and practiced visualizing the story in our heads.  It was really funny to watch the kids close their eyes and "watch the movie in their minds".  Some of them would laugh and point at the scenes they were playing in their heads (at times, I wondered what movie they were watching...).  We also worked on retelling and sequencing the story.  Throughout the week, we also read these favorites:

        Gingerbread Baby    

The kids really love the different versions and comparing each one.  I had planned on making gingerbread men for our gingerbread exchange last week, but...well - you know how that goes.  So, we will be making Florida gingerbread men this week. They'll have shorts, sunglasses and surfboards. These are so fun to make and the kids love getting gingerbread men from all over the country.  When they start coming in, we make a huge U.S. map and put each gingerbread man on the state it is from.  If you've never done a gingerbread man exchange, you need to try it.  It's a great way for the kids to learn about the different states/regions of our country.  I'll post pics once they all come in!
One of the activities we did at our word work center during gingerbread week was one that I adapted from a mailbox magazine activity.  Basically, I took these:
(gingerbread men cutouts from Carson Dellosa)

and on each one wrote a word with a missing vowel (for example: cl__b).  Then, on paper peppermint candies like this: 
I wrote the vowels (one on each candy).  The students had to choose which vowel fit in the blank to make a word.  I let them know that sometimes, there could be more than one right answer and challenged them to see if they could find the ones that had multiple answers.  I asked them just to write the extra words on the back of their recording sheet.  I did make a sheet for the words that I made, although it would be super easy to make your own if you want to use different words.  Also, I tried to focus on words with blends since that was the phonics skill we were working on at the time.  Feel free to grab a copy here (if you do, please leave me some feedback and let me know what you think):
My Sweet Words
I included a page with some gingerbread men in case you didn't have any. I would just print them out and laminate. Then, you can change the words as you wish. If you want a word version of this sheet, just send me your email address and I'll send it to you.

Now onto the random...
  This week, we are learning about Christmas Around the World.  We study Mexico, Sweden, Holland, and Italy.  One of the art activities we do is to make paper poinsettias for Mexico.  These turn out sooo pretty.  I wish I had a picture, but I forgot to take one today.  I'll take one tomorrow and post a picture and the templates so you can make your own.  For Sweden, we take die cut leaves, a sentence strip and some die cut candles to make a St. Lucia headband.  Just glue the leaves and candles onto the sentence strip and staple to make a headband.  The kids love wearing these around at our Christmas party.  When we do Italy, we make a paper witch, La Befana, and when we do Holland, the kids glue wooden shoe clip art to paper and you can either have them glue hay and carrots in the shoe (paper, of course.  Although real hay might be neat...) or you can have them cut out pictures of presents they would like to get and glue them in the shoes. 

On another note, every year I make an advent calendar for my kids.  They love opening the boxes each day and finding the surprise inside.  I've used lots of different ones over the years, but I wanted to share the one we're using this year.  I wanted to take the emphasis off of "things" this year and focus more on quality family time.  I found this idea on Pinterest:

What's cool about it is that in each pocket is a family activity that we can do together.  So far this month, the tags in my kids' pocket have read:
Decorate the tree
Lunch at McDonald's
Family game of baseball
Make Christmas treats
Christmas party at Girl Scouts

I love this idea not only because it gives us the chance at a normally crazy time to spend some quality time together, but also because I don't have to spend time and money searching for little toys/candy that they really didn't need anyway!  If you go to my Christmas board on Pinterest, you can find the original link for more ideas.

Finally, my kids and I were making Christmas treats tonight for our first grade bake sale tomorrow (and "make Christmas treats" was our advent calendar tag today - kill 2 birds with one stone...).  We decided to make another Pinterest inspired idea (yes, I am a Pinterest addict):
They were soooo easy.  Just powdered donuts, orange M&M's and mini chocolate chips.  I think we might make these at our Christmas party too!


  1. Love the gingerbread missing vowel idea, and the advent calendar with things to do......feeling like time is flying and my kids will be all grown up soon this would be a great way to make sure we make the most of our time during the holidays! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. LOVE your advent calendar. Another reason I miss having little ones around who would enjoy that fun stuff. They grow up TOO fast!

    I'm your newest follower.
    Dragonflies in First

  3. I just awarded you with the Liebster award-thanks for giving me this fun award! Johanna

    First Grade Fanatic!