Monday, December 14, 2009

Gingerbread Lane

Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man! How many of us recognize this famous line? Here are some familiar – and some not-so-familiar – gingerbread stories. Mmmmmm…I can smell the gingerbread already!

Happy Eating…oops… I mean... Happy Reading!

  • Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
  • Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
  • The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth
  • The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup (thanks to roseuttmiller for this suggestion!)
  • The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt
  • Musubi Man: Hawaii’s Gingerbread Man by Sandi Takayama
  • The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires
  • The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
  • Gingerbread Land by Katie Grrim
  • The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School by Joan Holub

More Gingerbread Fun

· Gingerbread Collage: Cut gingerbread pattern out of felt or construction paper. Give children various collage items to decorate their gingerbread boy/girl: buttons, sequins, yarn, ribbon, glitter, felt shapes, wrapping paper scraps, etc. You can string the gingerbread people together and hang them in the classroom!

· Gingerbread Play Dough: Make your favorite play dough recipe and add spices (ginger, nutmeg, allspice) to give your play dough a gingery smell!
· Gingerbread Ornaments:
Make gingerbread ornaments (scroll down to the bottom for the gingerbread ornament recipe but save all of the other recipes to use at a later time!)
· Gingerbread Cookies: Jan Bret has a recipe for Gingerbread Baby Cookies and Icing. When you cook with children, it’s always great to have a recipe chart. Here is a gingerbread recipe chart that you can use to create your own chart!
· Runaway Gingerbread: This was always a favorite activity in my classroom. After you make the gingerbread cookies (recipe above) take them to the kitchen to bake. While the children are busy or outside, take the cookies out of the oven and hide them someplace in your center/ school (someplace clean and safe of course!). When you bring the pan to the classroom to show the children they will see that the cookies are missing and have fun away! The class will have to go on a hunt around the school for their cookies! Have other teachers in on the gag so that the teachers can say things like, “I just saw your cookies in my block area…I think they went to the office…” The children will get so tickled at having to search for their cookies!
· Gingerbread Map: After the children have found (and eaten) their cookies, have them make a map of all the places they looked for their cookies!

· Gingerbread House: Visit your local craft store or general merchandise store (or even your local grocery store) and purchase a few gingerbread houses. This is a great way to get the parents involved – invite them in and assign one parent to a small group of children to make a gingerbread house! Of course, after you take plenty of pictures, have fun eating the gingerbread!

· Same and Different: The teacher should print gingerbread cookie patterns – make enough so that you have 5-7 pairs. Decorate each pair of cookies identically with crayons, markers or paint. Laminate the patterns. Have children match up the pairs. For younger children, you can make the pairs more obvious older children, make the differences in the pairs pairs a little more subtle!

· Ginger Journal:
Use this card pattern to make a front/back cover for the journal. Insert blank pages an each day of the unit have children draw/write about a different topic. Some journal topics can include: draw a gingerbread person and give him/her a name, draw a picture of your favorite part of the story, make up a story about your gingerbread person, etc…
· Ginger Bread Cake: Try a simple gingerbread recipe or you can buy gingerbread mix in your grocery store (usually with the brownie and cake mixes).

· Gingerbread Rebus: Make a chart with this rebus story or make up your own with the students!

· Favorite Book Graph: Make a copy of the cover of 3-5 gingerbread books that the class has read. Have children write their names on a small gingerbread pattern and place it next to the story that they like the best. When the graph is complete, have the children count to see which story was the favorite. Use comparison language such as, “What story has the MOST/LEAST votes?”
· Visit these GREAT Jan Brett Links:
Making Gingerbread Baby Cookies

  • Jan reads and draws Gingerbread Baby

  • Gingerbread Baby Board Game

  • Interactive online gingerbread house

  • Gingerbread Mural Patterns

  • Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Holiday Celebrations in Preschool

    So many schools and early childhood centers find themselves trying to be so culturally fair that we erase holidays from our curriculum altogether. We have become so afraid of offending someone that some of us just act as if the holidays don’t exist. To that I say, BAH HUMBUG!

    Now do not misunderstand me. We MUST be culturally sensitive to the children and families we work with each day. We cannot decorate a Christmas tree in our classroom and ignore the fact that some families may not celebrate the holiday. Holidays are a time of joy and wonder. Many children are excited about their Christmas trees, Hanukkah presents, or Kwanzaa kinaras. And for us to simply ignore that excitement is unfair. Preschoolers should be allowed to share their excitement with each other. This is one way that children will learn about each other. We have to learn about and embrace our differences if we are to learn acceptance.

    Here are some suggestions for having an inclusive and culturally relevant December in your preschool:

    1. Start by talking to your students’ parents. Survey them or speak to them individually. Ask them what type of traditions they share. Ask them if there is any part of their celebration that they would like to share with the classroom.
    2. Refrain from taking the tourist approach to holidays (“This is how Jewish children celebrate Hanukkah” and “This is how African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa”). You must recognize that not all families celebrate the same holidays in the same way. You cannot stereotype a group of people and they way they may or may not celebrate. So rather than sharing stereotypes, just have the children talk about how they celebrate in their homes. Make it personal!
    3. If you have children in your class that are Jehovah’s Witnesses, talk with their families about how they recommend holidays be addressed. Some families often have celebrations that are not attached to a specific holiday. Be respectful and hopefully the parents will see that you are genuinely trying to be inclusive.
    4. Avoid the “Party Spiral.” Don’t spend all month talking about all of the Winter Holidays only to end up having a Christmas Party as your culminating activity! This sends the message that while all of the other holidays are “nice,” Christmas must be the most important so we have to have a party!
    5. Do not dedicate the whole month of December to holidays. By the third week, the children will be on holiday overload!
    6. Focus on things that the holidays have in common: many celebrations include lights/candles of some kind, the gift of giving/love/kindness, etc. Have children collect toys or gloves for those that are less fortunate (or some other type of community service).
    7. Realize that each year, with each group of students, your Holiday discussions will be different – and they should be! Personalize and Individualize!!!!

    Below are some holiday books that I enjoy and a few more that my Twitter Followers recommend. During this busy season, never forget to take the time to curl up with a good book. And when you are doing your shopping, remember to pick up a good BOOK (no assembly required)!

    Season’s "Readings"

    · The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
    · The Polar Express by Chris Van Alls burg
    · The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
    · The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
    · If You Take A Mouse to the Movies (Special Christmas Edition) by Laura Numeroff
    · Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
    · Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini
    · Merry Christmas Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
    · The Seven Days of Kwanzaa by Melrose Cooper
    · My First Kwanza Book by Deborah Chocolate
    · The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
    · Christmas Around the World by Mary Lankford
    · Light the Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas by Margaret Moorman
    · Lights of Winter by Heather Conrad
    · Christmas Around the World: A Pop-Up Book by Chuck Fischer

    Twitter Faves

    · How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (amandagarces and Mozeeski)
    · ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (MariaV2B)
    · Corduroy’s Christmas by Don Freeman (lovelyladylibra)
    · The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (IdealECE , mpreble1 and YTherapySource)
    · All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root (VividScope)
    · My First Kwanzaa by Deborah Chocolate (VividScope)
    · Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera (jstano1)
    · Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup (roseuttmiller)
    · Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh (Librariansview)
    · Santa’s Stuck by Rhonda Greene (BabetteR)
    · Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson (libmaryann)


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