Gingerbread Celebration

Wooden gingerbread house craft

We finished our gingerbread literacy unit today with a fun celebration. Before I get to the activities from today, I want to share a little bit more about the gingerbread unit. We began by learning about the history of gingerbread and then moved into reading more than a dozen versions of the folktale The Gingerbread Man. These versions included The Gingerbread Girl, The Gingerbread Boy, The Gingerbread Pirate, The Runaway Latkes, The  Runaway Rice Cake, The Runaway Dreidel, Stop that Pickle!, The Gingerbread Baby, The Gingerbread Cowboy, and MORE!! We compared the characters, setting, and plot of these stories. Students also used their five senses to explore a gingerbread cookie. Throughout the unit, we completed two experiments. First, we tried to figure out why the gingerbread cookie would rely on the fox to cross the river. We put a gingerbread cookie in water and watched what happened. It quickly became clear that the poor cookie would disintegrate!  Next, we each made a hypothesis on which liquid would dissolve the gingerbread cookie the fastest. Here is a time-lapse of that experiment:

The liquids we used (going clockwise from the top) were water, milk, apple juice, and rootbeer soda.

Back to today’s celebration! For Friday Fun, there were three activities: making a gingerbread necklace, building 3D shapes using gumdrops and toothpicks, and designing and painting a wooden gingerbread house.

A student beads a gingerbread necklace.

Students use gumdrops and toothpicks to create 3D shapes.

They used their Gingerbread Notebooks to record how many gumdrops and toothpicks they used for each shape.

Finally, students designed and painted wooden gingerbread houses. I found this project a few weeks ago and was so excited to bring it into the classroom. It took some prep, and thankfully, I have a handy husband. He cut different shapes and sizes of wood. I then sanded each one to get rid of any splinters or sharp edges.

Next, I stained each piece of wood with a rich brown wood stain.

My six-year-old son, 16-year-old daughter, and I each created a prototype.

During our celebration, students first used paper and pencil to design.

Students then sketched their designs on the wood using a pencil.

Pencil sketch

Next, students used a paint pen to trace over their pencil lines.

Finally, they painted their roofs white.

I just LOVE how these turned out!

Next year, this will be one of the first projects we do in December so that we can have them up during our unit!


Busy Little Elves!

The kindergarten students had a big surprise when they arrived at school today….our classroom had transformed into an Elves Workshop!

Each student had an elf hat on their desk. (Would you believe I glued the ears all on UPSIDE DOWN?! Yikes! We all got a good laugh about that!)

I had four activities planned for the students.

Students wrapped the gifts that they made for their parents. This was great fine motor work!

After wrapping their gifts, students chose ribbon to add flair and created a personalized gift tag.

Another activity was a hidden word activity where students used magnifying glasses to find CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words hidden in the picture of an elf.

Students also used unifix cubes to measure gifts.

The final activity had students searching the classroom for stockings. They read each CVC word, found the matching picture on the recording sheet, and then wrote the word.

I absolutely adored hearing the students’ excitement and responses to the activities. After we had completed the workshop stations, I gave students a few minutes to decorate their desks. This was perhaps the best gift yet:

Have I mentioned just how much I LOVE my job?!

December Morning Exploring

We are four rotations into our December Morning Exploring activities, and the individual storage boxes have been a very successful way to keep the activities organized during COVID. A focus this month is for students to use the instructions insert to help remind them how the activity works, therefore building independence with their learning. Students are loving these fine motor building activities and look forward to them each morning.

Addition Practice: Students sort the erasers in the container and record how many of each they have. Then they add the two numbers together.

Students roll two dice and add that number of water beads to the cookie cutters.

An added surprise is that the water beads held their shapes, creating a festive shape!

Students choose a card that has a picture of a CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) word. They find the letters that spell the word, link them together, and then write the word.

Polka dot painting with a cotton swab helps strengthen fine motor skills in a super engaging way!

Students choose a number and then link the cards that show the value of the number.

This missing addend activity has students choosing a number card and building that number using a ten frame and bells. Then, the students must solve the missing addend equation.

The sight word chains activity is a real winner as it has students reading and stamping high-frequency words and folding and taping rings to make a chain.

Students choose a card that has a picture of a CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) word. They find the letters that spell the word, link them together, and then write the word.

I love the students’ engagement in these activities and appreciate how their independence is growing, making it possible for me to read with each student individually daily.

Happy 50th Day of School!

We finally celebrated our 50th day of school, and I am beyond thrilled that we have been in person for all 50 days! I had a really fun time decorating the room yesterday after the students left for the day. Take a peek!

I loved watching the students excitedly come into the classroom this morning. There were so many squeals of joy and “oooohhh’s!” I was grateful that the students trickled in slowly, so I was able to take individual photos of each cool cat with their masks off.


During one of our activity stations this morning, students went outside and learned how to blow a bubblegum bubble.

It was hard work! Look at our class results:

Students also learned how to make a rootbeer float. I love this craftivity!

Students practiced sequencing the three steps, using the words first, next, last.

Then we had to enjoy our own rootbeer floats! (Not to worry, parents! I made the floats with two small scoops of ice cream!)

We also took time to write about wanting fifty of something. There were some really creative ideas!

From learning how to Hand Jive, to hula hooping, to learning about the differences between life in the 1950’s and today, I’d say we had a really successful and FUN 50th day of school!