Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Stories & Activities

Hello Blog Friends!  I confess that I have been more of a blog-stalker than an actual blogger this school year.  I have been given 27 little kiddos this year, 10 of whom REALLY struggle, and 8 who are the highest in our grade level.  So, I have been having to slow down, and keep it simple.  Planning has been very time-consuming, trying to reach everyone's needs!

But, it is Christmas time, and I have to bring on the magic!  Christmas time is a great time to push kids a little further with such high interest activities that they don't even notice!  So, I decided to read 14 Christmas stories (one each day), and attach an activity to each.  I wrapped up each book, and we open one each day.   I thought I would share some of what I do with all of you, in case you find any inspirations.   (I copied Amazon links, but I don't have them attached to any affiliate link.)

DAY 1-  Gingerbread Man

We read the Gingerbread Man story, and filled out a graphic organizer on the wall.  I drew a large gingerbread house (not picture-worthy, as I am not the best artist!), and separated it into 3 sections.  We identified the setting and characters of the story and learned that the BEGINNING of a story defines the setting and characters.

We also read, this fun little book, and added it to our graphic organizer:

DAY 2-  Gingerbread Baby, by Jan Brett
We read the beginning of this story, as well, and added to our Gingerbread house organizer.  We discussed who the characters and setting were.   

Then, we began the awesome Gingerbread Science experiment from Babbling Abby.   We filled out the first part, added the gingerbread man to water, and waited.

While we were waiting, we read a Gingerbread man big book.  On the page where the fox eats the gingerbread man, I covered up his picture with white paper, and a note fell out from the gingerbread man!  We had to chase him around the school!  I will include the link here with my gingerbread man poems.  I have them from back when I taught kinder, and I am not sure where the words came from.  I have a feeling, I'm not the original creator, though.  You can edit them for your own use!
Gingerbread Man

When we came back to class, my coworker had left gingerbread cookies for everyone with a note from the gingerbread man in our reading area.  In addition, she uncovered his picture in the book.  It was the cutest thing!  One little boy was just ecstatic, saying "He's real!  He's real!  Do you know what this means?  The gingerbread man is real!"  It made it SO worth the time it took to bake all of the cookies and plan the activity.

We all took just one bite of the gingerbread man, and graphed the part we ate first (apparently we all liked to eat right legs and heads).

Next, we examined our gingerbread man science and completed the worksheet.

It was a wonderful afternoon!

DAY 3-

We completed the Gingerbread Baby story.   First, we reviewed the beginning, by filling out the beginning of a story map together.   Next, we completed the story, and discussed what the big problem was in the story.  We talked about how we often learn the problem in the beginning of a story as well.   Here is the organizer we used.  We drew pictures where there are no lines to write.  (It might not look right online, but if you select "download" it will look the way it is supposed to.)

Gingerbread Man for Retelling Unit

We completed the day by reading Ginberbread Friends together.  The kids just love these stories, and cheer afterward!

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