I have to start this post out with some wonderful news. I have now switched from being a caregiver to returning to the wonderful world of day care and teaching. I am so excited to be back, I am finding far more ideas are flowing through my veins, as I try to get ready for those little minds waiting for me at school the next day. I am currently working with kids ages 18 months to 5 years. A wide range depending on the day.
I do have to apologize. I have not been posting because in the transition to my new position, I also had to transition my father in law to a memory care center, and I had transition three girls to having mommy go back to work. It was a very hard decision, but enjoying it any ways.
Now, to get to what you came to this site for. After a week and a half. I finally got to start imputing my ideas into the classroom again. The first theme that I was asked to help with was Gingerbread man day. I have always wanted to do this but never got a chance till now.
Gingerbread play dough: I have a confession, I am a play dough enthusiast, if I can turn a theme into play dough, I will. This theme just lead to a perfect play dough experience. I jumped at the chance to make gingerbread play dough. I did not have a recipe, so I looked for one on line and I found the perfect dough. I found it at Prek pages.com. This site is what I dream to become some day. In any case, their play dough was amazing, even though I didn’t have a 1/4 cup of salt and I forgot to color it. Other than that it smelled great and the kids loved playing with it. With this center I included things like rolling pins, ginger bread man cookie cutters, buttons, ribbons, and beads. Anything that they could use to decorate their gingerbread men.
Ginger bread Counting:
Prep: This simple activity seemed to really be received well by the students. I used a sheet pan pretty much just for decoration but also to help keep the beads on the table. I simply used a card board box. Used my Christmas Gingerbread cookie cutters, traced them onto the cardboard. Then I cut them out. This was the trickiest part in the prep work. Then I just added some eyes and a mouth, and a number. I did the numbers 1-6 because I was doing this with 2 to 3 year olds. Next you need to find buttons for the kids to use or other small decorations that they can add. Pom poms are a little bit big, unless you get the tiny ones. Pony beads would work. The kids really liked picking out the buttons they wanted to put on each one. It also worked on spatial reasoning, because you couldn’t pick the great big buttons for numbers 5 and 6 they wouldn’t fit.
How it works: I lay the “cookies” on the tray, and then call the kids one at a time during free play. I work with them to identify the numbers if they need help, then let them add the correct number of buttons. If you did not want to write numbers on the gingerbread men, I thought that you might be able to use a foam dice. Then they can identify the number on the dice, and add that many buttons to the ginger bread man. Then move on to the next one.
Hint: You can leave the ginger bread men and the tray in the dramatic play area, and play bakery for the week.
Ginger bread man Shapes:
I also found this amazing sight that had an awesome unit for gingerbread men. The site is called “life over C’s”. She had this amazing game where they had to match random objects with shapes that were gingerbread men. The kids loved it. It also helped us identify kids who were struggling with shapes. The older kids were asked to try and recognize the shape with the name on another card. I made this into a memory game.
If you are extremely brave, you could make real gingerbread cookies. I did not have the opportunity to do this but, some of you are much braver than I. How does this apply to math? Well, it works on measuring, counting, and sequencing.
Speaking of sequencing there was an awesome printable that I got from Mailbox Magazine. Honestly, one of my favorite places for ideas, whether you do it old school, or you do it online. Mailbox magazine is a great resource. Here is the link to Mailboxmagazine.com.
To introduce my science project, I talk about how I like to dunk my cookies in milk. I then ask how many of them like to dunk their cookies in milk? Finally, I lead into our project.
I put three cups in front of my students. I put milk in cup A. I put water in cup B. Then I put Vinegar in cup C.
I go through the scientific process: Theory, which liquid do you think will dissolve the ginger bread man? I write it down on our chart. Observation: Then we watch the gingerbread melt through out the class period. Finally, we write down what we observed, by drawing what we saw left in the cup.
Then we discuss why one might have dissolved the cookie faster. As a final joke, I ask if they think they would like to have water or vinegar with their cookies, they all shout no!
Visit a Bakery: Talk to a baker about what their job all entails. Visit the bakery. I like to see if the bakery would be willing to let the kids tour the back, maybe even help bake something or decorate something. This is a fun experience for the kids and helps them learn more about their community around them.
Make your Dramatic play area into a bakery. I include more cookie sheets. Pretend cookies, breads, cakes, and pies. I try to find a mixer, oven mitts, chefs hats, and wooden spoons. I also include a white board that they can write prices on. I try to include a cash register so the customers can buy their supplies. I also try to include a small table with a white table cloth, and a small plastic vase with faux flowers.
Gingerbread Man: The Traditional Tale. There is a great version, by Karen Schmidt.
The Gingerbread Baby: by Jann Brett
The Gingerbread Girl: Lisa Campbell Ernst
The Gingerbread Pirates: Kristin Kladstrup
Gingerbread Friends: Jann Brett
Gingerbread Movements: I write down the famous ginger bread words, “Run, Run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the ginger bread man.” I leave the run, run parts blank. Then I fill in what ever movements I want them to work on. Example: “Skip, Skip, as fast as you can you can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread man.”
Gingerbread man song: Jack Hartman.
Gingerbread for Santa
By: Abby Gaulke
1 little, 2 little, 3 little Gingerbread, 4 little, 5 little, 6 little Gingerbread, 7 little, 8 little, 9 little Gingerbread, 10 little Gingerbread for Santa.
I thought a good bible lesson for this unit would be the story of Jesus raising Lazarus.
This is the story where Jesus is was out teaching when his friends Mary and Martha sent word their brother Lazarus was very ill. Jesus waited 3 days to go visit, when he got there his friend Lazarus was dead. Martha ran out to meet Jesus to let him know about her brother, she confessed that she knew her brother would be raised in heaven one day. This is the one lesson that also has the shortest verse in the bible, Jesus wept. This verse shows Jesus’ human side. Then after that he told them to roll the stone away. He called out to Lazarus in a loud voice. Lazarus come out. When Jesus did this, Lazarus came out perfect, as if he had just been asleep. Word spread quickly of this miracle.
I talk to the kids like lazarus and the cookies we bake, we are dead in our sin. But because of Jesus death, we are changed and made a live ready to live for our savior and share the good news of our salvation with all those around us.