The Gingerbread Boy

Our class had a blast this past week tying language and visual literacy skills to the story of the Gingerbread Boy. First, we read many versions of the classic tale:

Gingerbread books

Then we visually analyzed the content, looking for similarities and differences regarding the characters and settings, and recorded our findings:

Gingerbread analysis

The children decided that they wanted to bake their own gingerbread person, so they collaborated on putting together the dough and decorating it. We all went down to the kitchen to slide it in the oven. When it was finished, we all went down to take it out, but…THE PAN WAS VIRTUALLY EMPTY! Just some crumbs, and a couple of raisins. Hmmm…Had our gingerbread character escaped?

The children devised all sorts of brilliant traps to catch the little cookie. Here is an example of a picture that Jack and Esme drew to get the attention of our gingerbread kid. Jack hooked a candy cane over the top of their drawing for added attraction. We later found the candy cane gone and what looked like a cookie foot below it. We also got a note on our whiteboard which smugly claimed, “HA! HA! HA! You’ll NEVER catch me!”. “How rude!” the children thought.

Gingerbread trap

Dutch, after pondering whether the cookie had a nose for smelling peppermint, thought to prop up the top of a pizza box with a candy cane to see if we could trap the little fellow. Meanwhile, William placed another candy cane on a nubby seat cushion, which did result in finding one of the gingerbread kid’s hands. (The class split this up and ate it!) We did catch a glimpse of the little fellow peeking out from around a corner:

Peeking aroung the corner

Finally, after a long and thoughtful class meeting, the students devised a wonderful plan…They decided to build a gingerbread house in block center, decorate it with fake gingerbread cookies, and make little heart-shaped cupcakes as a trail for our gingerbread person to follow to the house. Here,  Harleaux and Cassie are preparing some of the “treats”:

Harleaux making cupcakesCassie making cupcakes

Luke and Levi spent their entire center time constructing an elaborate house to entice our cookie friend. They even built a bedroom, complete with a soft mattress, pillow, and “lovies”. They wanted it to be so comfortable that the gingerbread person would fall fast asleep.

gingerbread bed

We went outside for recess, and when we reentered the classroom, the children tiptoed over and pulled off the covers. There it was, partially broken, fast asleep, and ready to be eaten!

Gingerbread boy before eating


Artist in Residence

As a teacher who emphasizes visual literacy, it is always a thrill to find that one of your student’s parents is a professional artist. Our class came to know the abstract painting process of Ursula Lyon when she visited the classroom last month. Harleaux’s mom brought in a large canvas, a HUGE drop cloth, many, many colors of paint, cups, and NO PAINTING TOOLS.

Ursula pushed aside the furniture and spread her drop cloth in the center of the room. She invited the children to remove their shoes and join her around the canvas. She read the fabulous Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet, which asks children to use their imaginations to “combine” paint colors as they read. The kids loved it.

Next, she had the children come up one at a time, and select a cup of paint that exemplified their favorite colors. Once instructed to dump, the children took turns splashing the canvas with color!

throwing paint

Next, Ursula, assisted by her daughter, lifted the canvas and started to spin it.

tilting the painting

The children oohed and ahhed at the transformation.

class painting

Later, the class shared their feelings about this unique and messy painting experience:

how it felt to paint

My co-teacher, Maria, documented the children’s experience for classroom display with the painting:

painting with Ursula

Thank you for this wonderful experience, Mrs. Lyon!