Concept / Topic To Teach: Comprehension/recalling details, making predictions, drawing conclusions
Standards Addressed: SC Language Arts Standards: K-R1.6, Demonstrate the ability to retell stories; K-R1.7, Continue recalling details in texts read aloud; K-R1.8, Continue asking and answering questions about texts read aloud; K-R1.9 Demonstrate the ability to use words to make predictions; K-R1.10, Begin drawing conclusions and making inferences.
General Goal(s): After having been read "The Gingerbread Boy" by Paul Galdone, students will recall the details of the story and make their own gingerbread boys. After the cookies "disappear", the students will become junior detectives as they use clues to hunt for their gingerbread boys around the school.
Specific Objectives: Following a reading of "The Gingerbread Boy" and discussion of the story, the students will recall details about the story and make predictions about what will happen with their own cookies when they are baked. Additionally, the students will be able to draw conclusions about what happened with their cookies from the time they put them in the oven until they found the cookies in the classroom. Students will meet these objectives effectively as assessed by teacher observation.
Required Materials: "The Gingerbread Boy" by Paul Galdone, gingerbread cookies rolled and cut out ahead of time, food items to use for decorating the cookies, pans and parchment paper for baking the cookies, an oven, clues to lead children to pre-planned places in the school.
Anticipatory Set (Lead-In): Talk with the students about the book (which you should have already read to the students). Ask a few students to recall some of the details in the story. Listen for appropriate responses. Tell the students that you will be making gingerbread cookies in class and baking them. Let them know when they will be allowed to eat the cookies. Because the disappearance of the cookies should be a surprise, don't talk now about looking for clues and playing detective.
Step-By-Step Procedures: (It is helpful to have a parent helper and at least one accomplice to help you with clues. The cafeteria staff will also need to be in on this so they can make the cookies disappear. Be sure to arrange with the staff how they will be involved and make a plan for the cookies to get back to your room before you do!) You will have already read "The Gingerbread Boy" by Paul Galdone to the students. Use the recipe at the end of this lesson plan or another recipe that you like. The recipe attached makes 26 to 28 six-inch tall cookies. Roll and cut out the cookies at home the night before you plan to make them in school. Write the name of each student on the parchment paper above their cookie. I used pans and parchment paper from the school cafeteria and had the cookies all ready to decorate when I brought them to school in the morning. Set out a napkin for each student which has on it items for decorating the cookies. Explain that you will call the students to the table four at a time to decorate their cookies. While you are assisting with or overseeing the decorating, have your helper/accomplice go over details of the story with the children. They should also discuss with the children what they think will happen with their cookies while they are in the oven. Once the cookies are decorated, have the students accompany you to put them in the oven. While the children are present, ask the cafeteria workers to check on the cookies in a few minutes but let them know you will be back with the children to remove them from the oven. Take the students back to the classroom for a few minutes. You will probably have a little bit of clean up to do during the short baking time. When you return to the cafeteria, the cookies should have disappeared and should be hidden from view. Have the first clue on a table in the cafeteria or by the oven. Read the clue to the students and ask them to tell you what they think it means. Once you agree as a class where the clue is leading you, go to that location, where there should be another clue waiting. Read the second clue, ask the students what they think and follow this clue. Tell the students what great detectives they are. Ask if they think they will catch up with the cookies. At the next location there should be one more clue that directs children back to the classroom where they will find the cookies waiting for them.
Plan For Independent Practice: N/A
Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set): Ask students to recall what you did and how it compares with what happened in the book. Ask them how they think the cookies got back to the classroom. Ask what they think was happening with the cookies after they put them in the oven and until the cookies were found in the classroom. Be sure to ask students "Why do you think that?" when they answer you. Tell them we may never discover what really happened!
Assessment Based On Objectives: The teacher will listen for appropriate responses to questions about story detail and will ensure that all students have a chance to answer and/or give input. The teacher will listen to student input for clarity of ideas and predictions.
Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities): This activity lends itself to students helping students and collaborative learning. All students should be given a chance to voice responses and students having difficulty could collaborate with another student before answering.
Extensions (For Gifted Students): Students can write/draw about their favorite part of the activity. Encourage them to show details and color in their picture and to write at least one sentence.
Possible Connections To Other Subjects: Math -- Students can sort and count the items being used to decorate the cookies. Students need to be aware of passage of time and number of minutes the cookies are baking.
Additional Notes: We read the book a couple of times before doing this activity. Additionally, we read "Gingerbread Baby" by Jan Brett and compared and contrasted the two books. I used only three clues because I felt that more would be too much for the students. I included words that were similar to what the gingerbread boy in the story said when I wrote my clues. The entire cafeteria staff really got into character which made this much more real for the children. This activity was a lot of fun and I plan to do this each year!
Gingerbread Recipe taken from "The Fannie Farmer Cookbook"
Heat to the boiling point
1 cup molasses
½ cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon each or: baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, powdered cloves, and ginger
Add to the first mixture. Add more flour if necessary to make dough thick enough to roll out. Roll dough until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies using gingerbread man cookie cutter. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. You may have to adjust the temperature and time for the oven at school. Check with the cafeteria staff for suggestions so the cookies don't burn.