It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays in kindergarten at George Cooke Elementary with festive stories and brightly decorated gingerbread people in Kathie Mabee’s classroom. Each year, Mrs. Mabee’s class partners with a kindergarten class in Florida where each listen to different versions of the story “The Gingerbread Man”. The teachers then have their students decorate their own gingerbread people that are then exchanged between the two classes.
The variations of “The Gingerbread Man” Mrs. Mabee read to her kindergarten class included “Gingerbread Baby” and “Gingerbread Friends” by Jan Brett, “The Gingerbread Cowboy” by Janet Squires, and “The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School” by Laura Murray. In addition, Mrs. Mabee’s students watched “The Gingerbread Man” and “The Gingerbread Girl” by Lisa Campbell Ernst on YouTube.
Following the stories, Mrs. Mabee talked with her students about the similarities and differences within each narrative. Students then moved on to the next phase of the project: decorating their own gingerbread people.
The fun holiday-themed activity began with a teacher group page Mrs. Mabee follows on Facebook. From that group, she was able to connect with teachers in Florida and come up with this unique project.
This year, the exchange was with Ms. Galicia’s kindergarten class at Southshore Charter Academy in Riverview, FL. Mrs. Mabee and Ms. Galicia worked together on a letter template to go with each gingerbread person that incorporated social studies skills, having discussions with their classes about the differences in weather between New York and Florida. Students then utilized information from the weather discussion in their letters describing the gingerbread people they created.
Once all gingerbread people were decorated and had letters to accompany them, both kindergarten classes packed up their holiday projects to send to each other. Each kindergarten class received their gingerbread package on Friday, Dec. 10, with much excitement.