The sweet scent of icing, candies and graham crackers permeated the air of Joan Margolis and Dawn Minuto’s kindergarten classroom at Gardiners Avenue Elementary School in the Levittown School District as students worked diligently with their parents and teachers to decorate gingerbread houses.
The event was a culminating activity for the students, who have been studying the legend of the gingerbread baby throughout various cultures. Ms. Margolis read Jan Brett’s “Gingerbread Baby” and compared the popular tale to others, including those from the Ukraine, Germany and Hawaii.
“The students actually preferred the American versions because the gingerbread baby was always kept at the end of the story,” Ms. Margolis explained. “The American versions seemed like more of an adventure.”
Kindergartners at East Broadway Elementary School also decorated gingerbread houses, much like those seen in the pictures of books by Karen Schmidt and Eric Suben, both called “The Gingerbread Man.”
Prior to their craft
activity, the students read about gingerbread houses and the gingerbread baby
on a Smart Board, discussing similarities and differences between the
literature samples. They also incorporated their study about adjectives to
create gingerbread coloring books, identifying and linking a color word to the
appropriate body part.
While the students enjoyed the rich sample of books about gingerbread houses and babies, their favorite part of the unit was decorating their own gingerbread houses with frosting and candy.