Gingerbread Friends On the Map!

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SWBAT sequence events in the story The Gingerbread Friends

Big Idea

Catch me if you can!

Prepare the Learner

20 minutes

Activate Prior Knowledge


We begin by reviewing  the CHARACTERS and SETTING of Gingerbread Friends.  These are the basics of the story and students can often recall the basics.  These questions are manageable for the students and help to set the stage for reading.  


I ask: Where is the SETTING of the story?  (bakery) 


I ask: Who are the characters in the story? (Matty, Gingerread Baby, man, woman, sugar cookie girl, 7 swans, man and woman on cake, friends) 


Interact with concept

45 minutes

Reread Gingerbread Friends.   2nd Read

This second read of the book is for students to pay particular attention to the sequence of the characters/events.  We do multiple reads of the book because each read serves a different purpose.  It also helps the kids with understanding and by modeling how we reread, students can see how, with each read, comes more knowledge and understanding.  We hope that this translates well into rereading for information as they get older when they are expected to do it independently!

If you do not have the book, here is a great read of it!


Before Reading

Before I start reading, I tell the students that they are listening for specific details in this read.  Using the ‘Everybody listen for…’ strategy, I say:  Boys and girls, I want everybody to listen for who the friends are that the Gingerbread Baby tries to make in this story.” 


I then show them the flow map to reinforce their goal.  I say:  We are going to listen for who the Gingerbread Boy meets FIRST, and that is what this word under the first box says.  Everybody say ‘first.’  (students echo)  Turn and talk to a partner right now and tell them who you remember the first character the Gingerbread Baby meets and tries to befriend.  (Allow think time)  Would anyone like to share who they think the first character was? 

I then go through each of the boxes on the flow map and we talk about the words ‘next’ and ‘then.’  The bottom box is for the ending and we talk about what part of the story the ending is.  I do this so expectations are clear and students understand what the transitional words indicate.  They have a base on which to build, as the context of the story will make the words purposeful.  Furthermore, the context will strengthen understanding.


Flow Map

You can read the story, but  I actually enjoy using the video of this story because the kids love to listen to it with the background music.  It is so engaging!  I have students sit on the carpet with me and they watch the video on the SmartBoard.

I use the following stopping points and we fill in the appropriate box in the flow map with the character that the Gingerbread Baby tries to befriend.  


0:00-1:08  Man and Woman

1:08-1:24  Sugar Cookie Girl

1:24-1:49  Seven Swans

1:49-2:17  Man and woman on cake

2:17-end  Gingerbread friends (ending)


I play the video and stop at 1:08.  I ask: Who did the gingerbread baby meet FIRST? (man and woman)  Let's say that in a complete sentence.  Boys and girls, say "First" (students repeat) "the gingerbread baby" (students repeat) "saw the man and woman."  (students repeat)  Let's draw the man and woman in the box with 'first' under it.  I draw on my paper on the document camera as students draw on theirs.

Because my students are second language learners, it is important that they have opportunities to produce language in complete sentences.  At this point in the year, my students are speaking in phrases but struggle with complete sentences.  Echoing me allows them to produce language without the anxiety of generating it in its entirety.

Common Core also calls for kids to listen and speak about their learning and echoing is a great way to allow my second language learners to do just that.


Here is a completed flow map!


Extend Understanding

20 minutes

Collaborative Conversations


We quickly review the rules for conversations.  These are something that we've worked on all year, so students are familiar with them.


I put students in either pairs or groups of four.  Have students use their flow maps as a concrete reference to discuss their favorite part of the story in a collaborative conversation. This prompts meaningful language use and gives them access to the Common Core standards that call for listening and speaking.


 I say:  Boys and girls, we are going to talk about what our favorite part of The Gingerbread Friends is.  We are going to talk about what it is with our  Elbow Groups.  I allow students think  time to gather their thoughts. 


Students work in collaborative groups to discuss topics as part of our Common Core implementation.  At this point, collaborative conversations are in their infancy stage.  Students move into their groups by sitting  with their group on the carpet close enough so they can hear each other, but separated enough from the other groups where they aren't distracted.


I ask: How would we ASK our group members what their favorite part of the story was? (What part did you like best?  Or  What is your favorite part of the story?)  I refer students to the placemat "question words" (first placemat)  to help them if they need help.


How might we answer that question?  (I liked __ best because__.  Or  My favorite part  of the story is ___ because ___.)


I usually have students echo me with both the questions and the answer stems for practice.  I want the students speaking in complete sentences.  The  linguistic patterns encourage them to do that and scaffold language production for my struggling learners. 


I usually bring up a students and we become ‘partners’ to model how the question/answer process will go in their groups.  I say: Daisy, can you come up and be my partner?  When Daisy comes up to the front and stands with me I ask: Daisy, what is your favorite part of the story?  (Daisy answers) If the student who is modeling with me is struggling to produce language, I will prompt them and, if necessary, have them echo me to generate a complete answer.


I explain: Now it is Daisy's turn to ask me! (Daisy asks me my favorite part) My favorite part of the story was when the Gingerbread Baby met the swans because I think swans are beautiful!


I clarify: Does anyone have any questions?



As collaborative groups are discussing their favorite parts of the story, I am assisting and monitoring where needed.  After a few minutes, I ask students to share out their favorite part of the story.