TOPIC OF THE WEEK

MAKING "GINGERBREAD" HOUSES

GRADES 3-8

This is an extremely fun and creative project to do with your students the week before Winter Break.

MATERIALS:

  • 1 box graham crackers (regular)
  • 1 8 oz. milk carton (as they use in school)
  • 1 sheet of stiff cardboard or wood, at least 1' by 1' square
  • 1 lb box of confectioners' sugar
  • candy for decorations: small gumdrops, m & m's, sprinkles, candy corn, candy canes, etc.--
  • small and colorful.
  • white frosting
  • food coloring (to use with the white frosting)
  • aluminum foil

METHOD:

  1. Cover cardboard with foil.
  2. Mix confectioner's sugar with warm water, until you have a paste-like consistency.
  3. Measure 1" up from the bottom of the milk carton. Cut this part off of the carton, so that you are left with the bottom and 1" sides.
  4. Setting the bottom as a perfect square in front of you, cut through it twice, in perpendicular lines, top to bottom, left to right. You should now have four equal-sized pieces...each piece containing a corner of the original milk carton, and two 1" sides. These will serve as the corners of your "house".
  5. Take four graham crackers. Two will be used horizontally, as the long sides of the house. The other two will be used as used as sides, and roof supports. USING SCISSORS, carefully cut from the middle of the long side of the cracker to the midpoint on top. SEE EXAMPLE 1 BELOW.
  6. Take the graham crackers, and use the sugar mixture to cement these "walls" to the corners of the house. (The cardboard corners should also be cemented onto the foil). SEE EXAMPLE 2 BELOW.
  7. Build the house with a roof, using the "sugar" glue. Be very careful not to break the graham crackers.
  8. Once the basic house is built, and given about an hour to dry, decorate it (and the cardboard base) with the candy and frosting, using the glue mixture.
+++++++++++++
+     $     +    ++++ = graham wall
+    $ $    +    $$$ = area cut
+   $   $   +
+  $     $  +
+ $       $ +
+$         $+
+           +
+           +
+           +
+           +
+           +
+++++++++++++
EXAMPLE 1

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
+00000             00000+ ++++ = graham wall
+0                     0+ 000 = cardboard corner
+0                     0+
+                       + 
+                       +
+0                     0+
+0                     0+
+00000             00000+
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
EXAMPLE 2
 

Be sure to warn the students that this takes time and patience! The house MAY break or fall several times before they get it right! But the end result is a beautiful gingerbread house that can be taken home and enjoyed!

Submitted by,

MELODIE BITTER
LORNE STREET SCHOOL
LOS ANGELES, CA
mandel@pacificnet.net


RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

GRADES: K-2

MATERIALS:

  • butcher paper or large pieces of paper
  • markers
  • glue or stapler
  • scissors

METHOD:

  1. Have the children trace their feet with their heels together and their toes pointed out in a V Shape. Trace around the outside of both feet. Do not trace the inside V of the feet. You should end up with rounded out upside down triangle. This is the head
  2. Have them trace their hands. To extend this into a math activity have the children number their fingers from 1-10. These are the antlers.
  3. Glue or staple the hands onto the triangle shape.
  4. Color eyes and a mouth onto the reindeer.
  5. Glue or staple a red pom-pom onto the face for the nose.

Submitted by,

LUCIA GOODWIN
ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST SCHOOL
WHITBY, ONTARIO, CANADA
goodwin.candl@sympatico.ca

HANDS DOWN FOR RUDOLPH

GRADES: K-3

MATERIALS:

  • brown paint
  • red paint
  • black paint (make sure all are washable tempera)
  • fabric (such as unbleached muslin) or brown butcher paper/grocery bag
  • paper plates for each child
  • soap and water for cleanup

METHOD:

  1. Spread brown paint on paper plate.
  2. Put dabs of red and black on another plate.
  3. Give each child a piece of fabric/paper that is about 15"by 12" or so.
  4. Have child take shoe off and press bare foot onto the paper plate of paint.
  5. Make sure foot is covered with paint and then press it down on the paper/fabric.
  6. Using a finger fill in the spot where the arch of the foot is so that you have a solid foot. This is the basic shape of Rudolph's head.
  7. Press the right hand into the paint and then press it down on the right side of the head - spreading the fingers out to form antler.
  8. Using the other hand make an antler on the other side.
  9. Using the thumb in black paint - make two eyes - and using the thumb in red paint - make Rudolph's nose.
  10. This project is great - especially if you have others in the room to help you. It also works if the students are working on another project and you call them over to make Rudolph one at a time.

Submitted by,

AMY RODGERS
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
no city listed
rahjerz@palmnet.net

HOLIDAY REINDEER

GRADES: K-3

MATERIALS:

  • construction paper--different colors
  • glue
  • scissors
  • black marker

METHOD:

  1. Have the children trace one foot on (brown) construction paper=BODY
  2. Trace both of their hands on (yellow) construction paper=ANTLERS
  3. They cut out 1 red circle=NOSE and 2 white circles=EYES
  4. They glue it together and can draw in the eyes with black markers
  5. They turn out really cute and the kids really like them and they look great in the room!! I've also used GREEN for the body instead of brown to look more like Christmas colors.

Submitted by,

SARA (no last name listed)
no school listed
CA
SBergd7857@aol.com


KWANZAA: A FAMILY PLAY

GRADES: 4-10

SETTING:

  • a modern American home

CHARACTERS:

  • Mother
  • Father
  • Girl
  • Boy

THE PLAY:

MOTHER: Come children, help your father bring in the last bags. Kwanzaa is tomorrow and we have to start getting ready.

GIRL: Mother, after dinner tonight, can we decorate?

MOTHER: Yes, children, you may decorate--I made some special streamers over there.

GIRL: Oo--here's black for the color of our people.

BOY: Red for our continuing struggle.

GIRL: Green for the hills of Africa.

MOTHER: Don't forget green for the hope of our children. Speaking of children, hurry and go help your father. I must start to prepare for the karamu, the feast tomorrow evening.

THE NEXT EVENING

FATHER: Children, remember what tonight is for. Remember, our ancestors of old in the motherland of Africa.

BOY: Here is the basket of crops for our thanksgiving, as our ancestors used to bring.

GIRL: Here are the two ears of corn, one for each child in our house.

FATHER: And here are the gifts which you will get on the last night of Kwanzaa. Your mother and I have decided that you have earned these gifts by keeping all of your promises throughout the year.

MOTHER: Now let us eat, we must get up early for breakfast.

BOY: That's the one thing I hate about this holiday--no eating from sunrise to sunset!

FATHER: Before we eat, let's light the first candle of Kwanzaa. Black tonight, red tomorrow, then green. Now, what is the first of the seven Kwanzaa principles?

BOY & GIRL: Harambee!

FATHER: Harambee! Unity! On this first night of Kwanzaa, let us remember the importance of unity in the family. Let us love one another and stand up for one another. Let us honor our ancestors by celebrating our past.

MOTHER: Pass the unity cup.

FATHER: I pour a little of the liquid in the direction of the four winds--north, south, east and west. Now let us all take a sip.BOY: Now the best part--let's eat!

MOTHER: Black-eyed peas for good luck; greens for prosperity.

GIRL: Mother, what does the fried chicken, catfish, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler symbolize?

MOTHER: They symbolize that I'm a great cook! let's eat.

© 1994, by Scott Mandel, all rights reserved.

Submitted by,

DR. SCOTT MANDEL
PACOIMA MIDDLE SCHOOL
LOS ANGELES, CA
mandel@pacificnet.net



A reader, Sue Minick (sminick@stlnet.com) suggested a book to use with elementary students when teaching about Kwanzaa. She writes: "It is a paperback book titled: Kwanzaa - An African American Holiday by Sharon Gayle. It gives background, Kwanzaa words to know, seven principles of Kwanzaa, gifts to make, foods to prepare, word search, crossword puzzle, matching quiz, a really good book to use with elementary students."


ART PROJECT: KWANZAA KENTE CLOTH

GRADES: 3-12

I did this project with my students and the results were quite impressive. The weaving and design looks almost like the cloth from Africa. It can be used as a wall hanging or table decoration.

MATERIALS:

  • colored construction paper: red, green, orange, yellow, brown, black
  • scissors
  • glue
  • crayons in an assortment of colors
  • scissors

METHOD:

  1. Cut black sheets of construction paper into 9x12 pieces. Cut the remaining colors into strips 1/2 inch by 12 inch strips.
  2. Fold the black construction paper in half horizontally, and make cuts approximately 1 inch apart. Do not cut all the way to the top. Leave approximately 2 inches at the top.
  3. Weave the other colors as tightly as possible to form a checkerboard design.
  4. Glue down the ends so that the weave does not come apart.
  5. Have the students use the crayons to make designs in the squares. It is helpful to have a real piece of kente cloth, or a book of African Patterns as an example.
  6. After the project is completed, the student then takes a pair of scissors and makes fringe on the long sides of the paper.
  7. As is the tradition during Kwanzaa, ears of corn can be drawn by the students and glued to the kente cloth. This of course is optional.
  8. The designs can then be displayed.

Submitted by,

BARBARA SONEK
P.S. 40
QUEENS, NY
no e-mail listed

 

 

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