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Gingerbread Homes
Old 12-07-2015, 10:09 PM
 
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The two other 3rd grade teachers and I are planning to let our kids make Gingerbread homes. The bossy one said to use milk cartons and the other one who will agree with almost anything, said okay. I have mixed feelings about the use of milk cartons-part of me says, it makes the kids' life easier, but part of me says part of the fun is trying to get it to stay up.

What do you think (this is 3rd grade)?

Also, how long do you allot time wise for them to do it?


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Old 12-08-2015, 03:12 AM
 
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In my experience, with third graders, what is fun to me can turn into tears of frustration for them pretty quickly. I would let them try without the milk cartons, but have them available as an option if it gets to be too frustrating.

I assume you are planning to use graham crackers? Practice cutting/breaking them into the desired sizes--that can be frustrating as well.

Gingerbread houses can fill however much time you allot! Part of the decision is how much candy and stuff is available for decorating. It can become expensive.

I've done these with Girl Scouts that age in one meeting (1.5 hours, with time for a "business meeting" and snack).
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Gingerbread houses
Old 12-08-2015, 04:22 PM
 
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I did it when I was in 3rd grade and used milk cartons. I did it with my 4th graders and used milk cartons. My mom did it with her 3rd and 4th graders and used milk cartons. My MIL did it with her 2nd graders and used milk cartons.

Use the milk cartons.

Royal icing can take a little while to set up and getting the house to be structurally sound is hard. I did gingerbread houses with friends last year and we all had so many varying degrees of success in our construction. I can't imagine trying to construct the houses while managing 25 third graders hopped up on sugar and Christmas anticipation. Noooooo, thank you.

As for how long....we usually did an hour or two. The kids had a ball and always wanted more time.
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Milk cartons
Old 12-08-2015, 04:36 PM
 
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We use the cartons. Remember they have to travel home too. I have done this for many years. We have each student bring their own can of frosting and we share the other supplies. It usually takes around an hour and they have so much fun.
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Milk cartons
Old 12-08-2015, 05:30 PM
 
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We used the milk cartons and that is what I'd suggest. Spreading the icing and adding the candy is plenty of activity without the stress of trying to make it stand up. Also think about them taking it home. There will be a lot of sad children if the houses collapse on the way down the hall.


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Thanks
Old 12-08-2015, 05:50 PM
 
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I asked my students today also, some very strongly felt we shouldn't have the cartons. I told them we would compromise, we would save the cartons and if they wanted to use them we could. They were very upset when I told them that was the size we were making. They thought I meant bigger milk cartons (quart, half gallon???). I have never had a class complain about the size we were going to do.

Thanks for the time advice-we will start when we come in and allow until before recess (so maybe an hour and a half). I am having them bring in supplies, we don't get enough, we don't do it. I did plenty-Latkes and Edible Dreidles for Chanukah and a ton of cookies from different countries to sample.
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houses
Old 12-09-2015, 05:31 PM
 
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I made houses with my class every year. Before the children began I showed them how to make triangles for the roof. With a handle of a spoon gently score a cracker from 1 corner to the other. Do that several times. Then very gently hold the cracker with both hands, thumbs on top, fingers below and snap the cracker in half. It works most of the time.

My children sat in groups and shared if they wanted. I emphasized that the candy they brought in should be lightweight. Also we had a lot of fun but they knew I was serious when I said they must remain in their seats. When children are out of their seats and very excited the likelihood that they might knock over someone else's house is very high.

It's fun to watch them build their houses and at the same time sneak as much candy as they can. Which is a good reason to build them in the afternoon, just before dismissal.
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