Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Favorites {Cookie Jar Design}

This is a very easy, and fun holiday project that I do nearly every year with Kindergarten and 1st grade.

Since things get so crazy around the holidays and my patience is limited with messy projects, this is a good one because it is a mostly no-fail drawing.

I say no-fail because there is a high chance of success as the students use tracers for a majority of the drawing, adding little details that are hand-drawn and distinguish each artwork. Giving students projects where they can be successful, like this one, takes off some of the pressure when students are not confident in their drawing skills.

To begin, I tell students the story of the Gingerbread man. At my school, there is a kit with a fox puppet head and I have a stuffed Gingerbread man and a gingerbread apron. Sometimes I just tell the story using the props, but I let 1st graders use the props and act it out as I tell the story of the gingerbread man.

I use the 'Run Run, As Fast as You can.....You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man' as a call back for the lesson....it is fun to teach them and fun to say. I use the call back when I need to get their attention before transitioning into various steps.

The purpose of the cookie jar project is to trap the gingerbread man inside so he can't escape and get gobbled up by a fox. I usually have a few books like the Ginerbread Friends and Gingerbread Baby books by Jan Brett in the room for 'candy references'. 

Anyway, after the story, I demonstrate how to trace a big cookie jar on a 12X18 sheet of white paper. Students use pencils to trace 'cookie' shapes. I encourage 1st graders to OVERLAP their shapes....I introduce the concept of OVERLAPPING to Kindergarten, but most of them don't really get it yet and are still getting used to the idea of tracing a shape. The little ones also need to be reminded not to let their shapes float out of the jar, they should remain inside that outline.

Tracers include a bell, tree shape, candy cane, star, gingerbread man, and a round shape that could be a chocolate chip cookie, a donut or a big sucker.

After tracing shapes, and adding candy for the faces, and other simple details, students trace their pencil lines in sharpie marker. I always encourage them to go back with an eraser before they start coloring to make sure that the pencil lines are gone.

Tracers, one set for each table
Students color their designs with crayons and in the last few minutes, I give them scissors to cut out the outside shape of the cookie jar. With Kindergarten, I always have to STRESS that they should ONLY cut out the jar, not each cookie.

After cutting out the jar, students glue a strip along the top for the lid (so the gingerbread man can't get out!).

I usually use this lesson as a make-and-take-home project before Christmas...rather than hanging them up to display, I let everyone take it home the same week.

This year, something so cute and funny happened with a kindergartener and his cookie jar. He explained, "My gingerbread man is really old...he's and old man...he needs a cane to walk...a candy cane!"

It was so funny, I shared it with all of my classes while I was demonstrating the basic steps of tracing the shapes inside the jar.

If students finish early, I encourage them to add other candy in the white areas...easy things like gum, skittles, m&ms, or hershey's kisses.

At the very end, if someone gets completely finished, I usually have paper available for them to make a card, and I write "Merry Christmas" on my example card and draw a little Christmas tree on the inside. Few students usually have 'free time.'

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