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Western Gingerbread Characters

Create western style gingerbread characters based on a traditional fairy tale with an interesting twist.

  • Grade 2
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. During a unit of study focused on fairy tales, ask students to compare and contrast their familiar stories with “The Gingerbread Cowboy.” This can be accomplished as a whole class or in small groups.
    2. When appropriate, re-focus the discussion on the history and geography of the American west, specifically during the 1800s when western lands were being settled. Have students ponder what life was like to be one of the early settlers, either as cowboys or cowgirls. Student contributions to the discussion can be documented on a class white board using Crayola™ Dry Erase Markers or Crayons. (Additional resources could include L is for Lone Star, A Texas Alphabet by C. Crane; The Gingerbread Cowboy by J. Squires; or B Is for Buckaroo, A Cowboy Alphabet by L.D. Whitney and G. Whitney.)
    3. Provide students with brown construction paper and Crayola Construction Paper Crayons, Erasable Colored Pencils, Glue Sticks, Pointed Tip Scissors and Crayons to sketch a new version of a gingerbread character wearing western clothing and boots. Encourage students to make both Gingerbread Cowboys and Cowgirls!
    4. Once children are satisfied that their sketches are complete, distribute Multicultural Model Magic™, rolling tools and gingerbread cookie cutters to create original western gingerbread characters. Model Magic that is fresh from the pack will stick to itself. Dried pieces can be glued together. TIP: Students may work with the Model Magic on a paper plate. This prevents characters from sticking to the work space and also provides a safe drying space for the completed character. Once Model Magic figures are complete, allow a minimum of 24 hours to dry.
    5. Students use their newly-created Gingerbread characters to retell and act out the original story. If time permits, students may use the same materials to create other characters in the story.
    6. Collect, read and compare other variations of this same story.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

    LA: Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools such as atlases, data bases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

    VA: Students will demonstrate the ability to generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

    VA: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

    VA: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.

    VA: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.

  • Adaptations

    Working in small groups, encourage students to create original stories for their Western Gingerbread characters. Stories can be written in booklet form and sketched illustrations can be included to enhance their stories. Post stories in a convenient place in the classroom for students to share with classmates.

    Provide students with the opportunity to make a texture rubbing plate in the shape of a gingerbread character using Crayola School Glue and heavy cardboard. Allow two days to dry before using as a rubbing plate. When dry, use Crayola Multicultural Crayons or Triangular Crayons to make a new gingerbread character using the texture rubbing process. Brown construction paper, Crayola Markers and Glue Sticks can be used to create the western gingerbread character or another character in the children’s stories. Additional details can be added with markers and colored paper using glue sticks.

    Adapt the Gingerbread characters to another historical period in U.S. history. Perhaps students could create Puritan gingerbread characters, or U.S. astronauts. How would these characters tell the story of a time period?

    Suggest students insert a craft stick in the back or foot of Gingerbread Cowboy or Cowgirl characters to create a stick puppet. Then students can act out their stories in “puppet show” format.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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