Monday, November 19, 2012

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett - Teaching Ideas

The Gingerbread Baby has outsmarted everyone except Matti. While the villagers were chasing after the Gingerbread Baby, Matti stayed back and patiently made a gingerbread house just perfect for a Gingerbread Baby. Once Matti had the house complete he went to the woods and set his trap. Once the Gingerbread Baby saw the beautiful house, he couldn't resist going in. Once the baby was in the house Matti scooped it up and ran home. Matti never told his mom and dad that he caught the Gingerbread Baby, I wonder what Matti's plans are for that sneaky baby?

This is such a fun story and if you do a gingerbread theme/unit, then this story is a must read. I have listed a number of skills, strategies and ideas you could use to create some meaningful activities to use with this book.

I have also created an extensive differentiated skills and strategies packet to go with this book, just to make things a bit easier for you.

Reading level: 2.6
Theme: creativity/imagination
Genre: holiday fiction, fables & folktales

Suggested Vocabulary & phrases: licked his chops, meddling, tweaked, brash, clapped his hands with glee, met his match

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder if this story is going to be like the Gingerbread Man. {possible questions during} I wonder what Mattie is doing. {possible questions after} I wonder what Mattie is going to do with the Gingerbread Baby. I wonder why the Gingerbread Baby is so happy. **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author’s point of view – 3rd person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this.
  • Author’s purpose – entertaining {evidence} a gingerbread cookie cannot run and sing. If a gingerbread cookie did run away the people should be able to catch it. A gingerbread cookie couldn’t tie braids together. All these things make a very entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Matti opens the oven too early and the Gingerbread Baby ran out. {most important event from middle} Mattie spent his time making a gingerbread house instead of chasing the Gingerbread Baby. {most important event from end} Matti sets his gingerbread house trap and catches the Gingerbread Baby.
  • Cause and effect – Why did the Gingerbread Baby run out of the oven? Because Matti opened the oven door too early. Why was the Gingerbread Baby climbing the fence? Because he was trying to get away from the father, mother, cat and dog. Why did the Gingerbread Baby tie the girls’ hair in a knot? Because they were trying to catch him. Why was the Gingerbread Baby feeling smug? Because he was able to outrun and outsmart everyone that tried to catch him.  Why did the fox lick his chops? Because he wanted to eat the Gingerbread Baby. Why did the milk and cheese man lift the lid to his milk can? Because he heard someone signing inside the can. Why did the Gingerbread Baby go inside the gingerbread house? Because he thought it was a beautiful house and that he would be safe there. Why did Matti run away with the gingerbread house and Gingerbread Baby? Because he did not want anyone to know that he had caught the Gingerbread Baby. Why is the Gingerbread Baby so happy? Because he thinks he is safe in the house that Matti made for him.
  • character analysis - describe Matti and or the Gingerbread Baby {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – How did Matti change from the beginning of the book to the end of the book? {beginning} Matti seemed to be a bit impatient at the beginning of the book because he couldn’t wait for the Gingerbread Boy to be finished. He opened the oven door early and out popped the Gingerbread Baby. {end} By the end of the story Matti as very patient. He took his time and didn’t open the oven door early when he was making the gingerbread house and he waited very quietly behind the tree for the Gingerbread Baby to enter the house.
  • Classify & Categorize – Gingerbread Babies – what goes in them and what goes on them.
  • Compare & contrast – The Gingerbread Baby to the Gingerbread Man (character and story)
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Making gingerbread cookies. Peeking in the oven before the cookies are done. Making a gingerbread house. {possible text-to-text connections} Gingerbread Baby to Gingerbread Man or Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel. Both stories have the character outsmarting another character.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – What do you think Matti is going to do with the Gingerbread Baby?{text clues}Matti makes a house for the Gingerbread Baby. Matti is the only one to capture the Gingerbread Baby. Matti doesn’t tell his mom and dad that he caught the Gingerbread Baby. {what I know} If I have something I don’t want to share I don’t tell anyone I have it. {my conclusion} I think Matti is going to eat the Gingerbread Baby all by himself.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} Matti outsmarting the Gingerbread Baby {details} Matti didn’t chase after the Gingerbread Baby, he made a gingerbread house. The Gingerbread Baby ran right into the house. Matti ran home with the house and Gingerbread Baby and didn’t tell anyone he had it.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when the Gingerbread Baby found the house and went in it to get away from everyone that was trying to catch him.
  • Predict – what do you think the story is going to be about? What do you think will happen if Mattie doesn’t wait for the full time? Who do you think will catch the Gingerbread Baby? What do you think Matti is doing while everyone is trying to catch the Gingerbread Baby? What do you think Matti is going to do with the Gingerbread Baby? Why do you think the Gingerbread Baby is so happy in his house? Do you think Matti will ever tell anyone that he caught the Gingerbread Baby?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} The Gingerbread Baby ran away and no one can catch him. {solution} Matti builds a gingerbread house to catch him.
  • Sequencing – Matti and his mom bake a Gingerbread Boy. Matti opens the oven too early and out pops a Gingerbread Baby. Mom can’t catch him. Dad can’t catch him. The cat and dog can’t catch him. The Gingerbread Baby runs from the goats and Martha and Madeline. The pig and the fox try to eat him. The Gingerbread Baby hides in a milk can but jumps out when the milk man opens the lid. The Gingerbread Baby runs to the woods to hide and finds a gingerbread house to hide in. Matti scoops up the house and runs away. The Gingerbread Baby is happy in the house that Mattie made.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Summarize - {someone} Matti {wanted} wanted to make gingerbread man {but} but he was too impatient {so} so the Gingerbread Baby popped out of the oven and ran away. {finally} Finally Matti caught the Baby with the house he made.
  • Theme – there are a few different lessons one could learn from this story. Be patient. Sooner or later you will get caught. You can never be sure of someone’s true intentions.
  • Visualize – What do you think Matti will do with the Gingerbread Baby?

Included in the packet:
Directions and Common Core Standards for each skill and strategy. Plus ideas for extending some of the activities.
* Vocabulary - 4 pages
* Asking Questions - 2 pages
* Author's Point of View - 2 pages
* Beginning, Middle, End - 5 pages
* Cause and Effect - 8 pages
* Character Analysis - 4 pages
* Character Change - 1 page
* Classify and Categorize - 5 pages
* Compare and Contrast - 3 pages
* Text-to-Self Connections - 3 pages
* Text-to-Text Connections - 2 pages
* Drawing Conclusions/Inferencing - 3 pages
* Fact and Opinion - 2 pages
* Main Idea and Details - 6 pages
* Making Predictions - 3 pages
* Problem/Solution - 5 pages
* Sequencing - 12 pages
* Plot - 2 pages
* Summarize - 1 page
* Story Map - 3 pages
* Visualize - 3 pages

You can find this packet in either one of my stores.

 Happy Holiday!


  1. What a cute book! I pinned your activity packet for you. :) Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving!
    Conversations in Literacy


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...