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 Mrs. Reese’s 4th grade class collaborated with their Pre-K buddies in Mrs. Taggio’s and Ms. Gonzales’ classes to make gingerbread houses before winter break. The students met with their buddies in the cafeteria where they could spread out and be creative. It was hard to tell who was more excited – the 4th grade leaders or their Pre-K friends!

A small milk carton was used as the base for the gingerbread houses. The older students helped their buddies carefully spread white icing all over the milk carton. The next step involved covering the sides of the “house” with graham crackers, some of which mysteriously had a bite or two taken out of them. Most of the students chatted away while they selected a variety of candy items to decorate the houses, including marshmallows, gumdrops, peppermint, multi-colored sprinkles, Gummi Bears, Sno-Caps, and M & M’s. Each gingerbread house was uniquely decorated. They looked delicious, but the students did a great job of leaving the items attached to the houses.

The 4th grade leaders used Habit 1 (Be Proactive) by staying focused on their Pre-K buddy and helping to create a gingerbread house that was different from the others. They led their buddies through the steps and guided them when it was time to clean up and leave the yummy looking houses behind to allow them to dry. The Pre-K students who were quiet and unsure at first soon became involved with creating their house as they watched their older buddy model what should be done.

Habit 2 (Begin With the End in Mind) was evident as the 4th graders explained the step-by-step process of making a gingerbread house to the younger students before getting started. The Pre-K students were cooperative and followed the lead of their buddies.

All of the students demonstrated Habit 3 (Put First Things First) by carefully following directions from the teachers and assistants to correctly create their gingerbread house.

The older and younger students used Habit 4 (Think Win-Win) by collaborating and choosing the items to decorate the gingerbread houses. The 4th graders made suggestions and encouraged their buddies, and the Pre-K students’ choices were respected.

Everyone needed to use Habit 5 (Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood) throughout the activity. The teachers and assistants collaborated with each other and with the students. The 4th graders collaborated with their classmates and with their Pre-K buddies to make the activity a huge success.

Habit 6 (Synergize) was evident as everyone worked together with great enthusiasm!

Making gingerbread houses was a perfect way to use Habit 7 (Sharpen the Saw) before leaving school for winter break. All of the students collaborated while learning and having fun.

The teachers and assistants were amazed at the synergy during the activity and were very proud of the impressive leadership demonstrated by the 4th grade students. The Pre-K teachers expressed their appreciation to the older students, and Mrs. Reese thanked Mrs. Taggio and Ms. Gonzales for including her class with the activity. As for the students, Mrs. Reese said, “I have no idea which age group enjoyed making the gingerbread houses more. The leadership and collaboration that took place was outstanding. The fun that was had by all will be remembered long after the holiday season.”


Written by: Jessica Cosma
Posted: Jan 12, 2015 by Jessica Cosma

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