Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Gingerbread Man

Barbara Northcutt
Sumter County Schools


Run, run, as fast as you can. We learn about halves from the gingerbread man.


The student knows that cardinal numbers indicate quantity and ordinal numbers indicate position.

The student uses concrete materials to represent fractional parts of a whole (one half, one fourth).


-Storybook of [The Gingerbread Man], any traditional version (See Preparations)
-Characters for version 2 of [The Gingerbread Man] story (See Associated File and Procedures)
-Cut out silhouettes of a gingerbread man (1 per child and about 10 for the teacher) (See Associated File)
-Blank paper for each child
-Optional: words with characters’ names or pictures of the characters


1. Obtain a copy of any traditional rendition of [The Gingerbread Man]. One example is Kimmel, Eric. [The Gingerbread Man]. Holiday House: New York, 1994. Prepare yourself to read the story to the class by determining what questions you want to ask and to which illustrations you want to draw attention.
2. If you wish to use graphics of the characters in the story or word cards naming the characters, you need to prepare them ahead of time. Graphics can be obtained from Microsoft Live Gallery Clips or another site of your liking.
3. Create flannel board characters for session 2. (See Associated File and Procedures)
4. Cut out silhouettes of a gingerbread man (1 per child and about 10 for the teacher) for session 2. (See Associated File)
5. Gather student materials.


1.In the morning, create interest in the story [The Gingerbread Man] by polling students to find out what each child’s favorite cookie is. Ask questions to determine if any of the students have experienced making/baking cookies at home. If so, allow students to share their experience with the class.

2. Read the story [The Gingerbread Man]. As you read the story, pause to review and emphasize the position of the characters running after the gingerbread man. For example, “The little old woman is running after the gingerbread man. She is leading the line. She’s leading the line just like we have a line leader here in the room to lead us. She’s first. Who is behind the little old woman?” Allow time for pupil response. Ask students what word we use to let us know where the little old man is. Reinforce all correct responses such as: “He’s at the end of the line. He’s next.” Guide the children as necessary to come up with ordinal descriptors: first, second, third, etc. At each illustration in the book that shows the characters lined up running after the gingerbread man stop, identify the characters and count them using ordinal numbers. Have the children join you in saying, “The old woman is first. The little old man is second. The cow is third, etc.”

3.Line up chairs to stand for the different characters in the story that chase after the gingerbread man. This may vary according to which copy of the gingerbread man story that you read. Select a child to be the gingerbread man. This child lies down on the floor “baking in the oven.” Select other children to act out the chase of the gingerbread man. (In my room our chase consists of a fast walk.) As children sit in the chairs, start from the left and go to the right. Remind each child which character they are. (I like to give my children a picture or a nametag identifying which character they are.)

4.Spend a few minutes using ordinal numbers to count/describe the position of the children in the chairs and ask the children questions such as, “Who is sitting in the first chair? What chair are you sitting in? Who is sitting in the chair after the fifth chair?”

5. Briefly retell the gingerbread man story. Direct the gingerbread man to jump up from the floor at the appropriate time. Have the other children give chase at the appropriate time while verbally reminding them with comments such as, “Little old woman, you’re the first one to chase after the gingerbread man.” After the chase, go back and identify the person who was first, second, third, fourth, etc.

6.Tell the students that they will be coloring their own gingerbread man. The children should be told to write their name on the back of the gingerbread man and draw the details on the silhouette of the gingerbread man. (These drawings need to be collected and saved for use in session 2.)

7. Ask the children if they remember what story they listened to and acted out earlier in the day. Allow time for student responses. See if the children can recall any position words that let us know where in line the characters were.

8. Inform students that you have another version of the story to tell them, but this time the story isn’t in a book but in your mind. Use the character pictures like you would a flannel board story. Tell them that this story is going to help them learn about “fair shares.” Activate prior knowledge by allowing students to share with the class times they have had to share things at home.

9. Prior to orally retelling the story of the gingerbread man, present the characters Fannie and Freddie Fox who have trouble sharing fairly. In my version of the story, everyone goes hungry because when Fannie and Freddie Fox catch the gingerbread man they fight and argue over how to share the gingerbread man. While the foxes are fighting, the gingerbread man escapes. (I narrow down the chasing characters to the little old woman, the little old man, a horse, a cow, and twin foxes, Fannie and Freddie.)

10. Ask the children if they can figure out how Fannie and Freddie could have shared the gingerbread man fairly so that each of them received pieces the same. Allow time for student responses. Then show them outlines of the gingerbread man, one at a time, and cut them in two pieces, but NOT down the line of symmetry. Put the two pieces on top and ask them if both pieces are the same. Tell them the gingerbread man is in two pieces but the pieces are not the same. They are not in “fair shares.” Usually after several attempts have not produced “fair shares,” a student suggests cutting the gingerbread man in the middle. When this is mentioned, cut the outline across the waist. The children should readily point out that it’s still in two pieces, but not in “fair shares.” Children will probably suggest cutting him up and down so that there is an arm and a leg on each piece. Cut on the line of symmetry and fold the pieces over to see if indeed the gingerbread man is in “fair shares.” At this time, explain that we have a special word, one half, that means two pieces shared fairly because both pieces are the same. Show the gingerbread man that is cut in half and remind the children that this gingerbread man was cut not only in two pieces, but also cut in half because there are two pieces the same.

11. Tell the children that they will be using the gingerbread man that they made earlier today to show that they know how to cut the gingerbread man in half, two “fair shares” or two pieces the same. Demonstrate again how to cut the gingerbread man in half. Show them how to glue the two halves together on another sheet of paper to make the gingerbread man whole again.

12. Send the students back to their seats to do the work.


Session 1 provides practice for children in reviewing the position of the characters in the story that are in pursuit of the gingerbread man. It only addresses the ordinal number part of this standard. The teacher observes student responses to assess which children need additional practice in identifying the positions and which students have achieved partial or complete mastery.

For a more concise formative assessment, call students to your desk and have the character cards lined up and ask students to point to the character who was first, fourth, third, etc. Mastery is measured if the child can look at the line of characters and identify which one is first, second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. Partial mastery occurs when the student cannot correctly identify all the positions.

Session 2 is an introductory lesson to explore the concept of one half. The formative assessment requires each student to cut a paper gingerbread man in half and then glue down the two halves to make a whole. Mastery occurs if the child’s product shows that the gingerbread man has been divided down the line of symmetry and reassembled to make the man whole again. Straight edges of division are not expected. Kindergarten children may not possess the fine motor skills necessary to cut perfectly down the line of symmetry.


1. At center time, you can have the character cards from the gingerbread man available for the students to practice ordering the characters by looking at a copy of the book.
2. Students can label the characters from the story.
3. Students can dictate or write a sentence to go with their gingerbread man picture.
4. Students can frost/decorate gingerbread cookies for snacktime.
5. Students can reenact the story.
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