Monday, November 18, 2013

The Runaway Gingerbread People

Today we had a bit of fun at school that went viral.  Considering the time of year and how hectic everyone is as we slide down towards Christmas and the summer holidays, it is always a real pick me up when something happens to cause a buzz around the place.

Today was the day the Gingerbread People ran away.  They jumped out of the oven, avoiding all hungry mouths wishing to devour them, and the excited anticipation of a group of 5 year olds, and they escaped. If the rumour is to be believed, the little rascals escaped to the beach for some sunbathing, and to avoid being eaten!!!

At least, thats what the students believed!

It was a clever little trick - the teacher concerned decided to make Gingerbread People with her class of 5 year olds.  There was lots of maths as they measured ingredients and counted raisins, and there was a lot of talking and wondering.

The wondering they decided to pursue was, 'would the Gingerbread People come to life if they used more baking powder than the recipe called for?'

They decided they should experiment - if they put 4 teaspoons of baking power (the recipe requires 1/2 a tsp) into the mix, would the Gingerbread People come to life?  Many didn't think so but they were open to try - after all, no self respecting 5 year old would poo poo an idea without first trying.

So, they mixed up their batter, cut out their people, placed them on trays and popped them in the staffroom oven.   Then they went back to class to wait for them to cook.

In the meantime, the teacher concerned had asked our receptionist to bring them out, cool them down and hide them, so she could trick them.  It worked a treat.

A cacophony of noise came streaming out of the staffroom.  The excitement was infectious.  Of course, I had to go and investigate.  Picture a group of 5 year olds jumping up and down, hunting for clues, cross examining everyone who came into the room - 'have you seen our Gingerbread People, they have run away!!!', 'are they in your belly?', 'where do you think they went?'.  Many assumed I had eaten them!

Playing along, I plastered the look of disbelief on my face and exclaimed -

'It worked - your experiment worked, and now they have run away...'.

It was fun.  The students spent the next 20 minutes running around the school trying to find them, looking for clues and getting very excited when they found a stray crumb.  Theories about their disappearance rivalled any good mystery story.  Some students were a bit scared of all these mini Gingerbread People running around, and others were disappointed they had run off before the taste session!

The class headed back to their room to write letters and stories based on what had happened.   In the meantime, I whipped up the email and photo below and sent it to the teacher.   This gave the students even more to discuss and write about.  The buzz in their room was electric!

Eventually, the students went and had a look in the schools mailbox, and discovered the missing Gingerbread had returned.  Whew.

Now, I started saying it created a buzz that spread throughout the school.  During lunchtime, kids of all ages were sucked into the 'trick'.  Most of the lunch period was spent with students all hunting for the missing Gingerbread People, with quite the discussions on if they were real and where might they have gone.  What stunned me was how our oldest students thought it was real.  

When the class 'found' them, the noise and the cheers could be heard in space.  Even our senior students popped out of classrooms to give a round of applause and a big cheer. 

So dear reader, it doesn't take too much effort to make a little person believe in magic, or to create a team buzz.  The fact it went viral was just awesome to watch.  That one small learning activity resulted in an excitement and sense of fun that was shared by staff and students.  Bring back fun to learning I say.  

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