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It is always difficult to keep students engaged as the holidays near. We try to get creative in our classrooms by finding ways that we can make fun activities involving reading and math. One of our favorite units to teach in winter is a study of various gingerbread men stories. In the past we have done activities that have included gingerbread men but thanks to an opportunity from #CollectiveBias, our idea this year involves graham cracker houses and practice with following directions (a skill you can never have students practice too often, right?) To get started, we headed to our local Walmart and picked up Skippy Peanut Butter and Honey Maid Graham Crackers along with a variety of fun treats we thought students could use to make their graham cracker houses. To make this activity different, we created following directions cards. The idea was that we wanted students to carefully read and complete each step to make their house.
Following Directions Cards We made four different sets of directions so students do not all create the same house. Print these in color and laminate for durability. For older students or students needing a challenge, we have included a blank, numbered page. This can be used to have students write their own directions. They can do this as they create their own design or write directions and trade with a partner.
You will need the following toppings if you are having students use the cards we created: Honey Maid Graham Crackers, Skippy Peanut Butter (we used this as the “glue”), spice drops, Christmas colored chocolates (we found balls but other chocolate candies would work too), peppermints, chocolate chips and red, green and white icings.
Setting up your literacy center:
1. Print and laminate the directions cards.
2. Place candies and other toppings in small bowls to make it easy for students to access.
3. Attach three graham cracker rectangles to a plate by using drops of Skippy Peanut Butter (this prevented them from sliding as the children worked.)
4. When at the center, each child selects a card and begins working.
5. Create a special spot in your classroom for students to display their creations.
We loved that it kept our own children engaged for so long, even the older boys! They had so much fun building.
Our kids worked hard helping us with this project so we wanted to reward them with a snack. My family (Cathy’s) loves a recipe I found in a newsletter years ago. It has since been modified quite a few times. The original recipe was for breakfast cookies, but it has been transformed into PB Graham Breakfast Bars over the years. These are easy to make as everything is mixed in one bowl and fast to bake because they are baked in a pan, not as individual cookies. Plus, I don’t feel too guilty when they are requested for breakfast.
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 7 oz. 2% Greek yogurt
- 3/4 c. Skippy Peanut Butter
- 1 t. vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 4 sheets of Honey Maid Graham Crackers (crushed)
- 1 1/2 c. rolled oats
- 2 c. toasted oats cereal (or Cheerios)
- 3/4 c. dark chocolate chips (more or less can be used depending on your preference)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix sugar, yogurt, peanut butter, vanilla, eggs, flour, salt and baking soda until well combined.
- Stir in graham cracker crumbs.
- Add rolled oats and toasted oats cereal.
- Mix in chocolate chips.
- Spread in 9 x 12 pan.
- Bake 23 minutes or until cooked through in the middle.
- Let cool, slice and serve!
If your lesson plans now include making graham cracker houses, check out this coupon from Honey Maid: Honey Maid – http://coupons.walmart.com/?cid=18519015 – save $0.50 when you buy one (1) Honey Maid Grahams (12.2 oz. or larger)
If you are looking for more great ideas for the Skippy Peanut Butter you purchase for this activity, you will find some here: http://www.walmart.com/skippy along with a coupon. And, be sure to follow Honey Maid on instagram: http://instagram.com/honeymaidsnacks
We would love for your to send us pictures of your classroom creations!