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Trust us, this book-based contest was delicious

Kent City — There’s nothing like a holiday project that involves the whole family, especially if it also gets kids thinking about reading and good behavior. 

To celebrate the season, Kent City Elementary media specialist Arie Heiss created a contest for the whole school. Each class read the book, “The Gingerbread Man,” as retold by Jim Aylesworth, and then spent time discussing the book’s theme of trust. Heiss made sure to tie the discussion to the school’s PBIS system of modeling good behaviors, especially the idea of being trustworthy. 

Heiss then invited each student and their family members to create and decorate a gingerbread person of their own, disguised as a fictional character of their choice. They could use any craft materials they wanted. The only rule? It had to be a character from a book. 

“I was blown away by the parent involvement I saw over the past two weeks and the hard work that went into all the (characters),” Heiss said. “The kids at school were beyond excited and loved seeing all the gingerbread men on display in the halls near the library.”

A mystery panel of judges (aka school security personnel) chose three winners from the gingerbread masterpieces: a “scout elf” character by first-grader Nevaeh Dart, Slappy (from “Goosebumps SlappyWorld”) by third-grader Sully Roest and Baby Yoda by fourth-grader Jonathan Striebel. Each winner received plush Buddy the Elf and Gingerbread Man toys, as well as a corresponding book. 

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Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is associate editor, reporter and copy editor. She is an award-winning journalist who got her professional start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate and proud former Chimes editor, she later returned to Calvin to help manage its national writing festival. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio


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