The Sourdough Man: An Alaska Folktale

December 03, 2012

Over the years, the classic story of the Gingerbread Man has been retold again and again. Over the next few days will be telling you a little bit about some of the unique or fun versions we have come across.

First up - The Sourdough Man


Obviously this story takes place in Alaska. Rather than the traditional gingerbread cookie, our main character is a loaf of sourdough bread. The Sourdough Man runs away from numerous animals (all native to Alaska) such as caribou and lemmings. Overall, we are introduced to nine animals! The ending to this story is the more similar to the original tale. An arctic fox tricks the Sourdough Man into being eaten in the middle of a river.

One interesting thing we noticed about this story was the author's descriptive writing. In the beginning of the story, Cherie Stihler devotes an entire paragraph the the Sourdough Man's appearance, however the character depicted is very plain. In our book unit, we've included a template for your students to decorate the Sourdough Man the way they hear the character described as before you show them the illustrations.

At the end of the story, the author mentions that the Grandmother was saving the story of the Sourdough Man for after dinner. We have included a writing paper that essentially has the students retell the story from the Grandmother's perspective.

Our unit includes two graphic organizers. One is a story map (characters, setting, problem, + solution). The other  refers to how the fox tricks the Sourdough Man in the format of First, Next, Then, Finally.

We've included a SHORT research piece on Alaska. The worksheet simply asks students to find the capital, motto, and what kind of animals live in Alaska. Then there is space for the students to draw the state flag. There is also an area for students to write three ways Alaska is different from where they live. (Answer Key included)

We have a quick page on similes. The top portion of the page explains two patterns that can be used to write similes and then the bottom of the page asks students to write similes about characters in the story.

Finally, we have a sequencing activity. First students will order 10 events from the story (provided), then they will create a graphic representation of the events (provided).

This is such a fun version of the Gingerbread Man and provides students with a peak into Alaska's animals and wildlife. There is much more that could be done with this book if you had time, but our unit was created with the idea that it was part of a larger gingerbread man unit.

All of our gingerbread units will be available for purchase separately or as a bundle (with a price cut). You can find The Sourdough Man Book Unit in our TpT store.

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  1. I enjoy your blog so I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. Check it out: Teaching is Elementary


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