First off, we gathered inspiration. Check out my pinterest board here for lots of ideas! Then we brought some example pictures to the students and brainstormed with them. Next, the students did sketches and wrote down what materials they would like to use. After coming to a consensus on the design, we took each classes' ideas home and drew up templates. Since our class time is limited, Neil and I constructed the houses at home and then brought them to class to decorate. Here are the final houses!
Neil's sixth grade class did this one. I love the pond, the fort and the campfire!
It's hard to tell from the poor quality of the photos but this is a barn. The kids decided to a barn because prior to this year the school had been held in a renovated barn. I love the swedish fish swimming in the creek!
Below is a link to the guide to making gingerbread houses we used. I highly recommend making the royal icing rather than buying it. That way you can add more powder sugar to adjust the thickness and it's cheaper. Also you definitely want to have a partner when putting it together; it can be kind of tricky. Have fun!