With new classroom rules in place for covid, we are all having to get creative! I recently came up with a little “Hide & Seek” game that I’ve been using with my pre-k/kindergartners.
I use a set of vocab posters I already have. For example, we’ve been working on the weather. So there are 8 – 10 words they are learning. After we review the words, I choose one to “seek”. For example, it’s been very gray and snowy here, so we’ve been looking for the sun a lot 🙂 I shuffle the vocab posters and then hold them in front of me, so I can’t see them. Then I start asking, “Ist das die Sonne?” They answer “Ja!” or “Nein!” And after they have found the sun and answered “Ja!” we then call out, “Gefunden!”
I made a little poster with the words “Gefunden” on it to help them learn it. Tomorrow when we play the game, I’ll hold up the sign after they find the word 🙂
After updating the weather materials to include wintery words, I decided to make some bigger weather cards. Fitting all eight words on to one page seemed to be a bit of a squish, so I’ve spread them out over two pages. They work better for younger learners.
I’ve made them in color and black & white, in case the children prefer to color the cards themselves. They can be used as flashcards or print two sets and use them to play memory.
Last spring I posted some materials for weather-watching. But as it was already April, I did not include winter weather. Well, we’re at the beginning of a big Nor’easter here, about to get a whole lot of snow! So I wanted to add words for snow and ice to the checklist and weather cards. Here are the new materials!
If you are looking for the older materials without wintery weather words, they are in this post.
I often ask my young students what kind of weather they see out the window. (Was sehen wir aus dem Fester?) This allows them to answer in a simpler, more consistent noun-form. It avoids the mix of answers like “Die Sonne scheint.” – “Es schneit.” – “Es ist nebelig.” Once they master the nouns, it will be easier to move into the various sentence structures.
I also have a video to review the words. The word Eis is not included, however it is pronounced pretty much the same as the English “ice”.
Our winter break has ended, however we are taking a week of remote learning before heading back into the building. And so I wanted to give my students some activities to get German fresh again without having to use screen time. They are getting enough virtual meetings and online assignments already.
Since my 5th & 6th graders really like to color, I created a snowman read & color activity. To help them along, I added a second page of vocabulary.
To make sure I had set it up correctly, I had Hippo try the activity for his at-home German lesson yesterday. It went very well!
There were four levels of word searches. The first two were created for 1st & 2nd grade, the easiest one having words that only go horizontally. The words come directly from the stories of the Nutcracker that I told them. Each of the word searches come with a solution key!
The word searches for the older kids also had a glossary that could be printed on the back.
The 5th & 6th graders heard the most detailed version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcrackerlast week. So they were ready to get started on their project. They made a “Hampelmann” – or jumping jack – Nutcracker. I printed the template on cardstock, and then the students colored them in and cut them out. I have a small hole puncher (1/8-inch), so we used that to make the holes. Then they assembled the Hampelmänner with mini gold brads (I bought these on Amazon).
I absolutely love these little guys! They are all different, but they look amazing together or individually!
One thing I wish I’d done better was manage their time. The kids needed at least 10-15 minutes to cut out the nutcrackers. It’s petty detailed! In the end, I was running around trying to punch all the holes and hand out the fasteners, while the classroom teacher taped them to the board, so we could display them – even if just for a short time. We did of course let them take their beautiful nutcrackers home. Apparently one got to go for a ride, and another made it on to the Christmas tree! (See the pictures below!)
This group also heard the story of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker last week. So this week, these peaceful students colored a design printed on cardstock. Then we taped a feather (if they wanted) to come out of the “hat” and taped the paper to a toilet paper roll! Easy peasy! But so effective!
Aren’t they striking?! The children really did work so peacefully! I was pleasantly surprised, as it was the end of the day on the last day of school before winter break!
I found this simple craft at Sophie World. She has the template you can download for free (click the “Stats” tab to the right of “How to”.)
Each of my German classes is doing a different project. In the morning, my pre-k/kindergarten classes colored a shape Nutcracker.
In 1st & 2nd grade, the children created a GIANT collaborative 4-foot Nutcracker! Each child completed a piece of the puzzle. Then I put it all together and went over the outline with black marker. And then I laminated the whole thing – it just barely fit! It is now hanging in all its glory in the hall of our school!
I am so thrilled! I let the children color their “puzzle pieces” however they wanted. I asked that they use marker and do their best coloring. Some went bold. Others went for designs and detail. The overall effect is stunning!
I found the template and instructions at Art Projects for Kids. I did have to pay for it, but it comes in different sizes, and I can use it again and again! (She has a lot of other materials that are free. Definitely worth a look!)
This week is all about nutcrackers! I began today by telling my youngest students a little about nutcrackers. I also brought in a small nutcracker to show them. Of course, many of the children were excited to see something that they, too, had in their homes!
Nutcrackers have been around for 600 years.
Nutcrackers are traditionally made of wood in Germany.
Nutcrackers represent luck, strength, and protection.
German author E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote a fairy tale about a nutcracker that comes to life in 1816.
Russian composer Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet on Hoffmann’s story.
(You can read these and other facts in the various “Steckbriefe” I created for my elementary & middle school students in this post.)
Crack open a story book!
Then I read the children a short story book of The Nutcracker. I was excited to see that it was attributed to Hoffmann, as that is the version I want to focus on. I am, after all, teaching German! However, I was surprised to find that this version calls the little girl Clara. In Hoffmann’s story, the girl is named Marie, while her beloved doll is named Clara. So as I read the book, I called her Marie. I added some details from the story as I read, too.
Let’s get crafting!
For my youngest students, we actually did not do a craft. Instead, I prepared a Nutcracker coloring project for them. I got the idea from another site, but of course I wanted to make it German! So I started drawing the outline of a nutcracker. It helped when I realized I could fold my paper in half and trace the right side of it, so that it turned out symmetrical! Then I scanned it and started adding shapes. Here’s how it turned out:
I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with how it turned out! You can download the PDF for free here:
The story in 5th & 6th grade got a lot more complex. I find in general that the older children can sit and be attentive to longer, more complex stories. So I really went for it! And they stayed right with me.
Once again, there are a lot more words on this board than in 1st & 2nd grade and even in 3rd & 4th grade. Many of the drawings are the same, however there are a few more here, too. You can really see the difference in the text.