Story Listening: Der süße Brei

This week’s Story Listening lesson was Der süße Brei (The Sweet Porridge). It comes from the collection of Grimm’s fairy tales. But it is not very well-known here in the US.

At first the children thought it was Goldilocks. Good guess. But no 🙂  Afterward, some children were reminded of Tomi dePaola’s book Strega Nona. I love when they make connections! Maybe I’ll have to tell that one later in the year??

Here’s my finished board:


2018-09-18 14.34.01

Yup. I have a chalkboard this year! Can’t remember the last time I used a chalkboard 🙂

I created some work for the students to do in between our weekly classes again. But honestly, their curriculum is already so packed, I don’t think they have time to do them. That’s okay, though. It would be more for reinforcement. But the stories alone are enough 🙂

I’ll still share with you what I created here:

There is a vocabulary worksheet. Students are given an image and the German word; they have to write the English. Then they are given a booklet with the story. The words from the vocab sheet are in bold. They have to illustrate the book.

Download the vocabulary sheet for FREE: Der süße Brei Wortschatz GitA

Download the booklet for FREE: Der süße Brei booklet GitA


Höflichkeit im Unterricht

This year I have decided to put more emphasis on polite expressions in the pre-K/kindergarten class. Because such expressions are a sign of respect, they are consistently taught in the Montessori classroom.

In the past, we have always had the children say “Danke” when they receive their coloring page. But I am hoping to add more expressions, such as “Entschuldigung” and even “Guten Appetit!”

I have made some posters to help teach the words to the children. Although I only intend to focus on one expression at a time and then reinforce it throughout the year.

Our first word is Danke!

Höflichkeit Work Posters GitA-page-002

I will also send a coloring page home with the children to reinforce the word:

Danke Mvl GitA-page-001

You can download all of the polite expressions posters for FREE here: Höflichkeit Posters GitA

And you can download the Danke! coloring page for FREE here: Danke Malvorlage GitA

As I create more coloring pages, I will be sure to post them!

Story Listening: The Hungry Caterpillar

Today was my first day teaching a full schedule! Well, I’ll be teaching 6 classes, once a week, to grades pre-K through 4th. It’s a big change from just the one pre-K/kindergarten class, though!

In grades 1 – 4, I will be using the Story Listening method. I absolutely loved the looks on my students’ faces when I told them I was going to tell them a story … ALL in German … and that they would understand it! The skepticism was palpable!

I chose a short, familiar story to start off with: Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I simplified the beginning and the end. I also changed up some of the food, choosing foods I thought most kids would eat 🙂 So on Saturday, my caterpillar eats a hamburger, French fries, pizza, pasta, a waffle, ice cream, and chocolate! That really got their attention!

But really, it didn’t take long for the students to recognize the story! I did not tell them ahead of time what the story would be. Once they guessed, I put the title (in German) on the board.

2018-09-12 14.36.16

I only have the children for 30 minutes, once a week. So I will leave some work in the classrooms for them to do during the week. For this lesson, there are two tasks.

First is a vocabulary sheet that has images and words in German. The students have to write the English word underneath. For the younger students, I created a version that has tracing words in English, since they are still learning to spell!

The second task is to create their own reader of the story. I made a booklet with the text – main words from the vocab sheets are in bold. They have to illustrate the book. I also made a finished sample to leave with the non-German-speaking teachers 🙂

Clipart credits:

kleine Raupe Wortschatz AB3,4-page-001

We did have some time after the story, so we sang “Ich habe Hunger”.

Ich habe Hunger SONGTEXT-page-002

You can download the poster from this post.

Then we played a simple game. I asked them if they liked one of the foods from the story (pointing to the board). If the answer was “yes” they went to the right of the room. If the answer was “no” they went to the left side. It was good for some movement, and they enjoyed it!

Download the vocabulary worksheet for FREE: Die kleine Raupe Wortschatz GitA

Due to copyright issues I have not provided the booklet for download.

Buchstabe: M

Our first letter of the school year 2018-2019! The letter M.

I wasn’t entirely happy with the words I chose the last time we started M, so I redid the cards a bit. Here is what the new ones look like:

I wanted to add the words Milch and Münze, so here you can see the extra sheet with all three kinds of cards.

The words in this set are:

das  Mädchen
der  Mais
die  Malkreide
der  Marienkäfer
die  Maus
der  Messbecher
das  Messer
die  Milch
die  Möhre
der  Mond
der  Mund
die  Münze
das  Murmeltier
die  Musik

I’ve chosen 10 of the words to use this week. I will introduce two or three of them each morning at breakfast, starting with the shortest words. I like to try to pick words that have different vowel sounds after the first letter (here: ä, ai, a, au, e, i, ö, o, u, ü).

I plan to leave the letter box with all 10 objects and their cards out in our Montessori-style workspace during the week. Who knows, perhaps there will be an impromptu game of Go Fish after school?!

Download the PDF for FREE here: Wortschatzkarten M – GitA

If you prefer an all caps version, you can download this document instead: Wortschatzkarten M all caps – GitA

2018-09-08 21.15.03-2

Buchstaben einführen

Once again we will be working on German letters at home. I will be posting about the letters we cover and the cards I create to go with them. (Check the categories drop-down menu for posts on specific letters.)

For each letter of the alphabet – along with umlauts and ß and blends – I have a box with small objects that begin with that letter, as well as corresponding cards (one set with words and pictures, one set with just pictures, one set with just words).

2018-09-06 21.30.32-2

There are a few boxes missing from the picture, but you get the idea 😉 And what would we do without Ikea?! I turned my narrow bookcase on its side, so it fits under my big windows in my new office (we just moved!). And you’ve probably seen those sets of boxes! I used a silver paint pen (the only color I had) to label the sides with the letters.

But just what do we do with our cards and little objects??

Well, here is a whole list of things we do:

  • Match objects to cards
  • Line up objects (5-6). Name objects. Have child close eyes, take one away. Which one is missing?
  • Line up objects (5-6). Name objects. Have child close eyes, switch two objects. Which ones moved? Have him put them back in place.
  • Spell out some words using plastic letters.
  • Make the letter out of the objects.
  • Match stickers to written word.
  • Use letter stickers to spell word – match to drawn image.
  • Make up a story using the objects.
  • Put one item in a bag. Play “I’m thinking of …”. He has to guess the object. Maybe let him feel it through the bag?
  • Sort according to a category: animals, body parts, transportation, color, etc.
  • Put objects in order by color.
  • Put in order by size – big to small and/or small to big.
  • Play Memory.
  • Play Go Fish.
  • Clean up: Show him a card, he identifies the object and puts it back in the box.
  • Play hangman. (advanced)

I’m really going to try to keep up with posts this year as we work through the alphabet! Daumen drücken! 🙂



The summer is officially over. What a whirlwind it’s been for us! Packing … traveling … moving in to our new house. I’m still kind of swimming in boxes, but they will take a back seat as school begins – not only for Froggy & Hippo, but for me as well!

This year I will be teaching SIX classes at our Montessori school!! In addition to Hippo’s pre-K/kindergarten class, I’ll add on the other two pre-K/kindergarten classes. Then I will also be teaching grades 1-4. (1 & 2 will be combined into one class; 3 & 4 will split.) So I am busy lesson-planning for my first day next week!

In addition to teaching in the classroom, we are setting up our own little German classroom in the new house. Our kitchen table has been declared a food-free zone! Instead, it will be where the boys do work – especially in German 🙂

We have a new au pair from Austria with us this year. I chose her specifically, because she wants to be a teacher. We plan to work together to create lessons for the boys. Only, I don’t just want to make lesson plans. Instead, I want to set up our kitchen space as a mini-Montessori classroom. If you’ve ever been in one of these brilliantly designed rooms, you’ll see a wide range of “works” that the children can select (after they’ve had a lesson in it) and mostly do on their own.

I thought if we put out different kinds of German activities that the kids can easily see and rotate them periodically, they might actually WANT to do some German work. And of course, they won’t really see it as work – it’s more like play!

Nevertheless, we’ll be starting up some letter work again this year. I wonder if we’ll ever get through the alphabet??? This is attempt #3 (sigh). But they still like it and are looking forward to starting next week.

Here is my new plan for this year:

We will work with the book Lesen Lernen von A bis Z by Ingo Gulde. Each chapter introduces a handful of letters. For example, chapter 1 is A – M – O – P.  We will do a letter a week, then after those four weeks, we’ll spend a week on the chapter.

Germany with Kids: Dinos & More at the Senckenburg Naturmuseum


Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt am Main

If your kids like dinosaurs, they are going to love the Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt!

But this natural history museum has a whole lot more than just dinosaur skeletons. We decided to start upstairs instead of heading straight for the dinos. For one thing, a large school group had just entered the dino room, and we wanted to avoid the crowd. It turned out to be a good idea. I think the boys (ages 8 & 5 now) had a lot more patience to look at all of the other fascinating animals than they otherwise would have if we’d let them look at “the good stuff” first. Kind of like waiting for dessert 🙂

There are almost countless animals to be seen in taxidermy. We found it so interesting because – unlike at a zoo – you can get right up close to them. There were so many birds – from penguins and gulls to flamingos, peacocks, and many colorful parrots and the like! Even some teeny, tiny miniature birds. There were turtles and snakes, moose, and bison. There was a rhino, a leopard, a baby giraffe, and elephants, too. And an enormous skeleton of a whale.

The exhibits focus on evolution and other scientific developments as well. There are small exhibits on volcanoes and space.

And we didn’t even make it through the entire museum! It’s HUGE!

But let’s face it. My kiddos wanted to see the DINOSAURS! The view from the floor above was great. Especially to see the flying dino (sorry, I forget which one it is exactly!). But it also gives a great view of the T-Rex. Other dino bones to be seen include triceratops, parasaurolophos, stegasaurus, brachiosaurus, and iguanodon. Some only have a partial skeleton, like the leg of the Supersaurus. There are more, but I didn’t catch all of their names.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too sure about going to see a bunch of skeletons, but it was quite astounding to stand under the enormous T-Rex or to check out the huge crest of the triceratops.


So if your kids are into dinosaurs, put this museum on your list!

Is it good for kids?

Absolutely! There are also two different kids’ guides that you can get. I was a little disappointed in the dino one. I had hoped it would be more of a scavenger hunt for facts of something. But it included questions like, what’s your favorite dinosaur and which dino would win if they competed in the Olympics? My kids weren’t interested in them. So they weren’t worth the few Euros extra to buy them.

What about the cost?

Tickets for adults, ages 16 – 66, cost €10. Kids ages 6 – 15 are half price. Kids 5 and under are free. They also offer family tickets for 2 adults and up to 3 kids (ages 6 – 15). And there are other discounts for students and seniors.

Where is it?

It’s about a 35-minute walk from the Altstadt (old city center) in the western part of the city. We chose to drive from out hotel near the Altstadt, and it took about 20 minutes, including parking in a garage. (They are having a heat wave here – temps in the 90s – so we didn’t want the kids out in the sun for too long.)