Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 7

3rd & 4th Grade Nutcracker Art Project

The nutcracking fun continued! After completing a Nutcracker shape coloring activity in pre-k/kindergarten and a giant collaborative mural Nutcracker in 1st & 2nd grade, it was time for the 3rd & 4th grade class to take a crack at a project!

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”.)

Stay tuned for the project that the 5th & 6th graders worked on!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 6

1st & 2nd Grade Nutcracker Art Project

Last week, I told the students the basic story of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker. And then we completed a Steckbrief about nutcrackers. So this week, they were all set to do their class Nutcracker Art Project!

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!)

Stay tuned for projects in 3rd & 4th grade and 5th & 6th grade! (As long as we get back into school after this snowstorm!)

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 5

Pre-k / Kindergarten Nutcracker Art Project

A few cracking-good facts:

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 children enjoyed the project!

Stay tuned for projects from the 1st & 2nd graders, 3rd & 4th graders, and 5th & 6th graders!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 4

The Nutcracker story in 5th & 6th grade

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.

Read the text of this version here:

Coming up…

Stay tuned for Nutcracker projects with all of my German students!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 3

The Nutcracker story in 3rd & 4th Grade

As I told the story of the Nutcracker in each of my classes, the story became more complex with more details. The 1st & 2nd graders got a very simple version of the story.

In the next story for 3rd & 4th grade, we went beyond the bare basics.

Here you can see the storyboard. There are quite a few more words on the board! After the story, we checked comprehension to make sure everyone understood. As we went over the story, I wrote some of the words in English, which you can see in blue ink.

Read the text of this version here:

Read the next post on 5th & 6th grade….

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 2

Nutcracker Facts

I wanted to give my elementary and middle school students some background information about nutcrackers. So after I told the story in each class, I gave them a worksheet in the form of a “Steckbrief“. We filled in the simple facts together. Each class got a different version, becoming more detailed as the kids get older.

In 1st and 2nd grade…

Then in 3rd and 4th grade …

It’s the same information, but with a little more to fill in.

Finally, in 5th and 6th grade …

They got more information.

Free Download:

You can download the Steckbriefe here as a PDF. Each one comes with an answer key.

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 1

The Nutcracker story in 1st & 2nd grade

This year inspiration struck, and I decided to bring The Nutcracker into all of my classes, from pre-k to 6th grade. All the children will be introduced (or reintroduced) to the story, and each level will do a different art project. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

For pre-k/kindergarten students, we will read a shortened book and do a simple coloring project.

For elementary & middle school students, the lessons will be in two parts. This week, I am telling the story and giving the children some background on nutcrackers and the fairy tale.

In elementary school, I’ll tell a simple version of the story. First & second grade heard the story yesterday:

Knack!

I decided to draw my nutcracker ahead of time, as it is so detailed. And every time I said “Nussknacker” the children were supposed to say “Knack!” You can download them both for free below:

After the story, the students will get a simple worksheet to fill in. Read more about the Steckbrief” in this post!

The text for 1st & 2nd grade:

Read more about the Story Listening lesson from two years ago that used this text in this post.

You can also read the updated text from this year and download it for free here:

Klingelingeling! Jingle Bells

While we may not be singing in the classrooms right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t have music! I usually teach the children the song “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” at this time of year. In the past few years, I have made little bells at home to give to the children, so they can play along as we sing. But this year, I decided to let them make the bells. And then we said the words Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling.

To make the bells, you need:

  • 2 pipe cleaners in two different colors (we used red & white this year)
  • three bells

That’s it! I get my bells at the Dollar Store. You have to make sure you get bells that have a big enough “loop” or “handle” at the top, so the pipe cleaner can go through.

For instructions on how to make the bells, see this post!

After I taught the children how to say “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” we clapped out the rhythm as we said it. Then I told them that we needed bells to ring instead of just clapping! So we made the bells. And then I showed them one of my favorite things: and Advent calendar from our Swiss au pair. Each day plays a different song!

We listened to the German song for Day 2, of course – Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling! And we rang our bells in time and spoke the words we’d learned.

(This Advent calendar plays 48 beautiful songs – 24 German and 24 English! It uses only 3 AA batteries. And the melodies are lovely to listen to! You can find more about them here! No compensation for me – I just like them!)

The children enjoyed the music so much, that we listened to several other songs. “O Tannenbaum“, “Stille Nacht“, and “Jingle Bells”.

Here is a coloring page that goes with the song:

Frohe Weihnachten!

Nikolaus – in 5th & 6th Grade

Finally, I ended the week in 5th & 6th grade, telling the story of Nikolaus one last time. Of course, these kids have heard the story for several years and are very familiar with the tradition by now! But they still enjoy the story. I added more detail for this class, as they know the basic story well.

After we finished the story, we went back and picked out the cognates (those are underlined). For words that were close, but not close enough to be true cognates, we starred them.

Some of my students have been using their individual white boards to draw with me. One student let me capture her work:

For some students, drawing along can be distracting. But for those who find it helpful, I think it’s great!

Now, they also needed a boot for Nikolaus to fill over the weekend! I had them do the same craft that the 3rd & 4th graders did. I found small red paper bags at a craft store. Then I printed boots on white card stock and cut them out (one less thing for them to do, as we did not have a lot of time). I asked them to color the boots and then glue them to the paper bags.

They did a very colorful job! (I had them write their names in the “furry” part of the boot, so I marked those out.)

They also did the puzzle of Das ist das Haus vom Nikolaus. It was fun to see how different people solved the puzzle! There are indeed 44 different ways to solve it!

You can find the free download and solutions in this post.

Nikolaus – in 3rd & 4th Grade

Today the Nikolaus celebration continued with my older students. As always, I started the class with the story. Again, it was the legend of Nikolaus and the Three Daughters. But not as simple as the version I told in 1st & 2nd grade.

It amazes me that they enjoy the story year after year! Most of these students have heard the story two or three times now.

Of course, the 3rd & 4th graders needed a boot, too. But I thought they might be a bit older for lacing 🙂 So I found little red paper bags at the craft store. Then I printed and cut out some boots on white card stock. (The image is copyrighted, so I can’t share it, but this picture gives you an idea – I fit 3 on a page.)

I had also told Puss in Boots to these students a couple of weeks ago, so I again challenged them to create the most magnificent boots. They colored them in and then glued them to the front of the little bags.

I didn’t get a picture of their work, but I’m hoping the teachers will take a picture for me on Monday! Meanwhile, you can see the post on 5th & 6th grade to see how the project turned out.

As the kids finished up their boots, I had a fun little activity for them. The puzzle is to make a house with 8 lines without lifting your pencil.

There are 44 ways to solve the puzzle! You can download the worksheet and see the solutions in this post!