Preparing for Martinstag

 

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Now that I am teaching in pre-k through 4th grade this year, I wanted to celebrate┬áMartinstag with a little parade through the school. It’s amazing how much back-and-forth planning it has taken to carve out 15 minutes of time to bring everyone together and make it happen!! But we did, and tomorrow is the big day!

To prepare, I told the story of Martin to the elementary students (1st – 4th grade) as a Story Listening lesson last week. I also introduced the story to the pre-k/kindergarten classes in English with the help of a board book.

Martin

I have been working with our fabulous art teacher to make lanterns in 1-4. We came up with a great idea! We bought plastic ornaments that look like a mason jar. Then cut strips of black and yellow paper to fit inside. We had a stash of chopsticks (donated by a middle school student :)) and yarn and beads. I brought in a variety of punches from our too-large collection.

Before the children started working, the art teacher had them gather around the table and talked to them about what they would be doing – and why. She asked them about the story I had told them. She asked them why we would have certain shapes, like a sun, a moon, and a star. My heart sang as the children answered! What is more gratifying to a teacher than proof that the children are learning?? ­čśÇ

Then they got to work. They punched shapes into the black paper. Then they put the black and yellow papers inside the lanterns. The art teacher tied the lanterns to the chopsticks with heavy yarn. Then the children cut yarn or ribbon to tie on as decoration and threaded beads onto them. They look amazing!!

 

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As the children worked, we sang the songs. It was such a beautiful afternoon!

Tomorrow I will go back into the pre-k/kindergarten classes in the morning. They will make paper lanterns, as they have done in previous years. You can find the template and instructions here.

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As soon as we finish in the 3rd class, I’ll go gather the elementary students. And we will parade through the pre-k/kindergarten classes with our lanterns while singing our two Martin’s Day songs. Stay tuned to hear how it all goes….

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Story Listening: The Legend of St. Martin

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On November 11th, children in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will be celebrating Martinstag. We are planning our own little celebration at school with all the children from pre-k through 4th grade.

So of course, I had to tell a story about St. Martin. Legend has it that Martin helped a beggar who was freezing by cutting his cloak in two with his sword.

I told another part of the story in English. Martin had become a monk and was living in Tours. When a new bishop was needed, the people turned to “the good Martin”. But he was so humble that he did not want to be bishop. He ran away and hid in a goose stall. The people of the town went searching for him. They lit their lanterns to guide them through the night. But it was the squawking geese that finally gave him away! And he did then agree to become the new bishop.

I took out a few of the details to simplify the story in 1st and 2nd grade. They still got the idea!

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This story is available on the Great Story Reading Project ­čÖé

Martinstag Lied / Martin’s Day Song

I have big plans for Martin’s Day this year at school! Since I am teaching all the way up through 4th grade, I thought it was time to do a parade. That means that the children need to learn the songs!

So I made up some posters to help them learn the words to “Laterne, Laterne”. Last week, I used the word cards to teach the first four words. (You can find out more about how I used them last year in the post Martinstag in the Classroom, and you can download the cards in the post Der gute Martin.)

Now this week it’s time for them to learn the rest of the song.

You can download the posters for FREE here: Laterne Laterne Lied GitA

I made up some posters for teaching “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne” but the images I found are copyrighted, so I can’t share them. However, there is a great coloring page that you can find at Teddylingua.

Story Listening: Halloween Story

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I’m not a fan of scary stories. And the last thing I want to do is frighten a child, even at Halloween! But I still wanted to tell a good story with a Halloween theme. So I found the book┬áThe Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.

The little old lady is followed home by two shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, gloves, a hat, and a scary jack-o-lantern. But when they don’t frighten her, they get sad. But she has an idea! The next day, she wakes up to see them all standing in her garden making the perfect scarecrow!

This story is perfect for Story Listening, because of the way it repeats. The ending was a little tricky to make clear, though. I’ll have to work on that for next time.

In 3rd & 4th grade, I’m teaching in a different room, so I now have a white board instead of a chalk board. The pictures don’t come out quite as well ­čÖé

I tried something new with this lesson. I gave the children a sheet of paper with some of the words on it, so they could draw along with me. My intention was for them to be more attentive in their listening. But I don’t think it worked very well. They were too concerned with their drawings. I saw more of the tops of their heads than their eyes! It was a good experiment. Maybe I’ll try having them draw┬áafter the story another time.

1st & 2nd Grade

I simplified the story even more for the younger children. I took out the gloves and hat and also removed some of the descriptive colors of the clothes. It made the story go a little faster, since I don’t have as much time to spend with them.

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Story Listening: Das gr├╝ne Halsband

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Because my lesson on How the Apple got its Star was a little too challenging – and long – for my 3rd & 4th-graders, I knew I had to choose something simpler for the 1st & 2nd-graders this week. So I went with a Halloween-themed story:┬áDas gr├╝ne Halsband (or┬áThe Green Ribbon).

I knew the story from the I Can Read series: a book called┬áIn a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. It’s not really scary. More like a little creepy – and just plain weird. Here’s the thing, though. I personally don’t really like the story. And when I don’t like the story, the lesson just does not go as well. I wanted to like it. I tried to make it work. But it really did not go over very well. Lesson learned!

This story is available on the Great Story Reading Project ­čÖé

Story Listening: Wie die Sterne in den Apfel kamen

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This lovely story about how the apple got its star come from the Waldorf schools. You can read the original English here.

The story tells about a little seed that is sleeping in the earth until one morning it is awakened by Mother (or Father) Sun. After it pokes its head up out of the soil, it is enchanted by all the sights of nature that surround him. That night, he sees the dark sky full of stars and wishes to have one for himself. A fairy visits him and tells him that he will have his wish granted if he works hard to grow strong and fill himself with love. Eventually the seed becomes a tree with little buds, and the tree becomes a father/mother to the little pink buds. He takes such loving care of them and is so happy, that he forgets all about his wish to have a star. When the fairy returns, the tree is full of red apples, and he tells the fairy that he no longer needs a star of his own. So she declares that she will hide a star inside each apple for the little children to find.

After we read the story, I cut open an apple for the children to see the star. I think that was the best part ­čÖé┬á I’m not sure how many of the children had ever seen the star inside of the apple. The trick is to cut it through the “equator” – not from stem to bottom. Makes it trickier to cut up for eating, but it does reveal the magic!

As it turns out, this story was rather challenging. It was a little long and a little too hard for my beginners to understand. I think in the future, I will either save this for a second-year lesson or simplify it some more.

Because it was challenging for my 3rd & 4th-graders, I decided not to tell this story to my 1st & 2nd-graders. I told them the somewhat creepy Halloween-time story of the green ribbon instead….

This story is available on the Great Story Reading Project ­čÖé

Story Listening: Goldl├Âckchen

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This week’s story was┬áGoldilocks.┬áEven though it is a story that is familiar to the children, it still works great for Story Listening. There is something comfortable about knowing the story and being able to predict what is coming next.

1st & 2nd Grade:

We sang a new song in class: the German version of “Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes.” In German, you sing “foot” instead of “toes.” It goes like this:

Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fu├č, Knie und Fu├č
Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fu├č, Knie und Fu├č
Augen, Ohren, Nase und Mund
Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fu├č, Knie und Fu├č

(That funny letter in “Fu├č” is called an┬áEszett and is basically a double “s.”)

Sometimes it is hard to sing a song that you already know in another language! So we’ll keep working on it ­čÖé

3rd & 4th Grade:

We have been working on colors the past two weeks. So we added some new ones:┬áschwarz, wei├č, braun, grau, & rosa (black, white, brown, gray, & pink).

Although I shouldn’t really say “working,” because mostly we are having fun with these words! The children love to play games, so we played a round of “Ich habe …, Wer hat…?” (I have, Who has?). (I got the game here.)

And we played their favorite game:┬áJa oder Nein. I hold up a color and ask if they like it (in German, of course). If the answer is yes, they say, “Ja!” and move to one side of the room. If the answer is no, they say, “No!” and move to the other side of the room. We have had to add┬áin der Mitte (in the middle) for those who can’t quite make up their minds ­čÖé

Goldilocks is available on The Great Story Reading Project ­čÖé