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!)
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.
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.
You can download the Steckbriefe here as a PDF. Each one comes with an answer key.
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:
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:
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!
In my 1st & 2nd grade class, I thought I would do a survey of who likes which foods. I will ask: “Wer isst x gern?” If they like it, they can stand up, if they don’t they stay seated. We will then count – in German, of course! – the students who are standing. And I will record the number in the box next to the food.
Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday. They obviously do not celebrate it in Germany! And yet, the Germans I know are all rather fascinated by the holiday.
With my 5th & 6th graders, we have been practicing how to talk about foods that you like and don’t like. So with Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it would be fun to hear which traditional foods the kids like and which ones they don’t.
To talk about foods they like (gern essen) and foods they don’t like (nicht gern essen), I made some posters to hang:
Included in the download is also a single poster which includes both sentences, as well as a poster for expressing a favorite food. You can download these here:
I also made individual posters that you can laminate to introduce the vocabulary. I have to say, I was surprised to find that pies are essentially called Kuchen. I always think of Kuchen as cake! But every source I checked used the same words. So Kürbiskuchen and Apfelkuchen it is!