Teaching Colors with Elmar dem Elefanten

I’ve had a hard time teaching colors to my pre-K/kindergarten class in the past. I needed a book that had something of a story to hold the children’s interest and more importantly, I needed a color song.

For the book, I am going to try out Elmar mag alle Farben by David McKee (Thienemann-Esslinger, 2015). (If you are familiar with these books in English, you’ll notice that the spelling is different: Elmer with an “e” in English, Elmar with an “a” in German.)

It’s very simple, which I really like. But it isn’t just page after page of Elmar mag rot … Elmar mag blau … und, und, und. It isn’t exactly a story, but each set of pages tells a kind of mini story. For example: “Der Schneemann ist weiß. Sein lila Schal hält ihn warm.” Nice and simple, but still interesting.

Elmar mag alle Farben

Before I get to the book, however, I need to introduce the colors. I made a rainbow out of felt pieces that stack on top of each other. That way, I can introduce each color individually, but I can also stack them up to make my rainbow. Now if only I had remembered to get myself a felt board! I’ll have to improvise a little here 🙂

I still have not found a simple song to teach the colors. So I finally came up with my own! It’s to the tune of “Ten Little Indians” and just repeats the colors:

rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
in dem Regenbogen

Just make sure you sing the word “orange” on two notes (one for each syllable). I’ll keep my felt rainbow out to point to the colors as we sing it. Easy peasy!

I always end with a book and then an activity – usually a coloring sheet. So I made up a very simple checkered Elmar coloring page to include all six colors.

 

Elmar Farben GitA-page-001

Each of the colored crayons points to a box to color in, so that Elmar ends up looking like a checkered rainbow.

You can download the coloring page here: Elmar Farben GitA

Viel Spaß!

Der erste Tag / First day of Story Hour!

Today was our first day back at story hour. It seemed like no time had gone by at all! Except, of course, that the children had grown. They just keep doing that 🙂

I like to start off the new year talking about them! I’m super excited about the activity we did to kick things off! On a large piece of paper, I drew a simple outline of a tree with a bunch of big circles inside. The circles were not just apples, but were meant to represent each child in the group. As they arrived, I called each child over to pick a favorite color and color in the “apple”. Then I labeled each one with their name, age, and a favorite toy or thing to do. Not only did we have a lovely little art project, but I got to know something about them and can use that information to plan future story hours!

In the past, I used books mostly about Körperteile – or parts of the body. But I wanted to also talk about things they like to do. So I used one story about a girl named Frieda who loves to dance. We did include one about the body. And then I couldn’t resist reading the Elephant & Piggie book, Das Buch über uns. The kids just love it! Especially if you use voices 😉

  • Frieda tanzt by Birgitta Sif (Aladin, 2016)
  • Das bin ich by Heinz Janisch (Tyrolia, 2014)
  • Das Buch über uns by Mo Willems (Klett, 2015)

Here are some other books we could have used:

  • Von Kopf bis Fuss by Eric Carle (Gerstenberg, 2011)
  • Heute bin ich by Mies van Hout (aracari verlag, 2012)
  • Der Hase mit dem roten Nase by Helme Heine (Beltz & Gelberg, 2016)
  • Bin ich klein? Am I Small? by Philipp Winterberg (CreateSpace Independent, 2013)
  • Das kleine ich bin ich by Mira Lobe (Jungbrunnen, 2016)

We sang four songs today, since I couldn’t decide on just three!

  • “Wenn du glücklich bist”
  • “Meine Finger, Meine Finger” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder, Vol. 3)
  • “Kopf und Schulter, Knie und Fuß”
  • “Das Lied über mich” (Volker Rosin)

You can download the lyrics here: Lieder – ich (PDF).

After we wore ourselves out singing “Das Lied über mich” (I think the moms enjoyed it even more than the kiddos!), the children had a choice of coloring a picture of themselves or filling out a Steckbrief! Some chose to do both 🙂

You can download the activities as PDF here: Das Lied über mich – GitA.

Elmar loves all weather!

Today for our weather unit lesson, Froggy read a book called Elmar mag jedes Wetter. It’s a pretty simple book. But at this stage, simple is good!

elmar-mag-jedes-wetter

At the same time, it wasn’t quite enough to fill out a full lesson. So I created a worksheet to go with it. It, too, is rather simple. Since Elmar likes all weather, the answer to each question is Ja! But I added a bit more to personalize it:

elmar-mag-jedes-wetter-gita

It also sneaks in a little work on how to say that you like something!

You can download the PDF here: Elmar mag jedes Wetter – GitA

 

So Many Vehicles!

Today in Story Hour, we read and sang about vehicles … cars, buses, trains, excavators, fire trucks, tractors, submarines, ships, hot air balloons, rockets, and even soapbox cars!

After reading our books, singing our songs, and doing a finger play, the children created their own little book based on Kikaninchen: Wer fährt heute mit? Each child had a booklet with each of the days and a place to enter which vehicle was used and who got to go along. They could fill in the information (with help from a caregiver) and then add the appropriate sticker to match. Later on, when Froggy (our 7-year-old) heard about the project, he wanted to do one, too. He was able to write the words himself, with some spelling help. Here are two examples:

To assemble the booklet, you print out the two pages, double-sided, and cut them in half. Then you can staple them together to make the booklet. (You’ll need a long reach stapler to get all the way to the middle of the booklet.) Next, print out the stickers on round labels (1 2/3-inch):

wer-fahrt-heute-mit-stickers-gita-docx-page-001

You can download both documents here in PDF format. Included in the download is a sheet with specific instructions.

The three books we read were:

  • Unser Ausflug. Wir fahren ins Grüne  by Chris Embleton & Louise Martin (Parragon, 2008)
  • So viele Fahrzeuge im Einsatz  by Stefan Seidel (Coppenrath, 2011)
  • Kikaninchen: Wer fährt heute mit?  (arsEdition, 2011)

We also did a fingerplay (Fingerspiel): “Tatütata(click on the link to see a video of the fingerplay)

Tatütata – Wer kommt daher?
Tatütata – die Feuerwehr.
Tatütata – Es brennt ein Haus.
Tatütata – die Schläuche raus.

Wasser marsch!

And we sang two songs:

“Die Räder vom Bus”

Die Räder vom Bus, die rollen dahin, rollen dahin, rollen dahin
Die Räder vom Bus, die rollen dahin
Stundenlang

Die Türen vom Bus gehen auf und zu …

Die Wischer vom Bus machen wisch wisch wisch …

Die Hupe vom Bus macht “tut tut tut” …

Der Fahrer vom Bus sagt: “Fahrkarte, bitte!” …

Die Kinder im Bus machen “Blah blah blah” …

Die Leute im Bus, die schaukeln hin und her …

“Mit der Eisenbahn” (2010, von Ottmar Liedl)

Wir fahren heute Eisenbahn
und schauen uns die Welt mal an
Wir machen einen langen Zug
Platz für alle ist genug

Hallo, Du! Du bist dran!
Hallo, Du! Häng dich dran!
Mach die Türe zu
Der Zug, der fährt jetzt ab

Wir fahren heute Eisenbahn
und schauen uns die Welt mal an
Wir fahren jetzt in eine Stadt,
die den Namen Passau hat

Hallo, Du! Du bist dran!
Hallo, Du! Häng dich dran!
Mach die Türe zu
Der Zug, der fährt jetzt ab

Wir fahren heute Eisenbahn
und schauen uns die Welt mal an
Wir fahren bis zur Endstation
Da ist die schon

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Der Herbst ist da!

With Columbus Day coming up, we were going to miss our first October meeting of Story Hour. So we snuck in an extra session on the last Friday of September. Perfect timing, since fall has just begun!

We started out by reviewing numbers. I just grabbed the blocks from the play area to go over numbers 1-10. For the first book (Zehn Blätter fliegen davon), I had put sticky notes on each page to count the leaves that had flown from the tree. That way, the children had the chance to review the numbers again. At the end of the story hour, we did two activities to practice numbers.

Books:

  • Zehn Blätter fliegen davon by Anne Möller (2008)
  • Manuel & Didi. Das zweite große Buch der kleinen Mäuseabenteuer (“Der Apfel”) by Erwin Moser (2009)
  • Der Herbst steht auf der Leiter by Peter Hacks (2012)

Songs:

  • “Bunt sind schon die Wälder” (Here, you can find lyrics and music.)
  • “Der Apfelbaum” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder) Click for youtube video
  • “Der Herbst steht auf der Leiter”

All of these songs are available to download through Amazon.de!

Activities:

1. Klebe das Blatt mit der passenden Zahl an den Baum. In addition to the handout, I used foam leaf stickers. I wrote a number on each one (1 – 10), and the children had to match the leaf sticker to the number on the tree. Download the PDF here: zehn-blatter-arbeitsblatt-gita

zehn-blatter-arbeitsblatt-gita-page-001

2. Malen nach Zahlen Download the PDF here: malen-nach-zahlen-herbstblatt-gita

malen-nach-zahlen-herbstblatt-gita-page-001

Zoo Animals

Today, I’m taking my zoo theme to Froggy’s school for their lesson.

First, I created some word posters to teach the children some of the animal names.

  • der Bär
  • der Elefant
  • die Giraffe
  • das Känguru
  • der Löwe
  • der Seehund

You can download them here: Zootiere Posters (PDF)

2016-05-25 11.45.20

We will then sing “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo” from Die 30 besten Sing- und Bewegungslieder. In an effort to keep the kids a little calmer and quieter, we’re going to change the words. Our bear is going to nicken (nod his head), winken (wave), and klatschen (clap). I have to admit, it’s also easier to sing when you don’t have to jump and stomp and dance around!

index

After that, I’ll read another Eric Carle book, called Komm, fang den Ball! (Gerstenberg, 1999) This book has a flat, circular cut-out that acts as the ball. It’s attached to a string that pulls through the whole book, so that each animal can “throw” the ball to another animal.

Finally, I updated the zoo map I made for story hour to be a coloring page. You can download that, too: Zoo Karte Malvorlage (PDF) Here’s Froggy’s example (he’s more into fast than neat coloring these days 🙂 )

Zoo Karte AMR GitA

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Spiders on the Farm

Today, I’ll be teaching a lesson based on Eric Carle’s book, Die kleine Spinne spinnt und schweigt.

First, we will review the five farm animals they learned when we read Klingelingeling:

  • die Katze
  • der Hund,
  • das Schwein
  • die Ente
  • das Pferd

Then I’ll use more images to introduce the other animals (and insect!) in the story:

  • die Kuh
  • das Schaf
  • die Ziege
  • der Hahn
  • die Eule
  • die Spinne

For the images, I found Eric Carle’s images in a bulletin board set on Amazon. (Nope, I don’t get compensation for mentioning this product! 🙂 )

We will also talk about the different sounds the animals make in German.

Next we sing “Die winzig kleine Spinne.” There are several German versions, including one called “Imse Bimse Spinne.” But this is the one that I know:

Die winzig kleine Spinne
kroch auf den Wasserhahn.
Dann kam der Regen
und ward sie aus der Bahn!
Dann kam die Sonne
und trocknet wieder auf.
Und die winzig kleine Spinne
kroch wiederum hinauf!

Finally, I will read the book to the children. I love to be dramatic when reading books to children 🙂  So I exaggerate the animal sounds and read in voices that sound like the various animals.

I always try to bring a craft or a coloring page for the children. This week, I’ll bring a coloring page with the six new animals on one side and the words to the song on the other. Here you can download a copy of the coloring sheet, which includes an extra page with the first five animals as well: Malvorlage kleine Spinne (PDF)