Herbst mit Zahlen und Farben

In story hour yesterday, we celebrated fall with numbers and colors!

I began by using the German blocks that the library has to review numbers 1 through 10.  (You can actually get the German blocks – made by Uncle Goose – on Amazon!)

We read the following books:

  • Zehn Blätter fliegen davon by Anne Möller (2008)
  • Manuel & Didi. Das große Buch der kleinen Mäuseabenteuer (“Die Laubhütte”) by Erwin Moser (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)

And we sang the following songs:

  • “Wind” by Nena (Himmel, Sonne, Wind und Regen)
  • “Der Apfelbaum” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder) Click for youtube video
  • “Der Herbst steht auf der Leiter”

You can download the lyrics here: Herbstlieder

Then we did two activities:

The children were given a tree with numbers on it along with 10 foam leaves, also with numbers on each. With help from their mom or caregiver, the children matched the numbers from the stickers with those on the tree and stuck them in the appropriate place. Download the PDF activity here: zehn-blatter-arbeitsblatt-gita

I also gave children a simple Malen nach Zahlen coloring page of a maple leaf and the colors red, orange, and yellow. Download the coloring page here: malen-nach-zahlen-herbstblatt-gita

The older children only needed a little bit of help. And our younger friends enjoyed making their leaves extra colorful!

Back to School – Where Does German Fit in?

Today was the first day of 2nd grade for Froggy. While homework won’t start coming home until next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to piggyback some German work onto it.

For school, he’ll be expected to do about 10 minutes of math and 20 minutes of reading (that includes bedtime books, thankfully!). So I don’t want to do more than 10 minutes of German, or I know I’ll lose him.

I want to get back to basics with both kids, so I’ll be working on letters with Hippo and reading with Froggy.

I plan to start our day in German. The kids have been having German breakfasts with our au pair, so we’ll continue that. And I’m going to try to do some fun letter work with them at breakfast, too. We’ll have a letter of the week and different objects that represent that letter.

After school, I want to start us off by playing some educational games. I found a number of alphabet and reading games while I was in Germany this summer. Things like the Clever Spielen series.

Clever spielen

I know I’ll keep their interest more if I can keep it fun!

The good news is that Froggy is taking an interest in learning more German. It always seems to happen when we are in Europe over the summer. Even being in the Netherlands seems to bring out his German – as if hearing another language activates his own second language, even though they are different! I just hope it lasts!

I also want to use up some of his homework reading time with German. The teachers were okay with that last year. So we’ll read some German books at bedtime, too.

Tonight we read a fun one by Erwin Moser called Das große Buch von Koko und Kiri. I just love his humor 🙂 Both boys needed help with comprehension here and there, but they got most of it!

I just stumbled on to a post about homework and bilingual children. For Emilia at Raising a Trilingual Child, it was more a question of which of the family’s three languages to speak when helping her children with their homework. It’s the kind of question most parents never think about. I know it would never occur to me to speak German while helping Froggy with his homework!

How do you work in lessons in your minority language when the kids go back to school? And what language do you speak with your children when helping them with their homework?

Vehicles

I can’t believe the school year is almost over! And I can’t believe I haven’t done a vehicles topic for the children yet! So I grabbed one of my favorite books for inspiration: Kikaninchen’s Wer fährt heute mit (arsEdition, 2011). It doesn’t necessarily have the most common of vehicles (a submarine and a soap box car?!), but it’s a cute little story. It also includes days of the week and animals.

I began the lesson by introducing the vocabulary to the children. I couldn’t find a picture of a soap box car, so we skipped that one for now! And since I planned on singing “Die Räder vom Bus” we had to include a bus. I like to keep the new words to only 5 or 6. But I created word posters for 9 vehicles:

  • das Auto
  • der Bus
  • der Heißluftballon
  • die Rakete
  • das Schiff
  • der Traktor
  • das U-Boot
  • der Zug

You can download the PDF file here: Fahrzeuge Posters GitA

Then we sang “Die Räder vom Bus” (Wheels on the Bus). There is more than one version of this song. But here is one that I have:

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...
Die Leute im Bus schaukeln hin und her...

Finally, we read our book:kika-wer-fahrt-heute-mit

And of course, I send the children home with a coloring page.

Fahrzeuge Malvorlage GitA-page-001

Download it here: Fahrzeuge Malvorlage GitA

Valentine Stories

Yesterday in story hour, we celebrated Valentine’s Day! I always like to focus on friendship when choosing books and songs for the little ones. Here’s what we did:

BOOKS:

  • Alles Freunde by Nele Moost & Annet Rudolph (Esslinger, 2015)
  • “Der Liebesbrief” from Frosch und Kröte by Arnold Lobel (dtv junior, 2008)
  • Frosch ist verliebt by Max Velthuijs (Beltz & Gelberg, 2015)

SONGS:

For lyrics, you can download this PDF document: Lieder zu Valentinstag

  • Ich bin ein dicker Tanzbär (Die 30 besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder)
  • Der Kuckuck und der Esel (traditional)
  • Wenn du fröhlich bist (version from Die 30 besten Kindergartenlieder)

CRAFT:

This year, we made foam hearts with the word “LIEBE” on them. We used some large foam hearts and put smaller foam heart and letter stickers on them. Then punched a hole and put some yarn through them. Easy, but it gets a little letter practice in, too!

Mein Körper

We did a review of body parts in school this morning. I reviewed the body parts we learned at our last lesson and added a few more:

  • die Haare
  • der Arm
  • der Hand
  • das Bein

We sang “Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß” again. It’s such a great song for this age group! It gets them involved and active. Plus, they already know the melody and get the idea of the song. Makes it easy to teach it! I think last time we sang the song, we all just stayed seated. But I found that having them stand and do it helped get them more into it. I’ll remember that for next time, too!

We read a different book this time: Das bin ich. Ich zeig es dir by Heinz Janisch (Tyrolia, 2015). It’s a really fun rhyming book that introduces all the main body parts. And ends with a laugh and smile in the mirror! I decided not to translate it for them, as I often do. Instead, I read the page and then asked them where the body part was.

das-bin-ich-book

I sent the children home with a different worksheet. You can download it here: Mein Korper – GitA (PDF)

mein-korper-gita

Lucky Pig! (Glücksschwein)

Happy New Year! As I mentioned in my last post, it is traditional to have a pig made of bread or marzipan to celebrate New Year’s in Germany.

In addition to our pancake pigs, we also got creative with the bread version of the lucky pig. One of my boys’ favorite snacks is bread with Nutella. So why not have pig-shaped bread with Nutella?! All you need is a pig cookie cutter. Ours was quite large, so it just barely fit on the bread. I added a little candy eye that we had from decorating cupcakes.

Just makes me want to say, “Happy Pig Day!” (But maybe we’ve been reading too many of Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie books! I just found two of these books in German: Das Buch über Uns and Du hast einen Vogel auf dem Kopf. I ordered the first one through Book Depository, so we’ll see how it is in German!)

Der gute Martin

Next week marks the celebration of St. Martin’s Day. I have to admit, while I lived in Germany, I never actually witnessed the children walking through the streets with their homemade lanterns on November 11th. I didn’t know about the special day until I was teaching in the States at a German Saturday School. It’s such a sweet celebration, though! Now I love to share it with the children at Story Hour and in Preschool.

To go along with the celebration, I have created a very simple lantern for the children to make. You can print it out, let them color the paper if they like, and then cut along the dotted lines and assemble it. You can download the template and instructions in PDF format here: martinstag-laterne

2016-11-04-11-10-34

A finished lantern from Story Hour

The songs that go with Martinstag are also very important. We always sing two of the most popular ones at Story Hour: “Laterne, Laterne” and “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne.” When I teach Preschool, I often just do the first two lines of “Laterne, Laterne,” since it is easy to learn and helps the children learn some of the more important vocabulary words: Laterne, Sonne, Mond, and Sterne. To teach the songs, I made up some vocabulary posters of these four words, a coloring page, and a sheet with the lyrics. You can download all of them in PDF format here:

 

Here’s an idea of what they look like:

When I teach Martinstag at Story Hour, I include several books. I have a few about Martinstag itself. This year, we’ll be reading Laterne, Laterne, da oben leuchten die Sterne by Dagmar Geisler and Rosemarie Künzler-Behncke (Ravensburger, 2009). I also like to read the fairy tale “Sterntaler” about the little girl who gives away all her earthly possessions to others in need and is rewarded in the end with a shower of coins that fall from the stars to last her the rest of her life. (I actually made my own book of this fairy tale, so I don’t have one to recommend here.) This year, I’m adding a beautiful new book (well, new to me!) called Der rote Faden by Anne-Gaëlle Balpe and illustrated by Eve Tharlet (Minedition, 2014). In this story, little Oli finds a red thread and by passing it on, he learns how little it takes to help others.

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