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!

Bewegungen – Action Words

For three weeks, I’ve been doing numbers in the Pre-K/Kindergarten class. I was wondering if the repetition was good, or if the children needed a little variation! So I came up with a compromise for today’s lesson. We still included number, but we also added some new vocabulary.

We have been starting each class with our Hallo-Lied and working on ich heiße.

As a quick review, we sang “Meine Finger” again. Just like on the first day, we used klatschen and patschen. I added schnipsen this time, too. And to review numbers, we counted to 5 as we did the actions five times each.

Then I introduced some verbs. We already talked about schlafen with the song “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo,” but we repeated that one again here. Then we also added gehen, essen, spielen, and steigen (to walk, to eat, to play, to climb).

In addition to the word posters, I created a coloring sheet for the children to take home:

Bewegungen AB GitA-page-002

I chose these words because of the book we read: Mein 1-2-3 Mäuschenbuch by Alexandra Dannenmann. In addition to counting from 1 to 10, each page shows a different action. I decided to select just five of the action words to introduce.

mein-1-2-3-mauschenbuch

Usually, I read the book last. But I wanted to end this class with a fingerplay that the children always love! It’s called Die Mausfamilie. You can read the text and download it on this post from last year.

The action word posters and coloring page are free to download here:

Viel Spaß!

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!

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.

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 sent the children home with a coloring page.

Fahrzeuge Malvorlage GitA-page-001

Download it here: Fahrzeuge Malvorlage GitA

Happy Mother’s Day!

We celebrated Mother’s Day in the pre-K class this week. We read a book called Bist du meine Mama? about a little chick that goes looking for its mother. It was perfect, because they were actually hatching chicks at school!

The book takes place on a farm, so first we reviewed our farm animals and what they say. The children love to hear the different animal sounds, especially ones that are very different, like the frog that says “quak” like our English ducks!

  • das Küken sagt “piep-piep”
  • die Katze sagt “miau”
  • der Hund sagt “wau-wau”
  • das Schwein sagt “oink-oink”
  • die Kuh sagt “muh”
  • der Frosch sagt “quak-quak”
  • die Henne sagt “gack-gack”
  • der Hahn sagt “kikeriki”

I have several sets of farm animal word posters. Sorry there isn’t one easy document for this story! And even though there isn’t a horse or a duck in this book, I’m including those, too.  You can download them here:

They look like this:

Songs about animals or the farm have been hard to come by. And I couldn’t really think of a song about a mother that would work. These songs in the pre-K class have to be very, very simple! So in the end, I thought of doing a lullaby 🙂 We sang “Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf” and I had the children do simple motions with it:

  • Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf  –  pretend to sleep
  • Dein Vater hütet die Schaf  –  use arms to “gather” the sheep & then pretend to hold a sheep
  • Die Mutter schüttelt das Bäumelein  –  hold arm up like a tree trunk with the hand as the branches and wave the arm & hand, as if the tree is shaking
  • Da fällt herab ein Träumelein  –  hands slowly “rain” down a soft dream (think “Itsy-Bitsy Spider rain!)
  • Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf  –  pretend to sleep again

They really enjoyed it. And – bonus! – it also settled them down a bit 🙂

We ended with our book, Bist du meine Mama? by Christiane Hansen (Oetinger, 2006):

Bist du meine Mama

Then I sent them home with a coloring page: Alles Liebe zum Muttertag (PDF)

Alles Liebe zum Muttertag-page-001

 

Happy Birthday!

Finally I’m getting to cover a topic in our preschool class that I’ve been wanting to do for some time…  BIRTHDAYS!!

One of the boys in the class had a birthday over the weekend, and he is having his birthday celebration in class in the morning. We’ll have to move our class back a little bit to accommodate the celebration. But it’s such a special event in the school, I don’t mind a bit!

I’m not sure how it is in other Montessori schools, but in our school, birthdays are a big deal in preschool and kindergarten. The whole family is invited to come for a short celebration. First, the children set up a sun with the months around it in the center of the circle. Then the birthday child is brought to the circle by two friends. The parents bring in some pictures of the child – about one from each year – and tells a short story of the child’s life. For each year, the child walks around the sun while holding a small globe of the earth, and everyone sings: “The earth goes around the sun, tra la, the earth goes around the sun! The earth goes around the sun, tra la, another year is done!” The child also presents a small present to the class (a book or some other materials that can be added to the collection of classroom “work”). And then everyone sings Happy Birthday, but with an added verse: “We celebrate your birth – and your place on earth. May the sun, moon, and stars – bring you peace where you are!” It’s so beautiful, I cry every time!

So I was inspired to do a little lesson on German birthdays. After our Begrüßungslied, I thought I’d teach the children how to say how old they are: Ich bin x Jahre alt! They are pretty good at their numbers by now, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Then I’ll introduce a few vocabulary words that are important to any birthday celebration:

der Kuchen  ~  das Geschenk  ~  der Papphut  ~  die Luftballons

You can download these word posters here: Herzlichen Glückwunsch Word Posters GitA 2017

I’ll also teach them how to sing “Happy Birthday” in German. We’ll leave out the name to keep it simple:

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

I was going to read a book called Der Bär hat Geburtstag by Isabel Pin (Beltz & Gelberg, 2015). It’s about a bear who is worried that none of his other animal friends will come to celebrate his birthday … but of course they all do! I liked the different animals in it, and it also showed the birthday images above (cake, hat, balloons, present).

But in the end, I decided to go with Die Maus, die hat Geburtstag heut by Paul Maar (Oetinger, 1997). It is about all the different animals and they presents they bring to the mouse on his birthday. What I liked about this one for the preschoolers is that it repeats the same text for every animal:

“Die Maus, die hat Geburtstag heut. Gleich kommt Besuch, der sie sehr freut. Welches Tier kommt denn hier und will der Maus was schenken?  …

Nun schau gut hin, nun gib gut Acht: Was hat das Schwein denn mitgebracht?”

You get a hint of the animal who is coming (like the trunk of an Elephant), then turn the page and have a sentence about that animal. Then comes the question of what the animal brought as a present. It doesn’t show all the birthday vocabulary I wanted to introduce, but I think that’s okay. The repetition is more important in this case!

Because we’ll be reading about a mouse, I also will do the Mausfamilie Fingerspiel again. They always love that one!

die-mausfamilie-fingerspiel-w-translation-page-001

Here is the PDF of Die Mausfamilie that you can download: die Mausfamilie Fingerspiel with translation

I always send them home with a coloring page, too!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Malvorlage GitA 2017-page-001

You can download that here: Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Malvorlage GitA 2017

Herzlichen Glückwunsch!