Winter Activities

Here on the east coast, winter has made a very loud arrival! Two days with no school – and this the first week back after a long break! Then I realized I’ve never posted any winter activities! So here are a number of random worksheets and craft ideas you can do in German 🙂

Schneemann malen nach Zahlen

This simple color by number is great for the little ones just learning their numbers and colors. The color words are written in the corresponding color, making it easier for them to do on their own. Download the PDF here: Schneemann Malen nach Zahlen GitA

Schneemann Malen nach Zahlen GitA-page-001

Tierspuren

Here are two simple worksheets to talk about the tracks that different animals leave in the snow. There is a black and white version. And if a little extra help is needed, there is a colored outline version. Then the colors can be easily paired up.

Tierspuren GitA-page-001

Download the worksheets as PDF files here:

For a follow-up activity, see if you have any little animal figures. Winter animals would be best, but whatever you’ve got! Then get out the play-doh and roll it out. Let your child walk the animals through the play-doh to make tracks. Then compare them. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about animals in German!

If you have snow and it isn’t brutally cold, go for a walk and see if you see any tracks. Before you go, talk about the kinds of animals that live in your area. Maybe look up what their prints look like, so you can identify them when you see them.

Winter Wortschatz

Here are five winter word posters you can print out full-sized or print 6-to-a-page to make flashcards. Print two sets to make a game of memory!

Download the PDF file here: Winter Wortschatz GitA

There is also a coloring page of all five words to go with them.

Winter Wortschatz Malvorlage GitA-page-001

Download the PDF here: Winter Wortschatz Malvorlage GitA

Winter Labyrinthe

I just put up a post with 10 easy German winter mazes! You can find them here 🙂 Here is an example:

Schneeflocken fangen GitA-page-001

Other ideas

There are tons of great craft ideas out there! I’ve been collecting them on a Pinterest board for years. Check it out here!

I also saw a list of 40 snow day boredom busters on Mommy Poppins. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration there?!

Viel Spaß!

Kling, Glöckchen!

I’m teaching a Christmas lesson in Pre-K/Kindergarten tomorrow morning. I like to bring in some of my favorite German Christmas things. This year I’m keeping it simple. So I’ll bring in just a few things:

  • der Nussknacker (nutcracker)
  • der Hampelmann (jumping jack)
  • das Lebkuchenherz (gingerbread heart)
  • der Räuchermann (smoker)
  • das Adventskalender (advent calendar)

Last year we received a musical advent calendar from our Swiss au pair’s family. You open a little door and press the button and get a song! And there is a switch on the back, so you can choose between German and English carols. It’s called Der klingende Adventskalender.

I’m going to read a sweet book about being together to celebrate. It’s called Frohe Weihnachten, kleiner Elch by Anne-Kristin zur Brügge (Oetinger, 2016).

Frohe Weihnachten, kleiner Elch

Then I’m going to teach them the song “Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling”. I thought I would teach them just that much to begin. We’ll see if they can catch on to the rest!

We’ll craft some jingle bells, because you can’t sing that song without some jingle bells!

2016-12-16-09-08-39

You can find the simple instructions in this post.

I’ll send them home with a coloring page that has the words to the song.

Kling Glöckchen coloring page-GitA

You can download the PDF here: Kling Glöckchen coloring page GitA

 

Nikolaus und die drei Töchter (eine Legende)

Today I was finally back in 1st & 2nd grade. We’re a few days late for Nikolaus, but that’s okay. I started the lesson off with a story, of course! This time, it was the story of Nikolaus and the three daughters and how he helped them by throwing sacks of gold through their window, so that they could be married. Here is the story I told:

Nikolaus und die drei Töchter: eine Legende

Vor langer, langer Zeit lebte ein lieber Mann. Der Mann hieß* Nikolaus. Er hatte ein großes Haus. Er hatte viele schöne Sachen. Er hatte viel Geld. Er war ein reicher Mann.

Aber Nikolaus war traurig. Er war allein. Er hatte keine Familie. Er war nicht glücklich. Sein Geld machte ihn nicht glücklich.

In seiner Stadt wohnte ein anderer Mann. Dieser Mann hatte drei Töchter. Der Mann hatte keine Arbeit. Und er hatte kein Geld. Er war arm. Weil er kein Geld hatte, konnten seine drei Töchter nicht heiraten.

Nikolaus wusste von diesem Problem. Er wollte helfen.

In der Nacht warf Nikolaus einen kleinen Sack durch das Fenster. Am nächsten Morgen fand eine Tochter den kleinen Sack in ihrem Schuh. Der Sack war voller Gold! Jetzt konnte die erste Tochter heiraten!

Am nächsten Morgen fand die zweite Tochter einen kleinen Sack voller Gold. Jetzt konnte die zweite Tochter auch heiraten!

Am nächsten Morgen fand die dritte Tochter einen kleinen Sack voller Gold. Jetzt konnte die dritte Tochter auch heiraten!

Nikolaus hat die Familie geholfen*! Und er wollte andere Leute auch helfen. Endlich war Nikolaus glücklich!

Ende.

You can download a PDF of the story here: Nikolauslegende printable – GitA (I pieced together and simplified the story using some online sources. You can find them listed in the PDF printable.)

We did a few different activities after I told the story. I made up some worksheets to go with some of the vocabulary from the story. I decided to focus on the opposites: glücklich – traurig, Nacht – Tag, groß – klein, reich – arm.

You can download the PDFs here: Nikolaus Opposites Arbeitsblatt – GitA 2017

I also taught them the traditional Nikolaus song: “Lasst uns froh und munter sein”.  Do you know it? Here is the first verse:

Lasst uns froh und munter sein
Und uns recht vom Herzen freuen
Lustig, lustig, tra la la la la
Bald ist Nikolausabend da
Bald ist Nikolausabend da!

I gave out my coloring page with a picture of Nikolaus and the first verse to the children to color. You can find it in this post.

I decided to give them the riddle, Das Haus vom Nikolaus, as well, where you have to draw the house in 8 lines without lifting  your pencil! You can find the download in this post.

Our main activity was a boot-lacing craft. First the children decorated the boot with silver crayons. I brought them in special 🙂  Then they laced the black construction-paper boots with red yarn and glued red pom-poms at the top for fur.

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All the instructions along with the boot template can be found in this post.

We actually did the boot-lacing project first. Then I gave them hand-outs to work on after they finished their boots.

Das ist das Haus vom Nikolaus

Nikolaus Day has come and gone. It’s a VERY busy time of year in our house – Sinterklaas arrives on the 5th, Nikolaus on the 6th, and we have a birthday on the 7th. Lots going on! So I’m a little late with this post. But perhaps you can tuck it away for next year. Or what the heck – it’s still the holidays! Go ahead and play this little game any time in December!

Do you know the riddle of the house from Nikolaus? It’s technically a math problem. You have to draw his house in 8 strokes without lifting your pencil. And that makes one stroke for each syllable: Das ist das Haus vom Ni – ko – laus! Is it challenging? Perhaps. But there are actually 44 different ways to solve the puzzle!

Das Haus vom Nikolaus GitA-page-001

I made up this little worksheet for my 1st & 2nd graders to try it out. There is the example of the house at the top. Then there are the dots to connect at the bottom. It’s fun to try out different paths!

You can download the document here: Das Haus vom Nikolaus – GitA

Want to see all 44 ways to draw the house? Check out the cool GIF file from Wikimedia below…

I’ll be teaching a lesson on Nikolaus tomorrow. I’m telling the class one of the legends about Nikolaus in German. Then we’ll do a lacing boot activity. Check out my post from last year for instructions on the boots!

Viel Spaß!

Martinstag in the Classroom: Part 3

As I mentioned in a recent post, I love teaching about Martinstag, because it embodies the spirit of giving and selflessness. In the past, I’ve taught about Martin in the German story hour and in the pre-k/kindergarten class. This year I finally got to bring it into the 1st and 2nd grade class. Each class is a little bit different. In this post I’ll tell you about what we do …

in Pre-K/Kindergarten…

This is also a mixed class of pre-k and kindergarten children, ages 2 1/2 to 6! I’m always amazed at how well it works to mix the ages of the children. The older ones make good models for the younger ones!

This year, however, we have a lot of younger ones. So after teaching my Martinstag lesson “upstairs” in 1st/2nd grade, I knew I had to make things extra clear and simple for the younger children.

I began by telling the story of Martin in English, using the same book I had used with 1st/2nd: Das erste Buch von Sankt Martin by Erwin Grosche (Gabriel Verlag, 2017)

Martin

I had the story written out in English, but I only used it as a reference. I know it well enough by now! This book actually leaves out the more religious aspect of the tale – that the beggar was Christ, who later came to Martin in a dream. As we are not a religious school, I don’t feel comfortable teaching that part of the story. I focus mainly on Martin’s kind and generous nature.

Next I used the word posters to teach the words from “Laterne, Laterne”. This year I brought our au pair along to help with the lantern project. She also helped me by holding the Mond and Sterne, so the children could see all four images at once. It was much easier than me trying to flip through them as we sang!

You can download the posters – with or without words – in this previous post, Der gute Martin.

I just taught them the first half of the song. Then AP4 and I sang the rest of it (Brenne auf mein Licht, brenne auf mein Licht, aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht). The children tried to follow along, and it sounded quite nice!

Finally it was time to make our paper lanterns. You can read more specifically about that part of the lesson and download the instructions and template here. I broke it down into simple steps and had samples of each step to show the children. They had three things to do:

  1. color the paper with the sun, moon, and stars (I print it on yellow paper, so it looks like it’s glowing!)
  2. fold the paper in half along the dotted line
  3. cut the “fringe” along the dotted lines

The teachers, AP4, and I did the stapling part to assemble the lanterns.

It was such a successful lesson!

Then we got to parade around the classroom and into the front hall. The children really enjoyed that part of it.

I decided not to use Story Listening and tell the fairy tale of the Sterntaler for this lesson. I wanted to be sure they knew the story of Martin and why we make the lanterns. And of course, they needed to learn the song for our little parade!

So that’s it! All three versions of my Martinstag lessons for 2017!

Viel Spaß!

Martinstag in the Classroom: Part 2

As I mentioned in a recent post, I love teaching about Martinstag, because it embodies the spirit of giving and selflessness. In the past, I’ve taught about Martin in the German story hour and in the pre-k/kindergarten class. This year I finally got to bring it into the 1st and 2nd grade class. Each class is a little bit different. In this post I’ll tell you about what we do …

in 1st & 2nd Grade…

This is a mixed class of 22 students. I couldn’t just jump right in with books and songs, like I did in Story Hour. Instead, I started with the story of Sterntaler. The children were outraged that the poor girl was all alone! And then shocked when she kept giving everything away! They were right with me the whole time 🙂  My board looked a little different, since they needed more help to understand it. But they had also experienced the method the week before when I told them Goldilocks. Here is a picture of my finished board for Sterntaler:

2017-11-03 15.06.15

After that, I read them the story of Martin, using the book Das erste Buch von Sankt Martin by Erwin Grosche (Gabriel Verlag, 2017). I used the book mainly for the illustrations and wrote out the story in English beforehand. I knew after hearing Sterntaler, that was probably enough German for that class (especially since it was 2pm on a Friday … the week of Halloween!).

Martin

Next I wanted to teach them the song, “Laterne, Laterne“. The beginning is so simple with its four words: Laterne, Sonne, Mond, Sterne. I knew they would need a little movement by this time, though, so I came up with a little game. I had printed out the vocab words on small cards. I printed enough so that each child could have a card. I just used my full-sized word posters and printed them 4-to-a-page. Then I laminated them and cut them down to size.

I handed the cards out to the children and then had them get into groups according to the picture – in order, of course! I had already gone over the words using my full-sized word posters. So they were familiar enough with the vocab. I called out a word, and that group had to raise their picture and say the word. I mixed them up and first. Then I told them to pay attention, because we were going to speed it up! And I went in order according to the song: Laterne! Laterne! Sonne! Mond! Sterne! They enjoyed the little game. And weren’t they surprised when I told them they had just learned the beginning of a song?!

You can download the word posters along with song lyrics in the post Der gute Martin.

Finally, it was time to make our lanterns! We did them a little differently in this older class. Although in hindsight, I’m not sure I would do it this way again!

  1. I gave them white paper cut down to size (without the strip for the handle) and let them color it however they liked.
  2. I gave them the lantern template printed on yellow paper (without the sun, moon, and stars – just the lines for cutting and folding) and asked them to cut the strip off the end to make the handle.
  3. They glued their white paper to the yellow template (I might do this step myself, in advance, if I try it again).
  4. They folded the paper (I was surprised how many of them did not fold on the line, but folded the long edge of the paper up to the line! If you read my post with instructions, you’ll see why I decided to give step-by-step instructions the next time!)
  5. They cut the “fringe”.
  6. We went around and stapled the lanterns together along with their handles

The lanterns turned out alright in the end. But it took so long that we did not have time to parade in the halls.

Then again, it was the last hour of school on a Friday. And did I mention it was Halloween week?? Scary stuff!! 🙂

Tutorial and templates can be found in the post Martinstag Lanterns!

Viel Spaß!

Martinstag Lanterns

Every year I like to share the celebration of St. Martin with the children I teach – in the story hour, in the pre-K/kindergarten class, and now in the 1/2 class I’m working with. It’s such a wonderful celebration of the spirit of giving.

Every year we make a simple paper lantern. This year, I learned a few things to make the project even better 🙂 Here are the children from Lesestunde with their lanterns:

2017-11-03 Martinstag postJust look at those smiling faces 😉

And here is what the template for the lantern looks like (front & back):

  1. Cut the long strip off the left side to save for the handle (follow the long line on the “back” image)
  2. Color the front – the sun, moon, and stars
  3. Turn to the back and fold the paper along the dotted line
  4. Cut “fringe” along the other dotted lines – stopping at the hash mark at the end
  5. Unfold the paper – fold it back the other way
  6. Wrap the paper to make the lantern, staple at the bottom, staple at the top along with the handle

First, I decided to get out my paper cutter and cut the handles off for the children. Having to first cut a whole strip off the paper and then make fringe seemed rather confusing. This way, they only have to worry about the fringe. It worked great!

Sedond, I am learning to give better – clearer – instructions! You would think this would be obvious. But it’s something you really have to think about! So I had Hippo help me make samples of our Laternen – one for every step (color, fold & fringe, unfold):

When I went in to his class, I had the samples all ready. So I could easily demonstrate the steps to the children. I showed them a colored paper. Then I showed them how to fold it. I had one folded already with one line of fringe cut. Then I showed them how to cut along the dotted lines to cut the rest of the fringe. That’s basically all they needed to do. We had four adults for 20 children in the room (I brought AP4 with me – another great idea!), so we each had a table of 5 children to help. When they were finished with their three steps, we folded the paper into the lantern shape and stapled on the handles. It was the most successful lesson I’ve ever taught for Martinstag!

2017-11-06 09.09.12 - Copy

See how the lantern “poofs” when you fold the the paper back on itself in the middle after you cut the fringe?

To download the instructions and template for the lanterns, click here: Martinstag Laterne (GitA)

For other materials, see my posts from previous years:

Viel Spaß beim basteln!