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!

Halloween in der Lesestunde

We celebrate Halloween a little early in story hour last week! I don’t think the children minded 🙂

We actually read four books, because I just couldn’t decide on three!

  • Die neugierige kleine Hexe by Lieve Baeten (Oetinger, 2003)
  • Pip und Posy: Das Gruselmonster by Axel Scheffler (Carlsen, 2015)
  • Für Hund und Katz ist auch noch Platz by Axel Scheffler (Beltz & Gelberg, 2017)
  • Wir sind Dreieck, Kreis, Quadrat by Felicitas Horstschäfer (Velber, 2012)

Why did we read a song about shapes that has nothing to do with Halloween?? Read on! You’ll see… 🙂

And of course we sang songs:

  • “Morgens früh um sechs”
  • “Ich bin die kleine Hexe” from Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder
  • “Die winzig kleine Spinne”

To introduce “Morgens früh um sechs” I brought in a large cardboard clock. We didn’t focus on telling time – the children are much too young for that. But I used it to count up to 12. When we sang “kleine Hexe” we just had to ride our brooms around the room! And we used the colors of the children’s shoes to decide which colors the witch was wearing in the songs. And we went around 7 times – one for each child! For “kleine Spinne” we didn’t just sing about an itsy-bitsy spider. We also sang about a great big spider! Download the lyrics below for the other version.

You can download the lyrics here: Lieder Halloween GitA

We ended with a pumpkin craft. I found orange paper plates (at Target) to be our pumpkins. To make the faces, we used … what else? SHAPES! In the past I have used craft punches to make triangles, circles, and squares out of black paper. Then the children glued the shapes to the pumpkins. This year, however, I happened to find a box of foam shape stickers, so I snatched them up! The children had fun choosing their shapes and creating their pumpkins!

How do you celebrate Halloween … German-style?

Viel Spaß!

Play dough Recipe

After posting my shape play dough mats, I thought you might like a recipe for some homemade play dough! The boys’ preschool teachers gave me this recipe, and it worked out really well. For those of you with really little ones, you don’t have to worry so much if they happen to eat some of it!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1/2 cup of cream of tartar
  • Food coloring

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, including color.
  2. When it is well mixed cook over low heat.
  3. Mix continuously until it is the consistency of play dough. You won’t be able to stir it any longer.
  4. It will still need to be mixed a little, so put it on a cookie sheet and let cool for a while. Then mix with your hands until it is all mixed

There are lots of ways to change up the recipe:

  • Try adding spices. For example, in the fall or at Christmas: 4-8 tablespoons of cinnamon and a bit of allspice, cloves, and/or nutmeg.
  • Add some extract for scent. For example: 4 teaspoon almond extract, 4 teaspoon ginger.
  • Or add scent with some essential oils. You can add the essential oils to the oil in the recipe before adding it to the other ingredients. Different scents can also have a therapeutic effect. For example: frankincense for focus, peppermint for energy, lemon for clarity, citrus for creativity, lavender for comfort.

Tips:

  • Be forewarned! If you add color, your hands will also take on some color. Try some rubber gloves!
  • You can buy Cream of Tartar at Amazon or a warehouse store. It keeps for quite some time.
  • This recipe makes quite a lot! You could divide it up, using different colors and scents.
  • Store in an airtight container or zip top bag. But don’t close it up until the dough is completely cool!
  • Try to get your little ones to help. They can measure, pour, and mix ingredients. And they can knead the dough after it cools.

Next time we make some play dough, I’ll take some pictures of the steps!

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!

Jingle Bells

Today in story hour, we were celebrating Christmas! For our last song, we sang “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling”. But you can’t sing that without some jingle bells, right?! So we crafted our own little jingle bell instruments.

2016-12-16-09-08-39

For the craft, you only need 2 materials: pipe cleaners in two different colors and some jingle bells! Make sure your bells have a large enough hole at the top for stringing the pipe cleaner through.

Instructions:

1. String the jingle bells on to one of the pipe cleaners.

2. Twist the second pipe cleaner around the first one with the jingle bells.

3. Bring the ends together to make a circle. Twist the ends to close the circle. Then tuck the ends around the circle. Remember, pipe cleaners often have a sharp end, so try to tuck those points out of the way as best as you can.

Need the lyrics to the song? You can view or download them here: Weihnachtslieder. Also included are the lyrics for “O Tannenbaum” and “Alle Jahre Wieder.”

If you’re looking for some children’s books about Christmas, we read these three in story hour:

  • Frohe Weihnachten, kleine Tiere (arsEdition, 2015)
  • Weihnachten ist bald (arsEdition, 2010)
  • Wir freuen uns auf Weihnachten (Ravensburger, 2010)

Fröhliche Weihnachten!