German Vocab Advent Calendar

Every year I make a paper chain advent calendar for the boys with 24 German holiday words. I updated the project this year. I tried to find words that capture the elements of a German Christmas.

Adventskalender stickers 2018-page-001

All of these images were created by the artist Ramona M. She has a lovely collection of clip art for holidays around the world. Last year I contacted her to see if she would add to her German collection, and she graciously did!

For instructions (with pictures) on how to make the Advent Calendar, go to this post. And here are the updated downloads for 2018 in PDF format:

I hope you enjoy this activity with your children as much as I do!

Clothespin Nutcrackers

I love working with other teachers! I was talking with the art teacher and told her that I would be telling the story of The Nutcracker as a Story Listening lesson. She was inspired to do a project with the students!

Yesterday the 3rd & 4th graders started working on clothespin nutcrackers. I was too curious to stay away, so I popped in at the end of class. Boy, was so impressed! I also learned that they’d had an interesting discussion about nutcrackers, their origins, and asked questions like why are they all men?

Here are some pictures of their works-in-progress.

 

You can see some inspiration nutcrackers in the back. And they were even drawing nutcrackers on the white board!

They were so into the project that they will be working on it for one – maybe even two – more weeks! I am definitely going in next week to get in on the fun!

UPDATE:

Here are some more pictures of the finished nutcrackers! Click on the images to get a closer look.

On the top left, you can see the materials set out by the art teacher. Lots of choices! Obviously, the big guy in the back is a store-bought nutcracker ­čÖé┬á But look at the details in the ones the kids made. I love the soccer guy! So much creativity!

 

 

Preparing for Martinstag

 

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Now that I am teaching in pre-k through 4th grade this year, I wanted to celebrate┬áMartinstag with a little parade through the school. It’s amazing how much back-and-forth planning it has taken to carve out 15 minutes of time to bring everyone together and make it happen!! But we did, and tomorrow is the big day!

To prepare, I told the story of Martin to the elementary students (1st – 4th grade) as a Story Listening lesson last week. I also introduced the story to the pre-k/kindergarten classes in English with the help of a board book.

Martin

I have been working with our fabulous art teacher to make lanterns in 1-4. We came up with a great idea! We bought plastic ornaments that look like a mason jar. Then cut strips of black and yellow paper to fit inside. We had a stash of chopsticks (donated by a middle school student :)) and yarn and beads. I brought in a variety of punches from our too-large collection.

Before the children started working, the art teacher had them gather around the table and talked to them about what they would be doing – and why. She asked them about the story I had told them. She asked them why we would have certain shapes, like a sun, a moon, and a star. My heart sang as the children answered! What is more gratifying to a teacher than proof that the children are learning?? ­čśÇ

Then they got to work. They punched shapes into the black paper. Then they put the black and yellow papers inside the lanterns. The art teacher tied the lanterns to the chopsticks with heavy yarn. Then the children cut yarn or ribbon to tie on as decoration and threaded beads onto them. They look amazing!!

 

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As the children worked, we sang the songs. It was such a beautiful afternoon!

Tomorrow I will go back into the pre-k/kindergarten classes in the morning. They will make paper lanterns, as they have done in previous years. You can find the template and instructions here.

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As soon as we finish in the 3rd class, I’ll go gather the elementary students. And we will parade through the pre-k/kindergarten classes with our lanterns while singing our two Martin’s Day songs. Stay tuned to hear how it all goes….

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Easy K├╝rbislaternen for Pre-K & Kindergarten

 

I have posted before about making simple Jack-O-Lanterns out of orange paper plates. We made them in the Lesestunde.

In pre-k/kindergarten last year, I came up with a similar activity to practice shapes and a few parts of the body: eyes, nose, mouth.

I used my trusty orange paper plates (from Target) and punched a bunch of shapes out of black paper: circles, squares, and triangles. We talked about the shapes in class.

We also sang “Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fu├č” to practice the words┬áAugen, Nase & Mund. You can find the lyrics over at Mama Lisa’s World.

Then I showed them the worksheet. They had to choose a different shape for each part of the face. Then look at the sheet to see how many of each shape they needed.

Meine K├╝rbislaterne mit Formen GitA-page-002

They could place the shapes on the worksheet first. Then they glued them to the orange plates to make their Kürbislaternen.

On the back of the worksheet, I also printed a coloring page:

Meine K├╝rbislaterne mit Formen GitA-page-003

You can download the worksheet and the coloring page for FREE here: Meine Kürbislaterne mit Formen GitA. The PDF file includes instructions.

Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag!

Looking for a quick and easy German Valentine card?

I like to give the preschoolers and kindergartners a little Valentine card. Just something simple. I print them out (4 to a page) and glue them to red or pink paper. Here is the one I made this year:

Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag blank GitA 2018

You can download the PDF here: Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag blank GitA 2018

Want to color the bear in yourself? Or print these for your little ones to make and color? Here is a version with an outline of the bear: Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag blank BW GitA 2018

Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag! Viel Spa├č!

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 ­čÖé

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 ­čÖé 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 Spa├č!

Kling, Gl├Âckchen!

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 R├Ąuchermann (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 Br├╝gge (Oetinger, 2016).

Frohe Weihnachten, kleiner Elch

Then I’m going to teach them the song “Kling, Gl├Âckchen, 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!

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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 Gl├Âckchen coloring page-GitA

You can download the PDF here: Kling Gl├Âckchen coloring page GitA