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 ­čÖé Here are the children from Lesestunde with their lanterns:

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

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 Spa├č beim basteln!

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 hei├če.

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 B├Ąr 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 M├Ąuschenbuch 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.


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 Spa├č!

Hallo und guten Tag!

For years, I have been singing the same song with the Lesestunde and in the Pre-K / Kindergarten class I teach. I’ve been wanting to post about it, but I had to track down the source first!

It turns out that the woman who ran the Lesestunde while I was taking a maternity break found the song in a French book and translated it into German. No wonder I could never find it with an internet search! She was kind enough to send me images of the book and the song:

The song goes like this:

Hallo! * *  Und guten Tag! * *

Hallo! * * Und guten Tag! * *

Ich hoffe, es geht dir

Ich hoffe, es geht dir

Ich hoffe, es geht

Es geht dir gut! * *

* klatschen, stampfen, patschen (clap, stamp, pat) – zweimal

In the Lesestunde, I always start out by asking what the children would like to do: stampfen? klatschen? h├╝pfen? One little girl always likes to spin. Makes me dizzy, though!

When I sing it in the Montessori class, we always do the same actions in the same order: klatschen, stampfen, patschen. Right off the bat, we start learning numbers, because I’m always saying, “eins, zwei!” to make sure they don’t get too carried away. Especially with the stampfen. They love to stomp. And then it turns into jumping. We’re still working on that with the little ones ­čÖé

On the first day of German in the Montessori class, I start the lesson by teaching them the three actions. I made up word posters to help them learn the words:

I also send them home with a coloring page that has the words and the actions. There are two versions, but I like the one that uses the same images above.

You can download the PDF documents here:

Word posters: Begr├╝├čungslied Wortschatzbilder GitA

Coloring pages: Begr├╝├čungslied Malvorlage GitA

Viel Spa├č!

Unser kleiner B├Ąr im Zoo

I love using songs to teach and learn language.

I also find it rather difficult to teach songs German songs to my English-speaking students. Sometimes, they are actually quite complicated!

So this year in my Pre-K/Kindergarten class, I’m trying to repeat the songs more often. A lot more often. That is a hard thing for me to do! I love a good theme and have usually planned my lessons around a theme: colors, farm animals, numbers, holidays, etc. But by planning my lessons this way, I trap myself into a place where I am constantly introducing new vocabulary, new books, and new songs!

Even at this level, it’s really important to me that the children are getting something out of the class. At the very least, that they learn words that they will understand. Even better is when I hear them saying the words … phrases … sentences! But that will not happen without some repetition.

One of the songs I love to sing is “Unser kleiner B├Ąr im Zoo” by Karsten Gl├╝ck (from Die 30 Besten Spiel und Bewegungslieder, Vol. 1). I like to use it in week 2, so that we can review the actions in our hello song: klatschen, patschen, und stampfen. I always do ÔÇťstampfenÔÇŁ last, so that we can stay low to the ground until the end. It helps to keep the little ones more in control of their bodies, too!

So this week (week 3), we’re going to sing it again, but in conjunction with a zoo theme. (More on that soon!)

I put together a visual to introduce the song. It includes an image of a zoo, plus a small (klein) and big (gro├č) bear. The little bear is sleeping, while the big bear (the Mama bear, I call her) is awake.

Unser kleiner B├Ąr im Zoo mit Bildern-page-004

In this second lesson with the song, I plan to use the image again to add some vocabulary. Something like this, that focuses on the conjugated verb “schlafen” and also adds a yes/no question.

  • Unser kleiner B├Ąr schl├Ąft.
  • Mama B├Ąr schl├Ąft nicht.
  • Schl├Ąft er? Schl├Ąft sie?
  • Wer schl├Ąft? – Er schl├Ąft. Sie schl├Ąft nicht.

We’ll see how it goes!

You can download the PDF of the image plus the lyrics here: Unser kleiner B├Ąr im Zoo mit Bildern – GitA

Viel Spa├č!

Der erste Tag in der Montessori-Schule

This is the third year that I am teaching at my kids’ Montessori school. I love being in the Pre-K/Kindergarten class. We usually wait a few weeks before I start, so the children can get settled in their regular routines and work. This year, I’m teaching in the late morning, before lunch. It’s nice that the children then have time to sit and do the coloring page or activity that I bring in.

My first lesson goes something like this:

I greet them with Guten Morgen! I repeat it a number of times and then ask them to repeat it after me.

I tell them my name with Ich hei├če…. Then I ask them to tell my their names. I look and point at a student (now I can choose the children who have been in the class in the past years to help demonstrate to the new children) and ask, “Wie hei├čt du?” I often model for them “Ich hei├če ….” Some of the children are not yet ready to speak, and that’s just fine!

I introduce the action words to our Hello Song. (I’ll be posting separately about that soon!) The action words are klatschen, stampfen, & patschen. I show them the large image cards I printed out and laminated, and we say & repeat the words.

We practice the action words, too. I ask them to stay seated to practice stampfen. That’s the trickiest one, because the kids tend to want to keep stomping and even start jumping up and down.

I also teach them ja & nein. Then I show them pictures and ask, “Ist das ‘klatschen’?” for example. I always start with showing the right image. Then I switch it up on them and show them the wrong picture.

Finally, it’s time to sing the song! We always do the actions two times, so I often count: eins, zwei!

I also sing “Meine Finger” from Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungsliedern, Vol. 3. Instead of the actions in the original song, I repeat the actions from our Hello Song – only klatschen & patschen. Obviously you don’t use your fingers to stomp! (download the text below)

We sing our Goodbye song before I send the children off to do their coloring page. It’s to the same tune as Hoch soll er leben and goes Tsch├╝ss mit einander, tsch├╝ss miteinander, tsch├╝ss, tsch├╝ss, tsch├╝ss!

Finally I give them a coloring page with images of the actions from the Hello Song and they lyrics. I like the parents to get an idea of what we’re doing in the class, even if they can’t read the German!

You can download the lyrics to “Meine Finger” here: Meine Finger – GitA

Viel Spa├č!


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 f├Ąhrt 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 R├Ąder 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 Hei├čluftballon
  • 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 R├Ąder vom Bus” (Wheels on the Bus). There is more than one version of this song. But here is one that I have:

Die R├Ąder vom Bus

Die R├Ąder vom Bus, die rollen dahin
rollen dahin
rollen dahin
Die R├Ąder vom Bus, die rollen dahin
Die T├╝ren 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 K├╝ken 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.┬á 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 ­čÖé We sang “Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf” and I had the children do simple motions with it:

  • Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf┬á –┬á pretend to sleep
  • Dein Vater h├╝tet die Schaf┬á –┬á use arms to “gather” the sheep & then pretend to hold a sheep
  • Die Mutter sch├╝ttelt das B├Ąumelein┬á –┬á 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 f├Ąllt herab ein Tr├Ąumelein┬á –┬á hands slowly “rain” down a soft dream (think “Itsy-Bitsy Spider rain!)
  • Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf┬á –┬á pretend to sleep again

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

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