Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß / Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Singing this classic children’s song is a great way to teach my pre-k/kindergarten classes about body parts.

I like to back into the song, teaching the parts of the face first. It’s nice to repeat these a number of times, because they only show up in the song one time, while the others repeat three times!

  • Augen (eyes)
  • Ohren (ears)
  • Nase (nose)
  • Mund (mouth)

We repeat those a couple of times. Then I point to them on me in a random order and ask if it is X? First I do it right, then I start to make “mistakes” 🙂 For example, I point to my nose and say: “Ist das die Nase?” They all say: “Jaaaaaa!” But later I’ll point to my eyes and say: “Sind das die Ohren?” Most of the children recognize the mistage and say: “Nein!”

Then we move on to the bigger body parts:

  • Kopf (head)
  • Schulter (shoulders)
  • Knie (knees)
  • Fuß (foot)

Once we have the vocabulary down, we sing the song! We usually start seated and then sing it again standing. This year we repeated the song one last time at the end of the lesson. It was a nice way to reinforce it. And next week, those facial features will come in handy when we start making our Kürbislaternen (Jack-o-Lanterns)!

It’s also fun to read Eric Carle’s book Von Kopf bis Fuß (From Head to Toe) with this lesson.

I always send home a coloring page for the children. Here is one with all 8 body parts. You can download it for free below!

Meine Finger / My Fingers

Another song I introduce early on with my pre-k/kindergarten classes is “Meine Finger” (My fingers).

First we practice counting to 5 on our fingers. Then when we do the actions at the end of each verse, we do them five times while counting to five again.

I don’t follow the original lyrics exactly. I like to reuse vocabulary that the children know and add in a few funny ones. So with our funny little fingers, we clap (klatschen), pat (patschen), and count (zählen). Sometimes we also tickle (kitzeln), fidget (zappeln), scratsch (kratzen), knock (klopfen), and even play the piano (Klavier spielen)! Just plug in the verb at the end of the last sentence!

Here are the lyrics:

Meine Finger, meine Finger
sind so lustig kleine Dinge
Ich hab' fünf an jeder Hand!
Mit meinen Finger kann ich ... klatschen!

I also always show each hand with the line “Ich habe fünf an jeder Hand!”

Here is a video of the original song. One day, I’ll record our class version!

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo / Out Little Bear in the Zoo

I sing a lot of songs with my pre-k/kindergarten class. We always start by learning our Begrüßungslied – our Hello Song. I often pair that with a common children’s song: “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo.” In the original song, the bear hops and stomps and dances. But I like to change the actions to practice the ones we use in our Hello Song. When we sing it, the bear claps, pats his legs, and stomps. It’s great for review. And the kiddos love it!

Here are the lyrics that I use:

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo der schläft ganz tief und fest
Schnarcht mal laut, mal leise, nach der Bärenweise
Doch wenn unser Bär erwacht, dann schaut mal was er macht

Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag
Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo der schläft ganz tief und fest
Schnarcht mal laut, mal leise, nach der Bärenreise
Doch wenn unser Bär erwacht, dann schaut mal was er macht

Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag
Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo der schläft ganz tief und fest
Schnarcht mal laut, mal leise, nach der Bärenweise
Doch wenn unser Bär erwacht, dann schaut mal was er macht

Er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, den ganzen Tag
Er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft, er stampft den ganzen Tag
Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag
Er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht, er patscht den ganzen Tag
Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag
Er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht, er klatscht den ganzen Tag

Here is a little poster I like to use when I introduce the song. I talk about the little bear (kleiner Bär) and the zoo (Zoo). I ask the children what the bear does in winter. So many of them already know the word hibernate! Then I tell them that our bear is sleeping and snoring – sometimes loudly (laut), sometimes quietly (leise). But when he wakes up – just watch what he does! You can download the poster and teaching document below:

Here is a YouTube video that shows how the original song works:

Gefunden! A quick vocab game

With new classroom rules in place for covid, we are all having to get creative! I recently came up with a little “Hide & Seek” game that I’ve been using with my pre-k/kindergartners.

I use a set of vocab posters I already have. For example, we’ve been working on the weather. So there are 8 – 10 words they are learning. After we review the words, I choose one to “seek”. For example, it’s been very gray and snowy here, so we’ve been looking for the sun a lot 🙂 I shuffle the vocab posters and then hold them in front of me, so I can’t see them. Then I start asking, “Ist das die Sonne?” They answer “Ja!” or “Nein!” And after they have found the sun and answered “Ja!” we then call out, “Gefunden!”

I made a little poster with the words “Gefunden” on it to help them learn it. Tomorrow when we play the game, I’ll hold up the sign after they find the word 🙂

You can download the poster here:

Wetterkarten / Weather Cards

After updating the weather materials to include wintery words, I decided to make some bigger weather cards. Fitting all eight words on to one page seemed to be a bit of a squish, so I’ve spread them out over two pages. They work better for younger learners.

I’ve made them in color and black & white, in case the children prefer to color the cards themselves. They can be used as flashcards or print two sets and use them to play memory.

Read previous posts on weather here and here.

Was für Wetter sehen wir aus dem Fenster? / Weather out the Window

Last spring I posted some materials for weather-watching. But as it was already April, I did not include winter weather. Well, we’re at the beginning of a big Nor’easter here, about to get a whole lot of snow! So I wanted to add words for snow and ice to the checklist and weather cards. Here are the new materials!

If you are looking for the older materials without wintery weather words, they are in this post.

I often ask my young students what kind of weather they see out the window. (Was sehen wir aus dem Fester?) This allows them to answer in a simpler, more consistent noun-form. It avoids the mix of answers like “Die Sonne scheint.” – “Es schneit.” – “Es ist nebelig.” Once they master the nouns, it will be easier to move into the various sentence structures.

I also have a video to review the words. The word Eis is not included, however it is pronounced pretty much the same as the English “ice”.

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 5

Pre-k / Kindergarten Nutcracker Art Project

A few cracking-good facts:

This week is all about nutcrackers! I began today by telling my youngest students a little about nutcrackers. I also brought in a small nutcracker to show them. Of course, many of the children were excited to see something that they, too, had in their homes!

  • Nutcrackers have been around for 600 years.
  • Nutcrackers are traditionally made of wood in Germany.
  • Nutcrackers represent luck, strength, and protection.
  • German author E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote a fairy tale about a nutcracker that comes to life in 1816.
  • Russian composer Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet on Hoffmann’s story.

(You can read these and other facts in the various “Steckbriefe” I created for my elementary & middle school students in this post.)

Crack open a story book!

Then I read the children a short story book of The Nutcracker. I was excited to see that it was attributed to Hoffmann, as that is the version I want to focus on. I am, after all, teaching German! However, I was surprised to find that this version calls the little girl Clara. In Hoffmann’s story, the girl is named Marie, while her beloved doll is named Clara. So as I read the book, I called her Marie. I added some details from the story as I read, too.

Let’s get crafting!

For my youngest students, we actually did not do a craft. Instead, I prepared a Nutcracker coloring project for them. I got the idea from another site, but of course I wanted to make it German! So I started drawing the outline of a nutcracker. It helped when I realized I could fold my paper in half and trace the right side of it, so that it turned out symmetrical! Then I scanned it and started adding shapes. Here’s how it turned out:

I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with how it turned out! You can download the PDF for free here:

The children enjoyed the project!

Stay tuned for projects from the 1st & 2nd graders, 3rd & 4th graders, and 5th & 6th graders!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 1

The Nutcracker story in 1st & 2nd grade

This year inspiration struck, and I decided to bring The Nutcracker into all of my classes, from pre-k to 6th grade. All the children will be introduced (or reintroduced) to the story, and each level will do a different art project. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

For pre-k/kindergarten students, we will read a shortened book and do a simple coloring project.

For elementary & middle school students, the lessons will be in two parts. This week, I am telling the story and giving the children some background on nutcrackers and the fairy tale.

In elementary school, I’ll tell a simple version of the story. First & second grade heard the story yesterday:

Knack!

I decided to draw my nutcracker ahead of time, as it is so detailed. And every time I said “Nussknacker” the children were supposed to say “Knack!” You can download them both for free below:

After the story, the students will get a simple worksheet to fill in. Read more about the Steckbrief” in this post!

The text for 1st & 2nd grade:

Read more about the Story Listening lesson from two years ago that used this text in this post.

You can also read the updated text from this year and download it for free here:

Klingelingeling! Jingle Bells

While we may not be singing in the classrooms right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t have music! I usually teach the children the song “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” at this time of year. In the past few years, I have made little bells at home to give to the children, so they can play along as we sing. But this year, I decided to let them make the bells. And then we said the words Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling.

To make the bells, you need:

  • 2 pipe cleaners in two different colors (we used red & white this year)
  • three bells

That’s it! I get my bells at the Dollar Store. You have to make sure you get bells that have a big enough “loop” or “handle” at the top, so the pipe cleaner can go through.

For instructions on how to make the bells, see this post!

After I taught the children how to say “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” we clapped out the rhythm as we said it. Then I told them that we needed bells to ring instead of just clapping! So we made the bells. And then I showed them one of my favorite things: and Advent calendar from our Swiss au pair. Each day plays a different song!

We listened to the German song for Day 2, of course – Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling! And we rang our bells in time and spoke the words we’d learned.

(This Advent calendar plays 48 beautiful songs – 24 German and 24 English! It uses only 3 AA batteries. And the melodies are lovely to listen to! You can find more about them here! No compensation for me – I just like them!)

The children enjoyed the music so much, that we listened to several other songs. “O Tannenbaum“, “Stille Nacht“, and “Jingle Bells”.

Here is a coloring page that goes with the song:

Frohe Weihnachten!

Nikolaus Lied / Song

Normally, I would teach the children the song “Lasst uns froh und munter sein” when we celebrate Nikolaus. (Check out this post to see how I teach it and get the free materials to go along with it!) However, as we are not singing in the classrooms right now, I just played the song for them as they work on crafting their boots.

However, I did send them home with a coloring page that also has the words to the song!

You can download the coloring page for free here: