Martinstag in the Classroom: Part 1

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 Story Hour…

We read a couple of books, sing the traditional songs, and make paper lanterns. Then we get to parade through the library. This year, we even got to go into the bank next door! To read more about the books and songs, you can check out the story hour blog. They were all so proud of their lanterns:

2017-11-03 Martinstag post

I often like to tell the fairy tale of the Sterntaler. It’s the story of a little girl who is alone in the world and has next to nothing. And still, she gives away everything she does have. In the end, the stars fall from the sky and become gold coins, and she is wearing a beautiful new slip of the finest material. I usually read a little book about it, but this year, I chose to tell it as a story using the Story Listening method. Here is what my board looked like when I was finished:

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I wasn’t sure how the method would work in a room full of children who already know so much German – not to mention their German-speaking parents! But the children were mesmerized! And the parents really enjoyed it, too!

The next post on 1st and 2nd grade is coming…

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!

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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!

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? hüpfen? 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 🙂

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: Begrüßungslied Wortschatzbilder GitA

Coloring pages: Begrüßungslied Malvorlage GitA

Viel Spaß!

Der erste Tag / First day of Story Hour!

Today was our first day back at story hour. It seemed like no time had gone by at all! Except, of course, that the children had grown. They just keep doing that 🙂

I like to start off the new year talking about them! I’m super excited about the activity we did to kick things off! On a large piece of paper, I drew a simple outline of a tree with a bunch of big circles inside. The circles were not just apples, but were meant to represent each child in the group. As they arrived, I called each child over to pick a favorite color and color in the “apple”. Then I labeled each one with their name, age, and a favorite toy or thing to do. Not only did we have a lovely little art project, but I got to know something about them and can use that information to plan future story hours!

In the past, I used books mostly about Körperteile – or parts of the body. But I wanted to also talk about things they like to do. So I used one story about a girl named Frieda who loves to dance. We did include one about the body. And then I couldn’t resist reading the Elephant & Piggie book, Das Buch über uns. The kids just love it! Especially if you use voices 😉

  • Frieda tanzt by Birgitta Sif (Aladin, 2016)
  • Das bin ich by Heinz Janisch (Tyrolia, 2014)
  • Das Buch über uns by Mo Willems (Klett, 2015)

Here are some other books we could have used:

  • Von Kopf bis Fuss by Eric Carle (Gerstenberg, 2011)
  • Heute bin ich by Mies van Hout (aracari verlag, 2012)
  • Der Hase mit dem roten Nase by Helme Heine (Beltz & Gelberg, 2016)
  • Bin ich klein? Am I Small? by Philipp Winterberg (CreateSpace Independent, 2013)
  • Das kleine ich bin ich by Mira Lobe (Jungbrunnen, 2016)

We sang four songs today, since I couldn’t decide on just three!

  • “Wenn du glücklich bist”
  • “Meine Finger, Meine Finger” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder, Vol. 3)
  • “Kopf und Schulter, Knie und Fuß”
  • “Das Lied über mich” (Volker Rosin)

You can download the lyrics here: Lieder – ich (PDF).

After we wore ourselves out singing “Das Lied über mich” (I think the moms enjoyed it even more than the kiddos!), the children had a choice of coloring a picture of themselves or filling out a Steckbrief! Some chose to do both 🙂

You can download the activities as PDF here: Das Lied über mich – GitA.

Playground Games

Yesterday was our last story hour before our summer break, and we met at a playground.

We played a quick but fun game of Feuer, Wasser, Sturm. The children run around the playground. When they hear the word Feuer called out, they have to lie down flat. If they hear Wasser, they have to climb up on something high to avoid the rising waters. And if they hear Sturm, they have to hold on tight! It’s a fun, easy game!

Since it was still a story hour session, I did read a book and lead a song. The children sat up on the playground equipment.

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We read Kleiner weißer Fisch by Guido van Genechten (Ars Edition, 2015).

Kleiner weißer Fisch

Then we sang “Fünf kleine Fische.”

Fünf kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Vier kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Drei kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Zwei kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Ein kleiner Fisch, der schwamm im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Er sagt zu sich, er kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Ein großer Hai der schwimmt im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagt der Hai, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Denn da sind die Fische und die fress ich gleich (blub blub blub blub)

 

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!