Bauernhof Malbuch – Farm Coloring Book

I’ve decided to do a mini Farm unit with my pre-K/kindergarten class. Over the next three weeks, we’ll read three books. But we’ll work on one song. And I’ve created a mini coloring book for them to make that has all the animals – plus a few other farm words – that they might learn.

In order to create the coloring book, they first color in the whole sheets and trace the words. Then they can cut along the dotted lines and stack their pages. The teacher will staple it together.

This work could be done over the course of the three weeks. I just have to remind them to put their names on the pages! I think it is too much for them to do all at once. There are 15 words, after all!

It could also be added to the classroom as a “work” (as they call it in Montessori schools) to be completed over time, as the children choose. Of course, if we do it this way, not all the children might complete a book. In fact, I think 15 pages is really too much for them to do all at once. Perhaps in that case, we would choose fewer words. Or maybe let the children choose which words they want in their book.

There is lots of flexibility here!

This is what the pages look like:

 

 

And here is the PDF for you to download: Mein Bauernhofbuch GitA

How will you use the coloring pages??

See Tiel 2 of this post for more on the farm lesson!

Flags of German-Speaking Countries

In the pre-K/kindergarten class, we are creating our own picture dictionary of German words! The book will be auctioned off at the school’s annual fundraiser. But we are having fun putting it together.

We thought we would take a picture of the entire group and put in the words to our hello song. Using construction paper and straws, the children have made flags of the major German-speaking countries, and they will hold the flags in the group picture!

Tomorrow is our last day to take photos. I am going in for a special lesson. I’ll be keeping the kiddos busy while the teachers are snapping the pictures. I thought I would do a review of the favorite songs we’ve sung and books we’ve read this year.

The children always love a coloring page, too! So I made up a coloring page of the three flags: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Flags coloring page GitA-page-001

You can download the PDF file here: Flags coloring page GitA

I won’t be able to share the book here online, since it will be filled with images of the children from the class, and we always want to protect their privacy. But I can tell you it is super cute!!

Viel Spaß!

Ostereier – Easter Eggs

We’re a little late celebrating Easter in the pre-K/kindergarten class. I had planned a lesson for the week before spring break, but alas! It snowed that day, and the kids were sent home early!! So I did the lesson today anyway.

After singing our hello song and checking in on the weather, we practiced counting from 1 to 10. Then we sang “10 kleine Ostereier.” It’s a song I made up based on “10 Little Indians.” It goes like this:

Eins, zwei, drei kleine Eier
Vier, fünf, sechs kleine Eier
Sieben, acht, neun kleine Eier
Zehn kleine Ostereier!

Easy peasy! The kids caught on quickly, especially since they are really good at counting to 10!

Then we read our book: Eins, zwei, drei, fertig ist das Osterei! by Ursel Scheffler (Ravensburger, 2008).

Hasenfranz

There is a Drehscheibe (a wheel) you can turn to change the pattern on the eggs! We looked at the cover of the book, pointing out Hase (rabbit), Pinsel (paintbrush), and Farben (colors). Then I taught them the magic words from the book:

Pinsel, Farbe, eins zwei drei!

On each page, Hasenfranz paints an egg with a different pattern. So we all said the magic words together as I turned the wheel to see the new egg. They loved it!

I also brought in some Easter eggs. I had made some stickers for them using round, white labels. They each got two! But before I handed them out, we used them to count to 20. First, we counted all of them to get to 20. Then we counted each color (I had 5 purple, 5 green, and 9 blue – yes, I was one short!).

I also gave them a Malen-nach-Zahlen page to color. I updated it from the one I’ve used in the past. Instead of the 6 primary colors, I swapped out two, so I could include rosa and grau. I also made a more difficult version, so the older children could have more of a challenge. I let them choose which one they wanted to color.

You can download the PDFs here:

And here is the work-in-progress and the finished product. Hippo put his stickers on his paper, too. (This is a copy he and I did at home, and you might be able to tell that I helped with some of the coloring. It was fun to do it together!)

Frohe Ostern!

Tablets for Travel: Life-Saver or Horror Story?

frog-1250496_1920

It may only be the end of February, but we are already planning our summer trip to Europe. I was going back through some of my own travel advice and realized I had never written about a very important topic.

These days, it seems wherever you go, you can see a child with a tablet or smart phone. Frankly, I find it frightening. From everything I have read, they can do some serious damage to young brains.

But I am not here to judge.

I do, however, want to share some crucial advice about using a tablet while traveling with young children.

We have rules in our house about screen time for the boys. One of them is about how much they can watch. Usually no more than an hour in a day, broken up into two or three chunks of 20-30 minutes at a time.

I used to call these rules our “ground rules” … because they stay on the ground when we fly. Cute, huh? 🙂 I figured one day a year, when we have a day flight home from Europe, it can’t hurt to let the kids watch as much as they want. It’s a real life-saver. Right?

Wrong.

When Froggy was 5, he watched for almost the entire 9-hour flight from Amsterdam. It seemed great at the time. He was happily distracted. Mama & Daddy got to rest or read or watch a film of their own!

We weren’t off the plane for 5 minutes when I realized our colossal mistake!! While the boys and I waited for PER to pick up the stroller, I watched in horror as my sweet 5-year-old disintegrated into the worst meltdown he’s ever had. He was crying and whining and carrying on like never before. I don’t remember what started it. But really, it doesn’t matter. Any little thing could have ignited the blowup.

For he was indeed like a ticking time bomb. And WE had created it. By letting him be mesmerized by the addictive images of the screen, it was like he turned into another person. His brain was fried. He had no coping mechanism. Within minutes of leaving the plane, the fuse had reached its limit. The ticking time bomb exploded. 

bomb-3175208_1280

That was bad enough, but of course, the situation got worse. Seven planes – count them, SEVEN!! – had landed at the same time. And we were all squished in line to get through immigration. I’ve never seen a line that long. It snaked back and forth for an eternity and spilled over into the corridor. That’s where we entered the line, of course.

Hippo was pretty miserable, too. (Heck, we all were!) So even though I wasn’t supposed to by holding him (back injury left-over from pregnancy), there I was, holding him the entire time we were in line. I think it took us an hour-and-a-half to get through it.

Froggy was such a mess, he couldn’t even stand. So he got in the stroller.

Do you know the kiosks they have these days where you scan your passport and get your picture taken? Well, we FINALLY made it to one of those. PER and Hippo and I all got our pictures taken. But Froggy refused. I felt a panic coming on and snapped at him, “Seriously?! We’re NEVER getting out of here if you don’t do this!!” So PER picked him up to hold him in front of the camera. But Froggy held his arms up in front of his face. “Aaaaaaghh!!!” So while PER held him, I pulled his arms down. I can’t even imagine what that picture looked like!

We laugh about that part now. But it was no laughing matter at the time.

Of course, you could say he was just tired from the long flight. Sure. We were all cranky. But I am convinced that it was much more than that. It was as if he had really lost his mind. Along with the ability to make his body function. He was a miserable, limp noodle.

So… fast forward to a year later.

The next time we flew home from Amsterdam, we took one of our “ground rules” with us. This time, Froggy could only watch for 20-30 minutes at a time. Then he had to take a break for at least that long, preferably longer.

It was like night and day. Sure, we were all a little cranky by the end of our long travel day. But he was able to walk off the plane, up the ramp to immigration, stand in line, and get his picture taken. All with minimal whining. No crying. No drama. He was still my sweet little boy.

We learned our lesson the hard way. So I hope by sharing this story, you will avoid having to endure such a horror scene yourself. Take a lesson from our page. Do yourself – your child – and your child’s brain – a favor. Limit the time he or she spends on devices.

(For tips on what to do when your child is not using the tablet, check out my page of travel activities.)

Gute Reise!

Ich habe Hunger! German Song

Tomorrow, I’ll be giving a lesson on FOOD using Eric Carle’s book Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt. It has long been a favorite in our house! Since I know it so well, I thought it could make a good Story Listening lesson.

I have a number of activities to go along with it. I’ll post about each one of them.

To start, after I tell the story, we are going to sing “Ich habe Hunger!” Do you know it? It goes like this:

Ich habe Hunger, Hunger, Hunger
habe Hunger, Hunger, Hunger
habe Hunger, Hunger, Hunger
habe Durst!

I’m sure you can find it on YouTube if you do a quick search!

For teaching the song, I made a small poster with the words:

Ich habe Hunger SONGTEXT-page-002

You can download the PDF here: Ich habe Hunger SONGTEXT GitA

Viel Spaß!

Olympische Winterspiele – Activities

I haven’t had time to come up with any of my own activities for the Winter Olympics. But I’ve found some nice worksheets and reading cards on other sites that I thought I’d share.

I really like the materials over on Lehrmittelperlen (you must subscribe to obtain access to their materials – about $20 per year).

Other reading cards about the various sports can be found at Fächerübergreifend leicht gemacht.

KinderSuppe has a variety of materials and activities (search “Olympische Winterspiele”). You have to subscribe to obtain access to most of their materials, however they do offer some things for free:

  • Olympic Rings: Print out the page to color the Olympic rings. They suggest using paint and cotton swabs to color them in! There are two versions: one with a colored dot to indicate the ring colors; one with the color word spelled in the ring.
  • Summer or Winter? This activity has children sorting cards of various sports into summer and winter sport.

What are you doing to learn about the Winter Olympics in German?

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 Spaß!