Buchstabe: M

Our first letter of the school year 2018-2019! The letter M.

I wasn’t entirely happy with the words I chose the last time we started M, so I redid the cards a bit. Here is what the new ones look like:

I wanted to add the words Milch and Münze, so here you can see the extra sheet with all three kinds of cards.

The words in this set are:

das  Mädchen
der  Mais
die  Malkreide
der  Marienkäfer
die  Maus
der  Messbecher
das  Messer
die  Milch
die  Möhre
der  Mond
der  Mund
die  Münze
das  Murmeltier
die  Musik

I’ve chosen 10 of the words to use this week. I will introduce two or three of them each morning at breakfast, starting with the shortest words. I like to try to pick words that have different vowel sounds after the first letter (here: ä, ai, a, au, e, i, ö, o, u, ü).

I plan to leave the letter box with all 10 objects and their cards out in our Montessori-style workspace during the week. Who knows, perhaps there will be an impromptu game of Go Fish after school?!

Download the PDF for FREE here: Wortschatzkarten M – GitA

If you prefer an all caps version, you can download this document instead: Wortschatzkarten M all caps – GitA

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Buchstaben einführen

Once again we will be working on German letters at home. I will be posting about the letters we cover and the cards I create to go with them. (Check the categories drop-down menu for posts on specific letters.)

For each letter of the alphabet – along with umlauts and ß and blends – I have a box with small objects that begin with that letter, as well as corresponding cards (one set with words and pictures, one set with just pictures, one set with just words).

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There are a few boxes missing from the picture, but you get the idea 😉 And what would we do without Ikea?! I turned my narrow bookcase on its side, so it fits under my big windows in my new office (we just moved!). And you’ve probably seen those sets of boxes! I used a silver paint pen (the only color I had) to label the sides with the letters.

But just what do we do with our cards and little objects??

Well, here is a whole list of things we do:

  • Match objects to cards
  • Line up objects (5-6). Name objects. Have child close eyes, take one away. Which one is missing?
  • Line up objects (5-6). Name objects. Have child close eyes, switch two objects. Which ones moved? Have him put them back in place.
  • Spell out some words using plastic letters.
  • Make the letter out of the objects.
  • Match stickers to written word.
  • Use letter stickers to spell word – match to drawn image.
  • Make up a story using the objects.
  • Put one item in a bag. Play “I’m thinking of …”. He has to guess the object. Maybe let him feel it through the bag?
  • Sort according to a category: animals, body parts, transportation, color, etc.
  • Put objects in order by color.
  • Put in order by size – big to small and/or small to big.
  • Play Memory.
  • Play Go Fish.
  • Clean up: Show him a card, he identifies the object and puts it back in the box.
  • Play hangman. (advanced)

I’m really going to try to keep up with posts this year as we work through the alphabet! Daumen drücken! 🙂

Schulanfang!

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The summer is officially over. What a whirlwind it’s been for us! Packing … traveling … moving in to our new house. I’m still kind of swimming in boxes, but they will take a back seat as school begins – not only for Froggy & Hippo, but for me as well!

This year I will be teaching SIX classes at our Montessori school!! In addition to Hippo’s pre-K/kindergarten class, I’ll add on the other two pre-K/kindergarten classes. Then I will also be teaching grades 1-4. (1 & 2 will be combined into one class; 3 & 4 will split.) So I am busy lesson-planning for my first day next week!

In addition to teaching in the classroom, we are setting up our own little German classroom in the new house. Our kitchen table has been declared a food-free zone! Instead, it will be where the boys do work – especially in German 🙂

We have a new au pair from Austria with us this year. I chose her specifically, because she wants to be a teacher. We plan to work together to create lessons for the boys. Only, I don’t just want to make lesson plans. Instead, I want to set up our kitchen space as a mini-Montessori classroom. If you’ve ever been in one of these brilliantly designed rooms, you’ll see a wide range of “works” that the children can select (after they’ve had a lesson in it) and mostly do on their own.

I thought if we put out different kinds of German activities that the kids can easily see and rotate them periodically, they might actually WANT to do some German work. And of course, they won’t really see it as work – it’s more like play!

Nevertheless, we’ll be starting up some letter work again this year. I wonder if we’ll ever get through the alphabet??? This is attempt #3 (sigh). But they still like it and are looking forward to starting next week.

Here is my new plan for this year:

We will work with the book Lesen Lernen von A bis Z by Ingo Gulde. Each chapter introduces a handful of letters. For example, chapter 1 is A – M – O – P.  We will do a letter a week, then after those four weeks, we’ll spend a week on the chapter.

Germany with Kids: Dinos & More at the Senckenburg Naturmuseum

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Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt am Main

If your kids like dinosaurs, they are going to love the Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt!

But this natural history museum has a whole lot more than just dinosaur skeletons. We decided to start upstairs instead of heading straight for the dinos. For one thing, a large school group had just entered the dino room, and we wanted to avoid the crowd. It turned out to be a good idea. I think the boys (ages 8 & 5 now) had a lot more patience to look at all of the other fascinating animals than they otherwise would have if we’d let them look at “the good stuff” first. Kind of like waiting for dessert 🙂

There are almost countless animals to be seen in taxidermy. We found it so interesting because – unlike at a zoo – you can get right up close to them. There were so many birds – from penguins and gulls to flamingos, peacocks, and many colorful parrots and the like! Even some teeny, tiny miniature birds. There were turtles and snakes, moose, and bison. There was a rhino, a leopard, a baby giraffe, and elephants, too. And an enormous skeleton of a whale.

The exhibits focus on evolution and other scientific developments as well. There are small exhibits on volcanoes and space.

And we didn’t even make it through the entire museum! It’s HUGE!

But let’s face it. My kiddos wanted to see the DINOSAURS! The view from the floor above was great. Especially to see the flying dino (sorry, I forget which one it is exactly!). But it also gives a great view of the T-Rex. Other dino bones to be seen include triceratops, parasaurolophos, stegasaurus, brachiosaurus, and iguanodon. Some only have a partial skeleton, like the leg of the Supersaurus. There are more, but I didn’t catch all of their names.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too sure about going to see a bunch of skeletons, but it was quite astounding to stand under the enormous T-Rex or to check out the huge crest of the triceratops.

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So if your kids are into dinosaurs, put this museum on your list!

Is it good for kids?

Absolutely! There are also two different kids’ guides that you can get. I was a little disappointed in the dino one. I had hoped it would be more of a scavenger hunt for facts of something. But it included questions like, what’s your favorite dinosaur and which dino would win if they competed in the Olympics? My kids weren’t interested in them. So they weren’t worth the few Euros extra to buy them.

What about the cost?

Tickets for adults, ages 16 – 66, cost €10. Kids ages 6 – 15 are half price. Kids 5 and under are free. They also offer family tickets for 2 adults and up to 3 kids (ages 6 – 15). And there are other discounts for students and seniors.

Where is it?

It’s about a 35-minute walk from the Altstadt (old city center) in the western part of the city. We chose to drive from out hotel near the Altstadt, and it took about 20 minutes, including parking in a garage. (They are having a heat wave here – temps in the 90s – so we didn’t want the kids out in the sun for too long.)

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NL with Kids: Make a Wooden Shoe!

 

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Today was one of the most fun experiences we’ve had!! We returned to Clara Maria, the dairy farm and clog factory in Amstelveen. When we were there last year, we got to see a demonstration of someone making a wooden shoe. That was pretty cool.

But today, Hippo actually GOT TO MAKE HIS OWN SHOE!!! It was so exciting!

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First he hammered the ax into the block of wood to trim it down to the right size. Then they put the block of wood in place. The machine works automatically from a template to create the outside shape of the shoe. Then it gets moved to the next machine to hollow out the shoe. This machine also works from a template, but you have to do it manually. It left behind a lot of shavings, so those had to be cleaned out, too.

Now here’s the crazy part. We learned that the wood was still very damp once the outer layer had been carved away. So the wood has to dry. It can take weeks to air dry. So how about using a fan? Or maybe if you blow really hard into the shoe?? We thought it was a joke. But no, really! When the instructor blew really hard into the shoe, water bubbled out of it!!

The wood at the top of the shoe is left in place, so it can stand up. After that was trimmed down a bit, we took it in to be engraved. He chose to have his name and a windmill on it.

I have been to Clara Maria at least a half dozen times over the years. I’ve seen the shoes being made. But I’ve never seem them let a child make one! We didn’t even ask for it. We thought we were just going to get a demonstration.

And to top it all off, we got to keep the shoe for free! I was ready to pay for it, but no. They said we could have it.

Well, we ended up buying an awful lot of cheese to bring home 🙂  It’s seriously the best cheese I’ve ever had. All different kinds of Gouda cheese. And they make a mustard dill sauce to go with it that is deeeeelicious!

So if you happen to go through Amstelveen (not far from Amsterdam), definitely stop by Clara Maria. You never know what will happen!

NL with Kids: Flowers, Canals, and Stroopwafels

Today we went in to Amsterdam. I’ve been enough times now that it just feels normal to me 🙂  But we have our babysitter with us on this trip, and AP3 flew in from Switzerland to join us for the week. So we had to show them something of this beautiful place.

We drove in and parked at Leidseplein, just as we always do. There is an underground parking garage beneath the Albert Heijn grocery store. When you come up, you are right at the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and of course the big “I amsterdam” letters.

From there, we walked down to the flower market at the intersection of the Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat. It is a row of stalls that sells bulbs, wooden flowers, and other souvenirs.

But we also got a sweet surprise along the way. Have you ever had a fresh Stroopwafel?!  Well, if you ever get the chance, go for it! These were so delicious!

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He puts a lump of dough in the iron to cook. Once it’s ready, he takes it out and puts it on that red board, where he cuts it with a round cookie cutter. Then he takes a knife and actually slices it in half! I don’t know how he takes something so thin and splits it open like that! Then comes the stroop – they syrup – in the middle (that’s what he’s doing in this picture). Then put the pieces back together, and you’ve got a fresh-made stroopwafel! (Last year, we tried them with nutella, and we actually did not like the combination! Read more here.)

We enjoyed our treats as we walked back toward one of the boat tours. We took the same tour as last year. Only today, we went during the late afternoon, around 4pm. The day was unusually warm with a bright, clear blue sky. So the boat tour was actually quite warm! And here’s a tip: if you buy your tickets in advance, don’t wait until the last minute to board! We had to split up our group of 6 into pairs, and all of us were facing backward.

After the one-hour tour, we headed out to enjoy some pannenkoeken.

The top two on the left are both savory. The one at the bottom is rolled up with nutella for the boys. And as usual, I had strawberries and cream. Yum!

For more information about canal tours, see this post 🙂

NL with Kids: from Edam to Marken

After our short visit to the cheese market in Edam, we drove around to the village of Marken, about 20 minutes away.

Marken is another quaint little town. We walked through the village until we got to the water and then decided on a restaurant to have some lunch. We went to De Taanketel. Note that they do not offer a kids’ menu, but they do have options for kids if you ask 😉

Then we took a beautiful – but windy – walk along the dyke. You can actually keep going along a very narrow strip of land, but we decided to stop and turn back after about 20 minutes. (see the map below)

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The kids enjoyed their tostis (like a grilled cheese) and the walk. But their favorite part was the treat we got on the walk back: poffertjes! I think they were the best I’ve ever had. Perfectly crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. And of course, served with plenty of butter and powdered sugar!

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It was just a little stand, so they didn’t have one of the huge poffertjes pans.

Is it good for kids?

As I said, the boys enjoyed it. Although it was not their favorite day 🙂

What about the cost?

It’s a town, so it’s free! Depends on what you want to do there 🙂

Where is it?