Happy Birthday!

Finally I’m getting to cover a topic in our preschool class that I’ve been wanting to do for some time…  BIRTHDAYS!!

One of the boys in the class had a birthday over the weekend, and he is having his birthday celebration in class in the morning. We’ll have to move our class back a little bit to accommodate the celebration. But it’s such a special event in the school, I don’t mind a bit!

I’m not sure how it is in other Montessori schools, but in our school, birthdays are a big deal in preschool and kindergarten. The whole family is invited to come for a short celebration. First, the children set up a sun with the months around it in the center of the circle. Then the birthday child is brought to the circle by two friends. The parents bring in some pictures of the child – about one from each year – and tells a short story of the child’s life. For each year, the child walks around the sun while holding a small globe of the earth, and everyone sings: “The earth goes around the sun, tra la, the earth goes around the sun! The earth goes around the sun, tra la, another year is done!” The child also presents a small present to the class (a book or some other materials that can be added to the collection of classroom “work”). And then everyone sings Happy Birthday, but with an added verse: “We celebrate your birth – and your place on earth. May the sun, moon, and stars – bring you peace where you are!” It’s so beautiful, I cry every time!

So I was inspired to do a little lesson on German birthdays. After our Begrüßungslied, I thought I’d teach the children how to say how old they are: Ich bin x Jahre alt! They are pretty good at their numbers by now, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Then I’ll introduce a few vocabulary words that are important to any birthday celebration:

der Kuchen  ~  das Geschenk  ~  der Papphut  ~  die Luftballons

You can download these word posters here: Herzlichen Glückwunsch Word Posters GitA 2017

I’ll also teach them how to sing “Happy Birthday” in German. We’ll leave out the name to keep it simple:

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück!

I was going to read a book called Der Bär hat Geburtstag by Isabel Pin (Beltz & Gelberg, 2015). It’s about a bear who is worried that none of his other animal friends will come to celebrate his birthday … but of course they all do! I liked the different animals in it, and it also showed the birthday images above (cake, hat, balloons, present).

But in the end, I decided to go with Die Maus, die hat Geburtstag heut by Paul Maar (Oetinger, 1997). It is about all the different animals and they presents they bring to the mouse on his birthday. What I liked about this one for the preschoolers is that it repeats the same text for every animal:

“Die Maus, die hat Geburtstag heut. Gleich kommt Besuch, der sie sehr freut. Welches Tier kommt denn hier und will der Maus was schenken?  …

Nun schau gut hin, nun gib gut Acht: Was hat das Schwein denn mitgebracht?”

You get a hint of the animal who is coming (like the trunk of an Elephant), then turn the page and have a sentence about that animal. Then comes the question of what the animal brought as a present. It doesn’t show all the birthday vocabulary I wanted to introduce, but I think that’s okay. The repetition is more important in this case!

Because we’ll be reading about a mouse, I also will do the Mausfamilie Fingerspiel again. They always love that one!

die-mausfamilie-fingerspiel-w-translation-page-001

Here is the PDF of Die Mausfamilie that you can download: die Mausfamilie Fingerspiel with translation

I always send them home with a coloring page, too!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Malvorlage GitA 2017-page-001

You can download that here: Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Malvorlage GitA 2017

Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

Play dough Recipe

After posting my shape play dough mats, I thought you might like a recipe for some homemade play dough! The boys’ preschool teachers gave me this recipe, and it worked out really well. For those of you with really little ones, you don’t have to worry so much if they happen to eat some of it!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1/2 cup of cream of tartar
  • Food coloring

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, including color.
  2. When it is well mixed cook over low heat.
  3. Mix continuously until it is the consistency of play dough. You won’t be able to stir it any longer.
  4. It will still need to be mixed a little, so put it on a cookie sheet and let cool for a while. Then mix with your hands until it is all mixed

There are lots of ways to change up the recipe:

  • Try adding spices. For example, in the fall or at Christmas: 4-8 tablespoons of cinnamon and a bit of allspice, cloves, and/or nutmeg.
  • Add some extract for scent. For example: 4 teaspoon almond extract, 4 teaspoon ginger.
  • Or add scent with some essential oils. You can add the essential oils to the oil in the recipe before adding it to the other ingredients. Different scents can also have a therapeutic effect. For example: frankincense for focus, peppermint for energy, lemon for clarity, citrus for creativity, lavender for comfort.

Tips:

  • Be forewarned! If you add color, your hands will also take on some color. Try some rubber gloves!
  • You can buy Cream of Tartar at Amazon or a warehouse store. It keeps for quite some time.
  • This recipe makes quite a lot! You could divide it up, using different colors and scents.
  • Store in an airtight container or zip top bag. But don’t close it up until the dough is completely cool!
  • Try to get your little ones to help. They can measure, pour, and mix ingredients. And they can knead the dough after it cools.

Next time we make some play dough, I’ll take some pictures of the steps!

Shape Tracks

Hippo loves building train tracks with AP3. So that’s where they started with their shape-themed activities. It was a simple activity, but sometimes those are best! How many shapes could they make?

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  • der Kreis
  • das Quadrat
  • das Siebeneck (I think they were going for 6 or 8 sides but they ended up with 7)
  • das Oval

 

Shape Resources

For our shape unit, we’ll be using some materials I bought a few years ago on TeachersPayTeachers.com. It was created by Open Wide the World, who has a number of German-language units. In fact, the weather unit I used last month was also created by them.

shapes-open-wide-the-world

The unit costs only $3.50, and you can purchase it here. And here’s what you get:

posters
a single page display featuring all 10 shapes
10 individual posters, one shape & shape name per page

game cards
“Bang!” game cards & directions
3 sets of flashcards for games & drill work: 1 set with shapes and shape names, 1 set with shape images only, 1 set with shape names only

2 mini books
1/4-page sized mini book: trace the shape name and draw the shape
1/2-page sized mini book: fill in the blank with the shape name, color the image, and read aloud with a partner (level = emergent reading, repetitive sentence structure)

word search
includes answer key

I’m excited to start using all these colorful materials!