SL: Silvester und das Jahrkind – a fairy tale for the New Year

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A few years ago I stumbled on to an English version of this New Year’s fairy tale by Eduard Mörike.

The story is not included in Mörike’s collected works. He apparently made up the story around 1860 for a little girl named Emilie Schnabel, who was about age 6 or 7. The story made such an impression on the little girl that she later wrote it down when she was an adult. It made its way to Mörike’s family, and that’s how we have it now. The text has been studied by experts, and they agree it matches Mörike’s style.

It is such a beautiful story to tell at the beginning of the new year! I knew that I wanted to tell it as a Story Listening lesson.

It was a little challenging for the 3rd graders, but the 4th graders really got it.

Hobbys

I have been wanting to do a little lesson to get to know my students better, especially the 1st & 2nd graders. So I thought they could make a little booklet about themselves. Today we started with the first page: Hobbies.

But I just couldn’t teach them without telling them a little story. According to the method of Story Listening, you do not teach targeted words or make up your own story. But I broke the rules and wrote a short script that would help to link our lesson on hobbies. Next week, we’ll be back to real Story Listening!

Here is my short story:

Jürgens Hobbys

Es war einmal ein Junge. Er hieß Jürgen. Jürgen war 7 Jahre alt.

Eines Tages hatte Jürgen Langweile. Er fragte seine Mama: „Mama, was kann ich tun?“ – Seine Mama sagte: „Finde ein Hobby!“

Zuerst spielte Jürgen mit der Katze. Aber das wurde langweilig.

Zweitens arbeitete er im Garten. Aber das wurde langweilig.

Drittens spielte er mit einem Ball. Aber das wurde langweilig.

Viertens malte er ein Bild. Aber das wurde langweilig.

Fünftens las er ein Buch. Aber das wurde langweilig.

Endlich spielte er mit seinen Legosteinen. Er baute einen großen Turm aus Legosteinen. Aber der Turm fiel um. Er baute ein Auto aus Legosteinen. Er baute ein Flugzeug aus Legosteinen. Er baute ein Schiff aus Legosteinen. Er baute … und baute … und baute. Aber es wurde nie langweilig!

Endlich hatte Jürgen ein Hobby!

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I forgot to take a picture of my board, but you can see my practice drawings above.

After the quick story, I showed them the booklets. They look like this:

You can download the PDF of the booklet here: Das bin ich GitA. The file includes two versions: one with the writing lines as seen, and one with just two solid lines for older children who do not need the guidance anymore.

So far, the booklet includes:

  • Lieblingshobby (favorite hobby)
  • Lieblingsfeiertag (favorite holiday)
  • Lieblingsbuch (favorite book)

We only worked on the hobbies today. We’ll continue to add to the book, and I hope to add more topics, too. Maybe a page about facts, such as age, a description (hair color, eye color), where they are from, etc.

I also made some vocabulary posters, so the kids could just copy down their favorite hobby. Here is what they look like:

There are also individual posters for soccer, football, and baseball, plus one for riding horses. You can download the PDF file here: Das bin ich Wortschatzposters GitA. The file also include posters for the holidays.

It seems that Legos are a big hit. No surprise there! Followed by sports, drawing/coloring, animals, and riding horses. The answers were actually rather diverse! Although no one listed working in the garden as a favorite hobby 🙂

Plätzchen! Cookies!

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is bake cookies! I wanted to bring some German cookies in to school for the 3rd and 4th graders to try. After all, I was going to be teaching them for the very last hour of school before winter break! I knew we needed some down time. But by bringing in some Plätzchen and Kinderpunsch, I could at least keep it cultural!

So I baked Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), and AP5 made Vanillekipferl and Linzer. I also bought some ready-made gingerbread dough and cut out some gingerbread men.

I made up some labels for the cookies, so the children would know what they were getting.

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You can download the labels as PDF files here: Plätzchen labels GitA 2018

I made them to be able to fold as tented cards. So you can print them out, then cut out the long rectangle with the blank box and the cookie label in one piece. Then fold so that the blank box is at the back.

Guten Appetit!

Nutcracker Hampelmann

Have you ever seen a wooden jumping-jack toy? If you pull the string at the bottom, the arms and legs of the man go up! In German, it’s called a Hampelmann.

Well, our fabulous art teacher must be clairvoyant or something! Because she did a nutcracker project with the 1st and 2nd graders that looked like Hampelmänner! She was looking for a project to go along with my Nutcracker Story Listening lesson –  something for the younger children to do that would be a bit easier than making clothespin nutcrackers. But she wanted a project that was more than a simple coloring page. Perfect!

Aren’t they beautiful?!

It was such a great project that the 3rd & 4th graders created them, too, after they finished their clothespin nutcrackers.

The project can be found here and downloaded for free. Thank you, Brigid Ashwood, for creating such a wonderful project!

Story Listening: Nikolaus und die drei Töchter

Last year I prepared a legend about Nikolaus to teach in 1st & 2nd grade. I used the same story this year to teach in grades 1-4. It still worked great, even though some of the children had heard the story last year. Nothing like repetition!

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You can read the legend and download the text from this post.

Last year I had some worksheets for the children, but we did not use them this year. They really are not necessary with Story Listening, and we did not have time.

After the story, the 1st & 2nd graders made lacing boots, like the ones we made in pre-k/kindergarten. Theirs were red with white yard, and they glued white cotton balls to the top to decorate them a bit more. The 3rd & 4th graders colored small pictures of Nikolaus and glued them to little brown take-out boxes. (see this post)

Getting Ready for Nikolaus

Tonight is the night to clean your boots and put one out for Nikolaus! So the children were busy in school yesterday, making crafts to get ready for him!

As usual, the pre-k/kindergarten classes laced paper boots. This year, we made them in black. And they decorated them first with white crayons. Here is the post with the tutorial and template to download. And here is what a few of them looked like:

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I figured that the 3rd & 4th graders might not be too excited about a lacing activity 😉  And we only had 5-10 minutes for a craft. So I printed out some drawings of Nikolaus on cardstock and cut them out ahead of time. Then I found cute little take-out boxes at the craft store. After I told the story of Nikolaus und die drei Töchter, the children went to their desks to color the little Nikolaus figures. Then they got out the glue sticks to glue them on to the boxes. We’ll see if Nikolaus leaves something in them tonight?!

I can’t provide the template, because it is a copyrighted clipart image. I got this one as part of a clipart package that is actually about Sinterklaas 😉  But you can do a quick Google image search to find one of your own.

Lasst uns froh und munter sein!

Last week I was teaching the Nikolaus song “Lasst uns froh und munter sein!” in the pre-k/kindergarten class. It is a surprisingly difficult song to sing. The last two lines are easier, so I start there. But the first two lines are more complicated.

Since we’ll be singing the song again this week – and in 1st – 4th grade – I decided to make some posters for it. Most of the little ones are not readers yet, so I’m not sure how much it will help. But maybe!

Here is what they look like:

You can download the PDF file fore FREE here: Last uns froh und munter sein – GitA

I have tried to make up little motions to go with the song, but it never really works.

How do you introduce and teach this song??