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! 🙂



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.

Buchstabe Wiederholung: M / A / O / P

I’ve been using a workbook that I found in Germany this summer to help me decide the order in which to teach the letters of the alphabet. It’s called Mein ABC Übungsheft by Christiane Wittenburg (Stark Verlag, 2013). I really like the way the workbook is designed, so that the letters are introduced according to the beginning sounds.

As you can see, the first four letters are: M – A – O – P.  You may notice that the letter B actually comes up much later in this workbook. I had already started with B before I discovered that I had this resource 🙂  So we’ll slip B back into the mix as another way to review when it comes up!

I should mention that we haven’t actually been using the workbook much itself. I’m mostly using it as a guide right now. The boys haven’t been too into workbooks lately. And I find that the more I can do that inspires them, the more they are willing to play along! But I’m glad to have it as a reference … and hopefully for the future when it they will be interested again!

After each letter or two, there is a review in the workbook. So I thought now would be a good time for us to also stop and do some review. I plan on taking one object from each of the four letter boxes to review each day at breakfast. We won’t get to all of the objects, of course. I have also been doing letter work before Hippo’s nap (or quiet time, since he often doesn’t sleep), so we might pull out some extra objects then.

I’ll write more about how we do the review as the week goes on.

Thanks for stopping by! Viel Spaß!

O ist für Oma und Opa

It just so happens that the boys’ Oma & Opa are visiting from the Netherlands! So what better way to start our O week than with these two special words!

Here’s a look at all the objects in my little O box:



The words are:

  • das      Obst                          fruit
  • das      Ohr                            ear
  • die       Oma                          grandma
  • der      Opa                          grandfather
  •             orange                      orange (color)
  • die       Orange                     orange (fruit)
  • der      Orang-Utan               orangutan
  • das      Ornament                 ornament
  •             ost                             east
  • das      Osterei                      Easter egg
  • der      Osterhase                 Easter bunny
  • der      Otter                          otter

For the corresponding word cards see the post on Buchstabe der Woche: O.

Buchstabe der Woche: O

This week we’ll be starting our work on the letter O! The words in this unit are:

  • das      Obst                          fruit
  • das      Ohr                            ear
  • die       Oma                          grandma
  • der      Opa                          grandfather
  •             orange                      orange (color)
  • die       Orange                     orange (fruit)
  • der      Orang-Utan               orangutan
  • das      Ornament                 ornament
  •             ost                             east
  • das      Osterei                      Easter egg
  • der      Osterhase                 Easter bunny
  • der      Otter                          otter

I would have liked a little more variety. There are some sets of similar words – Oma & Opa, orange & Orange, Osterei & Osterhase – but sometimes it depends on what objects I can find!

I think I will try to group them by the kind of sound that the O makes.

  1. Oma, Opa
  2. Obst, ost, Osterei, Osterhase, Otter
  3. Ohr, orange, Orange, Orang-Utan, Ornament

Here’s what the cards look like:

This are the all-caps version. You can download the cards below in all-caps or in upper and lower case letters.

I also decided to try creating a backing paper for the cards. Sometimes you can see through the cards, even when I print on cardstock. That doesn’t make for a very good game of memory or go fish! So I created these papers to be printed on the opposite side of the word cards. To be fair, I haven’t tried them myself yet! My print-outs were already laminated. But I’ll try it for sure next time and report back on how it went.

Wortschatz Karten letter backing O-page-001

There has been a lot of activity on the blog recently! But I never hear from my visitors 😦  I would love to hear how you are using the materials! And if you have other ideas, that would be great!

Viel Spaß!

Buchstaben and Marble Runs

When Froggy was 4, he discovered marble runs. Who knew there were so many different kinds of marble runs? Plastic, wooden, musical, homemade … the list goes on! We must have at least six different kinds now 🙂  I love them, though. They are fantastic for creativity and problem-solving. And you can play with them for YEARS!! Now Hippo is into them, too.

But what do marble runs have to do with learning German letters??

One set of marbles runs that we love is called Hubelino. (It’s actually made in Germany!) As I was looking for a new set to order when we were in Europe this summer, I discovered that they have made Hubelino even more educational! They now have sets for learning letters, spelling, and numbers. So of course, I had to get my hands on the letter and spelling sets!

Here’s how we used them for the letter B. Froggy needed help sorting through that big pile of letters to get to the sentence at the bottom. Heck, I would have needed help, too! But it was fun!

So Hubelino is a marble run with pieces that are compatible with Duplos. I thought for sure we would have passed on all our Duplos by now (with Froggy age 7 and Hippo age 4), but no way! We need every last one of them for supports! (I’ll have to dig up some photos of the Hubelino constructions the boys have made.)

As you can see, these letter Hubelino pieces don’t really do anything with the marble runs. But the boys love it so much, they are happy to play with them!

I receive no compensation for mentioning Hubelino products.


Buchstabenarbeit – Working with Letters

I’ve been posting about the letter work I’m doing with the boys. (See letter B, letter P, letter M, and letter A.) But what do we do with the objects and cards? Well, there are any number of things you can do! Sometimes I just follow Hippo’s lead and let things happen spontaneously. But here are a few ideas….

We lay out the cards (with image and word) on his little desk. Then he fishes an object out of the bag – nicht anschauen! – and matches the object to the card. And we say the object name. If he doesn’t know it, I might say the beginning sounds, and then he remembers it. And there is plenty of emphasis on the first sound, which is after all what we’re practicing!

I also wrote about my box of letter stickers. Both of the boys love to work with the tiny drawers of stickers. For Froggy, I let him draw a card and spell it in stickers. But for Hippo (who is still just learning his letters in English), I choose some of the shorter words to spell.

Sometimes we play Memory (Memo). Hippo can’t handle too many cards yet. So today we just played with a set of 4 cards. We put out the “control” cards with images and words (and their matching objects) and then turned over the image cards and the word cards. Once we found a match, I asked Hippo what the word card was. We compared it to the “control” card with the word and image to see if the words matched. At first he just said, “yes” to everything. But then he looked more closely. I had him count the letters in the two words, and he saw that they were not the same. Then he really got the idea!

As we played, Hippo then had the idea to line up the matching cards under the “controls”.

These are just a few ideas to get you started! Please comment and let me know what you come up with to do with the letter cards!

Viel Spaß!

Buchstabe: B – Sätze schreiben

Every day, I try to put a note in Froggy’s lunchbox … in German, of course 😉 Sometimes I just write something about his day. But now I’m also working in some of our letter work!

For the letter B, I came up with this crazy sentence:

Der Bauer isst eine Birne und eine Banane im Bus auf dem Weg zum Bären im Baum!

I made up some worksheets based on that sentence to have some more fun with the words.

There is the sentence with images, just the sentence, just images (to cut out and paste onto the sentence page), and just images to write your own crazy sentence!

You can download it for FREE here: B-Satz-GitA

Viel Spaß!

Letters Everywhere

I have been organizing some of my letter materials, now that we’re three weeks into our Buchstaben work.

A few years ago, I splurged on a large set of capital letters. They are actually lacing letters by Learning Resources, but they are nice and sturdy, and you hardly notice the holes. Today, I put them into a craft box that has 32 compartments (purchased at a craft store). More than the 26 I needed, but that’s okay! Now if only I had a way to get letters with umlauts….???

I have another fun little storage unit that I keep stickers in. Sometimes, the boys just like to play with stickers. It’s super simple. But this way, I can just grab the letters I need. I got the small storage unit online, but you can get them at the hardware store. Then I just stuck alphabet stickers on each little drawer. Easy peasy!

It takes some time to cut up letter stickers, but I just do it while I’m watching TV. Or like today, as I rested in bed with a cold 😦

Today, I grabbed some stickers to play with before Hippo’s nap. Now that we’re three weeks in, I also figured I could work with all three letters: B, P, M.  Only my foggy brain got a little confused, and I grabbed a pear for P instead of B (Birne). Oh well!


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I use a sketch book for our letter work. The pages are nice and thick, and they are blank. It costs more than, say, a composition notebook, but I figure it will hold up better. You can see (kind of) that I wrote the letter M at the top of the page and then how Hippo put the M letter stickers on the sides of it. I wrote “OBST” and then the three letters. I tried not to say the letter names, but just the letter sounds. He would say the word, and I would repeat it, emphasizing the first sound.

Fast, easy, and most importantly FUN!