Herbst mit Zahlen und Farben

In story hour yesterday, we celebrated fall with numbers and colors!

I began by using the German blocks that the library has to review numbers 1 through 10.  (You can actually get the German blocks – made by Uncle Goose – on Amazon!)

We read the following books:

  • Zehn Blätter fliegen davon by Anne Möller (2008)
  • Manuel & Didi. Das große Buch der kleinen Mäuseabenteuer (“Die Laubhütte”) by Erwin Moser (2008)
  • Manuel & Didi. Das zweite große Buch der kleinen Mäuseabenteuer (“Der Apfel”) by Erwin Moser (2009)
  • Der Herbst steht auf der Leiter by Peter Hacks (2012)

And we sang the following songs:

  • “Wind” by Nena (Himmel, Sonne, Wind und Regen)
  • “Der Apfelbaum” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder) Click for youtube video
  • “Der Herbst steht auf der Leiter”

You can download the lyrics here: Herbstlieder

Then we did two activities:

The children were given a tree with numbers on it along with 10 foam leaves, also with numbers on each. With help from their mom or caregiver, the children matched the numbers from the stickers with those on the tree and stuck them in the appropriate place. Download the PDF activity here: zehn-blatter-arbeitsblatt-gita

I also gave children a simple Malen nach Zahlen coloring page of a maple leaf and the colors red, orange, and yellow. Download the coloring page here: malen-nach-zahlen-herbstblatt-gita

The older children only needed a little bit of help. And our younger friends enjoyed making their leaves extra colorful!

Der erste Tag / First day of Story Hour!

Today was our first day back at story hour. It seemed like no time had gone by at all! Except, of course, that the children had grown. They just keep doing that 🙂

I like to start off the new year talking about them! I’m super excited about the activity we did to kick things off! On a large piece of paper, I drew a simple outline of a tree with a bunch of big circles inside. The circles were not just apples, but were meant to represent each child in the group. As they arrived, I called each child over to pick a favorite color and color in the “apple”. Then I labeled each one with their name, age, and a favorite toy or thing to do. Not only did we have a lovely little art project, but I got to know something about them and can use that information to plan future story hours!

In the past, I used books mostly about Körperteile – or parts of the body. But I wanted to also talk about things they like to do. So I used one story about a girl named Frieda who loves to dance. We did include one about the body. And then I couldn’t resist reading the Elephant & Piggie book, Das Buch über uns. The kids just love it! Especially if you use voices 😉

  • Frieda tanzt by Birgitta Sif (Aladin, 2016)
  • Das bin ich by Heinz Janisch (Tyrolia, 2014)
  • Das Buch über uns by Mo Willems (Klett, 2015)

Here are some other books we could have used:

  • Von Kopf bis Fuss by Eric Carle (Gerstenberg, 2011)
  • Heute bin ich by Mies van Hout (aracari verlag, 2012)
  • Der Hase mit dem roten Nase by Helme Heine (Beltz & Gelberg, 2016)
  • Bin ich klein? Am I Small? by Philipp Winterberg (CreateSpace Independent, 2013)
  • Das kleine ich bin ich by Mira Lobe (Jungbrunnen, 2016)

We sang four songs today, since I couldn’t decide on just three!

  • “Wenn du glücklich bist”
  • “Meine Finger, Meine Finger” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder, Vol. 3)
  • “Kopf und Schulter, Knie und Fuß”
  • “Das Lied über mich” (Volker Rosin)

You can download the lyrics here: Lieder – ich (PDF).

After we wore ourselves out singing “Das Lied über mich” (I think the moms enjoyed it even more than the kiddos!), the children had a choice of coloring a picture of themselves or filling out a Steckbrief! Some chose to do both 🙂

You can download the activities as PDF here: Das Lied über mich – GitA.

Back to School – Where Does German Fit in?

Today was the first day of 2nd grade for Froggy. While homework won’t start coming home until next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to piggyback some German work onto it.

For school, he’ll be expected to do about 10 minutes of math and 20 minutes of reading (that includes bedtime books, thankfully!). So I don’t want to do more than 10 minutes of German, or I know I’ll lose him.

I want to get back to basics with both kids, so I’ll be working on letters with Hippo and reading with Froggy.

I plan to start our day in German. The kids have been having German breakfasts with our au pair, so we’ll continue that. And I’m going to try to do some fun letter work with them at breakfast, too. We’ll have a letter of the week and different objects that represent that letter.

After school, I want to start us off by playing some educational games. I found a number of alphabet and reading games while I was in Germany this summer. Things like the Clever Spielen series.

Clever spielen

I know I’ll keep their interest more if I can keep it fun!

The good news is that Froggy is taking an interest in learning more German. It always seems to happen when we are in Europe over the summer. Even being in the Netherlands seems to bring out his German – as if hearing another language activates his own second language, even though they are different! I just hope it lasts!

I also want to use up some of his homework reading time with German. The teachers were okay with that last year. So we’ll read some German books at bedtime, too.

Tonight we read a fun one by Erwin Moser called Das große Buch von Koko und Kiri. I just love his humor 🙂 Both boys needed help with comprehension here and there, but they got most of it!

I just stumbled on to a post about homework and bilingual children. For Emilia at Raising a Trilingual Child, it was more a question of which of the family’s three languages to speak when helping her children with their homework. It’s the kind of question most parents never think about. I know it would never occur to me to speak German while helping Froggy with his homework!

How do you work in lessons in your minority language when the kids go back to school? And what language do you speak with your children when helping them with their homework?