Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 9

All those fabulous Nutcracker projects created in pre-k/kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grade, 3rd & 4th grade, and 5th & 6th grade left some students extra time at the end of class. So I prepared a variety of worksheets and activities to keep them occupied if they finished early.

Activities that I created – Download them all for FREE:

MAZE

The favorite for the older kids was a maze that I hand-drew:

WORD SEARCHES

There were four levels of word searches. The first two were created for 1st & 2nd grade, the easiest one having words that only go horizontally. The words come directly from the stories of the Nutcracker that I told them. Each of the word searches come with a solution key!

The word searches for the older kids also had a glossary that could be printed on the back.

COLORING WITH SHAPES

Some children also enjoyed completing the shape coloring page that I created for the preschoolers.

Activities from subscription sites:

Click the links to get to the activities!

Nutcracker Mandala

Nussknacker-Mandala

Nutcracker Cut-out Puzzle (Weihnachtsbild Ergänzen Nussknacker)

KiGa-Portal had a simple puzzle to cut out and paste the missing parts of the nutcracker. Unfortunately, the link is no longer active.

Christmas Color By Number

Twinkl had some nice color-by-number activities.

I Spy (Weihnachtsbaum)

Another favorite was this “I Spy” Christmas Tree. Unfortunately, the site is currently under reconstruction. Hopefully it will be up and working again soon!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 8

5th & 6th Grade Nutcracker Art Project

One last Nutcracker project to round out the week before winter break! The pre-k/kindergarten class completed a Nutcracker shape coloring page, 1st & 2nd grade made a giant collaborative Nutcracker mural, and 3rd & 4th grade made cardboard tube nutcrackers.

The 5th & 6th graders heard the most detailed version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker last week. So they were ready to get started on their project. They made a “Hampelmann” – or jumping jack – Nutcracker. I printed the template on cardstock, and then the students colored them in and cut them out. I have a small hole puncher (1/8-inch), so we used that to make the holes. Then they assembled the Hampelmänner with mini gold brads (I bought these on Amazon).

I absolutely love these little guys! They are all different, but they look amazing together or individually!

One thing I wish I’d done better was manage their time. The kids needed at least 10-15 minutes to cut out the nutcrackers. It’s petty detailed! In the end, I was running around trying to punch all the holes and hand out the fasteners, while the classroom teacher taped them to the board, so we could display them – even if just for a short time. We did of course let them take their beautiful nutcrackers home. Apparently one got to go for a ride, and another made it on to the Christmas tree! (See the pictures below!)

You can download the free template created by Brigid Ashwood.

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 7

3rd & 4th Grade Nutcracker Art Project

The nutcracking fun continued! After completing a Nutcracker shape coloring activity in pre-k/kindergarten and a giant collaborative mural Nutcracker in 1st & 2nd grade, it was time for the 3rd & 4th grade class to take a crack at a project!

This group also heard the story of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker last week. So this week, these peaceful students colored a design printed on cardstock. Then we taped a feather (if they wanted) to come out of the “hat” and taped the paper to a toilet paper roll! Easy peasy! But so effective!

Aren’t they striking?! The children really did work so peacefully! I was pleasantly surprised, as it was the end of the day on the last day of school before winter break!

I found this simple craft at Sophie World. She has the template you can download for free (click the “Stats” tab to the right of “How to”.)

Stay tuned for the project that the 5th & 6th graders worked on!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 6

1st & 2nd Grade Nutcracker Art Project

Last week, I told the students the basic story of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker. And then we completed a Steckbrief about nutcrackers. So this week, they were all set to do their class Nutcracker Art Project!

Each of my German classes is doing a different project. In the morning, my pre-k/kindergarten classes colored a shape Nutcracker.

In 1st & 2nd grade, the children created a GIANT collaborative 4-foot Nutcracker! Each child completed a piece of the puzzle. Then I put it all together and went over the outline with black marker. And then I laminated the whole thing – it just barely fit! It is now hanging in all its glory in the hall of our school!

I am so thrilled! I let the children color their “puzzle pieces” however they wanted. I asked that they use marker and do their best coloring. Some went bold. Others went for designs and detail. The overall effect is stunning!

I found the template and instructions at Art Projects for Kids. I did have to pay for it, but it comes in different sizes, and I can use it again and again! (She has a lot of other materials that are free. Definitely worth a look!)

Stay tuned for projects in 3rd & 4th grade and 5th & 6th grade! (As long as we get back into school after this snowstorm!)

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 5

Pre-k / Kindergarten Nutcracker Art Project

A few cracking-good facts:

This week is all about nutcrackers! I began today by telling my youngest students a little about nutcrackers. I also brought in a small nutcracker to show them. Of course, many of the children were excited to see something that they, too, had in their homes!

  • Nutcrackers have been around for 600 years.
  • Nutcrackers are traditionally made of wood in Germany.
  • Nutcrackers represent luck, strength, and protection.
  • German author E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote a fairy tale about a nutcracker that comes to life in 1816.
  • Russian composer Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet on Hoffmann’s story.

(You can read these and other facts in the various “Steckbriefe” I created for my elementary & middle school students in this post.)

Crack open a story book!

Then I read the children a short story book of The Nutcracker. I was excited to see that it was attributed to Hoffmann, as that is the version I want to focus on. I am, after all, teaching German! However, I was surprised to find that this version calls the little girl Clara. In Hoffmann’s story, the girl is named Marie, while her beloved doll is named Clara. So as I read the book, I called her Marie. I added some details from the story as I read, too.

Let’s get crafting!

For my youngest students, we actually did not do a craft. Instead, I prepared a Nutcracker coloring project for them. I got the idea from another site, but of course I wanted to make it German! So I started drawing the outline of a nutcracker. It helped when I realized I could fold my paper in half and trace the right side of it, so that it turned out symmetrical! Then I scanned it and started adding shapes. Here’s how it turned out:

I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with how it turned out! You can download the PDF for free here:

The children enjoyed the project!

Stay tuned for projects from the 1st & 2nd graders, 3rd & 4th graders, and 5th & 6th graders!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 4

The Nutcracker story in 5th & 6th grade

The story in 5th & 6th grade got a lot more complex. I find in general that the older children can sit and be attentive to longer, more complex stories. So I really went for it! And they stayed right with me.

Once again, there are a lot more words on this board than in 1st & 2nd grade and even in 3rd & 4th grade. Many of the drawings are the same, however there are a few more here, too. You can really see the difference in the text.

Read the text of this version here:

Coming up…

Stay tuned for Nutcracker projects with all of my German students!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 3

The Nutcracker story in 3rd & 4th Grade

As I told the story of the Nutcracker in each of my classes, the story became more complex with more details. The 1st & 2nd graders got a very simple version of the story.

In the next story for 3rd & 4th grade, we went beyond the bare basics.

Here you can see the storyboard. There are quite a few more words on the board! After the story, we checked comprehension to make sure everyone understood. As we went over the story, I wrote some of the words in English, which you can see in blue ink.

Read the text of this version here:

Read the next post on 5th & 6th grade….

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 1

The Nutcracker story in 1st & 2nd grade

This year inspiration struck, and I decided to bring The Nutcracker into all of my classes, from pre-k to 6th grade. All the children will be introduced (or reintroduced) to the story, and each level will do a different art project. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

For pre-k/kindergarten students, we will read a shortened book and do a simple coloring project.

For elementary & middle school students, the lessons will be in two parts. This week, I am telling the story and giving the children some background on nutcrackers and the fairy tale.

In elementary school, I’ll tell a simple version of the story. First & second grade heard the story yesterday:

Knack!

I decided to draw my nutcracker ahead of time, as it is so detailed. And every time I said “Nussknacker” the children were supposed to say “Knack!” You can download them both for free below:

After the story, the students will get a simple worksheet to fill in. Read more about the Steckbrief” in this post!

The text for 1st & 2nd grade:

Read more about the Story Listening lesson from two years ago that used this text in this post.

You can also read the updated text from this year and download it for free here:

Klingelingeling! Jingle Bells

While we may not be singing in the classrooms right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t have music! I usually teach the children the song “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” at this time of year. In the past few years, I have made little bells at home to give to the children, so they can play along as we sing. But this year, I decided to let them make the bells. And then we said the words Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling.

To make the bells, you need:

  • 2 pipe cleaners in two different colors (we used red & white this year)
  • three bells

That’s it! I get my bells at the Dollar Store. You have to make sure you get bells that have a big enough “loop” or “handle” at the top, so the pipe cleaner can go through.

For instructions on how to make the bells, see this post!

After I taught the children how to say “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” we clapped out the rhythm as we said it. Then I told them that we needed bells to ring instead of just clapping! So we made the bells. And then I showed them one of my favorite things: and Advent calendar from our Swiss au pair. Each day plays a different song!

We listened to the German song for Day 2, of course – Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling! And we rang our bells in time and spoke the words we’d learned.

(This Advent calendar plays 48 beautiful songs – 24 German and 24 English! It uses only 3 AA batteries. And the melodies are lovely to listen to! You can find more about them here! No compensation for me – I just like them!)

The children enjoyed the music so much, that we listened to several other songs. “O Tannenbaum“, “Stille Nacht“, and “Jingle Bells”.

Here is a coloring page that goes with the song:

Frohe Weihnachten!

Lebkuchenherz basteln / Gingerbread heart craft

I wanted to offer my students a craft that they could do at home, no matter what kinds of craft supplies they have. But of course it had to be something German, too! So I thought about making a gingerbread heart out of paper. The kids can decorate it with whatever they have at home. Maybe they will even give it to someone special!

I always think of gingerbread hearts at Christmas markets. All those colorful, decorated hearts hanging from one of the stalls! And what a treat when someone gives you one with a special message!

Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt, 2019

Here is a link to the video instructions:

You can download the free PDF with bilingual instructions as well as templates. There are two heart templates. One has decoration on it, and one is plain.