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.

Weihnachts-Bingo

Looking to practice some Christmas vocabulary? How about a fun game of bingo?! I made up 25 different cards. There is also a key for you to keep track of which items have been called already – just in case your students have other ideas 😉

When we play, I bring a die. Whatever number I roll is the column where they have to find the word. If I roll a 6, then it can be anywhere on the card.

Here is what the cards look like:

You can download the Bingo cards for FREE as a PDF file: Weihnacht Bingo GitA

The words are the same 24 that I used in my Vocabulary Advent Calendars.

If you would like to print out posters of the words, you can download this PDF: Weihnacht Posters GitA. I also print these 6 to a page to use a the cards that I draw for the Bingo words. Here is a sample of what they look like:

Here is a list of the 24 words that are included:

  1. der Adventskalender
  2. der Adventskranz
  3. die Geschenke (plural)
  4. die Glaskugel
  5. der Hampelmann
  6. die Kerze
  7. das Knusperhaus
  8. das Lebkuchenherz
  9. der Lebkuchenmann
  10. der Nikolaus
  11. der Nussknacker
  12. die Plätzchen (plural)
  13. die Pyramide
  14. das Räuchermännchen
  15. der Schlitten
  16. die Schneeflocke
  17. die Stiefel (plural)
  18. der Stollen
  19. die Tasse
  20. der Tannenbaum
  21. die Weihnachtskarte
  22. das Weihnachtslied
  23. der Weihnachtsmarkt
  24. die Zuckerstange

Frohe Weihnachten!

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!

Homemade Gifts from the Kiddos

I love when my kids can make something homemade to give as a gift to family and friends. This year, Hippo decided to give artwork.

I cut out some trees, and we taped them to a larger paper. For his first try, he did fingerprints in green, red, and yellow. But that was taking a long time. Especially since he changed colors a lot and kept having to wash his hands. Maybe if I’d only given him one color at a time!?

So we switched to pom-poms held by clothespins. That went a lot faster! He did several in under a half hour. Easy project. Easy clean-up! Beautiful artwork to give as Christmas gifts 🙂

I got the idea from A Dab of Glue Will Do. Hmm. Maybe if I’d followed the instructions a little more closely, the fingerprinting would have worked out a little better! I like how she shows to print around the tree first.

German Vocab Advent Calendar

Every year I make a paper chain advent calendar for the boys with 24 German holiday words. I updated the project this year. I tried to find words that capture the elements of a German Christmas.

Adventskalender stickers 2018-page-001

All of these images were created by the artist Ramona M. She has a lovely collection of clip art for holidays around the world. Last year I contacted her to see if she would add to her German collection, and she graciously did!

For instructions (with pictures) on how to make the Advent Calendar, go to this post. And here are the updated downloads for 2018 in PDF format:

I hope you enjoy this activity with your children as much as I do!

Clothespin Nutcrackers

I love working with other teachers! I was talking with the art teacher and told her that I would be telling the story of The Nutcracker as a Story Listening lesson. She was inspired to do a project with the students!

Yesterday the 3rd & 4th graders started working on clothespin nutcrackers. I was too curious to stay away, so I popped in at the end of class. Boy, was so impressed! I also learned that they’d had an interesting discussion about nutcrackers, their origins, and asked questions like why are they all men?

Here are some pictures of their works-in-progress.

 

You can see some inspiration nutcrackers in the back. And they were even drawing nutcrackers on the white board!

They were so into the project that they will be working on it for one – maybe even two – more weeks! I am definitely going in next week to get in on the fun!

UPDATE:

Here are some more pictures of the finished nutcrackers! Click on the images to get a closer look.

On the top left, you can see the materials set out by the art teacher. Lots of choices! Obviously, the big guy in the back is a store-bought nutcracker 🙂  But look at the details in the ones the kids made. I love the soccer guy! So much creativity!

 

 

Story Listening: The Nutcracker

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I have been working for weeks on a Story Listening version of The Nutcracker. Not the ballet from 1892, but the original story by the German author E.T.A. Hoffmann from 1816: Der Nussknacker und Mausekönig (The Nutcracker and the Mouse King).

As I started working with the story, I realized it is extremely complicated! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to tell it as a Story Listening lesson. But after becoming increasingly familiar with the story, I finally was able to simplify it enough to tell it in 1st & 2nd grade. I am still working on a slightly more detailed version for the 3rd & 4th graders. I plan to tell it to them in two weeks….

Here is the version of the story that I told in 1st & 2nd grade:

Der Nussknacker – sehr gekürzte Fassung
nach dem Märchen von E.T.A. Hoffmann

Es war einmal ein Mädchen. Das Mädchen hieß Marie. Marie hatte einen Bruder. Der Bruder hieß Fritz. Sie wohnten mit ihren Eltern in Deutschland.

Am Weihnachtsabend kam ihr Onkel zu Besuch. Der Onkel gab Fritz kleine Spielsoldaten. Für Marie hatte er einen Nussknacker aus Holz. Der Nussknacker hatte ein komisches Gesicht. Er hatte große Augen und einen großen Mund mit eckigen Zähnen. Sein Kopf war zu groß. Seine Beine waren dünn. Aber Marie liebte den Nussknacker.

In der Nacht – um Mitternacht – wachte Marie auf. Sie hörte laute Geräusche. Sie hatte Angst. Das Zimmer war voller Mäuse! Die Soldaten von Fritz waren lebendig. Sie kämpften mit ihren Schwerten gegen die Mäuse. Der Nussknacker war auch lebendig. Er kämpfte gegen den Mäusekönig. Der Mäusekönig hatte sieben Köpfe!

Marie hatte Angst! Aber sie hatte auch Mut, denn sie liebte den Nussknacker. Sie warf ihren Schuh gegen den Mäusekönig. Er fiel tot zu Boden. Die anderen Mäuse liefen schnell weg.

Und dann! Der Nussknacker war nicht mehr aus Holz! Er war ein Mann – ein echter Mann! Marie brach den Zauber mit ihrer Liebe und ihrem Mut. Dann war der Nussknacker wieder ein Mann. Und er war ein Prinz! Jahre später heirateten der Prinz und Marie. Und Marie wurde Prinzessin.

Ende.

You can download the story in German here as a Word document: Nussknacker – kurz

And here is the story in English as a Word document: The Nutcracker – English

I have been drawing my story on a piece of paper to practice. I find that it helps me not only to practice drawing each picture, but it helps me figure out where I want it on the board. Then I use the drawing as a reference while I’m teaching the story. I’m not a great artist, but I find that if I have an example in front of me, I am doing pretty well. I’d even say that my drawing abilities have improved in the last 11 weeks 🙂 Here is my paper sketch of the story:

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I have been working with our art teacher again, too! The students in grades 3 & 4 are making clothespin nutcrackers! Read more about that here.