I wanted to give my elementary and middle school students some background information about nutcrackers. So after I told the story in each class, I gave them a worksheet in the form of a “Steckbrief“. We filled in the simple facts together. Each class got a different version, becoming more detailed as the kids get older.
In 1st and 2nd grade…
Then in 3rd and 4th grade …
It’s the same information, but with a little more to fill in.
Finally, in 5th and 6th grade …
They got more information.
You can download the Steckbriefe here as a PDF. Each one comes with an answer key.
Finally, I ended the week in 5th & 6th grade, telling the story of Nikolaus one last time. Of course, these kids have heard the story for several years and are very familiar with the tradition by now! But they still enjoy the story. I added more detail for this class, as they know the basic story well.
After we finished the story, we went back and picked out the cognates (those are underlined). For words that were close, but not close enough to be true cognates, we starred them.
Some of my students have been using their individual white boards to draw with me. One student let me capture her work:
For some students, drawing along can be distracting. But for those who find it helpful, I think it’s great!
Now, they also needed a boot for Nikolaus to fill over the weekend! I had them do the same craft that the 3rd & 4th graders did. I found small red paper bags at a craft store. Then I printed boots on white card stock and cut them out (one less thing for them to do, as we did not have a lot of time). I asked them to color the boots and then glue them to the paper bags.
They did a very colorful job! (I had them write their names in the “furry” part of the boot, so I marked those out.)
They also did the puzzle of Das ist das Haus vom Nikolaus. It was fun to see how different people solved the puzzle! There are indeed 44 different ways to solve it!
Today the Nikolaus celebration continued with my older students. As always, I started the class with the story. Again, it was the legend of Nikolaus and the Three Daughters. But not as simple as the version I told in 1st & 2nd grade.
It amazes me that they enjoy the story year after year! Most of these students have heard the story two or three times now.
Of course, the 3rd & 4th graders needed a boot, too. But I thought they might be a bit older for lacing 🙂 So I found little red paper bags at the craft store. Then I printed and cut out some boots on white card stock. (The image is copyrighted, so I can’t share it, but this picture gives you an idea – I fit 3 on a page.)
I had also told Puss in Boots to these students a couple of weeks ago, so I again challenged them to create the most magnificent boots. They colored them in and then glued them to the front of the little bags.
I didn’t get a picture of their work, but I’m hoping the teachers will take a picture for me on Monday! Meanwhile, you can see the post on 5th & 6th grade to see how the project turned out.
As the kids finished up their boots, I had a fun little activity for them. The puzzle is to make a house with 8 lines without lifting your pencil.
There are 44 ways to solve the puzzle! You can download the worksheet and see the solutions in this post!
In the afternoon on December 1st, I did a lesson with my 1st & 2nd graders on Nikolaus. Of course I told them a story first. I like to tell the story of how Nikolaus helped a poor family with three daughters.
For this class, I follow a format that I use from the beginning of the school year. On the first day, I told them the story Danke, Bär! (Thank You, Bear). So when I tell other stories in this first part of the year, I like to return to a similar format when I can. This story (as well as the Martin Legend) lends itself well to it, because a similar event happens three times. And at the end, the man and his daughters cry, “Danke, Nikolaus!” (Okay, that’s stretching it a little, as Nikolaus liked to work anonymously! But for the purpose of comprehension, I still like to use it!)
We skipped our drawing lesson for the day. Instead we went straight to our craft! For, as Nikolaus knows that the children of our school are learning German, he usually makes a special stop to drop off a little treat to each student. But he needs a place to put them! And as the kids can’t leave their boots in school, we make our own.
With these younger children, I still do the boot-lacing craft (see this post for instructions & free template). But we jazz it up a little! This year, they got white boots and sparkly red yarn. As I had recently told the story Puss in Boots, I asked them to decorate their boots to be as magnificent as the ones the shoemaker made in that story. And at the end, they got to glue cotton balls to the top for a little added warmth.
As we are not singing in the building right now, I played some Nikolaus songs while they worked. They couldn’t help themselves from singing along: “Lustig, lustig, Tra la la la la! Bald ist Nikolausabend da! Bald ist Nikolausabend da!” I have to admit, it warmed my heart!
Their wonderful teachers also put up a fireplace bulletin board where the children could hang their boots. It sure looks colorful and cozy!
I have been working hard to create the rest of the pages for our unit on hedgehogs in 1st & 2nd grade. And I think they are finally finished!
I made two different cover pages. I think I will use the simple one and give instructions in German on which colors to color each element:
Die Stacheln des Igels sind dunkelbraun.
Das Körper und das Gesicht des Igels sind hellbraun.
Die Eule ist grau.
Der Pilz ist lila.
Das Blatt oben ist rot.
Das Blatt in der Mitte ist orange.
Das Blatt unten ist gelb.
We will do the cover page on the last day of the unit. There are three other pages (Habitat, Feinde, Essen). We will do one page per week.
The entire hedgehog unit will take us 6 weeks to complete. (We’ve already labeled the body parts and talked about where in the world hedgehogs live.)
Each week I also show the children an adorable picture of Mr. Herbee, the Hedgehog. Do you know him? He’s an Instagram sensation! He is the second hedgehog pet of a woman in Wiesbaden. The kids just love seeing his happy little face every week!
For our first lesson on the hedgehog in 1st & 2nd grade, I found a simple labeling project for the kids. I got it from Zaubereinmaleins.
I decided to leave mine as a full page, since I’m only using one of her pages from this Igelheft. Before we did the labeling, we reviewed some body parts in German and then sang “Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß“. It was a nice opportunity to get the kids moving, too.
Next week, I want to talk about where in the world you can find hedgehogs. As I mentioned in my last post, they are the most common mammals in Germany. Yet they are not indigenous to North America! So I created a worksheet for the kids to label on which continents hedgehogs live. I decided my first version was too difficult for little hands to color, so I ended up making two versions. One where they just color the matching box to “check it off” and one where they could color in the continents.
For the second worksheet, the kids can just check off the continents. Or they can also color them in. They could even be challenged first to see if they can color in Germany in a different color.
I found this image on Junior.de to use as my guide: