As I was preparing this week’s lesson on farm animals, I came up with the idea of having the children make puppets with the farm animals. It’s simple enough! Download the PDF, color and label the animals. Then cut them out and glue them to craft sticks!
For the past two years, I have been singing the song “Mh mh macht der grüne Frosch im Teich” with my preschoolers and kindergartners. They LOVE it!
I usually do some lessons on farm animals in the spring, and we sing the song for several weeks in a row. I often bring a little canvas bag filled with my farm animal finger puppets (if you watched the video on counting farm animals, you know I have 12!), and I pull one out at a time. Then we sing about that animal.
Just because we’re learning from home right now doesn’t mean we have to skip the song! I made a video where I talk about the farm animals and what they “say” in German (yes! even animals speak differently in different languages!). Then I sing the song, using my finger puppets.
For my young students, I wanted to review numbers today. We count regularly in class, so I thought it would be a good idea to refresh the numbers. I also used farm animals to count, so that I can introduce them in a week or two.
I made a video of counting:
Then I made a counting sheet for the children to do at home. Count the animals in German, then circle the correct number below. There is a color and a black & white version.
I also found some cute clips of Graf Zahl from Sesamstraße (The Count from Sesame Street). I posted them to one of my YouTube playlists (It may look like the same video as above, but this link takes you to the playlist – you can click through the videos here or click on YouTube at the bottom of the video to go there and find the list):
Today is the last day that we will be working on our farm unit in Pre-K/Kindergarten.
For four weeks, I have been reading different books about the farm. And we have been working on a song. At the end of each lesson, the children get a coloring sheet with four animals or other things found on the farm. See this post for the coloring sheets.
I’ve learned a couple of things while doing this project for the first time!
First, I love having a theme that goes on for a few weeks! I’ve been able to read a number of different books from my collection. And because we’ve been singing the same song each week, the children seem to be learning it well! It makes lesson planning that much easier, too 🙂
Second, making a book out of 4 coloring sheets – to equal 16 small pages of the book – is a LOT for little ones! So instead of having them cut out all 4 pages today, I have prepped the work by cutting the first three pages that they have already colored. Then they will only have to color and cut one page today, and we can staple the booklet together! Maybe next time I won’t be quite so ambitious 🙂 But we’ll have to see how today goes first.
So what books have we been reading? Here they are:
Die kleine Spinne spinnt und schweigt by Eric Carle (Gerstenberg, 2011)
Schweinchen auf dem Bauernhof by Moira Butterfield (Parragon Books)
Klipp klopp by Nicola Smee (Moritz, 2015)
Bist du meine Mama? by Christiane Hansen and Sandra Grimm (Oetinger, 2006)
I’ve decided to do a mini Farm unit with my pre-K/kindergarten class. Over the next three weeks, we’ll read three books. But we’ll work on one song. And I’ve created a mini coloring book for them to make that has all the animals – plus a few other farm words – that they might learn.
In order to create the coloring book, they first color in the whole sheets and trace the words. Then they can cut along the dotted lines and stack their pages. The teacher will staple it together.
This work could be done over the course of the three weeks. I just have to remind them to put their names on the pages! I think it is too much for them to do all at once. There are 15 words, after all!
It could also be added to the classroom as a “work” (as they call it in Montessori schools) to be completed over time, as the children choose. Of course, if we do it this way, not all the children might complete a book. In fact, I think 15 pages is really too much for them to do all at once. Perhaps in that case, we would choose fewer words. Or maybe let the children choose which words they want in their book.
We celebrated Mother’s Day in the pre-K class this week. We read a book called Bist du meine Mama? about a little chick that goes looking for its mother. It was perfect, because they were actually hatching chicks at school!
The book takes place on a farm, so first we reviewed our farm animals and what they say. The children love to hear the different animal sounds, especially ones that are very different, like the frog that says “quak” like our English ducks!
das Küken sagt “piep-piep”
die Katze sagt “miau”
der Hund sagt “wau-wau”
das Schwein sagt “oink-oink”
die Kuh sagt “muh”
der Frosch sagt “quak-quak”
die Henne sagt “gack-gack”
der Hahn sagt “kikeriki”
I have several sets of farm animal word posters. Sorry there isn’t one easy document for this story! And even though there isn’t a horse or a duck in this book, I’m including those, too. You can download them here:
Songs about animals or the farm have been hard to come by. And I couldn’t really think of a song about a mother that would work. These songs in the pre-K class have to be very, very simple! So in the end, I thought of doing a lullaby 🙂 We sang “Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf” and I had the children do simple motions with it:
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf – pretend to sleep
Dein Vater hütet die Schaf – use arms to “gather” the sheep & then pretend to hold a sheep
Die Mutter schüttelt das Bäumelein – hold arm up like a tree trunk with the hand as the branches and wave the arm & hand, as if the tree is shaking
Da fällt herab ein Träumelein – hands slowly “rain” down a soft dream (think “Itsy-Bitsy Spider rain!)
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf – pretend to sleep again
They really enjoyed it. And – bonus! – it also settled them down a bit 🙂
We ended with our book, Bist du meine Mama? by Christiane Hansen (Oetinger, 2006):
Today, I’ll be teaching a lesson based on Eric Carle’s book, Die kleine Spinne spinnt und schweigt.
First, we will review the five farm animals they learned when we read Klingelingeling:
Then I’ll use more images to introduce the other animals (and insect!) in the story:
For the images, I found Eric Carle’s images in a bulletin board set on Amazon. (Nope, I don’t get compensation for mentioning this product! 🙂 )
We will also talk about the different sounds the animals make in German.
Next we sing “Die winzig kleine Spinne.” There are several German versions, including one called “Imse Bimse Spinne.” But this is the one that I know:
Die winzig kleine Spinne kroch auf den Wasserhahn. Dann kam der Regen und ward sie aus der Bahn! Dann kam die Sonne und trocknet wieder auf. Und die winzig kleine Spinne kroch wiederum hinauf!
Finally, I will read the book to the children. I love to be dramatic when reading books to children 🙂 So I exaggerate the animal sounds and read in voices that sound like the various animals.
I always try to bring a craft or a coloring page for the children. This week, I’ll bring a coloring page with the six new animals on one side and the words to the song on the other. Here you can download a copy of the coloring sheet, which includes an extra page with the first five animals as well: Malvorlage kleine Spinne (PDF)