Story Listening: Goldlöckchen

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This week’s story was Goldilocks. Even though it is a story that is familiar to the children, it still works great for Story Listening. There is something comfortable about knowing the story and being able to predict what is coming next.

1st & 2nd Grade:

We sang a new song in class: the German version of “Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes.” In German, you sing “foot” instead of “toes.” It goes like this:

Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß, Knie und Fuß
Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß, Knie und Fuß
Augen, Ohren, Nase und Mund
Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß, Knie und Fuß

(That funny letter in “Fuß” is called an Eszett and is basically a double “s.”)

Sometimes it is hard to sing a song that you already know in another language! So we’ll keep working on it 🙂

3rd & 4th Grade:

We have been working on colors the past two weeks. So we added some new ones: schwarz, weiß, braun, grau, & rosa (black, white, brown, gray, & pink).

Although I shouldn’t really say “working,” because mostly we are having fun with these words! The children love to play games, so we played a round of “Ich habe …, Wer hat…?” (I have, Who has?). (I got the game here.)

And we played their favorite game: Ja oder Nein. I hold up a color and ask if they like it (in German, of course). If the answer is yes, they say, “Ja!” and move to one side of the room. If the answer is no, they say, “No!” and move to the other side of the room. We have had to add in der Mitte (in the middle) for those who can’t quite make up their minds 🙂

Goldilocks is available on The Great Story Reading Project 🙂

Story Listening: Eine Reise

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This week’s story was taken from an easy ready called Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel. You may also know him from his Frog and Toad stories. I really enjoy his humor 🙂 Alas, humor does not always translate well, and the kids didn’t quite get the punchline. But it was still a good story.

The story is called “A Journey.” It is about a mouse who wants to visit his mother (I changed it to grandmother). Along the way, he encounters all kinds of challenges, but there is always someone on the side of the road selling something – roller skates, boots, sneakers – to help him on his way. When at last he can’t go one more step, there is a person at the side of the road selling … feet! He buys them and puts them on and makes it all the way to dear grandmother’s house!

So telling a joke in a foreign language can be tricky! Even after I explained it in English, the kids didn’t seem to quite understand. Because, really, you can’t just take off your feet and put on new ones!

Nevertheless, the story had some rich vocabulary, and we had fun with it.

I’m using the same story in grades 1 – 4, since they are all beginners. Somehow, each lessons is always a little different….

Grades 1 & 2:

I started the lessons with a little TPR to get the “wiggles” out. It’s kind of like Simon Says. This week, we did a series about washing hands and then sang the song “Hände waschen”. (You can listen to the song in this YouTube clip.)

I also used a counting rhyme – like eeny meeny miney mo – to invite the children to the rug for our story. It just happens to correspond with the story, because it talks about taking off and putting on shoes!

Eine kleine Mickymaus
zog sich mal die Schuhe aus,
zog sie wieder an,
und du bist dran!

Grade 3:

We had a little scheduling confusion, so the lesson was shorter today. We only got to sing our hello song and hear the story. But that is the most important part of the lesson anyway! We’ll play games again next week 🙂

Grade 4:

Because of the scheduling confusion, the 4s actually had a longer lesson. Since they had decided to pick new German names, I handed out name tags for each of them, and we did a little Q&A about who was who.

We also played a game based on the food from the Hungry Caterpillar lesson. It was a simple game of “I have, who has”. I made up the cards to have everything they needed to say in German. We played two rounds of it, and they improved so quickly! Here is a sample of the cards:

You can download the PDF of the card game here: kleine Raupe Ich habe Wer hat – GitA

They wanted to play our yes or no game again, so we played that, too. I just held up a card an asked who like each food. If they liked it, they said “ja” and went to one side of the room. If they didn’t like it, they said “nein” and went to the other side of the room.

Das Wetter – The Weather

We’re doing a little review today in pre-K/kindergarten. It’s hard to believe it’s almost the end of the year! The children have learned so much! And I’m so inspired to do even more with them next year!!

One of the things we will review today is the weather. We’ll look out the window to see what the weather is like and what we see: die Sonne, der Wind, die Wolke. It’s a beautiful day today 🙂

And we’ll read Elmar mag jedes Wetter again.

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I prepared a coloring page for them as well. There are two versions. In the first version, the children can trace the weather words under the pictures. In the second version, I’ve given them a bit of a challenge. There is a word bank (Wortschatz), and they will have to choose the appropriate word to write under the image. I have plenty of each, so the children can choose what they would like to do.

You can download the PDF version here for FREE: Wetter Malvorlage GitA

Check out these other weather materials to go along with Elmar! And for other weather work, just click on the “weather” tag at the right!

Olympische Winterspiele – Activities

I haven’t had time to come up with any of my own activities for the Winter Olympics. But I’ve found some nice worksheets and reading cards on other sites that I thought I’d share.

I really like the materials over on Lehrmittelperlen (you must subscribe to obtain access to their materials – about $20 per year).

Other reading cards about the various sports can be found at Fächerübergreifend leicht gemacht.

KinderSuppe has a variety of materials and activities (search “Olympische Winterspiele”). You have to subscribe to obtain access to most of their materials, however they do offer some things for free:

  • Olympic Rings: Print out the page to color the Olympic rings. They suggest using paint and cotton swabs to color them in! There are two versions: one with a colored dot to indicate the ring colors; one with the color word spelled in the ring.
  • Summer or Winter? This activity has children sorting cards of various sports into summer and winter sport.

What are you doing to learn about the Winter Olympics in German?

Goldilocks and … Two Firsts for Me!

For the very first time, I taught in Froggy’s 1st & 2nd grade class! And for the very first time, I used a method of language teaching called Story Listening (SL). You can read all about the method at the Stories First website. It was a total success! I’m so thrilled!

I had the children for a whole hour!

As I entered the group, I said, “Guten Morgen,” and repeated it. To my delight, the children chimed right in! Then we went right into “Ich heiße…” Again, they were ready to repeat! We practiced the “ch” sound. Then we started again. The only thing was, they repeated my whole sentence, including my name 🙂  So we straightened that out, and I went around the room, asking each child’s name. I started with the 4 children who had been in my German class in Pre-K/Kindergarten. I figured they would be more comfortable with saying the phrase, and they could also be a good model for the other children.

Next, I talked to the children about magic. Yup. Magic. To me, speaking a foreign language is a lot like making magic! It’s like cracking a code. Or knowing a secret – the good kind of secret 🙂  And just look! All of the children had already worked some magic! I never told them what Guten Morgen or Ich heiße meant. But of course, they knew. Then I told them I was going to teach them some more magic a little later….

Then I taught them the hello song. I used my word posters to teach them the actions: klatschen, stampfen, patschen. And we counted to 2. We talked about doing the actions quietly, so the classroom below us didn’t think there’s a herd of elephants – or a thunderstorm – upstairs! And then I asked them if I was showing them the right word, so they could practice ja and nein. Finally, it was time to sing the song!

Next it was time for the children to be magicians! Because I was going to tell them a story.

A whole story, all in German!

I asked them to listen with their ears and watch with their eyes, and just relax and take it all in.

Of course, we needed our magic words to start the story: Es war einmal…

I had practiced telling a simplified story of Goldlöckchen (Goldilocks). As you tell the story, you draw pictures on the board and write the word in German (L2) underneath it. You can use other tools from the SL toolkit (on their website), too, like gestures and antonyms to help with comprehension. The children were right with me, the whole time! Here’s what the board looked like when I was finished:

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Of course, by the time I had finished, the kids were a little restless. Time for some movement! So we played a game of Simon sagt! We used the verbs from the hello song (klatschen, stampfen, patschen) plus the verbs from our story: essen, spazieren gehen, rennen, einschlafen, aufwachen. It was a big hit!

Then I had handouts for the children to do. I had come up with 5 ideas, and the teachers liked them all, so we made up packets for them to do. The first and second-graders got different ones, based on difficulty.

You can download the handouts here: Goldlöckchen Arbeitsblätter GitA

The Stories First website also has a collection of stories for various languages and levels in the Great Story Reading Project. You do have to register to gain access.

Buchstaben and Marble Runs

When Froggy was 4, he discovered marble runs. Who knew there were so many different kinds of marble runs? Plastic, wooden, musical, homemade … the list goes on! We must have at least six different kinds now 🙂  I love them, though. They are fantastic for creativity and problem-solving. And you can play with them for YEARS!! Now Hippo is into them, too.

But what do marble runs have to do with learning German letters??

One set of marbles runs that we love is called Hubelino. (It’s actually made in Germany!) As I was looking for a new set to order when we were in Europe this summer, I discovered that they have made Hubelino even more educational! They now have sets for learning letters, spelling, and numbers. So of course, I had to get my hands on the letter and spelling sets!

Here’s how we used them for the letter B. Froggy needed help sorting through that big pile of letters to get to the sentence at the bottom. Heck, I would have needed help, too! But it was fun!

So Hubelino is a marble run with pieces that are compatible with Duplos. I thought for sure we would have passed on all our Duplos by now (with Froggy age 7 and Hippo age 4), but no way! We need every last one of them for supports! (I’ll have to dig up some photos of the Hubelino constructions the boys have made.)

As you can see, these letter Hubelino pieces don’t really do anything with the marble runs. But the boys love it so much, they are happy to play with them!

I receive no compensation for mentioning Hubelino products.

 

Buchstabenarbeit – Working with Letters

I’ve been posting about the letter work I’m doing with the boys. (See letter B, letter P, letter M, and letter A.) But what do we do with the objects and cards? Well, there are any number of things you can do! Sometimes I just follow Hippo’s lead and let things happen spontaneously. But here are a few ideas….

We lay out the cards (with image and word) on his little desk. Then he fishes an object out of the bag – nicht anschauen! – and matches the object to the card. And we say the object name. If he doesn’t know it, I might say the beginning sounds, and then he remembers it. And there is plenty of emphasis on the first sound, which is after all what we’re practicing!

I also wrote about my box of letter stickers. Both of the boys love to work with the tiny drawers of stickers. For Froggy, I let him draw a card and spell it in stickers. But for Hippo (who is still just learning his letters in English), I choose some of the shorter words to spell.

Sometimes we play Memory (Memo). Hippo can’t handle too many cards yet. So today we just played with a set of 4 cards. We put out the “control” cards with images and words (and their matching objects) and then turned over the image cards and the word cards. Once we found a match, I asked Hippo what the word card was. We compared it to the “control” card with the word and image to see if the words matched. At first he just said, “yes” to everything. But then he looked more closely. I had him count the letters in the two words, and he saw that they were not the same. Then he really got the idea!

As we played, Hippo then had the idea to line up the matching cards under the “controls”.

These are just a few ideas to get you started! Please comment and let me know what you come up with to do with the letter cards!

Viel Spaß!