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 hei√üe…” 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 ūüôā¬† 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 ūüôā¬† And just look! All of the children had already worked some magic! I never told them what Guten Morgen or Ich hei√üe 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¬†Goldl√∂ckchen (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:

2017-10-27 11.42.07

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 ūüôā¬† 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!

Playground Games

Yesterday was our last story hour before our summer break, and we met at a playground.

We played a quick but fun game of Feuer, Wasser, Sturm. The children run around the playground. When they hear the word Feuer called out, they have to lie down flat. If they hear Wasser, they have to climb up on something high to avoid the rising waters. And if they hear Sturm, they have to hold on tight! It’s a fun, easy game!

Since it was still a story hour session, I did read a book and lead a song. The children sat up on the playground equipment.

IMG-20170616-WA0001-1

We read Kleiner weißer Fisch by Guido van Genechten (Ars Edition, 2015).

Kleiner weißer Fisch

Then we sang ‚ÄúF√ľnf kleine Fische.‚ÄĚ

F√ľnf kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Vier kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Drei kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Zwei kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Ein kleiner Fisch, der schwamm im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Er sagt zu sich, er kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Ein großer Hai der schwimmt im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagt der Hai, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Denn da sind die Fische und die fress ich gleich (blub blub blub blub)

 

Under the Sea

School’s out! Time for some summer fun!

How about some sea life cards to play a small game of memory? Or practice numbers?

Print out the cards on card stock (so you can’t see through the paper when it’s turned over!) and laminate them for longer use. You can download them here:

I also found small objects from a craft store to go along with the six words. I popped them into a busy bag with the cards and made a matching game out of it.

Viel Spaß in den Sommerferien!

A Trip to the Philadelphia Zoo

Last summer, we finally took the boys to the Philadelphia Zoo. Of course, I had to work in a German lesson!

So I made up word posters for 16 of the animals that can be found there. Hopefully your local zoo has similar animals! There are three sets of cards:

  • pictures with words
  • just pictures
  • just words.

You can print them in full 8¬Ĺ x11 or print more to a page for smaller versions. I like to print 6-to-a-page, laminate them, and cut them down to 3×4 cards. Then we use them to play memory, go fish, or other games! If you‚Äôll be using them for memory, be sure to print on thick card stock or paper with a patterned back! The animals included are:

  • der B√§r – bear
  • der Eisb√§r – polar bear
  • das Erdm√§nnchen – meerkat
  • die Gazelle – gazelle
  • die Giraffe – giraffe
  • der Gorilla – gorilla
  • das K√§nguru – kangaroo
  • der Lemur – lemur
  • der Leopard – leopard
  • der L√∂we – lion
  • das Nashorn – rhinoceros
  • das Nilpferd – hippopotamus
  • der Orang-Utan – orangutan
  • der Penguin – penguin
  • der Tiger – tiger
  • das Zebra – zebra

Here’s a sample of what they look like:

Download all the posters as a PDF here: Zootiere Posters Phila Zoo GitA

On the day of our outing to the zoo, I gave the boys a scavenger hunt. It looks like this:

Auf der Suche im Zoo GitA-page-002

Included in this PDF document is a worksheet to keep track of the animal name, the color of the animal, and its climate. Download it here: Auf der Suche im Zoo GitA

Viel Spaß im Zoo!

Shape Resources

For our shape unit, we’ll be using some materials I bought a few years ago on TeachersPayTeachers.com. It was created by Open Wide the World, who has a number of German-language units. In fact, the weather unit I used last month was also created by them.

shapes-open-wide-the-world

The unit costs only $3.50, and you can purchase it here. And here’s what you get:

posters
a single page display featuring all 10 shapes
10 individual posters, one shape & shape name per page

game cards
“Bang!” game cards & directions
3 sets of flashcards for games & drill work: 1 set with shapes and shape names, 1 set with shape images only, 1 set with shape names only

2 mini books
1/4-page sized mini book: trace the shape name and draw the shape
1/2-page sized mini book: fill in the blank with the shape name, color the image, and read aloud with a partner (level = emergent reading, repetitive sentence structure)

word search
includes answer key

I’m excited to start using all these colorful materials!