Martinstag in the Classroom: Part 3

As I mentioned in a recent post, I love teaching about Martinstag, because it embodies the spirit of giving and selflessness. In the past, I’ve taught about Martin in the German story hour and in the pre-k/kindergarten class. This year I finally got to bring it into the 1st and 2nd grade class. Each class is a little bit different. In this post I’ll tell you about what we do …

in Pre-K/Kindergarten…

This is also a mixed class of pre-k and kindergarten children, ages 2 1/2 to 6! I’m always amazed at how well it works to mix the ages of the children. The older ones make good models for the younger ones!

This year, however, we have a lot of younger ones. So after teaching my Martinstag lesson “upstairs” in 1st/2nd grade, I knew I had to make things extra clear and simple for the younger children.

I began by telling the story of Martin in English, using the same book I had used with 1st/2nd: Das erste Buch von Sankt Martin by Erwin Grosche (Gabriel Verlag, 2017)

Martin

I had the story written out in English, but I only used it as a reference. I know it well enough by now! This book actually leaves out the more religious aspect of the tale – that the beggar was Christ, who later came to Martin in a dream. As we are not a religious school, I don’t feel comfortable teaching that part of the story. I focus mainly on Martin’s kind and generous nature.

Next I used the word posters to teach the words from “Laterne, Laterne”. This year I brought our au pair along to help with the lantern project. She also helped me by holding the Mond and Sterne, so the children could see all four images at once. It was much easier than me trying to flip through them as we sang!

You can download the posters – with or without words – in this previous post, Der gute Martin.

I just taught them the first half of the song. Then AP4 and I sang the rest of it (Brenne auf mein Licht, brenne auf mein Licht, aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht). The children tried to follow along, and it sounded quite nice!

Finally it was time to make our paper lanterns. You can read more specifically about that part of the lesson and download the instructions and template here. I broke it down into simple steps and had samples of each step to show the children. They had three things to do:

  1. color the paper with the sun, moon, and stars (I print it on yellow paper, so it looks like it’s glowing!)
  2. fold the paper in half along the dotted line
  3. cut the “fringe” along the dotted lines

The teachers, AP4, and I did the stapling part to assemble the lanterns.

It was such a successful lesson!

Then we got to parade around the classroom and into the front hall. The children really enjoyed that part of it.

I decided not to use Story Listening and tell the fairy tale of the Sterntaler for this lesson. I wanted to be sure they knew the story of Martin and why we make the lanterns. And of course, they needed to learn the song for our little parade!

So that’s it! All three versions of my Martinstag lessons for 2017!

Viel Spaß!

Martinstag in the Classroom: Part 2

As I mentioned in a recent post, I love teaching about Martinstag, because it embodies the spirit of giving and selflessness. In the past, I’ve taught about Martin in the German story hour and in the pre-k/kindergarten class. This year I finally got to bring it into the 1st and 2nd grade class. Each class is a little bit different. In this post I’ll tell you about what we do …

in 1st & 2nd Grade…

This is a mixed class of 22 students. I couldn’t just jump right in with books and songs, like I did in Story Hour. Instead, I started with the story of Sterntaler. The children were outraged that the poor girl was all alone! And then shocked when she kept giving everything away! They were right with me the whole time 🙂  My board looked a little different, since they needed more help to understand it. But they had also experienced the method the week before when I told them Goldilocks. Here is a picture of my finished board for Sterntaler:

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After that, I read them the story of Martin, using the book Das erste Buch von Sankt Martin by Erwin Grosche (Gabriel Verlag, 2017). I used the book mainly for the illustrations and wrote out the story in English beforehand. I knew after hearing Sterntaler, that was probably enough German for that class (especially since it was 2pm on a Friday … the week of Halloween!).

Martin

Next I wanted to teach them the song, “Laterne, Laterne“. The beginning is so simple with its four words: Laterne, Sonne, Mond, Sterne. I knew they would need a little movement by this time, though, so I came up with a little game. I had printed out the vocab words on small cards. I printed enough so that each child could have a card. I just used my full-sized word posters and printed them 4-to-a-page. Then I laminated them and cut them down to size.

I handed the cards out to the children and then had them get into groups according to the picture – in order, of course! I had already gone over the words using my full-sized word posters. So they were familiar enough with the vocab. I called out a word, and that group had to raise their picture and say the word. I mixed them up and first. Then I told them to pay attention, because we were going to speed it up! And I went in order according to the song: Laterne! Laterne! Sonne! Mond! Sterne! They enjoyed the little game. And weren’t they surprised when I told them they had just learned the beginning of a song?!

You can download the word posters along with song lyrics in the post Der gute Martin.

Finally, it was time to make our lanterns! We did them a little differently in this older class. Although in hindsight, I’m not sure I would do it this way again!

  1. I gave them white paper cut down to size (without the strip for the handle) and let them color it however they liked.
  2. I gave them the lantern template printed on yellow paper (without the sun, moon, and stars – just the lines for cutting and folding) and asked them to cut the strip off the end to make the handle.
  3. They glued their white paper to the yellow template (I might do this step myself, in advance, if I try it again).
  4. They folded the paper (I was surprised how many of them did not fold on the line, but folded the long edge of the paper up to the line! If you read my post with instructions, you’ll see why I decided to give step-by-step instructions the next time!)
  5. They cut the “fringe”.
  6. We went around and stapled the lanterns together along with their handles

The lanterns turned out alright in the end. But it took so long that we did not have time to parade in the halls.

Then again, it was the last hour of school on a Friday. And did I mention it was Halloween week?? Scary stuff!! 🙂

Tutorial and templates can be found in the post Martinstag Lanterns!

Viel Spaß!

Martinstag in the Classroom: Part 1

As I mentioned in a recent post, I love teaching about Martinstag, because it embodies the spirit of giving and selflessness. In the past, I’ve taught about Martin in the German story hour and in the pre-k/kindergarten class. This year I finally got to bring it into the 1st and 2nd grade class. Each class is a little bit different. In this post I’ll tell you about what we do …

in Story Hour…

We read a couple of books, sing the traditional songs, and make paper lanterns. Then we get to parade through the library. This year, we even got to go into the bank next door! To read more about the books and songs, you can check out the story hour blog. They were all so proud of their lanterns:

2017-11-03 Martinstag post

I often like to tell the fairy tale of the Sterntaler. It’s the story of a little girl who is alone in the world and has next to nothing. And still, she gives away everything she does have. In the end, the stars fall from the sky and become gold coins, and she is wearing a beautiful new slip of the finest material. I usually read a little book about it, but this year, I chose to tell it as a story using the Story Listening method. Here is what my board looked like when I was finished:

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I wasn’t sure how the method would work in a room full of children who already know so much German – not to mention their German-speaking parents! But the children were mesmerized! And the parents really enjoyed it, too!

The next post on 1st and 2nd grade is coming…

Viel Spaß!

 

Martinstag Lanterns

Every year I like to share the celebration of St. Martin with the children I teach – in the story hour, in the pre-K/kindergarten class, and now in the 1/2 class I’m working with. It’s such a wonderful celebration of the spirit of giving.

Every year we make a simple paper lantern. This year, I learned a few things to make the project even better 🙂 Here are the children from Lesestunde with their lanterns:

2017-11-03 Martinstag postJust look at those smiling faces 😉

And here is what the template for the lantern looks like (front & back):

  1. Cut the long strip off the left side to save for the handle (follow the long line on the “back” image)
  2. Color the front – the sun, moon, and stars
  3. Turn to the back and fold the paper along the dotted line
  4. Cut “fringe” along the other dotted lines – stopping at the hash mark at the end
  5. Unfold the paper – fold it back the other way
  6. Wrap the paper to make the lantern, staple at the bottom, staple at the top along with the handle

First, I decided to get out my paper cutter and cut the handles off for the children. Having to first cut a whole strip off the paper and then make fringe seemed rather confusing. This way, they only have to worry about the fringe. It worked great!

Sedond, I am learning to give better – clearer – instructions! You would think this would be obvious. But it’s something you really have to think about! So I had Hippo help me make samples of our Laternen – one for every step (color, fold & fringe, unfold):

When I went in to his class, I had the samples all ready. So I could easily demonstrate the steps to the children. I showed them a colored paper. Then I showed them how to fold it. I had one folded already with one line of fringe cut. Then I showed them how to cut along the dotted lines to cut the rest of the fringe. That’s basically all they needed to do. We had four adults for 20 children in the room (I brought AP4 with me – another great idea!), so we each had a table of 5 children to help. When they were finished with their three steps, we folded the paper into the lantern shape and stapled on the handles. It was the most successful lesson I’ve ever taught for Martinstag!

2017-11-06 09.09.12 - Copy

See how the lantern “poofs” when you fold the the paper back on itself in the middle after you cut the fringe?

To download the instructions and template for the lanterns, click here: Martinstag Laterne (GitA)

For other materials, see my posts from previous years:

Viel Spaß beim basteln!

A Little More for “Martinstag”

I was in the Pre-K/Kindergarten class today. I just love sharing the stories of St. Martin with the children. In a Montessori-based school where the principles of peace and respect are not only taught, but practiced on a daily basis, the kindness and generosity of the St. Martin story fit in beautifully.

This year, I had a new tool for telling the story. I ordered a set of Bildkarten (picture cards) called St. Martin feiern mit Emma und Paul – Bildkarten für unser Erzähltheater. The cards are nice and big (DIN-A3: 11.7 x 16.5 inches), and the images are simple and clear. I didn’t use all of the cards, but chose a few to talk about Martin cutting his cloak in two to share with the beggar, the children crafting lanterns and then parading at night in the town square. There are also some images to show Paul dropping his Martinsmann cookie and Emma breaking her own cookie in two to share with Paul. Very sweet!

The books I have for Martinstag have quite a bit of text. They work fine for story hour, where the children come from German-speaking families. However, I really liked the format of having large pictures to show while I explained the story, simply and in English.

martinstag-bildkarten

After teaching the words to “Laterne, Laterne,” the children made their paper lanterns – with some help from the two teachers and myself. We were glad to have some tape on hand, as a few of the children didn’t quite get the instruction not to cut all the way through! One of the teachers gave the useful tip that cutting the strips in the lanterns is very much like cutting fringe – a work they do regularly in the classroom.

As the children finished their lanterns, they took a seat on the rug until everyone was finished. Then we sang the song as we paraded through the classroom and out into the hall. The principal and several other staff members came out to see where the singing was coming from. She said it sounded like little angels!

If you missed the post on the lantern instructions or the vocabulary cards to help teach the song, click here to go back and take a look!

How do you help the children celebrate Martinstag? I’d love to hear!

Der gute Martin

Next week marks the celebration of St. Martin’s Day. I have to admit, while I lived in Germany, I never actually witnessed the children walking through the streets with their homemade lanterns on November 11th. I didn’t know about the special day until I was teaching in the States at a German Saturday School. It’s such a sweet celebration, though! Now I love to share it with the children at Story Hour and in Preschool.

To go along with the celebration, I have created a very simple lantern for the children to make. You can print it out, let them color the paper if they like, and then cut along the dotted lines and assemble it. You can download the template and instructions in PDF format here: martinstag-laterne

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A finished lantern from Story Hour

The songs that go with Martinstag are also very important. We always sing two of the most popular ones at Story Hour: “Laterne, Laterne” and “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne.” When I teach Preschool, I often just do the first two lines of “Laterne, Laterne,” since it is easy to learn and helps the children learn some of the more important vocabulary words: Laterne, Sonne, Mond, and Sterne. To teach the songs, I made up some vocabulary posters of these four words, a coloring page, and a sheet with the lyrics. You can download all of them in PDF format here:

 

Here’s an idea of what they look like:

When I teach Martinstag at Story Hour, I include several books. I have a few about Martinstag itself. This year, we’ll be reading Laterne, Laterne, da oben leuchten die Sterne by Dagmar Geisler and Rosemarie Künzler-Behncke (Ravensburger, 2009). I also like to read the fairy tale “Sterntaler” about the little girl who gives away all her earthly possessions to others in need and is rewarded in the end with a shower of coins that fall from the stars to last her the rest of her life. (I actually made my own book of this fairy tale, so I don’t have one to recommend here.) This year, I’m adding a beautiful new book (well, new to me!) called Der rote Faden by Anne-Gaëlle Balpe and illustrated by Eve Tharlet (Minedition, 2014). In this story, little Oli finds a red thread and by passing it on, he learns how little it takes to help others.

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