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
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.