Teaching Colors with Elmar dem Elefanten

I’ve had a hard time teaching colors to my pre-K/kindergarten class in the past. I needed a book that had something of a story to hold the children’s interest and more importantly, I needed a color song.

For the book, I am going to try out Elmar mag alle Farben by David McKee (Thienemann-Esslinger, 2015). (If you are familiar with these books in English, you’ll notice that the spelling is different: Elmer with an “e” in English, Elmar with an “a” in German.)

It’s very simple, which I really like. But it isn’t just page after page of Elmar mag rot … Elmar mag blau … und, und, und. It isn’t exactly a story, but each set of pages tells a kind of mini story. For example: “Der Schneemann ist weiß. Sein lila Schal hält ihn warm.” Nice and simple, but still interesting.

Elmar mag alle Farben

Before I get to the book, however, I need to introduce the colors. I made a rainbow out of felt pieces that stack on top of each other. That way, I can introduce each color individually, but I can also stack them up to make my rainbow. Now if only I had remembered to get myself a felt board! I’ll have to improvise a little here 🙂

I still have not found a simple song to teach the colors. So I finally came up with my own! It’s to the tune of “Ten Little Indians” and just repeats the colors:

rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
rot, orange, gelb, grün, blau, lila
in dem Regenbogen

Just make sure you sing the word “orange” on two notes (one for each syllable). I’ll keep my felt rainbow out to point to the colors as we sing it. Easy peasy!

I always end with a book and then an activity – usually a coloring sheet. So I made up a very simple checkered Elmar coloring page to include all six colors.

 

Elmar Farben GitA-page-001

Each of the colored crayons points to a box to color in, so that Elmar ends up looking like a checkered rainbow.

You can download the coloring page here: Elmar Farben GitA

Viel Spaß!

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 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!

Bewegungen – Action Words

For three weeks, I’ve been doing numbers in the Pre-K/Kindergarten class. I was wondering if the repetition was good, or if the children needed a little variation! So I came up with a compromise for today’s lesson. We still included number, but we also added some new vocabulary.

We have been starting each class with our Hallo-Lied and working on ich heiße.

As a quick review, we sang “Meine Finger” again. Just like on the first day, we used klatschen and patschen. I added schnipsen this time, too. And to review numbers, we counted to 5 as we did the actions five times each.

Then I introduced some verbs. We already talked about schlafen with the song “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo,” but we repeated that one again here. Then we also added gehen, essen, spielen, and steigen (to walk, to eat, to play, to climb).

In addition to the word posters, I created a coloring sheet for the children to take home:

Bewegungen AB GitA-page-002

I chose these words because of the book we read: Mein 1-2-3 Mäuschenbuch by Alexandra Dannenmann. In addition to counting from 1 to 10, each page shows a different action. I decided to select just five of the action words to introduce.

mein-1-2-3-mauschenbuch

Usually, I read the book last. But I wanted to end this class with a fingerplay that the children always love! It’s called Die Mausfamilie. You can read the text and download it on this post from last year.

The action word posters and coloring page are free to download here:

Viel Spaß!

Hallo und guten Tag!

For years, I have been singing the same song with the Lesestunde and in the Pre-K / Kindergarten class I teach. I’ve been wanting to post about it, but I had to track down the source first!

It turns out that the woman who ran the Lesestunde while I was taking a maternity break found the song in a French book and translated it into German. No wonder I could never find it with an internet search! She was kind enough to send me images of the book and the song:

The song goes like this:

Hallo! * *  Und guten Tag! * *
Hallo! * * Und guten Tag! * *
Ich hoffe, es geht dir
Ich hoffe, es geht dir
Ich hoffe, es geht
Es geht dir gut! * *
* klatschen, stampfen, patschen (clap, stamp, pat) – zweimal

In the Lesestunde, I always start out by asking what the children would like to do: stampfen? klatschen? hüpfen? One little girl always likes to spin. Makes me dizzy, though!

When I sing it in the Montessori class, we always do the same actions in the same order: klatschen, stampfen, patschen. Right off the bat, we start learning numbers, because I’m always saying, “eins, zwei!” to make sure they don’t get too carried away. Especially with the stampfen. They love to stomp. And then it turns into jumping. We’re still working on that with the little ones 🙂

On the first day of German in the Montessori class, I start the lesson by teaching them the three actions. I made up word posters to help them learn the words:

I also send them home with a coloring page that has the words and the actions. There are two versions, but I like the one that uses the same images above.

You can download the PDF documents here:

Word posters: Begrüßungslied Wortschatzbilder GitA

Coloring pages: Begrüßungslied Malvorlage GitA

Viel Spaß!

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo

I love using songs to teach and learn language.

I also find it rather difficult to teach songs German songs to my English-speaking students. Sometimes, they are actually quite complicated!

So this year in my Pre-K/Kindergarten class, I’m trying to repeat the songs more often. A lot more often. That is a hard thing for me to do! I love a good theme and have usually planned my lessons around a theme: colors, farm animals, numbers, holidays, etc. But by planning my lessons this way, I trap myself into a place where I am constantly introducing new vocabulary, new books, and new songs!

Even at this level, it’s really important to me that the children are getting something out of the class. At the very least, that they learn words that they will understand. Even better is when I hear them saying the words … phrases … sentences! But that will not happen without some repetition.

One of the songs I love to sing is “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo” by Karsten Glück (from Die 30 Besten Spiel und Bewegungslieder, Vol. 1). I like to use it in week 2, so that we can review the actions in our hello song: klatschen, patschen, und stampfen. I always do “stampfen” last, so that we can stay low to the ground until the end. It helps to keep the little ones more in control of their bodies, too!

So this week (week 3), we’re going to sing it again, but in conjunction with a zoo theme. (More on that soon!)

I put together a visual to introduce the song. It includes an image of a zoo, plus a small (klein) and big (groß) bear. The little bear is sleeping, while the big bear (the Mama bear, I call her) is awake.

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo mit Bildern-page-004

In this second lesson with the song, I plan to use the image again to add some vocabulary. Something like this, that focuses on the conjugated verb “schlafen” and also adds a yes/no question.

  • Unser kleiner Bär schläft.
  • Mama Bär schläft nicht.
  • Schläft er? Schläft sie?
  • Wer schläft? – Er schläft. Sie schläft nicht.

We’ll see how it goes!

You can download the PDF of the image plus the lyrics here: Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo mit Bildern – GitA

Viel Spaß!

Der erste Tag in der Montessori-Schule

This is the third year that I am teaching at my kids’ Montessori school. I love being in the Pre-K/Kindergarten class. We usually wait a few weeks before I start, so the children can get settled in their regular routines and work. This year, I’m teaching in the late morning, before lunch. It’s nice that the children then have time to sit and do the coloring page or activity that I bring in.

My first lesson goes something like this:

I greet them with Guten Morgen! I repeat it a number of times and then ask them to repeat it after me.

I tell them my name with Ich heiße…. Then I ask them to tell my their names. I look and point at a student (now I can choose the children who have been in the class in the past years to help demonstrate to the new children) and ask, “Wie heißt du?” I often model for them “Ich heiße ….” Some of the children are not yet ready to speak, and that’s just fine!

I introduce the action words to our Hello Song. (I’ll be posting separately about that soon!) The action words are klatschen, stampfen, & patschen. I show them the large image cards I printed out and laminated, and we say & repeat the words.

We practice the action words, too. I ask them to stay seated to practice stampfen. That’s the trickiest one, because the kids tend to want to keep stomping and even start jumping up and down.

I also teach them ja & nein. Then I show them pictures and ask, “Ist das ‘klatschen’?” for example. I always start with showing the right image. Then I switch it up on them and show them the wrong picture.

Finally, it’s time to sing the song! We always do the actions two times, so I often count: eins, zwei!

I also sing “Meine Finger” from Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungsliedern, Vol. 3. Instead of the actions in the original song, I repeat the actions from our Hello Song – only klatschen & patschen. Obviously you don’t use your fingers to stomp! (download the text below)

We sing our Goodbye song before I send the children off to do their coloring page. It’s to the same tune as Hoch soll er leben and goes Tschüss mit einander, tschüss miteinander, tschüss, tschüss, tschüss!

Finally I give them a coloring page with images of the actions from the Hello Song and they lyrics. I like the parents to get an idea of what we’re doing in the class, even if they can’t read the German!

You can download the lyrics to “Meine Finger” here: Meine Finger – GitA

Viel Spaß!