Gefunden! A quick vocab game

With new classroom rules in place for covid, we are all having to get creative! I recently came up with a little “Hide & Seek” game that I’ve been using with my pre-k/kindergartners.

I use a set of vocab posters I already have. For example, we’ve been working on the weather. So there are 8 – 10 words they are learning. After we review the words, I choose one to “seek”. For example, it’s been very gray and snowy here, so we’ve been looking for the sun a lot 🙂 I shuffle the vocab posters and then hold them in front of me, so I can’t see them. Then I start asking, “Ist das die Sonne?” They answer “Ja!” or “Nein!” And after they have found the sun and answered “Ja!” we then call out, “Gefunden!”

I made a little poster with the words “Gefunden” on it to help them learn it. Tomorrow when we play the game, I’ll hold up the sign after they find the word 🙂

You can download the poster here:

Wetterkarten / Weather Cards

After updating the weather materials to include wintery words, I decided to make some bigger weather cards. Fitting all eight words on to one page seemed to be a bit of a squish, so I’ve spread them out over two pages. They work better for younger learners.

I’ve made them in color and black & white, in case the children prefer to color the cards themselves. They can be used as flashcards or print two sets and use them to play memory.

Read previous posts on weather here and here.

Was für Wetter sehen wir aus dem Fenster? / Weather out the Window

Last spring I posted some materials for weather-watching. But as it was already April, I did not include winter weather. Well, we’re at the beginning of a big Nor’easter here, about to get a whole lot of snow! So I wanted to add words for snow and ice to the checklist and weather cards. Here are the new materials!

If you are looking for the older materials without wintery weather words, they are in this post.

I often ask my young students what kind of weather they see out the window. (Was sehen wir aus dem Fester?) This allows them to answer in a simpler, more consistent noun-form. It avoids the mix of answers like “Die Sonne scheint.” – “Es schneit.” – “Es ist nebelig.” Once they master the nouns, it will be easier to move into the various sentence structures.

I also have a video to review the words. The word Eis is not included, however it is pronounced pretty much the same as the English “ice”.

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 5

Pre-k / Kindergarten Nutcracker Art Project

A few cracking-good facts:

This week is all about nutcrackers! I began today by telling my youngest students a little about nutcrackers. I also brought in a small nutcracker to show them. Of course, many of the children were excited to see something that they, too, had in their homes!

  • Nutcrackers have been around for 600 years.
  • Nutcrackers are traditionally made of wood in Germany.
  • Nutcrackers represent luck, strength, and protection.
  • German author E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote a fairy tale about a nutcracker that comes to life in 1816.
  • Russian composer Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet on Hoffmann’s story.

(You can read these and other facts in the various “Steckbriefe” I created for my elementary & middle school students in this post.)

Crack open a story book!

Then I read the children a short story book of The Nutcracker. I was excited to see that it was attributed to Hoffmann, as that is the version I want to focus on. I am, after all, teaching German! However, I was surprised to find that this version calls the little girl Clara. In Hoffmann’s story, the girl is named Marie, while her beloved doll is named Clara. So as I read the book, I called her Marie. I added some details from the story as I read, too.

Let’s get crafting!

For my youngest students, we actually did not do a craft. Instead, I prepared a Nutcracker coloring project for them. I got the idea from another site, but of course I wanted to make it German! So I started drawing the outline of a nutcracker. It helped when I realized I could fold my paper in half and trace the right side of it, so that it turned out symmetrical! Then I scanned it and started adding shapes. Here’s how it turned out:

I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with how it turned out! You can download the PDF for free here:

The children enjoyed the project!

Stay tuned for projects from the 1st & 2nd graders, 3rd & 4th graders, and 5th & 6th graders!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 1

The Nutcracker story in 1st & 2nd grade

This year inspiration struck, and I decided to bring The Nutcracker into all of my classes, from pre-k to 6th grade. All the children will be introduced (or reintroduced) to the story, and each level will do a different art project. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

For pre-k/kindergarten students, we will read a shortened book and do a simple coloring project.

For elementary & middle school students, the lessons will be in two parts. This week, I am telling the story and giving the children some background on nutcrackers and the fairy tale.

In elementary school, I’ll tell a simple version of the story. First & second grade heard the story yesterday:

Knack!

I decided to draw my nutcracker ahead of time, as it is so detailed. And every time I said “Nussknacker” the children were supposed to say “Knack!” You can download them both for free below:

After the story, the students will get a simple worksheet to fill in. Read more about the Steckbrief” in this post!

The text for 1st & 2nd grade:

Read more about the Story Listening lesson from two years ago that used this text in this post.

You can also read the updated text from this year and download it for free here:

Klingelingeling! Jingle Bells

While we may not be singing in the classrooms right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t have music! I usually teach the children the song “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” at this time of year. In the past few years, I have made little bells at home to give to the children, so they can play along as we sing. But this year, I decided to let them make the bells. And then we said the words Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling.

To make the bells, you need:

  • 2 pipe cleaners in two different colors (we used red & white this year)
  • three bells

That’s it! I get my bells at the Dollar Store. You have to make sure you get bells that have a big enough “loop” or “handle” at the top, so the pipe cleaner can go through.

For instructions on how to make the bells, see this post!

After I taught the children how to say “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling” we clapped out the rhythm as we said it. Then I told them that we needed bells to ring instead of just clapping! So we made the bells. And then I showed them one of my favorite things: and Advent calendar from our Swiss au pair. Each day plays a different song!

We listened to the German song for Day 2, of course – Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling! And we rang our bells in time and spoke the words we’d learned.

(This Advent calendar plays 48 beautiful songs – 24 German and 24 English! It uses only 3 AA batteries. And the melodies are lovely to listen to! You can find more about them here! No compensation for me – I just like them!)

The children enjoyed the music so much, that we listened to several other songs. “O Tannenbaum“, “Stille Nacht“, and “Jingle Bells”.

Here is a coloring page that goes with the song:

Frohe Weihnachten!

Nikolaus Lied / Song

Normally, I would teach the children the song “Lasst uns froh und munter sein” when we celebrate Nikolaus. (Check out this post to see how I teach it and get the free materials to go along with it!) However, as we are not singing in the classrooms right now, I just played the song for them as they work on crafting their boots.

However, I did send them home with a coloring page that also has the words to the song!

You can download the coloring page for free here:

Nikolaus – in Pre-K / Kindergarten

Today is the first of December. So it’s time to get ready for Nikolaus!

In pre-k/kindergarten, I shocked the students when I told them that children all over Germany, Austria & Switzerland were getting SOOOOO excited … to clean their boots!! What?! Oh, yes! Those boots must be cleaned before leaving one out for Nikolaus on the evening of December 5th. On the morning of the 6th, children will rush to their boots to see what he left – nuts? mandarins? chocolates? a little present??

As Nikolaus knows that the children of our school are learning German, he usually makes an extra stop to leave a small treat for the children. But he needs a place to put them, right?!

So the children make a boot that can be hung in the classroom. This year they made red boots with green yarn to lace them up. They colored on the front of the boot to give it some extra design.

To make the boots, first download this free template:

  1. Trace the boot template onto a piece of folded construction paper.
  2. Cut out the boot and punch holes where the black dots are.
  3. Let the children color the boot.
  4. Cut a length of yarn. Tie one end to the bottom of the boot. Tie a knot in the other end (this acts like the “needle” as it helps the child thread the yarn through the holes).
  5. Let the children lace up the boot. The can go in and out from front to back & back to front. Or they can keep looping around to the front. There is no wrong way to do it! Just so long as they go into each hole in order.
  6. Finally, tie the top end off at the back. Wunderbar!

The end result is so sweet! In the different classes, the teachers hung up the boots, so that Nikolaus can easily fill him when he visits in the night of December 5th.

Even our youngest preschoolers participated in the boot-lacing project this year!

Zehn kleine Zappelfinger / Ten Little Fidgety Fingers

I am quickly trying to find some finger plays that I can do with the little ones, now that we can’t sing for a while. Although “Zehn kleine Zappelmänner” is usually a song, it can be done as a finger play, too! I looked at a number of variations on the old favorite and came up with a version of my own.

First, I went with Finger instead of Männer. Especially for my youngest students, it made more sense to use the word for fingers. And isn’t it often our fingers that get fidgety?!

I made a little handout with the words that I am using for the fingerplay. The children can also color in the hands when they bring the coloring page home.

I will try to get a video of the fingerplay posted soon!

Fünf kleine Fische / Five Little Fish

In the fall, I love to read the books about Kleiner weißer Fisch (Little White Fish) by Guido van Genechten. They are sweet books that are perfect for early language learners. There is a whole series of the books, so we read 5 of them this year in Pre-k/Kindergarten.

To go along with the books, we also sing the song “Fünf kleine Fische”. The kids love it! They especially love the “blub blub blub” part. I have little hand motions that we do with the song, so the kids can play along, even before they have learned the words. Here is a video of how I sing the song with them:

Of course, we practice counting to 5 before we start singing! We count forward and backward, since the song starts with 5 fish and counts down to 1.

To go along with the song, I have a coloring page that also includes the lyrics to the song with an English translation:

You can download that PDF for FREE here:

I also have a simple coloring page of five fish. This coloring sheet includes the words to the song as well.

You can download the PDF for FREE here:

Finally, if you are musically inclined and would like the sheet music for the song, you can find it here from Sing Kinderlieder (PDF).

Viel Spaß beim Singen!