Back in the Classroom!!

We’re back!! Our school opened before Labor Day, and I’m so proud of the work that everyone in the building has done to make it safe for our children. For the first few weeks, only the younger children are in the building: pre-k through 2nd grade. Hopefully the big kids will be able to get away from their screens and be back in the building next week.

Because of all the new COVID protocols, specials teachers are going into the classrooms, so as to keep the children in their “pods”. There is also less movement throughout the school that way. For me, it means that I now will be teaching two grades at once. (I’m at a Montessori school, and one of the beautiful parts about it is that the children are in multi-grade classrooms.)

While teaching two grades at once could be a challenge (although so far, so good!), it also presents a new opportunity. Instead of getting each grade for 30 minutes, I have the whole class for about 50 minutes. So in addition to teaching German through Story Listening, I’m able to add in some culture, too!

My prek-k/kindergarten classes have not changed too much. Except that I am teaching them outside under a tent! We have the chairs spaced well apart, and I spray them clean in between classes. I use a face shield, so they can see my face, and the children wear masks (I truly hope they won’t have to for long!). The biggest challenge is hearing them and recognizing them! My shield also creates a weird echo for me, so I do come home with a headache each week. But it’s wonderful to see the children! We can still sing songs and read stories. And since we have more room outside, we can even be a bit bigger with our movements and our volume!

The first week, the back flap was open, so we did have some distractions from the trucks next door! But the second week, we had more privacy and a quieter outdoor space.

In 1st & 2nd grade, I begin the class by washing my hands. Since we’re supposed to do this for 20 seconds, I have the kids count to 20 with me in German! It’s great! Maybe after they get those down, we’ll try counting backwards. Or count 21 – 40!

Then I was inspired by the morning meeting the class has every day. (Listening in to Hippo’s virtual learning last spring gave me the idea!) First we go over the date in German. I made a sign that I laminated, so I can fill in the day, date, and month with dry-erase marker. Then we talk about the weather. Every day in their class, they go over the temperature (high, low & differential), the wind, the precipitation, and a description. That’s a lot! So we are starting with just the description. They already stumped me this week when they said it was hazy. I’m going to have to look that one up!

Next comes our story. I love to start this group with the story Danke, Bear! by Greg Foley. It’s such a sweet, short, repetitive story. And it’s so easy to adapt. On the first day, I told it about bear who finds a box for his friend the mouse. Along the way to find the mouse, he encounters a rabbit, a frog, and a hedgehog, who all think the box is igittigitt! But he knows it is perfekt for the mouse. And indeed, it is! The second week, I tell it as an elephant who finds a red box for his friend, the green snake. He encounters a lion, a zebra, and a parrot. Next week, I’m thinking about a turtle who finds a shell for his friend, the crab….

After Story Listening, the children work on their very own picture dictionary. I made them for the kids over the summer. Each week, I teach them (mostly in German) how to draw one word from the story. Then they write the German word under it.

For our cultural theme, I don’t have a whole lot of time. So we’re going to spread our learning unit out over about 5 weeks to start. I decided to do some lessons on the hedgehog. Not only are they super cute! But I learned that they are the most common mammal in Germany, while they are not indigenous to the US at all! Read my next post to see what we’re learning about hedgehogs!

Farbenlied – Color Song

Since I started teaching German to children, I have been looking for an easy color song. So far I haven’t found one that is just right. So I’ve been using my own.

It’s very simple – to the tune of Ten Little Indians. It goes like this:

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). It’s a simple song, but we make it lots of fun by starting slowing and then going schneller!!! (faster) I always have to remind the kids to stay with me, and I tap the colors to the beat as we sing them. It can quickly get out of hand! But the kids love it 🙂

I made this video for my young students while we sare having to do remote learning, so you can sing along:

 

In the video, I show some word posters to refresh the vocabulary.

Regenbogen-page-001

I also made the comparative posters – schneller & langsamer – since we always say “schneller!!” at the end of the song before we sing it again. Here are the PDF files:

I’ll also send along a coloring sheet for the children. I made one in color and one in black & white, since I don’t know what kind of printer they’ll have.

Here is the PDF for the coloring page: Farbenlied Malvorlage GitA

 

Getting Ready for Nikolaus

Tonight is the night to clean your boots and put one out for Nikolaus! So the children were busy in school yesterday, making crafts to get ready for him!

As usual, the pre-k/kindergarten classes laced paper boots. This year, we made them in black. And they decorated them first with white crayons. Here is the post with the tutorial and template to download. And here is what a few of them looked like:

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I figured that the 3rd & 4th graders might not be too excited about a lacing activity 😉  And we only had 5-10 minutes for a craft. So I printed out some drawings of Nikolaus on cardstock and cut them out ahead of time. Then I found cute little take-out boxes at the craft store. After I told the story of Nikolaus und die drei Töchter, the children went to their desks to color the little Nikolaus figures. Then they got out the glue sticks to glue them on to the boxes. We’ll see if Nikolaus leaves something in them tonight?!

I can’t provide the template, because it is a copyrighted clipart image. I got this one as part of a clipart package that is actually about Sinterklaas 😉  But you can do a quick Google image search to find one of your own.

Lasst uns froh und munter sein!

Last week I was teaching the Nikolaus song “Lasst uns froh und munter sein!” in the pre-k/kindergarten class. It is a surprisingly difficult song to sing. The last two lines are easier, so I start there. But the first two lines are more complicated.

Since we’ll be singing the song again this week – and in 1st – 4th grade – I decided to make some posters for it. Most of the little ones are not readers yet, so I’m not sure how much it will help. But maybe!

Here is what they look like:

You can download the PDF file fore FREE here: Last uns froh und munter sein – GitA

I have tried to make up little motions to go with the song, but it never really works.

How do you introduce and teach this song??

Preparing for Martinstag

 

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Now that I am teaching in pre-k through 4th grade this year, I wanted to celebrate Martinstag with a little parade through the school. It’s amazing how much back-and-forth planning it has taken to carve out 15 minutes of time to bring everyone together and make it happen!! But we did, and tomorrow is the big day!

To prepare, I told the story of Martin to the elementary students (1st – 4th grade) as a Story Listening lesson last week. I also introduced the story to the pre-k/kindergarten classes in English with the help of a board book.

Martin

I have been working with our fabulous art teacher to make lanterns in 1-4. We came up with a great idea! We bought plastic ornaments that look like a mason jar. Then cut strips of black and yellow paper to fit inside. We had a stash of chopsticks (donated by a middle school student :)) and yarn and beads. I brought in a variety of punches from our too-large collection.

Before the children started working, the art teacher had them gather around the table and talked to them about what they would be doing – and why. She asked them about the story I had told them. She asked them why we would have certain shapes, like a sun, a moon, and a star. My heart sang as the children answered! What is more gratifying to a teacher than proof that the children are learning?? 😀

Then they got to work. They punched shapes into the black paper. Then they put the black and yellow papers inside the lanterns. The art teacher tied the lanterns to the chopsticks with heavy yarn. Then the children cut yarn or ribbon to tie on as decoration and threaded beads onto them. They look amazing!!

 

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As the children worked, we sang the songs. It was such a beautiful afternoon!

Tomorrow I will go back into the pre-k/kindergarten classes in the morning. They will make paper lanterns, as they have done in previous years. You can find the template and instructions here.

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As soon as we finish in the 3rd class, I’ll go gather the elementary students. And we will parade through the pre-k/kindergarten classes with our lanterns while singing our two Martin’s Day songs. Stay tuned to hear how it all goes….

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Easy Kürbislaternen for Pre-K & Kindergarten

 

I have posted before about making simple Jack-O-Lanterns out of orange paper plates. We made them in the Lesestunde.

In pre-k/kindergarten last year, I came up with a similar activity to practice shapes and a few parts of the body: eyes, nose, mouth.

I used my trusty orange paper plates (from Target) and punched a bunch of shapes out of black paper: circles, squares, and triangles. We talked about the shapes in class.

We also sang “Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß” to practice the words Augen, Nase & Mund. You can find the lyrics over at Mama Lisa’s World.

Then I showed them the worksheet. They had to choose a different shape for each part of the face. Then look at the sheet to see how many of each shape they needed.

Meine Kürbislaterne mit Formen GitA-page-002

They could place the shapes on the worksheet first. Then they glued them to the orange plates to make their Kürbislaternen.

On the back of the worksheet, I also printed a coloring page:

Meine Kürbislaterne mit Formen GitA-page-003

You can download the worksheet and the coloring page for FREE here: Meine Kürbislaterne mit Formen GitA. The PDF file includes instructions.

Das Wetter – The Weather

We’re doing a little review today in pre-K/kindergarten. It’s hard to believe it’s almost the end of the year! The children have learned so much! And I’m so inspired to do even more with them next year!!

One of the things we will review today is the weather. We’ll look out the window to see what the weather is like and what we see: die Sonne, der Wind, die Wolke. It’s a beautiful day today 🙂

And we’ll read Elmar mag jedes Wetter again.

elmar-mag-jedes-wetter

I prepared a coloring page for them as well. There are two versions. In the first version, the children can trace the weather words under the pictures. In the second version, I’ve given them a bit of a challenge. There is a word bank (Wortschatz), and they will have to choose the appropriate word to write under the image. I have plenty of each, so the children can choose what they would like to do.

You can download the PDF version here for FREE: Wetter Malvorlage GitA

Check out these other weather materials to go along with Elmar! And for other weather work, just click on the “weather” tag at the right!

Zeichen des Frühlings – Signs of Spring

The weather has finally warmed up here on the east coast! And the end of the school year is fast approaching. The pre-K/kindergarten class picnic is coming up next week. I volunteered to lead a scavenger hunt for the kiddos. Luckily, I already have something in my bag of tricks 😉

One of my go-to resources for creating my materials is a site called Teachers Pay Teachers. It’s where I get most of my clipart. But sometimes I get ready-made materials, too. A couple years ago, Froggy came home with a super cute Nature Walk scavenger hunt. I tracked down the seller and asked her if she could make it for me in German. She generously did! Unfortunately, I can’t find it on her TPT page, but I’ve asked her if she would post it, so I can share it here. Here’s a link to the English version.

In the meantime, I’ve created word posters and coloring pages to go along with the items on the scavenger hunt. I grouped them into two parts: Zeichen des Frühlings (Signs of Spring) and Tiere in der Natur (Animals in Nature).

Here’s what the first set looks like:

And here is the coloring page:

Zeichen des Frühlings GitA-page-010

You can download the PDF for free here: Zeichen des Frühlings GitA

You could use the coloring page(s) as a scavenger hunt for now!

I’ll be teaching the words to the children in our next two classes. Then they can help their parents with the German when we’re all at the picnic!

UPDATE (29 May 2018):  I found a spelling mistake in the files for the flower. I have since made the correction, both in the above example, and in the PDF file!

Bauernhof Malbuch – Farm Coloring Book

I’ve decided to do a mini Farm unit with my pre-K/kindergarten class. Over the next three weeks, we’ll read three books. But we’ll work on one song. And I’ve created a mini coloring book for them to make that has all the animals – plus a few other farm words – that they might learn.

In order to create the coloring book, they first color in the whole sheets and trace the words. Then they can cut along the dotted lines and stack their pages. The teacher will staple it together.

This work could be done over the course of the three weeks. I just have to remind them to put their names on the pages! I think it is too much for them to do all at once. There are 15 words, after all!

It could also be added to the classroom as a “work” (as they call it in Montessori schools) to be completed over time, as the children choose. Of course, if we do it this way, not all the children might complete a book. In fact, I think 15 pages is really too much for them to do all at once. Perhaps in that case, we would choose fewer words. Or maybe let the children choose which words they want in their book.

There is lots of flexibility here!

This is what the pages look like:

 

 

And here is the PDF for you to download: Mein Bauernhofbuch GitA

How will you use the coloring pages??

See Tiel 2 of this post for more on the farm lesson!

Flags of German-Speaking Countries

In the pre-K/kindergarten class, we are creating our own picture dictionary of German words! The book will be auctioned off at the school’s annual fundraiser. But we are having fun putting it together.

We thought we would take a picture of the entire group and put in the words to our hello song. Using construction paper and straws, the children have made flags of the major German-speaking countries, and they will hold the flags in the group picture!

Tomorrow is our last day to take photos. I am going in for a special lesson. I’ll be keeping the kiddos busy while the teachers are snapping the pictures. I thought I would do a review of the favorite songs we’ve sung and books we’ve read this year.

The children always love a coloring page, too! So I made up a coloring page of the three flags: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Flags coloring page GitA-page-001

You can download the PDF file here: Flags coloring page GitA

I won’t be able to share the book here online, since it will be filled with images of the children from the class, and we always want to protect their privacy. But I can tell you it is super cute!!

Viel Spaß!