Valentine Countdown

Recently, two different friends sent me a picture of the same idea: decorating the kids’ doors with Valentine hearts. You hang one up every day for 14 days starting on the first of February. But to make them even more special, you write something you love about your child on each heart. Love that!

Of course, I have to turn this into an opportunity to put a little German in front of the boys! So every night I’ve been putting up a heart with a German sentence about the boys. I write in all caps for Hippo, since he’s still learning letters and not reading yet. Froggy gets regular letters, which show off the capitalized German nouns better! So far, I’ve written the same messages on both doors. They can be a bit competitive! At some point, I might write more specific messages.

 

Here are some of the messages:

  • Wir haben dich lieb!
  • Ich mag es, wenn du lachst!
  • Du kannst gut tanzen!
  • Du bist ein guter Bruder!
  • Es hat Spaß gemacht, das Spiel mit dir anzuschauen!
  • Du bist sehr lustig!

Update: I just added a picture of the finished door. It’s so colorful! I think we’ll leave the hearts up for a while!

It’s not too late to start! Even if you just do a few, it’s a great idea!

I think I tracked down the blog where my friends found the original picture: it’s called Skip to My Lou.

Have fun with your hearts! Let me know what messages you leave!

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Valentine Mazes

A while back, Froggy was really into mazes. I mean, REALLY! We all got good at drawing them. And I used to make them on the computer, too. So I thought I would post a week’s worth of Valentine mazes! If your child is starting to read, this is a fun way to get them to read a sentence, too!

You can download all 7 PDF files here in a zip folder:

Valentinstaglabyrinthe-GitA

Here’s an idea of what they look like:

Weather Plan: Week 2

Our weather unit continues this week! I used a lot of printable worksheets from iSL Collective this week. They were nice and easy. I’ve included links to the pages here. I hope they work! I don’t think you need a membership to view them. (It’s free to join!)

  • Day 1:
    • Wetterkarte: “Wie ist das Wetter?” (iSL Collective) – This is a weather map of Europe, and you have to tell what the weather is in 8 cities. Only thing is, the weather is mostly the same! I ended up doing the writing, so the focus was on speaking and vocab (saying the phrases he had been learning).
  • Day 2:
    • Partnerarbeit: “Wetter in Deutschland Wechselspiel” (iSL Collective) – This activity is for two people. Each gets a map of Germany with the 16 capitols of the Bundesländer. But each gets the weather information for only 8 of those cities. Each also gets a chart to fill in with the 8 city names. There was a small error in that Düsseldorf was listed twice, while Bremen had been left off. Since it is a Word document, you could go in and correct it before printing. I just didn’t notice it in time. We also had a small mistake on my part! I thought the picture for Dresden was windy, but then I realized it was foggy! So we switched them. Focus here was on vocabspeaking, and writing. Here’s a glimpse at Froggy’s work:

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  • Day 4:
    • Matching: Today we did another page from the set “Wie ist das Wetter?” (see above on Day 1). It’s a matching exercise of phrases. For example, “Die Sonne scheint” and “Es ist sonnig.” There is also a small exercise about seasons, where each season is described, and the student writes in the name of the season. Focus on reading and vocab, and also a pre-exercise of circumlocution (the ability to rephrase a word or idea in another way). He added a step by starring the weather that fit today.
  • Day 5:
    • Spieltag! We ended our week with a board game from iSL. All four of us played while enjoying a snack: Froggy, Hippo (although, he wanted to keep landing on the snow!), AP3, and myself. On a long Friday at the end of a long week, playing a game is definitely the way to go. I don’t see how I could have gotten Froggy to do a worksheet or some such. But a game – now that’s fun! It went quickly enough, but we still worked it in. For this board game, I just punched out a few different shapes to be our game pieces and grabbed a die. You roll the die, move forward, and complete the sentence according to the picture. Some of the spaces have arrows that either propel you forward or bring you back. My only complaint was that not every space has something on it – I landed on two of them during the game! Otherwise, we all enjoyed it!

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*I receive no compensation for referencing the resources here. I link them merely for your convenience – and mine!

Weather Plan: Week 1

I try to keep the after-school lessons with Froggy short and sweet. Especially when he has an activity after school, he’s pretty tired when he gets home. I know if the lesson lasts longer than 5 or 10 minutes, I’m going to lose him … fast!

In my last post, I wrote about the great resource created by Open Wide the World that I purchases from her Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) page. I’m starting with these resources to work with Froggy on our weather unit.

In addition, I have downloaded a number of worksheets from iSL Collective (see more about them on my resources page). The only problem with mixing resources is of course that they don’t cover the exact same vocabulary. However, I look at this as an opportunity to expand Froggy’s vocab, as it adds just one or two new words or phrases at a time.

Finally, we’ll end this short week (Monday was a holiday for us) with a game I also purchased from TPT: a weather domino game. ($3) I printed the 5 pages on card stock and laminated them before cutting the domino pieces with a paper cutter.

Here are the lessons we are doing each day:

  • Day 1:
    • Introduce the weather sentence using the poster display page (printed on letter-sized paper) (This isn’t our first time talking about weather, so he’s pretty familiar with the phrases already.)
    • Do the matching worksheet (on p. 25)
  • Day 2:
    • Review weather sentences.
    • Do the fill-in + wordsearch worksheet (on p. 29)
  • Day 3:
  • Day 4:
    • I like to end the week with something fun, like a game. So we played weather dominoes. (See the link above for the resource to purchase.)
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Domino chain


*I receive no compensation for referencing the resources here. I link them merely for your convenience – and mine!

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How’s the Weather?

We’ve taken a break from our reading lessons in German with Froggy, but now that the holidays are behind us, we’re ready to dive back in. I decided to start by asking him if there was a topic he was interested in learning more about. “Space!” he replied, of course. Well, we’ve done an awful lot with that already. So I suggested weather, since he seems to have a strong interest in that topic. His teachers at school talk about the weather and the forecast every day at school. So he readily agreed.

I looked through my files to see what I have on the subject, and happily found a rather nice unit already prepared! It was created by Open Wide the World, and you can get it on the Teachers Pay Teachers site for $6. Click here for a link to the unit.

German Weather - Wetter

German Weather Unit preview by Open Wide the World

Here’s what you get:

  • poster display
  • word wall cards
  • individual weather posters
  • weather wheel
  • flashcards
  • matching worksheet with answer key
  • fill-in-the-blank worksheet with answer key
  • word search with answer key
  • “Aus dem Fenster” mini weather drawing book
  • weather forecast maps and recording sheet

For our first lesson, I’m going to start by introducing the weather sentence using the poster display page (printed on letter-sized paper). Then we’ll do the matching worksheet.

 

Morning Routine

Now that Hippo is going to school, I thought he could use an aid in helping him get ready in the morning. So I created a visual checklist for him and also included instructions in German. As he starts learning to read, those words will become more helpful!

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The routine includes the following four steps:

  • Zieh dich an (get dressed)
  • Wirf deinen Schlafanzug in den Wäschekorb (put your pajamas in the laundry basket)
  • Mach dein Bett (make your bed)
  • Putz dir die Zähne (brush your teeth)

You can download the PDF document here: morning-routine-2016

Summer Experiment: No English Books

Before school ended, I came across a post on Multilingual Living (a great resource for multilingual families, if you’re not familiar with it!). The contributor wrote about her summer experiment: NO ENGLISH BOOKS! Well, at least for the summer. She packed them up and stored them in the guest room, so her kids had only German books to read all summer long.

Now, her boys are older than mine – 9 and 7 compared to mine at 6 and 3. My older son is a good reader in English, though, and my little one loves to be read to. So I decided to try out her experiment.

I thought my kids would revolt when all the English books disappeared on the last day of school! Well, they didn’t entirely disappear…. They were packed up in boxes, but the boxes never made it out of the hall where we have our bookcases, between the boys’ rooms:

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Without the English books, the shelves look a little bare! And you can see, the boxes have been reopened as summer winds down.

I even took it one step further and packed up the English DVDs. Alas, I couldn’t pack up YouTube and all the marble run videos my kids like to watch! In the car, we had only German music and stories.

So how did it go??

Well, we made it through the whole summer … almost. I finally gave in with just over a week to go before school starts. But the boys went along with my experiment!

I’m not sure that I saw an improvement in their German. But then, we didn’t work much on actually speaking German this summer. Tja. We’re still working on it! Still, I’m pleased with all the exposure they got.

We also kept the Dutch books out, so my husband had something to read at bedtime. The only trick was what to do when we had a babysitter or my mom putting the boys to bed, since they only speak English! I think my mom managed Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) in German, since she’s heard it so many times! And Hippo helped her  🙂

I think the most successful part of the experiment for us was listening to German in the car. I have a CD of Eric Carle stories. They are not too long, about 7 minutes each. It was by far the most requested playlist in the car all summer!

Eric Carle CD

We also have a CD called Nimmersatt Singspiel by Viktor Christen, but I can’t find it anywhere online now. Froggy loved singing along with the somewhat quirky musical adaptation of the story!

Now that school is about to start, I have started opening up the boxes of English books. Froggy was so happy to have his Kids First Big Book of Space back 🙂

However, we also made a deal. My husband and I take turns putting the boys to bed (and then our au pair gets one night a week while we go out on a date night!), so I have 3 bedtimes each week. And we agreed that one of those nights would be a German night. So the experiment continues….