Goldilocks and … Two Firsts for Me!

For the very first time, I taught in Froggy’s 1st & 2nd grade class! And for the very first time, I used a method of language teaching called Story Listening (SL). You can read all about the method at the Stories First website. It was a total success! I’m so thrilled!

I had the children for a whole hour!

As I entered the group, I said, “Guten Morgen,” and repeated it. To my delight, the children chimed right in! Then we went right into “Ich hei√üe…” Again, they were ready to repeat! We practiced the “ch” sound. Then we started again. The only thing was, they repeated my whole sentence, including my name ūüôā¬† So we straightened that out, and I went around the room, asking each child’s name. I started with the 4 children who had been in my German class in Pre-K/Kindergarten. I figured they would be more comfortable with saying the phrase, and they could also be a good model for the other children.

Next, I talked to the children about magic. Yup. Magic. To me, speaking a foreign language is a lot like making magic! It’s like cracking a code. Or knowing a secret – the good kind of secret ūüôā¬† And just look! All of the children had already worked some magic! I never told them what Guten Morgen or Ich hei√üe meant. But of course, they knew. Then I told them I was going to teach them some more magic a little later….

Then I taught them the hello song. I used my word posters to teach them the actions: klatschen, stampfen, patschen. And we counted to 2. We talked about doing the actions quietly, so the classroom below us didn’t think there’s a herd of elephants – or a thunderstorm – upstairs! And then I asked them if I was showing them the right word, so they could practice ja and nein. Finally, it was time to sing the song!

Next it was time for the children to be magicians! Because I was going to tell them a story.

A whole story, all in German!

I asked them to listen with their ears and watch with their eyes, and just relax and take it all in.

Of course, we needed our magic words to start the story: Es war einmal…

I had practiced telling a simplified story of¬†Goldl√∂ckchen (Goldilocks). As you tell the story, you draw pictures on the board and write the word in German (L2) underneath it. You can use other tools from the SL toolkit (on their website), too, like gestures and antonyms to help with comprehension. The children were right with me, the whole time! Here’s what the board looked like when I was finished:

2017-10-27 11.42.07

Of course, by the time I had finished, the kids were a little restless. Time for some movement! So we played a game of Simon sagt! We used the verbs from the hello song (klatschen, stampfen, patschen) plus the verbs from our story: essen, spazieren gehen, rennen, einschlafen, aufwachen. It was a big hit!

Then I had handouts for the children to do. I had come up with 5 ideas, and the teachers liked them all, so we made up packets for them to do. The first and second-graders got different ones, based on difficulty.

You can download the handouts here: Goldlöckchen Arbeitsblätter GitA

The Stories First website also has a collection of stories for various languages and levels in the Great Story Reading Project. You do have to register to gain access.

Shape Resources

For our shape unit, we’ll be using some materials I bought a few years ago on TeachersPayTeachers.com. It was created by Open Wide the World, who has a number of German-language units. In fact, the weather unit I used last month was also created by them.

shapes-open-wide-the-world

The unit costs only $3.50, and you can purchase it here. And here’s what you get:

posters
a single page display featuring all 10 shapes
10 individual posters, one shape & shape name per page

game cards
“Bang!” game cards & directions
3 sets of flashcards for games & drill work: 1 set with shapes and shape names, 1 set with shape images only, 1 set with shape names only

2 mini books
1/4-page sized mini book: trace the shape name and draw the shape
1/2-page sized mini book: fill in the blank with the shape name, color the image, and read aloud with a partner (level = emergent reading, repetitive sentence structure)

word search
includes answer key

I’m excited to start using all these colorful materials!

Weather Plan: Week 3

Froggy is still into weather, so we’re continuing with the topic. I have to admit, I haven’t gotten to work on my own materials much lately. So I’m still relying on some great resources I’ve found online.

I do have a couple of ideas up my sleeve, though! I found some fun books related to Weather and want to create some worksheets to go with them.

We also had an idea for a super fun project! We’re going to do a weather comparison for some familiar places. Well, sort of familiar. We’ll be comparing our own weather in Philadelphia with Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (where our 3 au pairs are from!) along with the Netherlands (where PER is from, and where Oma & Opa still live). More on that soon….

For now, here is what we’ve been up to this week:

  • Day 1:
    • A quick weather worksheet that also provided an opportunity to talk about dates (Datum) and seasons. The season part was easy enough, but we had to talk about the words Datum and Monat. Nonetheless, he zipped through it quickly, which was perfect for a tired Monday afternoon. The worksheet was a page from an entire German online workbook from Lehrmittelperlen. I think we’ll be using the rest of it for other topics, too! (Lehrmittelperlen is a site full of German teaching resources that costs about ‚ā¨20 per year.)

2017-01-30-17-18-50

  • Day 2
    • Today we read a simple book: Elmar mag jedes Wetter by David McKee (translated from English; Thienemann, 2016). I made up a worksheet to go with it. See my post for the details and download!
  • Day 3-5
    • Time to start a weather project! We are going to record the weather in our town (Philadelphia), Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. I’m working on a document for our recordings. I’ll post it as soon as it’s been tested and ready to go! The plan is to record the weather for a month and then graph our findings. We’ll see how it goes! I’d be happy with a week, I suppose!

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
  • ‚ÄúAus dem Fenster‚ÄĚ 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.

 

A Little More for “Martinstag”

I was in the Pre-K/Kindergarten class today. I just love sharing the stories of St. Martin with the children. In a Montessori-based school where the principles of peace and respect are not only taught, but practiced on a daily basis, the kindness and generosity of the St. Martin story fit in beautifully.

This year, I had a new tool for telling the story. I ordered a set of Bildkarten (picture cards) called St. Martin feiern mit Emma und Paul – Bildkarten f√ľr unser Erz√§hltheater. The cards are nice and big (DIN-A3: 11.7 x 16.5 inches), and the images are simple and clear. I didn’t use all of the cards, but chose a few to talk about Martin cutting his cloak in two to share with the beggar, the children crafting lanterns and then parading at night in the town square. There are also some images to show Paul dropping his Martinsmann cookie and Emma breaking her own cookie in two to share with Paul. Very sweet!

The books I have for Martinstag have quite a bit of text. They work fine for story hour, where the children come from German-speaking families. However, I really liked the format of having large pictures to show while I explained the story, simply and in English.

martinstag-bildkarten

After teaching the words to “Laterne, Laterne,” the children made their paper lanterns – with some help from the two teachers and myself. We were glad to have some tape on hand, as a few of the children didn’t quite get the instruction not to cut all the way through! One of the teachers gave the useful tip that cutting the strips in the lanterns is very much like cutting fringe – a work they do regularly in the classroom.

As the children finished their lanterns, they took a seat on the rug until everyone was finished. Then we sang the song as we paraded through the classroom and out into the hall. The principal and several other staff members came out to see where the singing was coming from. She said it sounded like little angels!

If you missed the post on the lantern instructions or the vocabulary cards to help teach the song, click here to go back and take a look!

How do you help the children celebrate Martinstag? I’d love to hear!

Space Game

In another attempt to use more German with Froggy, we’ve started a German “date” after school on Mondays. Last week, we went to a cafe for some hot chocolate (even though it was early May, it was still unusually chilly!) and sat at a big table to play a space game.

I found the game on the site Lehrmittel Perlen. I haven’t used the site too much yet, but it has an awful lot of materials. (You do have to pay an annual fee of about¬†‚ā¨20 in order to download materials.)

This Space Game (Spiel mit Weltraumwörtern) comes with cards that include an image an description of the following terms:

  • Sonne
  • Milchstra√üe
  • Mond
  • Sternbild
  • Teleskop
  • Asteroiden
  • Astronomie
  • Planeten

There is also a set of cards in black-and-white with the image, word, and space for children to write.

The game itself is simple, yet fun. Print out the game board and mini cards with the same images. Cut up the mini cards. Use a game piece (also included as a mini card, but rather large for the game board, so I may just use one of our own game pieces next time) to move around the board. Draw cards to see which space to move to. And of course, have the child say the word that goes with the picture! But watch out – if you get a star, you must go to that colored star, even if it means moving backward!

Weltraumwoerterspiel

Froggy really enjoyed the game, and he was using all the space words!

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