The school year may have started a few weeks ago, but I just made Schültüten for the kids in my new German club. Luckily I only have 5 kiddos, so I didn’t have to make too many 😅

Our club is brand new. I started it, so that students could have the opportunity to continue with their German lessons in middle school (German only goes through elementary school. They switch to Spanish in middle school.)

But I digress! What is a Schültüte anyway? German children receive these colorful cones when they start 1st grade. They are filled with school supplies, small toys, and treats. I filled mine with:

  • German stickers (on sale at the craft store!)
  • pins that say “Deutsch ist wunderBÄR” & some other promotional postcards (from the AATG store) – the pin is already on Hippo’s backpack, so it’s not picture in the image below
  • small bags of Gummibärchen (some from AATG, some from Target)
  • mini RitterSport chocolates (I picked these up last time I was in Europe)
  • pencils and pens (from Teacher’s Discovery).
  • mini German flags (also from the AATG store)

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Even though my club kiddos are not just starting school, I thought they would enjoy getting a taste of this fun tradition. So I made small versions of the colorful cones using 12×12-inch printed cardstock. (If you’d like to make one yourself, you can find a link to a tutorial in this post. By using patterned cardstock, I eliminated the step of wrapping poster board in wrapping paper.)

The kids were very excited to receive their Schultüten. I made them wait until they got home to open them with their families 🙂

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The summer is officially over. What a whirlwind it’s been for us! Packing … traveling … moving in to our new house. I’m still kind of swimming in boxes, but they will take a back seat as school begins – not only for Froggy & Hippo, but for me as well!

This year I will be teaching SIX classes at our Montessori school!! In addition to Hippo’s pre-K/kindergarten class, I’ll add on the other two pre-K/kindergarten classes. Then I will also be teaching grades 1-4. (1 & 2 will be combined into one class; 3 & 4 will split.) So I am busy lesson-planning for my first day next week!

In addition to teaching in the classroom, we are setting up our own little German classroom in the new house. Our kitchen table has been declared a food-free zone! Instead, it will be where the boys do work – especially in German 🙂

We have a new au pair from Austria with us this year. I chose her specifically, because she wants to be a teacher. We plan to work together to create lessons for the boys. Only, I don’t just want to make lesson plans. Instead, I want to set up our kitchen space as a mini-Montessori classroom. If you’ve ever been in one of these brilliantly designed rooms, you’ll see a wide range of “works” that the children can select (after they’ve had a lesson in it) and mostly do on their own.

I thought if we put out different kinds of German activities that the kids can easily see and rotate them periodically, they might actually WANT to do some German work. And of course, they won’t really see it as work – it’s more like play!

Nevertheless, we’ll be starting up some letter work again this year. I wonder if we’ll ever get through the alphabet??? This is attempt #3 (sigh). But they still like it and are looking forward to starting next week.

Here is my new plan for this year:

We will work with the book Lesen Lernen von A bis Z by Ingo Gulde. Each chapter introduces a handful of letters. For example, chapter 1 is A – M – O – P.  We will do a letter a week, then after those four weeks, we’ll spend a week on the chapter.

Back to School Traditions: Schultütte

Summer is really winding down. My boys go back to school right after Labor Day.

This is a big year for us: our little Hippo is starting school for the first time! He’ll be in preschool three mornings a week. And so it’s time to make a German Schultütte!!

The Schultütte is a wonderful German tradition for the first day of school. It’s a large, colorful cone filled with all kinds of goodies to celebrate that big day. You can put whatever you like into it. Maybe school supplies, stickers, a small toy, candy, or whatever your little one is into!

Froggy got one on the first day of preschool and the first day of kindergarten.

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I can’t remember exactly what we put in the Schultütte. Probably some crayons, pencils, erasers, stickers. I think there were some magnetic letters, a balloon, a maze book, and a small Lego toy, too.

This year, I thought I would enlist Froggy’s help in filling the Schultütte for Hippo. I plan to take him to Target next week and see what we can find. The red dot section is especially good for finding those small, inexpensive treats. The Dollar Store would be a good idea, too. We already picked out a small Lego toy for him: it’s a “Bagger” – one of his favorite things to spot while we’re out driving. And yes, he always says it in German  🙂

I found a great blog post with instructions on making the Schultütte and use it again and again each year. It only takes about 20-30 minutes. And you need just a few supplies – perhaps you already have them in the house: poster board, wrapping paper, tissue paper, tape/glue/staples, scissors, and of course the goodies to put in the Schultütte! The first part of cutting the poster board is a bit tricky until you start to do it  🙂 Check out the comments on the post for a few more tips.


Hippo got his first Schultütte the day before school started. It was such a hit!

It was almost as big as he is! I was even able to reuse last year’s from Froggy 🙂  Just put on fresh tissue paper! Inside, he found crayons, pencils, colored pencils, a pencil case, glue stick, child scissors, stickers, car, toothbrush, dinosaur workbook, bouncy ball, and a small Lego “Bagger”. Lots of fun!