Kling, Glöckchen!

I’m teaching a Christmas lesson in Pre-K/Kindergarten tomorrow morning. I like to bring in some of my favorite German Christmas things. This year I’m keeping it simple. So I’ll bring in just a few things:

  • der Nussknacker (nutcracker)
  • der Hampelmann (jumping jack)
  • das Lebkuchenherz (gingerbread heart)
  • der Räuchermann (smoker)
  • das Adventskalender (advent calendar)

Last year we received a musical advent calendar from our Swiss au pair’s family. You open a little door and press the button and get a song! And there is a switch on the back, so you can choose between German and English carols. It’s called Der klingende Adventskalender.

I’m going to read a sweet book about being together to celebrate. It’s called Frohe Weihnachten, kleiner Elch by Anne-Kristin zur Brügge (Oetinger, 2016).

Frohe Weihnachten, kleiner Elch

Then I’m going to teach them the song “Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling”. I thought I would teach them just that much to begin. We’ll see if they can catch on to the rest!

We’ll craft some jingle bells, because you can’t sing that song without some jingle bells!

2016-12-16-09-08-39

You can find the simple instructions in this post.

I’ll send them home with a coloring page that has the words to the song.

Kling Glöckchen coloring page-GitA

You can download the PDF here: Kling Glöckchen coloring page GitA

 

Teaching Colors with Elmar dem Elefanten

I’ve had a hard time teaching colors to my pre-K/kindergarten class in the past. I needed a book that had something of a story to hold the children’s interest and more importantly, I needed a color song.

For the book, I am going to try out Elmar mag alle Farben by David McKee (Thienemann-Esslinger, 2015). (If you are familiar with these books in English, you’ll notice that the spelling is different: Elmer with an “e” in English, Elmar with an “a” in German.)

It’s very simple, which I really like. But it isn’t just page after page of Elmar mag rot … Elmar mag blau … und, und, und. It isn’t exactly a story, but each set of pages tells a kind of mini story. For example: “Der Schneemann ist weiß. Sein lila Schal hält ihn warm.” Nice and simple, but still interesting.

Elmar mag alle Farben

Before I get to the book, however, I need to introduce the colors. I made a rainbow out of felt pieces that stack on top of each other. That way, I can introduce each color individually, but I can also stack them up to make my rainbow. Now if only I had remembered to get myself a felt board! I’ll have to improvise a little here 🙂

I still have not found a simple song to teach the colors. So I finally came up with my own! It’s to the tune of “Ten Little Indians” and just repeats the colors:

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). I’ll keep my felt rainbow out to point to the colors as we sing it. Easy peasy!

I always end with a book and then an activity – usually a coloring sheet. So I made up a very simple checkered Elmar coloring page to include all six colors.

 

Elmar Farben GitA-page-001

Each of the colored crayons points to a box to color in, so that Elmar ends up looking like a checkered rainbow.

You can download the coloring page here: Elmar Farben GitA

Viel Spaß!

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 heiße…” 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 🙂  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 🙂  And just look! All of the children had already worked some magic! I never told them what Guten Morgen or Ich heiße 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 Goldlöckchen (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.

Halloween in der Lesestunde

We celebrate Halloween a little early in story hour last week! I don’t think the children minded 🙂

We actually read four books, because I just couldn’t decide on three!

  • Die neugierige kleine Hexe by Lieve Baeten (Oetinger, 2003)
  • Pip und Posy: Das Gruselmonster by Axel Scheffler (Carlsen, 2015)
  • Für Hund und Katz ist auch noch Platz by Axel Scheffler (Beltz & Gelberg, 2017)
  • Wir sind Dreieck, Kreis, Quadrat by Felicitas Horstschäfer (Velber, 2012)

Why did we read a song about shapes that has nothing to do with Halloween?? Read on! You’ll see… 🙂

And of course we sang songs:

  • “Morgens früh um sechs”
  • “Ich bin die kleine Hexe” from Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder
  • “Die winzig kleine Spinne”

To introduce “Morgens früh um sechs” I brought in a large cardboard clock. We didn’t focus on telling time – the children are much too young for that. But I used it to count up to 12. When we sang “kleine Hexe” we just had to ride our brooms around the room! And we used the colors of the children’s shoes to decide which colors the witch was wearing in the songs. And we went around 7 times – one for each child! For “kleine Spinne” we didn’t just sing about an itsy-bitsy spider. We also sang about a great big spider! Download the lyrics below for the other version.

You can download the lyrics here: Lieder Halloween GitA

We ended with a pumpkin craft. I found orange paper plates (at Target) to be our pumpkins. To make the faces, we used … what else? SHAPES! In the past I have used craft punches to make triangles, circles, and squares out of black paper. Then the children glued the shapes to the pumpkins. This year, however, I happened to find a box of foam shape stickers, so I snatched them up! The children had fun choosing their shapes and creating their pumpkins!

How do you celebrate Halloween … German-style?

Viel Spaß!

Hallo und guten Tag!

For years, I have been singing the same song with the Lesestunde and in the Pre-K / Kindergarten class I teach. I’ve been wanting to post about it, but I had to track down the source first!

It turns out that the woman who ran the Lesestunde while I was taking a maternity break found the song in a French book and translated it into German. No wonder I could never find it with an internet search! She was kind enough to send me images of the book and the song:

The song goes like this:

Hallo! * *  Und guten Tag! * *
Hallo! * * Und guten Tag! * *
Ich hoffe, es geht dir
Ich hoffe, es geht dir
Ich hoffe, es geht
Es geht dir gut! * *
* klatschen, stampfen, patschen (clap, stamp, pat) – zweimal

In the Lesestunde, I always start out by asking what the children would like to do: stampfen? klatschen? hüpfen? One little girl always likes to spin. Makes me dizzy, though!

When I sing it in the Montessori class, we always do the same actions in the same order: klatschen, stampfen, patschen. Right off the bat, we start learning numbers, because I’m always saying, “eins, zwei!” to make sure they don’t get too carried away. Especially with the stampfen. They love to stomp. And then it turns into jumping. We’re still working on that with the little ones 🙂

On the first day of German in the Montessori class, I start the lesson by teaching them the three actions. I made up word posters to help them learn the words:

I also send them home with a coloring page that has the words and the actions. There are two versions, but I like the one that uses the same images above.

You can download the PDF documents here:

Word posters: Begrüßungslied Wortschatzbilder GitA

Coloring pages: Begrüßungslied Malvorlage GitA

Viel Spaß!

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo

I love using songs to teach and learn language.

I also find it rather difficult to teach songs German songs to my English-speaking students. Sometimes, they are actually quite complicated!

So this year in my Pre-K/Kindergarten class, I’m trying to repeat the songs more often. A lot more often. That is a hard thing for me to do! I love a good theme and have usually planned my lessons around a theme: colors, farm animals, numbers, holidays, etc. But by planning my lessons this way, I trap myself into a place where I am constantly introducing new vocabulary, new books, and new songs!

Even at this level, it’s really important to me that the children are getting something out of the class. At the very least, that they learn words that they will understand. Even better is when I hear them saying the words … phrases … sentences! But that will not happen without some repetition.

One of the songs I love to sing is “Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo” by Karsten Glück (from Die 30 Besten Spiel und Bewegungslieder, Vol. 1). I like to use it in week 2, so that we can review the actions in our hello song: klatschen, patschen, und stampfen. I always do “stampfen” last, so that we can stay low to the ground until the end. It helps to keep the little ones more in control of their bodies, too!

So this week (week 3), we’re going to sing it again, but in conjunction with a zoo theme. (More on that soon!)

I put together a visual to introduce the song. It includes an image of a zoo, plus a small (klein) and big (groß) bear. The little bear is sleeping, while the big bear (the Mama bear, I call her) is awake.

Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo mit Bildern-page-004

In this second lesson with the song, I plan to use the image again to add some vocabulary. Something like this, that focuses on the conjugated verb “schlafen” and also adds a yes/no question.

  • Unser kleiner Bär schläft.
  • Mama Bär schläft nicht.
  • Schläft er? Schläft sie?
  • Wer schläft? – Er schläft. Sie schläft nicht.

We’ll see how it goes!

You can download the PDF of the image plus the lyrics here: Unser kleiner Bär im Zoo mit Bildern – GitA

Viel Spaß!

Herbst mit Zahlen und Farben

In story hour yesterday, we celebrated fall with numbers and colors!

I began by using the German blocks that the library has to review numbers 1 through 10.  (You can actually get the German blocks – made by Uncle Goose – on Amazon!)

We read the following books:

  • Zehn Blätter fliegen davon by Anne Möller (2008)
  • Manuel & Didi. Das große Buch der kleinen Mäuseabenteuer (“Die Laubhütte”) by Erwin Moser (2008)
  • Manuel & Didi. Das zweite große Buch der kleinen Mäuseabenteuer (“Der Apfel”) by Erwin Moser (2009)
  • Der Herbst steht auf der Leiter by Peter Hacks (2012)

And we sang the following songs:

  • “Wind” by Nena (Himmel, Sonne, Wind und Regen)
  • “Der Apfelbaum” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder) Click for youtube video
  • “Der Herbst steht auf der Leiter”

You can download the lyrics here: Herbstlieder

Then we did two activities:

The children were given a tree with numbers on it along with 10 foam leaves, also with numbers on each. With help from their mom or caregiver, the children matched the numbers from the stickers with those on the tree and stuck them in the appropriate place. Download the PDF activity here: zehn-blatter-arbeitsblatt-gita

I also gave children a simple Malen nach Zahlen coloring page of a maple leaf and the colors red, orange, and yellow. Download the coloring page here: malen-nach-zahlen-herbstblatt-gita

The older children only needed a little bit of help. And our younger friends enjoyed making their leaves extra colorful!