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??

Story Listening: Stille Nacht

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When I learned that I would be teaching German this year, I knew I wanted to tell the story of the Christmas song, “Silent Night.” I first heard the story when I was a little girl. It was one of the songs included in the TV special, John Denver and the Muppets – A Christmas Together. That is still one of my favorite Christmas albums 🙂

I bought a couple of books about the song. They are pictures books that I could also ready to my two boys (see below). But then I did a little research and found that the stories had embellished the truth a bit. But it’s such a beautiful story, that I went ahead and wrote it out as Die Legende von “Stille Nacht”. (Scroll down to read & download the story in German.)

According to the Stille Nacht Gesellschaft (Silent Night Society), the lyrics were written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr in Mariapfarr in the Lungau region of Austria. Two years later Mohr was an assistant priest in Oberndorf. Some say that the organ of the church was broken, so that they needed music for their Christmas Eve service. Whatever the reason, Mohr gave his poem to the church organist, Franz Gruber. For the Christmas Eve service in 1818, Mohr and Gruber led the choir in singing the song, while Mohr accompanied the singing on the guitar.

I called it “Part I” because I would like to add a part about how the song was spread by two singing families (the Strassers and the Rainiers) through Austria to the world. Maybe next year?

And did you know that it is the 200th anniversary of the song?! It was first performed in Oberndorf, Austria in 1818!

Here is the text of the story that I told:

Die Legende von “Stille Nacht”, Teil I

Es war kurz vor Weihnachten im Jahr 1818. Ein Mann saß in der Nicholaskirche in Oberndorf, Österreich. Der Mann hieß Joseph Mohr. Er war Pfarrer in der Nicholaskirche. Pfarrer Mohr war traurig. Die Orgel in der Kirche war kaputt. Am Weihnachtsabend wĂŒrden sie keine Musik haben. Weihnachtsabend ohne Musik? Unmöglich!

Pfarrer Mohr ging in der Nacht im Wald spazieren. Es war kalt. Der Schnee war tief. Alles war still – ganz still. Der Mond schien durch die BĂ€ume.

Als Pfarrer Mohr ging, dachte er sich ein Gedicht aus. Die Wörter kamen einfach und schnell in der stillen Nacht. Er ging nach Hause und schrieb das Gedicht auf.

Am nĂ€chsten Tag ging Pfarrer Mohr zu einem Freund, Franz Gruber. Herr Gruber war Musiker. Er spielte die Orgel in der Kirche. Pfarrer Mohr gab Herrn Gruber sein Gedicht. Er fragte: „Können Sie Musik fĂŒr das Gedicht komponieren?“ Pfarrer Mohr wollte Musik fĂŒr Gitarre und zwei Stimmen. Herr Gruber sagte: „Ja!“ und komponierte die Musik.

Am Weihnachtsabend kamen Familien um Mitternacht in die Kirche. Alle waren verwirrt. Wo war die Musik? Warum spielte Herr Gruber die Orgel nicht?

Plötzlich hörten sie eine Gitarre. Es war Pfarrer Mohr! Dann begannen er und Herr Gruber zu singen! „Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht.“ Das Lied war wunderschön. Alle waren glĂŒcklich. Herr Gruber war glĂŒcklich. Pfarrer Mohr war glĂŒcklich. Sie hatten Musik am Weihnachtsabend!

Heute hört man das Lied in der ganzen Welt!

You can download the text in German here: Die Legende von Stille Nacht – Deutsch (Word)

And here is a translation into English here: The Legend of Silent Night – English (Word)

These are two of the books I also used as inspiration:

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  • Silent Night, Holy Night by Myrna Strasser (Zonderkidz, 2004)
  • Silent Night. The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges (Eerdmans, 1997)

The second book also recounts significant stories about the song, such as when it was sung during World War I by German and British soldiers during a Christmas Eve truce. There is a lot that could be done with this song!

I did some research online to find more of the historical facts:

I told the legend in grades 3 & 4. After I finished, the children were eager to sing the song, too. I prepared the German lyrics on three pages, so that they could see them well.

You can download the PDF file of the song here: Stille Nacht Lied beibringen – GitA

GefĂŒhle: Today I feel…

We just finished our Martin’s Day activities, and I was looking for a lesson to do with the children right before Thanksgiving. I guess a topic of Thanks would have been obvious. But I have been wanting to read a favorite book with the classes, so I decided to give a lesson on feelings.

I have some feeling word posters that I made earlier this year, so I chose three of those to teach: froh (happy), mĂŒde (tired), and aufgeregt (excited).

You can download all the feeling posters for FREE here: GefĂŒhle Wortschatz Posters GitA  There are 12 feelings in all:

  • glĂŒcklich
  • traurig
  • verwirrt
  • böse
  • mĂŒde
  • aufgeregt
  • Angst haben
  • verlegen
  • enttĂ€uscht
  • nervös
  • ĂŒberrascht
  • schlecht gelaunt
  • froh

I added froh at the end, because I thought it is an easier word for younger children to say. The file includes:

  • pictures with words in just German
  • pictures with words in German and English
  • just pictures without words
  • just words

I also made a coloring page to send home. I always like to give the parents and idea of what the children learned in class.

GefĂŒhle Malvorlage - GitA-page-001

You can download that for FREE, too! GefĂŒhle Malvorlage – GitA

Okay, so after we talk about those three feelings – and whatever other feelings come up! – I am going to read Kaninchen ist sooo mĂŒde by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Beltz & Gelberg, 2000). It’s a sweet little lift-the-flap book from the creators of Der Gruffalo.

Kaninchen ist sooo mude

It ends with the rabbit’s friends singing “Der Mond ist aufgegangen.” So of course, we’ll end class with that song!

Martinstag Lied / Martin’s Day Song

I have big plans for Martin’s Day this year at school! Since I am teaching all the way up through 4th grade, I thought it was time to do a parade. That means that the children need to learn the songs!

So I made up some posters to help them learn the words to “Laterne, Laterne”. Last week, I used the word cards to teach the first four words. (You can find out more about how I used them last year in the post Martinstag in the Classroom, and you can download the cards in the post Der gute Martin.)

Now this week it’s time for them to learn the rest of the song.

You can download the posters for FREE here: Laterne Laterne Lied GitA

I made up some posters for teaching “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne” but the images I found are copyrighted, so I can’t share them. However, there is a great coloring page that you can find at Teddylingua.

Story Listening: Goldlöckchen

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This week’s story was Goldilocks. Even though it is a story that is familiar to the children, it still works great for Story Listening. There is something comfortable about knowing the story and being able to predict what is coming next.

1st & 2nd Grade:

We sang a new song in class: the German version of “Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes.” In German, you sing “foot” instead of “toes.” It goes like this:

Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß, Knie und Fuß
Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß, Knie und Fuß
Augen, Ohren, Nase und Mund
Kopf, Schulter, Knie und Fuß, Knie und Fuß

(That funny letter in “Fuß” is called an Eszett and is basically a double “s.”)

Sometimes it is hard to sing a song that you already know in another language! So we’ll keep working on it 🙂

3rd & 4th Grade:

We have been working on colors the past two weeks. So we added some new ones: schwarz, weiß, braun, grau, & rosa (black, white, brown, gray, & pink).

Although I shouldn’t really say “working,” because mostly we are having fun with these words! The children love to play games, so we played a round of “Ich habe …, Wer hat…?” (I have, Who has?). (I got the game here.)

And we played their favorite game: Ja oder Nein. I hold up a color and ask if they like it (in German, of course). If the answer is yes, they say, “Ja!” and move to one side of the room. If the answer is no, they say, “No!” and move to the other side of the room. We have had to add in der Mitte (in the middle) for those who can’t quite make up their minds 🙂

Goldilocks is available on The Great Story Reading Project 🙂

Story Listening: Eine Reise

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This week’s story was taken from an easy ready called Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel. You may also know him from his Frog and Toad stories. I really enjoy his humor 🙂 Alas, humor does not always translate well, and the kids didn’t quite get the punchline. But it was still a good story.

The story is called “A Journey.” It is about a mouse who wants to visit his mother (I changed it to grandmother). Along the way, he encounters all kinds of challenges, but there is always someone on the side of the road selling something – roller skates, boots, sneakers – to help him on his way. When at last he can’t go one more step, there is a person at the side of the road selling … feet! He buys them and puts them on and makes it all the way to dear grandmother’s house!

So telling a joke in a foreign language can be tricky! Even after I explained it in English, the kids didn’t seem to quite understand. Because, really, you can’t just take off your feet and put on new ones!

Nevertheless, the story had some rich vocabulary, and we had fun with it.

I’m using the same story in grades 1 – 4, since they are all beginners. Somehow, each lessons is always a little different….

Grades 1 & 2:

I started the lessons with a little TPR to get the “wiggles” out. It’s kind of like Simon Says. This week, we did a series about washing hands and then sang the song “HĂ€nde waschen”. (You can listen to the song in this YouTube clip.)

I also used a counting rhyme – like eeny meeny miney mo – to invite the children to the rug for our story. It just happens to correspond with the story, because it talks about taking off and putting on shoes!

Eine kleine Mickymaus
zog sich mal die Schuhe aus,
zog sie wieder an,
und du bist dran!

Grade 3:

We had a little scheduling confusion, so the lesson was shorter today. We only got to sing our hello song and hear the story. But that is the most important part of the lesson anyway! We’ll play games again next week 🙂

Grade 4:

Because of the scheduling confusion, the 4s actually had a longer lesson. Since they had decided to pick new German names, I handed out name tags for each of them, and we did a little Q&A about who was who.

We also played a game based on the food from the Hungry Caterpillar lesson. It was a simple game of “I have, who has”. I made up the cards to have everything they needed to say in German. We played two rounds of it, and they improved so quickly! Here is a sample of the cards:

You can download the PDF of the card game here: kleine Raupe Ich habe Wer hat – GitA

They wanted to play our yes or no game again, so we played that, too. I just held up a card an asked who like each food. If they liked it, they said “ja” and went to one side of the room. If they didn’t like it, they said “nein” and went to the other side of the room.

Story Listening: The Hungry Caterpillar

Today was my first day teaching a full schedule! Well, I’ll be teaching 6 classes, once a week, to grades pre-K through 4th. It’s a big change from just the one pre-K/kindergarten class, though!

In grades 1 – 4, I will be using the Story Listening method. I absolutely loved the looks on my students’ faces when I told them I was going to tell them a story … ALL in German … and that they would understand it! The skepticism was palpable!

I chose a short, familiar story to start off with: Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I simplified the beginning and the end. I also changed up some of the food, choosing foods I thought most kids would eat 🙂 So on Saturday, my caterpillar eats a hamburger, French fries, pizza, pasta, a waffle, ice cream, and chocolate! That really got their attention!

But really, it didn’t take long for the students to recognize the story! I did not tell them ahead of time what the story would be. Once they guessed, I put the title (in German) on the board.

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I only have the children for 30 minutes, once a week. So I will leave some work in the classrooms for them to do during the week. For this lesson, there are two tasks.

First is a vocabulary sheet that has images and words in German. The students have to write the English word underneath. For the younger students, I created a version that has tracing words in English, since they are still learning to spell!

The second task is to create their own reader of the story. I made a booklet with the text – main words from the vocab sheets are in bold. They have to illustrate the book. I also made a finished sample to leave with the non-German-speaking teachers 🙂

Clipart credits:

kleine Raupe Wortschatz AB3,4-page-001

We did have some time after the story, so we sang “Ich habe Hunger”.

Ich habe Hunger SONGTEXT-page-002

You can download the poster from this post.

Then we played a simple game. I asked them if they liked one of the foods from the story (pointing to the board). If the answer was “yes” they went to the right of the room. If the answer was “no” they went to the left side. It was good for some movement, and they enjoyed it!

Download the vocabulary worksheet for FREE: Die kleine Raupe Wortschatz GitA

Due to copyright issues I have not provided the booklet for download.