Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sankt Nikolaus Day – Dec. 6!

One of the advantages of living in a country foreign to our culture brings the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy their holidays!  Just as Halloween is uncommon to the German community – Sankt Nikolaus Day is not very familiar to us as well. 

This coming Friday, December 6th is Sankt Nikolaus Day. Before German children go to bed on the 5th of December, they put a shoe by the door. They believe that during the night, St. Nikolaus comes to put a little treat, such as a chocolate candy, fruits, or nuts in their shoes. In some German houses "St. Nikolaus" comes in the evening and checks his big book, the golden crozier to see if the children have been good or naughty throughout the year before he gives them presents, coal, or sticks. One of the children gets to hold his golden staff.  Sankt Nikolaus then asks the children if they have behaved, do they do their homework, do they clean their room. Nikolaus then hands out the treats or coal and leaves quickly as he has many places to visit.  He is sometimes accompanied by his companion, Knecht Rupecht.  In The Netherlands the children are visited by Sinterklaas.

 As part of our Host Nation program our Host Nation teacher works with the children to create boots that are brought back to the classroom.  We then fill their boots with a candy cane or sticks!  As we get ready to enjoy the treats from Sankt Nikolaus, we look forward to the start of the festive holiday season here in Germany. 
The following link is for a Sankt Nikolaus candy wrapper.
        coal – Rice krispy treats with black food dye.
Centers Activities this week:

Sankt Nikolaus boot

Sankt Nikolaus

Pattern block ornaments
Care for the Sankt Nikolaus boot pattern?  Here you go!
Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving and Sight Words!

The remoteness of living overseas can be a bit challenging and lonely during the holiday season.     I remember feeling blessed for having the opportunity to live overseas yet feeling I could no longer keep my American traditions.   I vividly recall celebrating my first Thanksgiving (25+ years) after moving overseas, thinking that my German neighbors would probably not be celebrating Thanksgiving.  When that realization sunk in I began to feel a bit apprehensive. Could we still celebrate Thanksgiving overseas and make things feel "just right" if turkeys and cornucopias weren't on display in the German shops?

Thankfully, the answer was yes. Now 25 years later, we have found ways to take on the American Thanksgiving tradition and share a meal with our American friends and co-workers.  We have also opened our home to single soldiers.  This one has been fun!.  One of our fondest memories was gathering with our friends from various Germans towns and meeting up in Berlin to fly to Russia to spend our Thanksgiving in Moscow.  But my fondest memory and now our tradition is to spend Thanksgiving in London and meet up with family and friends  who join us from the states to enjoy  a “real” American turkey and dressing dinner that you can always find in London!  They gladly open their doors to Americans and have the turkey simmering in the oven and waiting for the Americans to invade their city.   

 Finally, it may not occur to you to invite your local neighbors that aren't Americans. This opportunity to share your own culture and traditions with your local (German) neighbors should not be missed. After all, Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks. I know I am thankful for my friends and neighbors overseas, regardless of their nationality. They make this "home" feel like “home is where the heart is” for me!  Yes I am thankful for “home” no matter where I am.

Centers this week:


Check out my new Thanksgiving Unit


Sight Words:

I had to throw this in since it’s November and most kinders are steadily moving along with learning those sight words (power words); however, there’s one or two who are just not ready!  I would love to hear what you do to get those sight words learned!

I decided to create “Word Wizards” who earn this title by learning their sight words!  There are different levels depending on the number of words learned.  I created a colored shirt and added an iron on word list.  If the kinders learn word list #1 then they earn the privilege of wearing a yellow shirt.  Word list 2 earns them the orange shirt; word list 3 earns them the red shirt and so forth.  A “Word Wizard” has the duties of leading us in our daily Smart Board lessons.  They also help other children with their word work and literacy centers.  It builds their confidence as they see that they now have “power” over those words that may have been difficult to learn!  Would love to hear more ideas on a challenging topic!



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Teaching Without Borders!

With the growing changes in our 21st century educational system, more and more teachers are turning to using social media for creative ways to help bring about these changes in the classroom.  Why not? Social media offers many opportunities for collaboration.  It also allows for global communication and the sharing of new ideas and resources – all in one place.  But for us overseas it’s also another way to bridge the distance from our American colleagues and peers across the pond.   This is where you come in. 
Mrs. Ehle from Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Connections Blog has invited us to join her Twitter Team.  I met Holly in Las Vegas and absolutely fell in love with her enthusiasm and motivation for teaching!
She is using twitter as a teaching tool to communicate with other kinder classrooms around the world.  She has invited us to join her and we can’t wait!  She is taking small steps.  She has started with a simple question and eventually will build up to writing a sentence. How perfect is Twitter for kindergarten with its few characters criteria? If you want to join us simply set up a free account (if you don’t have one yet) and follow us at:
 @MrsEhle and @germanyet
It’s great to know we can tweet about our ideas on a unit, ask for opinions, send inspirational quotes, knowledge about our homes, and simply be in touch with a global classroom.  So what are you waiting for? Get those fingers typing:
Have another great week!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Educents Veteran's Day Bundle

Salute the military and celebrate our veterans with this Veteran’s Day Activity Bundle. This bundle includes four patriotic and educational products that contain tons of ideas for fun activities and great ways to foster appreciation and understanding of our military families, both in the U.S. and abroad. Make sure to incorporate these activities on Veteran’s Day, and year-round!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Honor Our Veterans!

The months of September, October and November offer many opportunities for great units to be brought into your classroom from apples and fall to Halloween and Thanksgiving. As you are preparing your units and plans, don’t forget to include the special day, Veteran’s Day!  As teachers on a military base overseas, we honor our veterans from the American perspective and the European perspective. Our veteran’s are remembered throughout Europe for the sacrifices and aide given in times of need.

Veteran’s Day is a day that children of all ages need to be aware of since it is our veterans who have helped to keep our country free. Please take the time, even if it is just a short discussion/lesson, to recognize and honor these Americans and all they have done for us.

Some of this week’s activities brought focus to the meaning of Veterans Day.




Here’s a great video that does a great job of explaining the difference between Memorial and Veteran’s Day (starts at 4:20).
Feel free to visit thebeezyteacher pinterest board for more Veterans Day ideas!

If you need some ideas, check out the great Veteran’s Day/patriotic units being offered to bring this special day to your classroom!


Have a great week!