Ampelmännchen

In the eastern parts of Germany the symbol that tells you when to cross the road is called an Ampelmann.

He is very beloved!

Here are some we saw in Leipzig.

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There are now even some Ampelmädchen in some of the cities.  Here are some we saw in Dresden.

 

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School in Germany

It is HOT! in Europe in the moment.  It’s probably hard for you to believe while it is cold in Sydney just now.  But even their hot weather isn’t as unpleasant as our really hot Sydney summer days.

I met some Year 5 students here who wanted to know if we have “Hitzefrei” (heat-free) when it gets too hot.  At their school, if the temperature goes above 30 degrees celsius, school is canceled.  Can you imagine that?  We would hardly go to school! They can’t believe that we don’t have Hitzefrei, or how hot it gets for us.  But they were glad to hear that we have air conditioning at our school (they don’t).

The students had many questions about school, and as I showed them photos, they couldn’t believe our uniforms!

Everywhere we go, people are astounded that we have been able to pull our children out of school, as German regulations around this are very strict – the maximum extra time you can take your child out of school is 2 days, and they cannot adjoin holidays. You have to seek permission and have a very good reason!  Police go to the airports on the last day of school, and if parents can’t produce the child’s report (issued on the last day), they receive massive fines for breaking these laws.

Austria’s rules are not quite as strict as Germany’s.  They are allowed to have a maximum of 1 week out of school, and permission is sought from the Government to do this.

German children have so much more independence and much more is expected of them.  School starts by 8, and is usually finished by 11.30.  There are no casual teachers, so teachers are not replaced if a teacher is absent (at least in upper primary and high school).  Many schools put their timetable online, and students can check in the morning to see what their lessons are, and if any are canceled.  They are expected to do some work on their own, or go home and come back again. High school starts from Year 5 onwards.

In Year 5, students learn German and English and 1 other language!!!, the level of proficiency is impressive, because they have at least 5 lessons a week of their other languages, so everyone has the opportunity to become fluent.

Students pass a “walk to school test” at around Year 2 age.  They receive their “Walk to School Licence” – then they are expected to walk to school on their own, and many will be allowed to walk home alone (even if their parents are not at home yet).

There is an after-school program for younger students whose parents work.

Schools also conduct bike riding lessons, and when the students are ready, the police assess whether they pass and receive their Licence.

In the towns and cities, there are so many aspects of life like this, that mean it’s easy to lead an active, healthy lifestyle.

 

What do you think about all the things that are different?  Which things do you prefer? The German way or the Australian way?

Ostereierbaum!

Easter Egg Tree

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In Germany many people decorate a tree outside, or a branch inside with Easter eggs.

It is to celebrate the change from Winter, when everything is bare and grey, to Spring when everything is green, and the flowers bloom.

 

Lots of shops are selling the eggs for hanging on your tree.  They can be made from plastic, glass, ceramic, or china.  You can also make them yourself by blowing the egg out of the shell and painting them, but these are fragile.

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I have seen some in gardens when I have walked around the villages.

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Germany – See : Think : Wonder

Year 4 has been solving a jigsaw puzzle of the states of Germany, it’s trickier than it looks, and it has loads of illustrations which tell us interesting things about Germany.

Here are our thoughts from our See : Think : Wonder response to the map.

SEE (some of the things we’ve seen in the illustrations)

  • fish, animals
  • giant scissors
  • the Rhine / Rhein
  • Nürnberg
  • an Eiffel Tower
  • country called Germany
  • places in Germany
  • weird man in Freiburg
  • picture of beer
  • some names of states
  • Cathedral
  • food
  • animals / farms
  • people
  • castles
  • boat
  • buildings
  • instruments (musical)
  • stalls / markets
  • snowflakes
  • axes
  • names of places
  • statues
  • Porsche Factory
  • Berlin Church / Cathedral
  • Wheat
  • Cranes
  • Sausages
  • Lots of soccer teams
  • Knights & Horses
  • German words
  • Mountains
  • Rivers

 

THINK (why we think they are there)

  • To show what the things are
  • To show people what it looks like
  • it looks like little continents
  • the places are very old
  • I think there is a church in München
  • They are the important things

 

WONDER (what we wonder / want to know)

  • I wonder what the map would look like in colour
  • are they states
  • are they countries or states?
  • Who are the people
  • How old is it?

 

We will use our ideas to construct some investigation questions about Germany in our mini Research unit.

 

German States 1815

This week we are exploring what “Germany” was like before it became Germany.

You will be given some maps, and you’ll need to draw some different things on them, to help you understand how Germany and other nations, have changed over time.

The challenges, and the links are listed below!

 

Challenge:  What was there before Germany?

German States, 1815.  The link is here.

Draw the shape of these states on your current map of Germany.

Prussia is a German state as well.  Include it, but show in a different colour.

The key on the map will help you understand how big Germany was, and which parts were Prussian.

Challenge:  Why become one nation?

Read the paragraph underneath the map.  Answer the questions on your sheet.

What do you think these words mean:

  • Nationalism
  • Alliances

They were important factors in both WW1, and WW2.  We will talk about them more soon!

Challenge:  German Empire 1871

Read the information on your sheet, and look at the map here

Compare it to the original map you drew – what has changed.  Use a different colour to show the lands that Bismarck took over.