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Detailed Lesson Plan Preparation

Elementary Education
Name: Marlee Mattson
Title: Traditions Around the World: Christmas in Germany
Grade: First Grade
Concept/Topic: Social Studies
Time Needed: 45 minutes

Note: A detailed lesson plan is specific enough for another teacher to read and
teach effectively. There should not be any question regarding what to do or how
to do it.

Where are you going with your students?

Identify Desired Results/Learning Outcome/Essential Question:
The desired learning outcome is that after this lesson has been taught the students will
have a better understanding of the traditions involved in the celebrating of Christmas in
Germany. They will learn where these Christmas traditions occur, how Christmas is
celebrated, who celebrates Christmas, when they celebrate it, and why they celebrate
it. These desired results will be reached by using multiple different engaging
components. The lesson will begin with the students standing out in the hallway waiting
on their airplane to arrive and be welcomed to Germany. Then, the students will be
asked by the greeter to all remove one of their shoes and leave it outside the door as
they enter the classroom. By the end of the lesson, St. Nicholas will have visited and left
a small treat in each of their shoes. This is a way for each student to get to have a
firsthand experience with a tradition that is a part of Christmas in Germany. The lesson
on the carpet will begin with the students telling me anything that they may already
know about Germany. Then, they will begin learning all about where Germany is on a
map through using the SmartFile that was created and then using that new information
to find it on a globe. The students will also have to think through ideas of if Germany is
near or far, how we would have to travel to get there, and what continent their country
is a part of. Then, we will discuss the official language of this country and get the
chance to hear the language in a video clip. After we discuss the basics of this country
and its culture, we will begin discussing how they celebrate Christmas in their country.
The class will learn about the reason that Christmas is celebrated. Then, we will discuss
many different traditions during this time and each one will have a specific resource
that helps to further develop the students understanding. For example, there are video
clips about the Nutcracker, which help the students to visually see how they celebrate

their traditions. Also, throughout the SmartFile are images of many different traditions of
Christmas in Germany. The lesson will be wrapped up by creating a paper plate
Christmas tree that uses buttons and ribbons to trim the tree, which they learned
about these specific decorations during the lesson.
Essential Question:
Why do people celebrate traditions?
What are some ways that different cultures celebrate their traditions?
Targeted Standards:
-1.C.1 Understand the diversity of people in the local community.
-1.V.1 Use the language of visual arts to communicate effectively.
-1.V.1.2 Create original art that expresses ideas, themes, and events.
-1.V.3 Create art using a variety of tools, media, and processes, safely and
-1.V.3.3 Use the processes of drawing, painting, weaving, printing, stitchery, collage,
mixed media, sculpture, and ceramics to create art.
-1.CX.1 Understand the global, historical, societal, and cultural contexts of the visual
-1.CX.1.1 Recognize how visual arts are used in customs and traditions of various

Assessment Plan:

There are multiple components of assessment during this lesson. The time spent on the
carpet will serve as an initial assessment as I ask questions throughout the lesson. The
discussion throughout the lesson will also be assessing the students understanding and
will allow the teacher to see what needs more support and more focused instruction.
After the formal lesson on the carpet, the students will be showing what they have
learned about trimming a tree and the ways they do this in Germany at
Christmastime. As they create their own trees, they will show what they have learned
and what they know about being creative and making original art that expresses
understanding. Finally, they will be filling out their Travel Journals with something that
they learned through this lesson.

Meeting the student where they are.

Prior Knowledge/Connections:
There is no prior knowledge that will be needed to learn about Christmas in Germany.
There are some students in the class that celebrate Christmas in their homes and they
will be able to make connections to that understanding. However, there are also a lot
of students in the class that dont celebrate Christmas, but can compare and contrast
their own traditions that they follow at home. The students will be learning new
vocabulary throughout the lesson, so previously known academic language should not
be an issue for students during this lesson. The one area that may need some prior
knowledge is in regards to making their craft at the end of the lesson. They will need to
know ways that they can create original art that expresses ideas, themes, and events.

Lesson Introduction/Hook:
The hook for this lesson will occur outside in the hallway before the students enter the
classroom after making their flight to Germany. The teacher will act as if she is a
flight attendant and welcome the students to this new country and talk about how it
must have been a long flight all the way across the ocean. Then, the students will be
asked to take off one of their shoes before they enter this new country. The teacher will
tell the students that they will learn all about why they removed one of their shoes on
their way in. This will really catch the students attention and will make them want to
learn more about this new country that they have just landed in.

Heart of the Lesson/Learning Plans

This lesson based on learning about Christmas in Germany will be taught whole-class.
There will be no differentiations for this lesson because all of the students will be given
the same specific instruction throughout the
Lesson Development:
The lesson on the carpet will begin with
having the students share anything that they
may already know by filling out an Our
Schema chart (as shown to the right.) This
will show if they have prior knowledge and
will help them to make connections
throughout the lesson.
The direct instruction aspect of the lesson will begin with geography by learning all
about where Germany is on a map. The SmartFile that was created will assist in this
teaching and will have an interactive map of the world. Also, we will use that new
information to find it on a globe. The students will also have to think through different
ideas about Germanys location.
I will say: As we are looking at the map and can see where Germany is located lets
think about where we are in relation to this new country we are learning about and
what other relationships we can see between this country and other places.
If this is North Carolina (point to location on Globe/map), are we nearby or far
away from Germany?
How are some ways that we could travel to get to this country?
What continent is Germany a part of?
Then, we will discuss the official language of this country and see that they speak in a
way that is different than us. At this time, the students will get the chance to hear the
way that the Germans language sounds by watching a short video.

After we have covered the basics of Germany in terms of location and language, we
will begin learning about why Christmas is celebrated in their country.
I will say: People in Germany that are Christians, which means they believe in a person
named Jesus Christ, celebrate a Christmas holiday that is similar to the Christmas
holiday in the U.S. Germans also celebrate the season of Advent. Advent is the time in
which Germans that are Christians are getting ready for Jesus Christs birthday.
Christmas is a holy time to celebrate his birthday and God's love for sending his son
Jesus to Earth.
There are many different traditions that Germanys have to celebrate this holy time and
the students will begin by learning about what an Advent Calendar is.
I will say: Advent starts on the first Sunday after November 26th.
Advent calendars keep
Advent calendars keep track of the 24 days to prepare for
Christmas. They come in many different shapes and sizes.
They have 25 numbers for each day. Each number is a
window and there are pockets or holes behind it to store
treats or Christmas pictures. Every day, the children open a
number door and take a treat. The students will then be given
the opportunity to click and open up some of the doors on a
virtual Advent Calendar on the SmartBoard (as shown to the
The next tradition that the students will learn about is the tradition of the German
Christmas tree.
I will say: Christmas trees are so important to Germans because the tradition of having a
Christmas tree actually began in Germany. Trimming the Christmas Tree started as a
German Tradition also, a long time ago. They started trimming it with apples, candles,
cookies, candies, nuts, cars, trains, angels, lights and fruit.
What could be another word for trimming? (Scaffold their thinking with
questions until they can reach the answer of something similar to
Are there anyways that we trim different things in our lives to celebrate
certain holidays?
Germans get their trees on Dec. 23rd. The children are not allowed to see or decorate
the tree before Christmas Eve; therefore the adults usually decorate it the night before.
It is actually believed that the tree has some mysterious spell over young eyes so all the
children must wait until December 24th to see their Christmas tree.
At this time, we will briefly discuss some of the foods that are eaten to celebrate
Christmas in Germany. There are foods like roast goose, Christmas pudding, carp, roast
goose, and spice cakes. For all of the foods discussed I will show them a picture of each
one as a visual.

Then, it will be time to learn all about St. Nicholas and why the students left one of their
shoes out in the hallway before they came in.
I will say: The story of St. Nicholas began with a man who lived over 1500 years ago.
He gave his own money and things he owned to people who were poor and didn't
have anything. When he gave to others he hid so no one knew who he was. He was
a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, which is a specific type of church that people
are a part of. He wears church robes, a miter (a tall pointed hat), has a long beard,
and carries a staff called a crozier. (As I read through these descriptions I will be
pointing to the different parts on the image of St. Nicholas so that the students can
connect these new words with a visual.) There is a day that celebrates all that he has
done and the children participate by placing their boots (or shoes) outside of their front
door on the night before. St. Nicholas goes from house to house carrying a book of all
the childrens misdeeds (ways that they have not behaved well.) If they have been
good he fills their shoes with delicious fruits, nuts, and candies. If not, he fills it with coal
or twigs.
Then, I will explain to the kids that how they act through the rest of the lesson will
determine whether St. Nicholas will decide to place a fun treat in their shoe or if he will
put coal and twigs in it instead.
*Finally, we will learn about The Nutcracker. I began this part of the lesson by asking
the students to raise their hands to show if they have ever heard of anything about this.
I will show the class a real wooden nutcracker and let them look at how it works. Then, I
will explain to them how The Nutcracker is a story that originated in Germany and has
been turned into a very popular ballet that many people go see around Christmas
time. I will then play a short video that goes through various parts of the ballet and
shows them how fun and exciting the ballet is.
Then, we will talk about the specifics of the Nutcracker. I will ask the class if anyone has
ever heard of the word composer. I will explain that a composer* is a person who
writes music. Then, I will show a picture of Tchaikovsky and have the students practice
pronouncing his name with me. I will play short clips of different songs from his work of
music including: The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fair, The Arabian Dance, and The
Waltz of Flowers.
Current Event: At this time, I will show a video of the 2014 National Christmas Tree
Lighting that occurs here in Washington, DC. I will discuss with the sttudents how there
are some similarities between how Christmas is celebrated in Germany and how it is
celebrated here in the United States. We will discuss the idea of trimming the tree in
Germany and decorating the tree here in the United States. This will allow the

students to make a connection between their own country and another country in the

After the video, we will review the material to assess the students understanding of the
information that they have just learned throughout the lesson. I will ask questions such
Where is Germany?
What continent is this country located on?
Is Germany close to North Carolina?
What are some ways that we could travel to Germany?
What languages are spoken in Germany?
What foods are eaten in Germany?
What do Germans use to countdown to Christmas?
What is the Nutcracker?
What is a composer?
Who was the composer for music from the Nutcracker?
Why do Germans celebrate Christmas?
How do they celebrate Christmas?
What do Germans eat at Christmastime?
What does it mean to trim a Christmas tree?
**The students will create their own German Christmas tree and trim the tree with the
provided materials.
I will say: You had a big day traveling all the way to Germany! I dont want you forget
all about your trip, so we are going to work on a craft to help you remember the
tradition Christmas in Germany. You will be creating your own German Christmas tree
by using materials that are provided to trim the tree.
Does anyone remember what it means to trim a Christmas tree?
The students will then be given independent working time to complete their craft. Then,
we will share the variety of different ways that students trimmed their trees by doing a
gallery walk of all the students getting to see their peers completed work.
Specific Questioning:
Where is Germany?
What continent is this country located on?
Is Germany close to North Carolina?
What are some ways that we could travel to Germany?
What languages are spoken in Germany?
What foods are eaten in Germany?
What do Germans use to countdown to Christmas?
What is the Nutcracker?
What is a composer?

Who was the composer for music from the Nutcracker?

Why do Germans celebrate Christmas?
How do they celebrate Christmas?
What do Germans eat at Christmastime?
What does it mean to trim a Christmas tree?

Tradition: A time to celebrate something or someone
Advent- the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas
Trimming- the act of using objects and food to decorate Christmas trees
Misdeed- doing a wrong action
Composer- a person who writes music
Concluding the Lesson/Closure/Debriefing:
Telling the students how they had a big day of travels will help to conclude this lesson. I
will remind them that they traveled all the way to the country Germany, which is a part
of the continent Europe. I will explain how the purpose of this trip was to teach them all
about the tradition of Christmas in Germany. They will now know who celebrates this
tradition, why they celebrate Christmas, how they celebrate Christmas, when they
Celebrate Christmas, and where Christmas is celebrated.
SmartBoard file
Various video clips:
o Language video,
o The Nutcracker video
o Music composed by Tchaikovsky video
German Christmas Tree
o Paper plates
o Star for top of tree
o Decorations to trim the tree
String, pom pom balls, sequins, glitter, beads, etc.
o Glue
o Crayons White
House Video Current Event
Teaching Behavior Focus:
-For this lesson, I wanted to focus on using Wait Time +3 seconds. I decided to chose
this teaching behavior focus because it is a weakness of mine. I tend to want to jump in
and assist the students when it seems that they dont immediately know the answer. I
know how crucial it is to student development and to give the students the opportunity
to really think through their answers. I think it also encourages student self-accountability
because they know that their teacher wont just give them the answer.
Follow-Up Activities/Parent Involvement:

As a way for parents to get involved and to follow-up on this lesson, I would like the
students to complete a writing activity based on what they have learned. It could be in
a letter format or even just a story explaining what they have learned. This will show
what they now know more about and can inform those around them with this