A Weekly Update for Families
In this issue...
Meet Isabell Merker, Amity Intern
After School Activity Sign-Up
TCGIS Students Share Their Artwork with the World!
Kinderclub Update
Christmas German Communion Service
Last Kaffeeklatsch before Winter Break
Performing Arts Update
St. Paul City Ballet Presents...
German Heritage Night with the Minnesota Timberwolves
ElternbriefDecember 8,  2010
Dear Families,


 Leonie Jacobs placed second and Till Konzcak placed third in a competition of spoken presentation for students from German speaking schools in the Midwest Region in Chicago last Saturday, December 4th.   

Michelle and Tim Wallace's son, Wyatt, was born on December 4th.

Anti-bullying Policy

The board recently passed an updated anti-bullying policy.   It reflects two major changes from our previous policy.  Firstly, it moves away from a punishment-based model to one which incorporates conflict resolution as a tool in the problem solving process.  Key concepts include, "Conflict resolution is a mechanism for those targeted by harassment or bullying to be supported in communicating directly their request to stop to the perpetrator," and "Conflict resolution supplements, but does not replace disciplinary action.  Effective and carefully managed implementation of conflict resolution can be empowering to those victimized by bullying and a voice more powerful than that of authority figures."  We're implementing it on the ground here at school and it's exciting to see it work.


 Secondly, our current policy explicitly addresses bullying that is based on a student's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion or any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by the state or local educational agency. This also includes association with a person or group with one or more of the abovementioned characteristics, whether actual or perceived.   Enumerating specific groups follows the trend recommended by Minnesota School Board Association.   Enumeration is essential to protecting as many students as possible from bullying and harassment. The strength of an enumerated law or policy is that it underscores that those students who research shows are most likely to be bullied and harassed and least likely to be protected by non-enumerated anti-bullying and harassment laws and policies are in fact protected, as well as ALL other students.


Supporting Language Education at a Legislative Level


Congressmen Holt and Tonko have sponsored HR 6036 which will provide significant levels of funding at the national, state, and local levels for language education. Please help get co-sponsors for this bill so that Congress will realize how important this legislation is for students in the U.S. and for building our nation's language capacity!



Click and DO.  We can make a difference.  Please forward to other individuals you know would be interested.


Recruiting new Kindergarten families

Our most powerful advertising medium is word of mouth.  Families choose this school based on the testament of their friends, neighbors and pre-school classmates.  It is important to the school that we continue to get the word out about our school.  Please let acquaintances of yours with upcoming Kindergartners know about our information sessions.  The schedule is posted here.

Attendance Matters

Winter weather always brings a new spate of late students.  While none of us are immune to the extra time needed for car scraping and slow traffic, planning ahead can help your family stay on time.  Children straggling in late to morning circle impacts both individual students and the community as a whole.  Please help your child experience being in the classroom with coat off and supplies in hand by 8:15.

Host Families for Amities 


We have 5 new interns arriving in January.  As all of you know, having interns is a crucial part or our classrooms and our childrens' educational experience.  Without your help this program would no longer be supported and would end.  If you have thought of hosting and have not done so, please email me and let me know what concerns you have or what variable is holding you back.   We would love to talk to you.


We have two great interns who need a home for the next semester!  We also have a family that is able to host for half the semester.  If you feel the time commitment is too much for your family, this may be an opportunity to host for the second half (April, May, June).   For more information please email Darcy Rindelaub at darcydeboer@hotmail.com or call 651-324-4270. To all past and current hosting families, thank you!  We need your continued support.  


Upcoming Dates

December 15th 6:30  Middle School Meeting

February 3rd   6:30 State of the School

February 11th  6:30 Performing Arts Presentation at St. Thomas More


Thanks for all you do for your students and the school as a whole.

Frau Annika Fjelstad
Twin Cities German Immersion School

Meet Isabell Merker, Amity Intern


Hello. I am Isabell Merker and I'm the Intern in 5th grade. I grew up in Idar-Oberstein. After my "Abitur" I moved to Pirmasens for 6 months and did an internship at a church working with children and youths. I am 24 years old and study English, Mathematics and German as foreign language at the University of Trier to become a secondary teacher. Trier is the oldest city of Germany and has a lot of Roman buildings. If you ever have the chance, it's worth visiting.

As my university demands at least a three month stay in an English speaking country and since I've wanted to spend a year in the US since I was 16, the Amity program was a good opportunity  for me to improve my English, my teaching skills and to get to know the American culture since we're living with host families.

I did a few internships in schools in Germany for a few weeks but it's a new experience for me to be in one class for such a long period. I'm working with Uli Köster, Hunter Goetzmann, Katie Stevens and Cornelia Fritsche. This gives me the opportunity to get to know different ways of teaching which I really appreciate. I teach mainly German and Mathematics. I think working at the TCGIS is a really interesting and helpful experience. Although the school teaches German culture there are still many things which are completely different to the schools I've seen before. I think having a teacher and an intern in one class most of the time helps teachers, interns and students.

I'm living with Chris and Carol Schoonover and their kids in Minneapolis. My host sisters both go to the TCGIS. Sidney is a fourth grader and Emily is in 6th grade. It seems like they're enjoying having Interns at their house since I am the fifth intern staying with them and so do I. I'm really thankful for everything they are doing for me. I enjoy having a family here and spending time with them, getting to know American culture and humor...at least the "Schoonover humor". Thanks!

So far, I can definitely say that coming to Minneapolis was the right decision and I hope I won't change my opinion until after the end of the school year!

This semester, TCGIS welcomed twelve interns from Germany and Switzerland into our classrooms. Ten of them are hosted by TCGIS families. Amity interns are vital to the success of our students and to our school. Consider hosting an intern in your home! More information from the Amity Committee to follow as the need arises.

Contact Darcy Rindelaub to learn more. 

After School Activity Sign-Up
***Registration Forms Due December 10
After School Activities Sign-Up for the Winter Session (January 4 through March 14) is now open!

Click here for the list of After School Activities.

Click here for the TCGIS registration form.

There are also a few late additions to the after-school offerings, including Karate and Belly Dancing. Click here to read about those activities.

Completed registration forms are due in the office by December 10th.  There is a $5 per child registration fee payable to TCGIS (or you can include it in a check to the instructor).  If you are only registering for a YMCA class, please make the check payable to TCGIS.

For questions or suggestions please contact Scot Stephenson at:

TCGIS Students Share Their Artwork with the World!

Move over famous artists- TCGIS artists are taking over the spotlight! Frau Lenburg has teamed up with Artsonia, www.artsonia.com -- the world's largest online kid's art museum -- to display our students' artwork.

Anyone can view the school's gallery online at: www.artsonia.com/schools/Twin561. Feel free to share this link with friends and family!  TCGIS students join thousands of students from over 100 countries whose artwork is showcased on Artsonia.  

Artsonia provides several fun online features such as fan clubs and personal guestbooks, as a way for families to encourage the creativity and imaginations of their young artists. In addition, family members can purchase keepsakes imprinted with the child's artwork, with Artsonia donating 15 percent of their annual product revenue back to our school's art program.   To find out more, visit www.artsonia.com.


It will take some time to get all of our students onto the gallery.  Feel free to take a look, and then watch your email over the next month or so for an invitation to register with Artsonia when Frau Lenburg has uploaded some of your students' work.  Students' last names never appear on the website, and it is absolutely free.  If you do NOT want your students' work to be included or if you have any questions or concerns, please email Frau Lenburg at alenburg@tcgis.org.
Kinderclub Update from Frau Stangel
I would like to remind parents and families that Kinderclub will be closed during the Winter Break and that all our our holidays and days that we will be offering school release days is posted outside the Kinderclub classroom.  Thanks!
For those interested, a Christmas German Communion Service will be held at Trinity First Lutheran Church (1115 East 19th Street, Minneapolis) on Sunday, December 12 at 2:30 p.m.  For more information or directions to the church, call 612-870-9487 or visit their website:  www.trinityfirst.org
Last Kaffeeklatsch before Winter Break
The last Kaffeeklatsch before Winter Break will take place this Friday.

Please join us during drop-off in the school lobby! Coffee is $1 if you bring your own coffee mug, $1.25 for using paper cups. This is always a good opportunity to meet other parents and members of the school community while sipping a nice cup of coffee!

Performing Arts Update
Upcoming events:
Next Tuesday (Dec 14th), the Winter Showcase will take place in the cafeteria at 1: 30 pm. This event is a showcase of After School Activities, and it looks already like a tradition at our school that we have two or three After School Activities Showcases in a year.

We finally found place and date for our school event in February - Carnival of Cultures. The idea is to combine the carnival atmosphere with some highlights from different cultures, the goal is to show that our world is beautiful because it is so colorful and different. It will be an event for everybody, families and relatives, where students would be able to show what they have learned and done in Performing Arts class about different cultures. Because we thought of a big audience we were looking for a bigger hall that we could have in the evening. At that point thank you very much to Chris Weimholt! She took huge effort and a lot of energy in looking for an appropriate space. The outcome of her work is that we will rent the concert hall at St. Thomas More Church. It is located on the intersection of Lexington Ave and Summit Ave, St. Paul (1065 Summit Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105). The date is February 10th at 6:30pm.

An important part of my concept has been to invite artists to our school who are willing to share their skills with our students. I am glad to tell you that it works. Recently, 4th graders could enjoy belly dance by Nicole Bachman. On this coming Thursday, Mrs. Theresa Borgren will come and teach 5th and 6th graders tango. Next week on Thursday, Avalon musicians will visit 6th grade and play for them contemporary music. I hope we will have soon a drum group of Anishinabee (Ojibway) children.

As you know we constantly need volunteers for our events. The next occasion will be next Thursday - your help will be needed before the showcase at 12:30 and after that at 3pm. 

Kindergarten: Now kindergarteners can dance "Liebe Schwester, tanz mit mir" pretty well. They have also learned new songs such as "Imse-Wimse Spinne" and "Schneefläckchen-Weißröckchen". As for music skills they can sing already the major scale. We have started working on rhythmic patterns and will continue in January.

1st grade: In November, students were working on the Slavic dance "To the river". They also learned the song about our body "Ich habe einen Kopf...". Recently, they have learned the song "Der Poppel" by Gerhard Schöne.

2nd grade: In the last month, students learned an old dance that originally came from Spain. In 2B students have started learning new songs by Gerhard Schöne. They will also begin exploring African music. In 2A students are working on a drama project in German as well as in Performing Arts. Next week they will perform the German tale "Hans im Glück". I am really glad to help in this project because as we started the Performing Arts program one of the central ideas was to support the German curriculum. The performances of 2nd grade (2A as well as 2B) are already announced, ask classroom teachers for details.

3rd grade: In November, students finished their work on the Ukrainian/Polish dance "Krakowiak". Now 3rd graders are working on the shadow puppet theater. I enjoy working on this project because it is linked with the German and Art curriculum and is a part of the unit about fairy tales. 3rd graders will perform "Dornröschen", "Froschkönig", "Rotkäppchen" and "Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot". We have been able to do this interdisciplinary project through the collaboration of 3rd grade teachers and our art teacher Amy Lenburg. The performance will take place next week, the time and date will be announced shortly by the classroom teachers. Other grades are welcome to see the shadow plays.

4th grade: In November, 4th graders completed learning Minuet. It is a classical example of a couple dance. They also started dancing belly dance with Nicole Bachman - this is an example of an individual dance. Shortly, students have learned some movements from the Greek dance Sirtaki/Sorbadance - this is a group dance. We will finish Sirtaki in January. In the meanwhile we have also practiced some rhythmic patterns of Native Americans. As I mentioned in previous letters 4th graders will continue playing recorders. In general that will be in the first week of the month. 4B had recorders on this Tuesday, 4A will have them tomorrow (Thursday). The next turn with recorders will be in the week of January 3rd to January 7th.

5th grade: In November, 5th graders had a unit about Native Americans. They have learned an Indian song from the Caribbean region. They have also learned principles of Native American drumming and could practice drums themselves. At least they have learned some basic steps of Indian dancing and have created their own dance composition.
6th grade: Rock'n'Roll project will be done by next week. 6th graders can now sing a Rock'n'Roll song (Dracula Rock) - in 2 voices! They can dance Rock'n'Roll, and they have prepared a mime about the history of Rock'n'Roll. To make a nice conclusion I invited young artists from Avalon School who are ready to perform for our students. They will also tell us about music that they like. I'm glad to announce this event that I called "Avalon Jam". We will have it on Dec 16th during the music class.

St. Paul City Ballet Presents...

Three TCGIS students (Maya Sampson 2A, Olivia Bruhn 4B & Ingrid Sampson 5) are performing in the St. Paul City Ballet production of The Enchanted Toy Shop.  Discounted tickets are available for the Saturday, Dec 18th performance at 2:00 pm for the TCGIS community.  The tickets are $15.00 for students and $18.00 for adults.  If you are interested in discounted tickets, please call Cornelia Sampson at 651-765-0499.

German Heritage Night with the Minnesota Timberwolves

First Annual German Heritage Night with the Minnesota Timberwolves

This special evening will be a chance to cheer for former NBA MVP and Germany's own Dirk Nowitzki!

It will be a fun and exciting evening of Timberwolves basketball and German culture.

A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Twin Cities German Immersion School.

WHEN: Monday, March 7, 2011 at 7:00pm

WHERE: Target Center

PRICE: $36 lower level seats ($40 regular) or $12 upper level seats ($15 regular)

German Heritage Night includes:

  • Early entry into the arena to watch the Mavericks warm-up
  • A possible meet and greet with Dirk Nowitzki after the game (not guaranteed and subject to the approval and discretion of the Dallas Mavericks
  • A post-game photo for the entire group
  • Also, the first 40 kids to sign up get to high-five the players as they run onto the court before the game!
  • A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Twin Cities German Immersion School
Click here to see the flyer!

For more information contact Jacob Widerschein, widerschein(at)timberwolves.com, 612.673.1282

Elternbrief Submissions

Please have all articles pertinent to the TCGIS community submitted to the Elternbrief by Monday at 9 am prior to Wednesday publication. Submissions may be sent to aberge@tcgis.org.