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Fasching and the GIS Vocabulary Parade

Fasching is a German cultural tradition that we celebrate every year at GIS! This pre-Lent observance has different names in different regions of the world; Americans might be more familiar with the terms Mardi Gras or Carnival. Even in different regions of Germany it may be titled Karneval or Fastnacht. With each region comes different traditions and over the years the German International School has created its own set of traditions to mark this fun day.

On Fasching day, students are encouraged to wear costumes, and the celebrations begin at 11:11 a.m. with a parade of our youngest students walking through a tunnel of cheering older elementary students. For the rest of the afternoon, staff members perform silly plays, everyone eats Krapfen (jelly-filled donuts), and elementary and middle school students learn fun dances and can participate in the Vocabulary Parade.

GIS had its first Vocabulary Parade in 2009 after English teacher Heidi Draheim-Shadbeh read a book to her students called Miss Alaineus. In the book, a misunderstanding by a girl in the book turns into an epic Vocabulary Parade, and Frau Draheim-Shadbeh decided it would be fun to try the same thing at GIS. Aside from a few years during COVID, we've held one every year since! Students choose a word or phrase and teach the rest of the school what it means using words and costumes. 

The best part about the GIS Vocabulary Parade is that kids learn the words in three languages: German, Chinese, and English! Wordplay is a great tool in language-learning, and we use it a lot at GIS. At the parade, everyone loves seeing words come to life on the catwalk during this beloved school tradition.

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