Saturday, September 23, 2017

Three Words: Making Good Progress

Both my German 1 and German 2 classes are making good progress this week, and I felt like I was able to keep on top of things and stay organized pretty well, too.

German 1 has been working on school vocabulary using some Learning Apps:

and has learned the numbers from 0  to 1,000,000,000:

Then, on Friday, I introduced haben and the accusative case:

We've also been keeping up with current events like the start of Oktoberfest and the upcoming German elections.



German 2 has been working with clothing vocabulary, colors, and adjective endings.  The highlight of this had to be describing what my McDonald's Happy Meal toy Minion was wearing and then discovering that his hat pops off, so we can use the verbs ausziehen and anziehen:

On Tuesday, students conjugated the verbs from our current unit.  Then, each table group wrote a sentence in the present tense using one of the verbs.  As a class, we then changed the sentences into the Perfekt.  I liked this practice structure and think I will use it in the future.  My students are starting to get more confident with the Perfekt - yay!

On Thursday, I introduced that Perfekt for verbs that take sein as a helping verb.  It went well, and students had a good initial understanding.  Their assignment was a worksheet which has verbs which take both haben and sein as helping verbs, and that pushed them to think again about how we know which verbs take which helping verb.  

Links to files:

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Three Words: Das doofe Fischlied (Dumb Fish Song)

It was a good week in German 2.  Students had their first unit test on Wednesday, so Monday was dedicated to review.  
We played Kahoot with holidays and their German descriptions.

Then, I pulled out 4 in a Row to give students some drill on changing sentences from present tense to conversational past and from conversational past to present.  They really needed this practice, and most students really enjoyed it.

It finally occurred to me to laminate the 4 in a Row boards so that they can be reused.  Better late than never!

The test was on Wednesday.  We've moved all of our quizzes and tests to Canvas, and one thing that became clear very quickly is that my students can be very sloppy.  They had to change sentences from present tense to conversational past and from conversational past to present tense.  This required them to type the new sentence, and Canvas graded this automatically.  I can't even count the number of students who missed those questions because they misspelled a word that was in the original sentence or because they forgot a period or question mark.  I can go back and give students partial credit, which I did, but I still took off half a point for these kinds of unnecessary mistakes.  It may be a painful lesson at first, but there's no reason to misspell a word that is right in front of you or not to punctuate a sentence in high school.

Which brings us to Friday.  We started our new unit on clothing with a review of colors and coloring.  Life is good when it's Friday and you get to color in German class.  (We also had a pep rally mid-day, so this really helped everyone to settle down after that.)

We used this activity to introduce adjective endings.

And then it was time for Das doofe Fischlied:

We first reviewed definite and indefinite articles in the nominative, accusative, and dative cases and recorded them on our German Grammar reference cards.

Then, we watched this subtitled version of the song and listened for the adjective endings.

Coloring and adjective endings - pretty good for a Friday in German 2.

If you'd like a copy, the Kleidung worksheet is here.  It was modified from a worksheet at Grundschul Atelier 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Three Words: Short but Long

Even though this was a short 4 day week, it still felt surprisingly long.  

It was great to have the long Labor day weekend, and I got to have coffee with my former student teacher, who is now starting his first year of teaching.  I felt well-rested starting the week, but by Friday afternoon I was wiped out and could barely keep my eyes open past 8:00 in the evening!

Still, there were some good things that happened this week.  First and foremost, my trek up the chain of command, which I started last Friday, produced results right away on Tuesday.  Just as I predicted, after about 20 minutes of work by IT during my prep period, my iPad document camera was up and running! 

Hallelujah! So nice to see you, old friend!

I have still been warned that I will have to give up my iPad in October so I need to keep working on a long-term solution.  The document camera I have been considering writing a grant for is on sale right now at Amazon ($85 instead of $99), so I may just buy it myself with money I earned last summer doing curriculum development and (hopefully!) be done with this annual source of frustration.

In other good news, there were lots of stars for 90% or better on the German 1 vocabulary quiz:

and I have my Marzano scale up as well

so the whole back board now looks like this

In German 2, we tried Past Participles Speed Dating for the first time.  
Two out of three classes loved it!  4th period was less impressed, but I think a few people in that relatively small class (20 instead of 30) were just sort of grouchy that day, which set the mood for everyone.  Ah well, you can't please everyone all the time.

And German 1 tried Learning Apps for the first time on Friday.

So, when I look back at it now, it was a tiring week, but a lot of good things did happen.  Happy weekend!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Three Words: Document Camera Frustration

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I created my own DIY document camera several years ago using my iPad and Airserver to project and record guided notes in my classroom

You'll also know that there have been times when changes made by the central IT office have interfered with the functioning of my cobbled together system, and I have to talk to all kinds of people in IT and administration to explain again what I'm doing and why and how their change has messed things up.  It usually takes several weeks of pestering various people until we find a solution which usually involves the IT person taking 15 minutes to flip a few switches, and things are working again.  

To say it's frustrating is an understatement.  I know that no one is intends for this to happen, but it makes it more difficult for me to teach my students in the best way I know how.

Welcome to school year 2017-2018.  Every summer our desktop computers are re-imaged and wiped clean of special programs and downloads.  I was expecting this, so before school even started, I put in my request to have AirServer re-installed and for my computer and iPad to be on the same wireless network.    School started, IT was very busy, and I waited patiently.  And waited.  We're 4 weeks in to the school year, and I finally heard back that because our iPads are more than 5 years old, IT will be recollecting them later in the fall.  So, they won't set up my system because it is going to be phased out.  With nothing equivalent to replace it.  Sigh.

So, for now I'm making do with Powerpoint again.  

And starting the long trek up the chain of command to see how we can solve the problem this time.

And researching document cameras so I can write a grant to get one.

And going for long runs so I don't scream at anyone.

And thinking about becoming an engineer...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Three Words: Eclipse, Perfekt, Parents

My first set of stars (color-coded by class this year) for students earning 90% or better on an assessment are up!  These are German 2 students who earned an A on their vocabulary quiz.  [In fairness to the blue class, there are only 20 students in that section instead of 30 in each of the other two, and several were absent and did not take the quiz, so it's not that surprising that it had the fewest students earning an A.]

This week's Three Words are Eclipse, Perfekt, Parents

Eclipse: Monday was the solar eclipse.  We weren't in the path of totality, but we still went outside during Block 4 and got to look at the eclipse with our special glasses.  It was very cool, though my students and I were surprised that it didn't get very dark at all, even when the sun was 96% covered.  

I didn't take any pictures, but my older son, who attends Bloomington High School South, was on the front page of the local paper - he's #32 in the purple soccer uniform.

Perfekt: German 2 learned the Perfekt/Conversational Past Tense this week!  On Monday we did regular/weak verbs; Wednesday was prefix and -ieren verbs; Friday was irregular/strong verbs.  It was a lot, and they did well!

Parents: Wednesday night was Back to School Night, when parents come to school and walk through their child's schedule and meet teachers.  It is really nice to meet some of my student's parents - and realize things like the mom of one of my students was my younger son's 2 year old preschool teacher.  It makes for a long day, though.  I was at school at 7 AM and didn't get home until 9PM, with my only time out of the building spent picking up a child from cross country practice at a different school and bringing him home.  I wish there were a way to get the benefits of Back to School Night without the exhaustion!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Three Words: Finding My Rhythm

Phew.  The first full week of school is finished!  

It already feels like ages since I wrote last week's three words post.  I'm still learning names but can say I know the names of  my homeroom students, who I see every day rather than every other day.

This week's Three Words: Finding My Rhythm

It was my prep period on Thursday when I finally felt like I could take a breath and I didn't have to run around like a crazy person dealing with things that had to be taken care of IMMEDIATELY.

My students are starting to know my expectations and routines.  I'm starting to know which students need extra support and which classes are a little squirrelly.  We're most of the way through the mandatory bullying education and digital citizenship lessons in homeroom.  I still don't have AirServer, so I can't use my iPad as a document camera, but I'm making do and trying to be patient.  I've started teaching new material in both German 1 and 2.  I'm Finding My Rhythm.

German 1 was introduced to German Nouns and Gender and the first three ways to say "the":

Students in German 2 learned about ordinal numbers, holidays, and festivals:

That's a wrap!  Wishing everyone 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Online Resources for Starting the Year in German 1

My school year is off and running!  Over the weekend I was compiling a list of online resources for German 1 introductory topics like the alphabet and beginning conversation.  Here are some of the highlights:

The Alphabet Song

The Alphabet Song with ß, ä, ö, and ü

Sesame Street Disco Alphabet with Grover from 1978

Learning App: German Conversation Listening

Nominative Pronouns and Sein