Sunday, May 13, 2018

12 Typical German Dishes

Whew, once you get out of the routine on regular blogging, it's hard to get back in!  My first year teaching full time had me wiped out in March and April, but now with just 11 days of school left, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have regained some energy.

Easy German recently posted this video of 12 Typical German Dishes, which I really like for our German 1 food unit.  

I've created an assignment on Canvas from the video where students label picture of the dishes after watching the video:

Then, they sort them by category:

This could either be an assignment for the whole class or possibly an enrichment activity for students who have mastered a topic to work on while their peers complete additional practice.

I'll be teaching 3 sections of German 1 and 3 sections of German 2 next year, which is the same as this year, so I'm hoping to add in some things like enrichment and remediation differentiation.  

Saturday, February 17, 2018


I'm happy to report that after last week's rant, there were significantly fewer bathroom requests at inappropriate times.  Hooray for flow charts and occasionally losing your temper!

So, we were able to concentrate on German, and it was a good time for that since Monday was Rosenmontag and Tuesday was Faschingsdienstag.  I taught about them in both German 1 and German 2.  (I blogged about this in 2016, too.)

I also took pictures in our local Kroger of Berliner (aka Paczki):

and of other Faschingsdienstag events:

Deutsche Welle has a good video in English about some of the major celebrations:

There's also a German version:

And the Tagesschau also had good coverage of this year's Rosenmontag parades, which I've cropped here (though you can watch the video with German subtitles at

My students especially enjoyed the political floats!  

I brought in Berliner for the 15 students in my tutorial that day.  I also told my German 1 students, whose class met on Faschingsdienstag, that they could bring in Berliner for the class (supplying 90 doughnuts myself was not really within my budget), and two students in one of the classes took me up on the offer.  Everyone enjoyed the celebration!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Week in Three Words: Bathroom Pass Flowchart

Clearly, it's February.  Because this was the most important thing I taught this week.  Yes, it's come to this.  Sigh.

I am a patient teacher and calm person in general.  One of my first year students commented recently that she's never seen me yell or get mad.  I try to yell only in emergencies, and I don't get angry often.  But there are times when even my patience is exhausted.

Like Thursday morning.  Trips to the bathroom during class time had been increasing in frequency and duration for a while when yet another student asked to go to the bathroom.  3 minutes in to first period.  And his homework wasn't done.  And he asked in English.  In 2nd year German.  I had reached my limit.

So, we had an extended talk then and there about appropriate (during work time at the end of class, when you are finished with an activity) and inappropriate times (when I am helping to someone else, when I am in the middle of a lesson, when a classmate is in the middle of presenting, the list goes on) to ask to use the bathroom.  We talked about the inappropriateness of cell phone use in the bathroom (ick!) and that the walk to the bathroom is not meant for cell phone use.  I didn't yell, but students knew I was angry.  

In many respects, I can't believe I had to have this talk in a 2nd year German class that is almost half seniors.  But apparently this was needed

Later, when I had calmed down, I remembered that in addition to teaching German, I am teaching teenagers.  We want them to be ready for college and life, so if they haven't yet figured out how to consider the needs of their classmates and teachers in addition to their own need to use the bathroom (or desire to check their Snapchat on the way), I guess it's my job to teach that too.  

In case your students need instruction on this too, here's my bathroom flowchart.  Happy February!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Tackling Subordinating Conjunctions in Deutsch 2

Our current German textbook, Mosaik, introduces coordinating conjunctions in 2nd year but doesn't introduce subordinating conjunctions until 3rd year.  

This year my colleague and I decided that we wanted to give our 2nd years at least an introduction to subordinating conjunctions so that they had more structures to say some of the things they want to express in their writing and speaking and so that subordinating conjunctions wouldn't be so overwhelming in 3rd year.  Denken, glauben, and scheinen are part of the vocabulary in this unit, so this gives them a structure for stating opinions.

I started out our first lesson by playing Conjunction Junction while students were doing their bell work - always a hit!  

Students learned coordinating conjunctions in the previous unit, which was before winter break, so we began our discussion by reviewing those.  They're pretty solid on those, though aber vs. sondern is still a bit tricky for some.

Then, I introduced subordinating conjunctions as verb kickers:  

Time for Color with Purpose: blue = independent clause
                                               red = dependent clause
                                                orange = conjugated verb
                                                  green = conjunction

We've decided to concentrate on 10 frequently used conjunctions for now and add more next year.  Those conjunctions are 

We're espeically emphasizing dass so that students can express what they know, believe, or think.

We finished the first day with more investigation of where the verbs are when we have sentences in the past tense.  

I gave students an assignment on Canvas which had them practice the meaning of the subordinating conjunctions and rewrite some simple sentences starting with "Ich weiß, dass..."  The assignment in called D2 L3A Subordinating Conjunctions 1 Aufgabe and is public if your school uses Canvas.

On the second day, we went in to more detail about the word order when the independent clause is first and when the dependent clause is first.  More Color with Purpose!

I ended each section with some open-ended examples.  Some classes were more creative than others!

This time students did a written assignment, which we discussed and edited the following class.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sesamstraße - Die neue Jacke für Deutsch 2

After a three day weekend (Martin Luther King Day) turned into a five day weekend due to ice, snow, and very cold temperatures, we returned to school on Wednesday and finished the week on a high note in German 2 with this Sesamstraße video:

My students really enjoyed it, and it was a great way to talk about weather and clothing, and even use the subordinating conjunctions that I introduced this week. 

We watched the video as a whole class and discussed the questions as we went.  I gave my students a handout with the questions written on it so that they could fill it out as we watched.  

My hope is to eventually have students watch videos like this independently, but I want to model what doing a video assignment like this should look like before I turn students loose to do it on their own.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Wetter Kahoot for Deutsch 2

I introduced weather vocabulary to my German 2 students this week.  

In the second lesson of the unit I introduced students to circumlocution with a group brainstorming activity:  each table group got 3 or 4 small cards with a German vocabulary word on one side of each card.  Their job was to brainstorm as many German clues to that word that would help a classmate guess that word.  

Some words were easy - for "trocken," students quickly came up with "das Gegenteil von nass."

Others required more work - for "der Herbst," students came up with "eine Jahreszeit" and "kühl," but to differentiate between fall and spring, they added "September, Oktober, und November."

Eventually, all of the groups has some kind of clue for each word.  Then, one person from each group gathered all the cards and rotated to the next table.  He or she then quizzed the students at the next table, using the clues the students had generated.  

I like this activity because it really pushes students to use the vocabulary they have and it feels like a game.  If we have time, I usually have the students rotate to more tables, though on this day we didn't get to that.

At the end of the activity, I collected the cards and used the students' definitions to make a Kahoot for them to play next class: