Monday, April 17, 2017

Cupcake Wars

Last Tuesday was my favorite day of the school year.... Cupcake Wars!

The advanced food and nutrition classes have a competition every spring to create the best cupcake, and teachers are asked to volunteer to judge the entries.  I have been doing this since my first year at Bloomington North, and I really look forward to it.

This year I was a judge for first period, which was a small class with only three groups.  The Cupcakes were The Better Red Velvet, Oreo Red Velvet, and Pink Lemonade.

All three were delicious, but my personal favorite was Pink Lemonade.  There are several judges, so I am not sure which cupcake was the final winner, but it was a delicious morning!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Separable Prefixes in German 1

One of the big topics for German 1 this unit is separable prefix verbs.  I started out by giving each student a small piece of paper with the 5 prefix verbs from this unit on it:

Their first job was to write the meaning on the back and cut them apart.  Then, when we got to the part of the notes that talked about separable prefix verbs, I had students cut the prefix off of the verb stem and move it to the end of the sentence.  

Then, we did some examples

before talking about inseparable prefix verbs.

Last year I taught separable prefix verbs with modal verbs and in the command form on the same day (what was I thinking?), but based on how poorly students did on the test, that was clearly too much.  So, this time, I divided it into three separate lessons and spent more time reviewing the modal verbs and commands before we added in the prefix verbs.  

(Somehow I don't have a picture of the prefix verbs with modals notes, but here are the command form notes.)

Students definitely liked it better because each lesson was short.  We'll see how they do on the test next week!

Here's the link to the notes: Verbs with Prefixes

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Deutsch 2: Vergleiche Comparatives and Superlatives

This week's big grammar topic in German 2 was comparatives and superlatives.  

To begin, I has students review adjectives and adverbs they had learned in German 1.  (It was the first day back from Spring Break, so they were pretty rusty.) Then, we watched a great little video from Die Sendung mit der Maus:

This clip lead right into the need for comparatives and superlatives and a foldable:

After labeling the title flap, we labeled the three tabs:

Under the flaps we wrote instructions for each form and created an example:

And now we were ready to use our foldables for some practice:

That was a lot!  So, it was a good time for a Sesamstraße video with Bert and Ernie talking about heavy and light. 

Students did a self-checking Learning Apps activity based on the video (which I blogged about previously here) so I could assess their understanding. 

That was plenty for the first day!  Students practiced some more on their own with a worksheet: Vergleiche WS 1

We continued the next class by adding the exceptions to the rule to our foldable:

and some examples for our notes:

Again, students practiced some more on their own with a worksheet: Vergleiche WS 2.

If you'd like a copy of the notes, click here: Komparativ und Superlativ Notizen

All in all, it was a pretty good first week back from Spring Break!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Schwer und Leicht mit Ernie und Bert

I don't work well under pressure.

I know there are some people who really need a deadline and do great, creative things at the last minute.  I am not one of them.

My preferred way of lesson planning and creating activities for my students is on a Saturday morning in my pajamas with a big mug of tea and nothing that must be completed by Monday.  I also get a lot of good ideas while I'm on a run...

So, I am thrilled to be both on spring break and finally healthy enough to go running again.  

And I am thrilled with what I came up with for German 2 using a Sesamstraße video about schwer and leicht (heavy and light)!  Hopefully my students will find it as amazing as I do.  

I love Sesame Street in both English and German and am always looking for ways to use clips in class.  I decided to put this video, along with a picture word guide, in a Learning Apps activity to give students practice with forming the comparative and superlative for heavy and light.  I may also eventually turn it into a graded assignment in our learning management system, Canvas.  I think it turned out great!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Toward 100% Target Language Use in Deutsch 3

My colleague Frau Nessi and I are incredibly proud of our German 2 classes!  This is the first group that she and I have both worked with using our new textbook series since German 1, and their progress is impressive!

We're already approaching the last quarter of the year, which means we're looking ahead to next year when they will be in Deutsch 3.  Our goal is for German 3 to be almost exclusively in German, with the exception of some explanations of more complicated grammar concepts.  

I try to make a natural, organic progression over the course of my German instruction to more and more German and less and less English.  I have some of the most commonly used expressions on the wall in my room and expect students to use and understand them from early on in German 1.

I then progress from giving new instructions in English to giving them in German followed by English and then German without the English.  

To get our current German 2 students ready for German 3 and using German (almost) exclusively, I'm introducing circumlocution and German-German vocabulary in small, non-threatening ways now.  

Our current topic is Auto und Rad fahren (Car and bike riding).  We read a short article in German from our textbook about bike paths in Germany.  Students answered comprehension questions about it in German, which they've been doing since German 1, but I added in another question:
(What is a one-way street?)  Most students wanted to translate it into English, but I pushed them to think about how to explain it in German using other words.  We talked about how they might explain it in English to a small child without using the word one-way.  Eventually most students were able to get to something along the lines of "Alle Autos fahren in nur eine Richtung. (All cars drive in only one direction.)  Success!

On the last day of school before Spring Break, we played Kahoot with their current vocabulary.  Students man not have noticed but there wasn't any English in the Kahoot.  

It started out with identifying pictures:

Then it got a little tougher with Where is this vehicle going? and 4 possible complete sentence answers.

And What does one do here?

Finally, they were ready for questions without pictures:

They did very well, especially considering that it was the day before Spring Break.  We also watched a video from Easy German, which I love because it is in German with German and English subtitles: (But I recommend you  preview all videos completely before showing them in class as there is occasionally some mild profanity which may or may not be tolerated at your school.)

We'll continue on after break with German-German vocabulary crossword puzzles and word association games for vocabulary.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Malen und Basteln in Deutsch 1

The past few days in German 1 have been a lot of fun, which is what you need in February: coloring, cutting, pasting, and Das doofe Fischlied.  

Our current unit, Wie sind sie? How are they? focuses on descriptive adjectives.

Adjectives in German means adjective endings, which is a really difficult topic for most students.  It's often not introduced until 2nd year, but our current textbook gives an introduction to it in 1st year, and I think it's good to start chipping away at the topic early.

Time for Das doofe Fischlied:

There are many versions of it available on YouTube, but I like this one because it has the lyrics on the screen.

Before we get to the song, I introduced the difference between predicate adjectives and attributive adjectives: 

Then, we listened to the song and completed notes for the nominative and accusative cases:

I don't test students on adjective endings or expect them to use them correctly at this point, but I do point them out when we encounter them so that students start to develop a feel for them.  Just planting the seed...

The next class began with coloring:
And some partner speaking practice, with a few adjective endings snuck in:

The following day we followed up coloring with cutting and pasting of adjective opposite pairs, which I've blogged about before.   Just like last year, students seemed to really enjoy this activity, and it pushed them to work on their vocabulary.  

Files for the activities I've described can be found here:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Eine Reise

German 2 started a new unit about travel on Friday.  Since we were just at the very beginning of the unit (students received the new vocabulary list the previous class), I wanted to do some activities that got them interacting with and using the new vocabulary.

I found this great picture at Illustratoren für Flüchtlinge which we used to start our discussion:

Then, we wrote a story about a trip.  First, we chose our destination.  Period 1 chose Berlin.

Period 3 discussed this for a while and finally decided on Honolulu.

Next, each table group received a picture card and was asked to write a sentence using the new vocabulary to describe what was on the card.

I wrote the first sentence as an example.  When groups has finished, they read their sentence out loud to the class, and I typed it into the story.

An observant member of period 1 noticed the Sydney opera house in the background of picture 6 and insisted that we include this in the story.  It added an interesting plot twist.

Period 3's trip went more to plan.  I had a little more time in that class, so we added a few more details.

That was it for Friday.  Energy levels were low and cell phones kept appearing.  Time for the Handy Haus.

My plan is to use these stories for additional activities during the unit.  I hope to have them add details, using adverbs and coordinating conjunctions, and change the story into the Futur, which we'll be learning this unit.  

If you'd like a copy of the file, click here: Ich mache eine Reise Schreiben.