Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2 More Days

We're down to the last 2 days of school for students.  I give 2 exams today and 1 tomorrow, and then I'm all finished.  Almost there!

During finals, I offer my students German coloring pages if they need something quiet to do while others are finishing the exam or want some stress relief.  They've become very popular, and several students have given their art work to me.  

Here's one more that was added after I took the first picture.  The artist didn't follow the color scheme on the worksheet, but it is very colorful!
The coloring pages are from a great German Blog ABC und 123.  Herzlichen Dank! 

Updated to add some more art work from this afternoon:

Monday, May 25, 2015


Tischdienst is one of the little things that makes my classroom run a lot more smoothly and which I will definitely continue next year.
On most days I have my students' desks arranged in table groups of 4.  (I do move the desks into rows for tests and quizzes.  If the desks are in rows on a day when there isn't a quiz or test, students start to panic when they enter the room, thinking there is a pop quiz or that they forgot about a test.) Each group of 4 desks is called a table (Tisch), and I have 9 Tische in my classroom.  

I found out pretty quickly last year that it can be chaotic and time-consuming to have 30+ students all trying to pick up materials like iPads or scissors and glue at the same time.  So, I started asking one person from each table group to get materials for that table.  That worked better, but I found some groups were always making the 9th graders get the supplies or were doing "nose goes" (last person to touch his/her nose has to do it) and one student was always the last one.  I wanted to spread out the work a little more evenly, so I came up with the idea of Tischdienst - table duty.

Each day I write on the board which spot (Platz) has Tischdienst for that day.  Then, whenever the table needs something, that person is responsible for getting up and getting it.  I assign my students to iPads based on where they are seated, too, so that also makes things simpler and more efficient.  For example, Tisch 1 has iPads #1-4, Tisch 2 has #5-8, and so on.  Then, if some of the iPads aren't put away correctly at the end of class, I know who was responsible for them. Usually Platz 1 has Tischdienst on Mondays, Platz 2 on Tuesdays, Platz 3 on Wednesdays, Platz 4 on Thursdays, and Friday is a wild card, though since we're on an A/B block schedule, I usually make it Platz 4 again.

As I learned from the amazing elementary school teachers I worked with a few years ago, the time spent teaching the students how the Tischdienst system works is well worth it because the classroom runs smoothly the rest of the year.  

[The owl graphic on the Tischdienst sign comes from]


Friday, May 22, 2015

Tschüss iPads!

Since our students will all receive a tablet computer next school year, we are saying good-bye to our iPads in a few days.  They will be going to the middle and elementary schools, which have had iPads for a few years but aren't quite 1-1 yet.

We got our iPad carts about a year and a half ago.  We have had two carts for the eight world languages teachers to share, so we don't have them all the time, but I was usually able to get them most days that I wanted to use them.  

The most useful app on them was definitely Quizlet.  A lot of mastering another language is learning the vocabulary, and there's really no good way to do that other than just to practice.  The Learn mode in Quizlet, which prompts students in English and asks them to type in the word in German, is an effective way to do this.  When they get a word wrong, it shows them the correct spelling, and then they type it in again, which helps them commit the correct spelling to memory.

I also used the iPads for Kahoot, which most of the students love.  It's a fun way to do a quick 10-15 minute review.

I tried going paperless on a few assignments using Google Docs.  When students had a writing assignment, they typed their final draft on the iPad and submitted it to me digitally.  This worked quite well, and I plan to use it more in future years.  

I love the website but the activities I created sometimes didn't work smoothly on the iPads.  I'm hopeful that this will work better next year on the laptops.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mündliche Prüfung

The end of the school year is almost here!  Tomorrow is the last day of regular classes, and then we have 4 days of exams.  The last day of school for students is Thursday, May 28.

Today and tomorrow I am giving speaking exams to my students.  Today is German 2's turn.  When we were reviewing for finals, I gave students 5 possible speaking questions.  

I ask them any 3 of those 5 questions during the speaking test, and they receive a score of 1-5 on each question.  Those points will be added to their score on the 60 question multiple portion of the test for a total of 75 possible points on the final exam.  

Since they have seen the questions ahead of time, students have time to prepare and practice, and my students have been doing quite well so far.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bratwurst and Sauerkraut Sushi

Yum!  Yesterday some of the students in Japanese were making creative sushi.  One of them made Bratwurst and Sauerkraut sushi and brought it by my room for the German teacher to try.  The funny thing is that I don't really like sauerkraut.  But the vinegar flavor of the rice and the nori masked much of the sauerkraut flavor, and it was really quite good!