Wednesday, October 28, 2015

From Statistics to German - Transformation of a Foldable

The creation of this foldable is a story of inter-state cross-disciplinary virtual collaboration.  

Recently I was looking for a  good foldable to use with my German 1 students to describe four characters in the video series that goes along with our textbook and to summarize what happens in each episode.  I had a vague idea of what I wanted it to look like but nothing in my foldable repertoire fit the bill.  So I turned to the #MTBoS...

The  #MTBoS is the Math Teacher Blogosphere.  I'm a German teacher, but I have also taught math previously (which I love and miss, even though I LOVE teaching German) so I have naturally drifted toward the blogs of math teachers and the #MTBoS.  I have gotten a lot of inspiration and ideas from some great math teachers out there, and I think there is actually quite a bit of overlap in methods of teaching these two subjects.  

I'm trying to connect/find/start a #GTBoS (German Teacher Blogosphere) but there aren't as many German teachers on the internet as there are math teachers.  (There are a lot more math teachers overall, so this isn't so surprising.)

In any case, I visited the site of my blogging inspiration and internet friend-I haven't-yet-met Sarah Hagan, Math=Love, and came across this foldable, which was exactly what I was looking for:

Perfect for a German foldable about 4 characters in a video, right?  Of course!

Sarah very kindly gave a link on her blog to the publisher file for making this foldable.  I made some changes to the foldable and voila!

I put in a picture of the four main characters in our video series.  In class the students and I worked on describing them,  what they are majoring in, and where they are from.  

On the inside, I wrote the titles of the first four episodes of the video series.  We talked about what happened in the first three episodes and how we could write it in German.  I am so proud of my students for describing all three episodes entirely in German!

We haven't seen the 4th episode yet, so we left that space blank and will fill it in when we get to it.  

I don't know if this foldable has magic powers, but my classes were really attentive and persistent while we worked on this.  It made me ridiculously proud!

Want a copy of my file?  Here you go

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Telling Time

This week students learned how to tell time in German 1.  Here's a look at the guided notes we used:

I've emphasized writing out and spelling numbers correctly more this year than in the past, and I think it helped students when we got to this topic.  For homework, students practiced writing out the time in German on a straightforward worksheet.  

I've noticed this year that my German 3 students are struggling with listening to people other than me speaking German.  If there's a word or two they don't understand, they tend to panic and give up trying to figure out what they can understand.  I've been trying to give them more practice and help with this, but I also want to get students used to hearing native German speakers before German 3.

So, a few days after we started working with telling time, I gave students a listening practice assignment using audio from our textbook.  The speaker describes 8 different activities she does at different times.  Students had to listen for the time at which she does each activity.  I put the assignment into Canvas, our district learning management system, so that students could enter their answers and Canvas would check their work.  They were allowed to try as many times as they needed and received a participation score for the number of correct answers they ended up with.  

This was TOUGH!  I spent a lot of time that day saying, "Yes, it is hard, but you can do it.  Listen again."  But, most of my students persevered, and I was really proud of them for this.  Two of my students decided it was more fun to listen together:

I noticed that students who weren't solid on numbers and the vocabulary for telling time had the most difficulty, but it was challenging for everyone.  And I think it was a good thing for helping them develop their German listening skills.  I don't think I can do it too frequently, or I'll have a full-scale rebellion on my hands, but it is something we'll do more often.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Verb Kickers

I've noticed that a lot of my recent posts have been about things I've done with my German 1 classes.  Here's a look at what we did yesterday in German 3/4:

Our primary grammar topic this unit is subordinating conjunctions and dependent clauses.  It can be tough because the word order changes in the clause when you use a subordinating conjunction.  The verb gets "kicked" to the end of the clause, so subordinating conjunctions are sometimes called verb kickers.

In the previous class, students reviewed coordinating conjunctions (und, oder, aber, denn, and sondern) and also recorded the meaning of some of the most common subordinating conjunctions (there are lots!).  

So now students were ready to take a look at some sample sentences and to color-code the different parts of the sentence.  Here's how it looked:

After we labeled the parts of the sentence, we summarized the word order for sentences that start with the independent clause and for sentences that start with the dependent clause.   The assignment was some straightforward practice with these two types of sentences, and then we'll continue with more practice next class.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Back from Fall Break

We're back from a week of fall break.  It was great to have such a long break, but after a whole week off, I can definitely tell that my students' German skills have gotten rusty.  Maybe a four day weekend would give everyone a break without quite so much learning loss.  The calendar for the next three years is being discussed right now in my district, so we'll find out soon if that's what the district decides to go to.

But I digress...

Really the only way to start back on a Monday after a long break is with a foldable.  Two foldables would be even better, right?

So, here are two foldables for Interrogatives (Question Words) in German 1.  The first one is a 6 petal foldable for our first 6 question words:

We wrote the English meaning of the question words on the undersides of the petals and the word order for questions in the center.

We put the German question words on the other sides of the petals:

That was probably enough for one day, and in retrospect, I think I would split this topic into two days.  But we forged bravely ahead with a three petal round foldable for the three different words for "where":

Finally, we talked about the word for "which," which changes depending on the gender of the noun after it.  By this time, students' eyes were definitely starting to glaze over, so I will definitely save that for a separate lesson next year.

Overall, though, my students did a great job with Interrogatives on the first day after break.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Live from room 406 - Konjunktiv II!

I promised in a previous post that I would post about how I am now using my DIY document camera to record class notes and post them to our school's learning management system.  It took a little longer to get this post written than I had expected, but here it is...

Since I am using an iPad to project guided notes onto the screen in my classroom, I can easily record what we're doing simply by turning on the video recording on my iPad (though I do have to remember to do this, which can sometimes be a challenge!)  

I did this for the first time a few weeks ago, and my students were initially a little weirded out by the fact that I was recording, but they soon got used to it and don't seem to notice much anymore.  

Then, using a free app, I compress the video to a reasonable size and upload it to Canvas, our district's learning management system.  I can embed it in a file, and students who were absent or need a review of what we discussed in class can watch it:

I'm always looking for ways to help students take charge of their own learning rather than depending on me, and I hope this will be a useful resource for students who were absent or are struggling.