Saturday, January 30, 2016

Adjective Opposites Activity

We just started a new unit, Wie sind sie?, in German 1, and the focus is on descriptive adjectives.  Students are just starting to learn the vocabulary, and on Friday at the end of a long week, I knew we needed a hands-on, fun activity to get students interacting with these new words.  

When students came in to class, they picked up a half-page sheet of paper with adjectives from the new unit, plus a few from the previous unit:
Their instructions were to cut them out, make sure they knew what each one meant, and then to match it up with its opposite.

Once they had them matched up, they glued the pairs onto a piece of notebook paper to turn in for participation credit.  

Here are some of my Maroon 3 students at work:  

And here's my favorite end product so far.  This student went above and beyond, adding color and little pictures to show the meaning of the words.  Ausgezeichnet, Max!

If you'd like a copy of my instructions to use in your class, here they are:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Favorite Free Website

Even though I am currently (very happily) teaching only German, I also love (and miss a bit) teaching math.  So, I still consider myself a bit of a math teacher and thus hopefully also a member of the #MTBoS (Math Twitter Blogosphere).  

The #MTBoS is having a 2016 blogging initiative with blog prompts and ideas.  This week's prompt is 

and I'm going to be blogging about one of my two favorite free websites: LearningApps  (The other is Quizlet, which I also adore.)  

I've blogged about it before, but it bears repeating because it is SO GREAT and FREE! 

  • You can create a variety of educational practice activities and games using pre-made templates.
  • You can use audio and video in these activities.  
  • You can also search for and use activities others have already created.  
  • You can give students a link or QR code to get to the activity, or you can embed it in a web site or learning management system.  
Since my school is 1-1 this year, I have been using this website more and more to create interactive practice activities for my students.  Here are some activities I've made recently:

And here's one I'll be using on Monday with German 1 to practice listening comprehension:

It's a great resource, and I highly recommend checking it out!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Teacher Life in Detail

Welcome to a (fairly typical) Day in my Teaching Life!

My teacher blogger friend, Sarah of Math = Love and NPR fameblogged this week about a day in her life.  I love reading Day in the Life posts, so I thought I'd give it a try.  There's a lot of detail here, so I don't blame you if you quit before the end!

5:00 Wake up, shower, get dressed.  It's Friday, so I wear my Bloomington North sweatshirt. Yay for comfy teaching clothes!  (Side note: My 12 year old son, Andrew, wanted to be in the picture.  We live in Bloomington South district, so I told him after I took the picture that I could blackmail him with that picture when he is in high school at South.  Second side note: picture taken at 6:29.  Andrew is neither awake nor smiling at 5:00.)

5:20 Empty dishwasher, make breakfast

5:40 Eat breakfast (cherry almond steel cut oatmeal - so yummy! and tea) while checking school email

5:50 Complete Spanish lesson on Duolingo, keeping my 14 day streak going

5:54 Work on enrichment activity for German 3/4 while finishing my tea

6:30 Kids leave for the bus stop, and I drive to school while listening to Planet Money podcast about the lottery - it has me laughing all the way!

6:45 Arrive at school, check mailbox (empty, which is always good), and head to my room

6:50 Unlock room, turn on computer, and take lunch to the prep room fridge.  Fill up water bottle.

6:55 Update the Macht jetzt (do now) for today and make sure everything is ready for German 1 block 1.  Work on German 3/4 enrichment activity some more and chat with early-arriving students.  

7:20 My student teacher, Matthew Hurley, arrives.

7:25 Bathroom stop and hall duty

7:40 Block 1, German 1: We start with a quick game of Ich habe, wer hat (I have, who has) to review before the vocabulary quiz.  This class beats the previous class's time by 2 seconds and is very pleased.  Students take their vocabulary quiz and then have time to work on their meine Familie presentations.  Manage to keep most students on-track and not playing video games on their computers.

8:30 Finish presentation work time and watch a short video about Angela Merkel.  Then, we read a paragraph (all in German - pretty good for German 1!) about her family.

9:05 Block 1 ends, hall duty, assist teacher next door who had a student pass out at the end of class

9:10 Block 2, prep: I make a cup of tea and eat some yogurt during announcements.  Work with Matthew to edit guided notes and practice activities on the past tense for German 3/4 that he made.  Finish the enrichment activity.  We still have some prep time, so we look at plans for German 3/4 for next week and I get some computer triage on my school laptop from our wonderful tech team.

10:40 Tutorial: I have about 10 students signed up.  Several are here to make up the course pretest which was given on a day they were absent.  I get them started on the pretest.  The other students are here to practice vocabulary for the quiz this afternoon.  They don't need any help, so Matthew grades German 1 quizzes, and I work on speaking cards for the current units.  I also eat most of my lunch!

11:25 Block 3, German 3:  We begin with the vocabulary quiz and a lot of complaining about how difficult the words are.  

12:00 Differentiation: last class students took a "pre-quiz" on the review topic of past tense forms.  Those who scored 90% or better do an enrichment activity about Sternsinger (star singers - children in Germany who go door to door on Epiphany, singing and collecting donations for children's charities), while the rest of the class reviews and practices verb tenses.  

12:30 Not much class time left after that, but get the whole class back together for reading passage about an 18 year old German boy's university and career plans.  Energy is low but we get through it.

12:50  Lunch: Finish my lunch with a few world language colleagues in the prep room.  Quick bathroom stop, check my cell phone and home email, and get my stuff out of the way so Matthew can teach Block 4.

1:30 Block 4, German 3/4: Same plan as Block 3, except Matthew is teaching and having his first (informal) observation.  He does just fine!  

I try to stay out of the way and grade quizzes in the back of the room.  Students did better than I expected, given all the complaining.  The English-German and German-English vocabulary is actually very good, but the irregular verb forms are a mess.  Must think of some way to get the students practicing this more effectively.  

2:15 I take the German 4 students to the language lab to watch a short film while German 3 does the reading with Matthew. 

2:55 School ends: Meet with Matthew and his student teaching adviser to discuss his observation.  He's doing great - just needs the confidence that comes with more experience!  Side note: His observer happens to be the husband of my older son's kindergarten teacher, and his daughter babysat for my kids.  This is typical for Bloomington, where everyone knows everyone somehow.

3:30 Leave school and drive home

3:45 Arrive at home.  Have a snack and watch Elementary with my kids.

4:45 Debate whether or not to go to exercise class.  It's a rainy, dreary Friday afternoon and I'm tired from the week.  It's tempting to curl up under a quilt and relax, but I really should go.  It probably helps that I'm blogging my day, and I don't want to appear too lazy to readers.

5:00 Debate which class to go to and decide to try a barre class at 5:30.  I love to run outdoors, but when the weather is bad and for cross training I go to the IU Student Recreational Sports Center, which is closer to my house than the Y.  Non-students can join for a fee, and they have a huge variety of drop-in group exercise classes, as well as an indoor track and tons of cardio machines.  You have to get used to the idea of working out with people half your age, but a lot of IU faculty and staff use it too, so I'm usually not the only non-student in the class.

6:15 Finish barre class and and SO glad I went.  Though I think I was the only person over 30 in that class, it was a lot of fun and I feel more relaxed and energized.  Not sure my legs and I will be on speaking terms tomorrow, but it was good for me.  I actually exercised 4 out of 5 days this week - proud of myself!  (And I am a more pleasant person to live with!)

6:30 Get home, eat dinner - leftover night at our house.  I have spinach stuffed shells and salad.  

7:30 My husband and kids leave for Friday night indoor soccer league.  I skip it this week and settle in to watch TV and grade quizzes.

8:00 I'm hungry, so I try a new recipe for 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake, and it is delicious!  I highly recommend it, and it really does take only 5 minutes.  It's very chocolaty, so I recommend paring it with a big glass of milk and possibly sharing it with a friend.   

9:30 Bed Time.  The soccer players arrive home shortly thereafter and report that both boys' teams won easily.  Next week is the tournament, in which they may play against each other, as they have already once this season.  Swank vs. Swank, the rematch.

That's my day!  Hope it wasn't too long or excruciatingly detailed.  I tried to take pictures during the day for the post, but I noticed that as the day went along, I got absorbed in what I was doing and forgot.  That probably explains why I only manage to post a #teach180 picture abut half of the time! 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Herzlich Wilkommen, Herr Hurley!

We're already a week into the new semester, and my students and I are getting back into the routine reasonably well.  Still, I think we were all very ready for the weekend by Friday!

One change this semester is that I have a student teacher!

Matthew Hurley is a senior at Indiana University who will graduate this May with a Bachelor's Degree in German Education.  He is also a graduate of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, where I taught math and physics my first two years of teaching (well before Matthew was a student there!).

Herr Hurley observed in my classroom one day a week this fall and taught a short lesson to my German 3/4 classes on subordinating conjunctions.  This semester, he'll be with me every day until April and will be gradually taking over at least several and possibly all of my classes during that time.

Herzlich Wilkommen, Matthew!