Saturday, April 30, 2016

Passive Voice in German 3/4

I haven't posted about German 3/4 in a while because my student teacher took over those classes for most of the first twelve weeks of the semester.  He has finished now (and is about to graduate and go to Germany on a Fulbright - yay Matthew!), so I am back to teaching this group.  

The last big grammar topic we covered was the passive voice.  I introduced it with an example in English about building a house:

We wrote the active voice sentence in German and then learned how to form the passive voice in German:
After a quick review of conjugating werden:

We wrote the passive sentence in German.

We did some more examples of the passive voice without an agent, using vocabulary from the current unit (Umwelt = Environment).

And I used one of my favorite quotes from Angela Merkel talking about the Greek bailout a few years ago:

Finally, we discussed how to indicate an agent.

It was a pretty straightforward lesson, and my students were pleased that it used concepts (werden, past participles) that were already familiar to them.  The biggest challenges for them were remembering irregular past participles and dative case articles and adjective endings.

Here are links to my notes handout for students, my powerpoint presentation, and passive worksheet 1 and passive worksheet 2.  

Another great resource for passive is Tom's Deutschseite.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Introducing the Dative Case in German 1

This year is the first year I've introduced the dative case in German 1.  We have a new, much improved textbook, which includes dative in the Food and Restaurants unit.  Also, we're working to align the curriculum so that students are prepared for AP or ACP German in the fourth year, which means making the first three years a bit more rigourous.

Last week we reviewed accusative case and direct objects to get ready:

So, on Monday we were ready to start the Dative Case.  I started with an overview of when to use the dative case:

Then, we completed charts of the definite and indefinite articles in the dative case, using "Mr. Minnesota" as a way to remember the MRMN pattern.

Next, we looked at indirect objects in more detail.  I used the children's book If you Give a Mouse a Cookie to give students a concrete example of an indirect object.

That was enough new information for the first day.  It was time to practice, and for that we used my new class set of highlighters, which had arrived the week before.

The biggest difficulty that students have with the cases in German is that they don't slow down and take the time to sort out what function the different nouns in the sentence have.  Enter highlighters:

Isn't it beautiful?  

And, best of all, it was right around this time that I told my tale of not being able to use AirServer for guided notes because of the changes made to the wifi for state testing for the umpteenth time to the right person who passed on the right information to the right person who flipped the right switch in the wiring so that it worked again.  Hallelujah! 

Maybe it seems like a small thing, but after more than a month of making do with PowerPoint, it was so nice to teach in a way which feels comfortable for me and best meets my students' learning needs.  Thank you, BHSN tech team!

Click on the links above for a copy of my guided notes and worksheet.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Separable Prefix Verbs

One of the big grammar topics in our Lebensmittel (groceries) unit is separable and inseparable prefix verbs.  

Previously I've only introduced first year students to separable prefix verbs and left inseparable prefix verbs for second year when we are doing the Perfekt (conversational past) and they become important in forming past participles.

Our new textbook introduces all prefix verbs at once, and I felt it was worth trying out.  It fits very well with this topic since our vocabulary included

  • kaufen (to buy) - no prefix
  • einkaufen (to shop) - separable prefix
  • verkaufen (to sell) - inseparable prefix
To start out, I gave students a piece of paper with all 5 prefix verbs from the unit.  Their job was to cut them apart and make sure they knew what each one meant.

[This was right around the time when we started having school-wide wifi issues related to state standardized testing.  The solution to the problem resulted in my desktop computer and my iPad no longer being able to talk to each other so that I can no longer use my iPad for guided notes or for recording the notes.  I've talked to anyone who will listen about the problem, but after a month of asking I think the soonest I can hope for it to be fixed is over the summer.  So, I've been making do with Powerpoint.  Sigh...]

Three of our verbs have separable prefixes, so to emphasize the idea of the prefix separating, I had students cut off the prefixes and move them to the end of the sentence. Students' notes looked like this

For the inseparable prefix verbs, we put our scissors away to emphasize that the prefixes stay with the verb stem.
Click for a copy of the notes or Powerpoint presentation.