Saturday, April 29, 2017


I tried playing Löffel (Spoons) for the first time this week with my German 2 students, and it was a big hit.  Every student was actively involved, and I had several requests to play again.  That definitely counts as a win!

I had read about using Spoons as a review game at Teaching to Inspire, which gives a really good overview and things to consider when designing your own game.

Only a few students were familiar with the card game Spoons, so it took a few rounds and explanations until everyone was clear on how to play, but after that they were off, practicing German vocabulary, and having fun.

I had made sets of 4 cards for each vocabulary word.  For example, there might be the German noun, the gender (der/die/das), a picture, and a sentence describing the word in German.  Students tried to get all 4 cards for one vocabulary word in their hand.  Our current topic is technology vocabulary, and you can access my cards here.

We had prepped for the game by working with the cards the previous class, just trying to sort them into sets of 4 so that they would have some familiarity with them before trying to collect them in a game situation.  I think this helped a lot, especially since this was their first time playing Löffel.

The student without a spoon at the end of a round wrote a letter in the word "Löffel" on his or her desk with a dry erase marker.  The goal was to be the person with the fewest letters at the end of the game.

You'll need to dedicate a good chunk of time to playing, especially the first time.  Probably because it was new to students, we spent 25-30 minutes playing and none of the players collected all of the letters in Löffel.  Still, I think it was time well spent because it really got everyone engaged with German to German vocabulary from the unit.  Not bad for the last month of school!

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