Sunday, May 28, 2017


Friday was the last day of school for students.  Teachers go back for one final day after Memorial Day, but basically, it's summer!

The last week of school was pretty much all exams and study periods (and one painfully long 3 hour homeroom period for computer collection), so I had quite a bit of time to clean up my room, sort through old files, and look ahead to next year.

I'm scheduled to teach three sections of German 1 and three sections of German 2 next year, which if you're doing the math, you'll notice is full time.  I started at 1/3 time, then was 2/3 time, and the last two years I've been at 5/6 time.  I specifically applied for this position four years ago because I only wanted to teach part time.  But enrollment has increased, so my teaching load has increased too.  To be honest, I'm still trying to get used to the idea of being full time, but that's where things stand now.

I am excited about teaching only two preps which I have taught before from this textbook, which means I can change and improve things and start to implement some of the ideas I've had along the way but haven't been able to implement because I was just trying to keep my head above the water.

I modified my guided notes for German 1 on German Nouns and Gender to make them clearer and more visually appealing.  I changed the day and date heading a bit and also added a student understanding self-evaluation element:

I am a bit skeptical about how much of an impact having students evaluate their understanding really has on learning, but it's part of the Marzano rubric we're evaluated by, so here it is.

Here's what the new notes look like:

Here's the file if you'd like them.  Happy summer!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Quick Tech Tip - Making Learning Apps even better!

I LOVE Learning Apps!  I've blogged about it several times before, and if you haven't checked it out yet, now is the time - it's fantastic and free!

One of the small disadvantages of Learning Apps is that it doesn't have a way for me to easily check students' progress/completion of activities.  

But, a short while ago, my wonderful colleague Molly, who teaches Japanese and ENL, mentioned to me that of you create an "App Matrix" with several activities, it does show when students have completed an activity.   



And, the check marks remain, even if students close the page and go back to it.  Game-changer!

We're into final exam review season now, and I've been doing a lot of paperless review, with online activities.  It gives students instant, personalized feedback, which, as I learned in my May professional development activities, has a significant impact on student learning:

Along with Quizlet in multiple choice Test mode, which is how the final is set up, German 1 has done

and German 2 


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Elmo und Bert kochen

I am a huge fan of both Sesame Street in English and Sesamstraße in German, so whenever I get to use Sesamstraße in my lesson, it's a good day:

Our current topic in German 1 is food and restaurants.  Students have learned several adjectives - lecker, süß, salzig, scharf - to describe how food tastes, so it's a perfect time to use this clip:

We watched the clip as a whole class and talked about it using schmecken and adjectives.  

Then, I wanted students to do some independent writing in response to the video.  I have some really great digital interactive notebook templates from Danielle Knight ($7 through Teachers Pay Teachers), including this one for retelling a story:

I used it to create a PowerPoint worksheet with clips from the video and questions for the students to answer:

Normally, I would just print out the worksheet and students would complete it on paper.  But since we are 1-1 with laptops, I made an assignment in our Learning Management System where students downloaded the file to their computers, typed their answers in the boxes, and submitted it to me digitally in the LMS.

I was a little nervous about how my students would do with this since I haven't given this type of download-write-save-upload assignment before, but it went very smoothly!

When students submitted their work, I could view it easily in the LMS:

Students got to see clear color pictures from the video and had a link right at their fingertips to watch it again if they needed to.  

It was a great way for me to assess how they were doing with their comprehension, vocabulary, and ability to form complete sentence answers in German.  It also held them accountable for completing the assignment.

I could even make corrections and leave comments quickly and easily on the students' work:

I'm definitely not a technology for technology's sake person, and I don't think I'll have a paperless classroom anytime soon.  (Probably not ever -  there's really nothing like a good foldable for pronouns!)

But there are times when technology really is a useful tool to enhance learning, and I feel like this was one of those times.