Saturday, October 26, 2019

Math Puzzles for my German Students

Because why not?

I love logic puzzles and think they are great for students to promote playful, logical thinking and problem solving.

The amazing Sarah Carter of Math = Love very generously shares puzzles that she uses in her classroom on her blog, and I've found time to print out two so far and put them in my room for students when they have a spare minute or two.

The first one is the A+ puzzle, which can be really tricky unless you approach it in the right way.

Then I added in the 1-4-5 Square Challenge.

Of course, I put it right by my Deutsch macht Spaß sign!

I think it's about time to rotate out the A+ puzzle and bring in a new one - as soon as I find the time!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Weltschul Maus - Kleidung enrichment for Deutsch 2... and a request

As promised last week, here is the Enrichment activity for Deutsch 2 focusing on the topic of clothing in the Sendung mit der Maus Welt-Schul video. 

This time I focused in more detail on the first 10 minutes.  Students need to write complete sentences describing the different school uniforms worn by the children in different countries.  My students worked on it yesterday, and the level seemed good for them.

This is such a great video!  There are so many things you can pull out of it - clothing, languages, weather, transportation to school - and it's really accessible even at the beginning levels.

And, readers, now a request from you:  Could you please leave a note in the comments about which German textbook you use in your school?  We are entering textbook adoption season and embarking on the eternal quest for the perfect German textbook.  What do you recommend or not recommend?  Danke im Voraus!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Weltschul Maus - Enrichment for Deutsch 1

Die Sendung mit der Maus had a great new episode recently which works perfectly for enrichment for my German 1 Schule unit.  (Have a I mentioned lately how much I love Die Sendung mit der Maus?)

It's a fairly long video  - 23 minutes - for German 1 in the target language at the beginning of the year, but so much of it is understandable from the videos that I feel like they can handle it.  I also have a strong German 1 class this year, and I really want to challenge the students who are doing well.

Ralph visits schools in 10 other countries and spends a day with a student in school in each one.  There are so many great topics you could focus on, but I was mainly trying to get my strong students to try watching a show in the target language and realize how much they are able to understand.  I created a short worksheet to go along with the video, mainly just to hold the students accountable for watching all of it:

I plan to use this same video as enrichment for German 2 at the end of their Kleidung unit, focusing on the uniforms worn by many of the children.  I'll post it to my blog once I make it!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Oktoberfest 2019

After last year's exhausting Oktoberfest, I wasn't sure I'd want to attempt another one, but with my new half-time schedule and wisdom gained from last year's failures, I thought I might just give it one more try.

This year, my colleague and I were able to schedule things so that we could both be at the Oktoberfest, and two teachers are definitely better than one!

We started planning earlier and more students volunteered to bring in food.  My colleague also emphasized to the students that they should only take a small serving until everyone had been served, and there was enough for everyone.

This year I pre-made dough for Lebkuchenherzen, which we rolled, cut out, and baked during the Fest.  

Our Success period (intervention/enrichment time) is only 40 minutes long, so not all of the students' cookies were baked and cooled by the end of the period, but I was able to stay and finish up and students picked up their cookies later on the way to lunch.  They were delicious!

Most students had time to do their own dishes, though there was still quite a lot of cleanup to do afterwards.  My colleague had a class right afterwards, but I was done for the day and could enjoy some peace and quiet and dish washing.

Overall, it was a big improvement over last year and a good experience for students.  It's still super tiring for teachers, and the 40 minute Success period really isn't long enough for what we wanted to do.  Maybe we'll need to scale it back for next year and/or use some class time for part of it, but I'm glad we tried again.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Room Updates

Here's a quick look at some of the updates I've made in my room this year!

I've already blogged about my new seating arrangement (which I so far really like!): 

Here are some updates to my back board / agenda area to meet (I hope!) new expectations of our administration:

Saturday, September 7, 2019

First Enrichment Activity for Deutsch 2

Last year in German 1 during the second semester, I started assigning students enrichment or corrections after their unit tests.  The idea was to push students who struggled to look closely at their errors, learn from them, and then retake their test if they wanted to.  I also wanted to give my students who had mastered the material a chance to go further.

It worked quite well, so I've decided to expand it into the first semester of both German 1 and German 2 this year (hopefully!).

German 2 takes their first unit test next week, and I've definitely noticed a wide range of mastery among my students so far on formative assessments.  So, I expect to have students with a lot of corrections to do and others who are ready for new challenges.

The enrichment activity I've designed has students watching a 2 minute segment on the Tagesschau from August 23.  I'm trying to teach my students how to work with authentic video clips that contain a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary by focusing on what they can understand and by viewing a clip several times.

Here's what they'll do:
You will be watching a 2 minute segment from the German news several times.  Repetition is important in learning a new language!  Don't worry that you don't understand every word.  Focus on what you can understand.
Write the answers to the following questions on a separate piece of paper:
      1.  Before you watch the video for the first time, write down what you think you might hear based on the pictures below.   
      2. Watch the video from 6:30 to 8:44.  You can turn on German subtitles by clicking on UT. (Links to an external site.) What did you see?  Was it what you expected? 
      3. Watch the video a second time.  What do you think the story is about?  What questions do you have?
      4. Watch the video a third time, making sure that you have the subtitles turned on.  Choose 3 unfamiliar words that you think are important to the story, look them up, and record them with their English meanings on your paper.
      5. Watch the video a fourth time, making sure that you have the subtitles turned on.  Answer these questions in German:  
a)  Wie viele Menschen waren (were) in 1989 in der Menschenkette?
b)  Wie lange war (was) die Menschenkette?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Listening Feature in Quizizz

I'm a fan of Kahoot, Quizizz, and Quizlet Live.  All three games provide a fun way to practice material, and each has its own strengths and classroom situations when it works best.

I really like the way Quizizz allows students to work at their own pace.  It also shows the answer choices on students' own screens, which can be very helpful if the answers are long or quite similar to each other.  I have also had classes which are not mature enough to handle the whole-class competitive aspects of Kahoot (or choosing an appropriate name), and Quizizz offers a good alternative.

As I was looking at my collection of Quizizz this week, I found a Quizizz made by another teacher for the German alphabet:

It asks students about the German names for the letters of the alphabet: 
My students usually really need practice in hearing and recognizing a letter of the alphabet.

As I was looking at this Quizizz, I found that you can upload 10 second MP3 files or record yourself very easily to give an audio clue.  Perfect!

I found a great website,, which has individual MP3 files for the letter of the alphabet which you can download.  

I'm going to record myself spelling words as well for my students to practice, and there are lots more possibilities for listening practice on Quizizz with this function.  I hope you find it useful as well!