Monday, March 23, 2020

Transport in Berlin Video from Easy German

My German 2 students just started a new unit on Transportation before Spring Break and the school closures.  I used Edpuzzle to insert comprehension questions into a video from Easy German about Transport in Berlin:



We watched the video as a whole class first without the questions and pauses.  Then, students were assigned to watch the Edpuzzle video and answer the questions in Canvas (our LMS) at their own pace.  Overall, it worked pretty well.  Now, with schools closed and students learning from home, I may be doing more of these videos.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

März Musik Bracket Up


The März Musik bracket is now up in my classroom!  

On Friday after their test, my German 2 students received their brackets.  I played a very short snippet of each song, and students filled out their brackets, making predictions of which song they thought would win the whole thing.  

I've invited my colleague, Frau Nessi, to include her German 2 class as well, so for the first time I've tried creating a page in Canvas (our LMS) with dynamic content that updates automatically.  Cross your fingers that it works!


Students have to have their brackets filled out by next class to be eligible to win the prediction contest, and the first vote will be Tuesday, March 10 and Wednesday March 11.

We're a bit behind some of the other schools that are participating in the group bracket, but since we just finished round 1 of sophomore ISTEP testing and spring break starts in a week, this seems to work best for us.  March Madness runs into April, and we will too!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

März Musik 2020


It's almost March, and once again, I am incredibly grateful for the internet and German teachers who share their fantastic resources!

Last year, I debuted März Musik with my German 2 classes, and it was a big hit.  Some of my students from last year have already been asking if we'll be doing it again this year.  It's a lot of fun, but also a lot of work to set up.  Here's where the German Teacher Blogosphere steps in:

A German teacher in Wisconsin shared her list of 16 songs to compete in this year's March Music Madness, as well as activities, brackets, and more.  Other teachers have contributed their materials, and now there's a whole Google Folder full of great stuff!  

So, I think I'm ready to go.  Like last year, I'll be doing März Musik with my German 2 classes, and I'll open it up to my colleague's German 2 class and her 3/4 classes as well.


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Podcasts for German Learning

I've become a big fan lately of Podcasts, and there are several that are good for German learning.

One that's been around for a while is Slow German Podcast from Annik Rubens.

Annik has been podcasting for more than 10 years and has some great episodes for German students.  The podcasts are usually 8-10 minutes long, and she speaks slowly and clearly.  

You can download them to your mobile phone or subscribe through a Podcast App, or you can listen online.  There is also a transcript of the episode available for free as a pdf download.

If you listen online, there's a really nice feature where she has translated some of the more difficult words, which you can see if you move your cursor over the word:




My German 2 students are now working on a unit about travel, and we listened to part of the podcast about Jugendherbergen (youth hostels) this week.  These podcasts are challenging but understandable for intermediate level students. 

I've blogged previously about using videos from Easy German in my classes.  They have recently started a podcast, which I think is fantastic!
These podcasts are much longer than Slow German - usually at least an hour - and are geared at more advanced students.  They speak at a regular speed but keep their German learner audience in mind and explain (in German) particularly tricky words or cultural references.  

Again, you can download them to your mobile phone or subscribe through a Podcast App, or you can listen online.  The podcast is free, but if you subscribe for $2 a week, you have access to a transcript as well as a really neat vocabulary feature on certain Podcast Apps.


I use Overcast, and when I am listening, the vocabulary and English translations for the current section of the podcast show up automatically on my phone:

Since I only teach first and second year German currently, I wouldn't use these podcasts with my students, but parts of them could definitely be used in an upper level class, and they'd be great for students who want to challenge themselves.  

I enjoy listening to hear native speakers and keep my German fresh, and the hosts Manuel, Cari, and Janusz are voll sympathisch!



I often listen while driving to or from school, and frequently hear a story I want to share with my students on the video version so that they have visual supports and subtitles to support their understanding.

Viel Spaß beim Zuhören!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Advent Calendars for German Teachers

There are quite a few online Advent calendars each year for German teachers and their students.  

Some years I'm better at keeping up with them than others!  It's always tricky since we have semester exams before winter break, and there's not always a lot of time to celebrate German Christmas traditions amid the review and end of semester craziness.

But here are links to some of the calendars I'm enjoying this year:










Viel Spaß und schöne Adventstage!

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!