Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy Birthday, World Wide Web... and thanks!

The World Wide Web celebrated its 30th Anniversary March 12, which makes me feel rather old, but also grateful.

On the day before Spring Break, I was pondering what to do with my students on the first day back from break, and I was drawing a blank.  It's more difficult since it is the second day of our block schedule, and on the day before break, I had a lot of students gone, so it was mostly a catch-up day / make-up day.  I don't really want to come back from break to that, so what do I do with my sleepy students who will claim that they've forgotten all their German?

I glanced at my blog reading list, and suddenly I had two good ideas:

For German 1, from World Language Classroom, a "Who is it?" minibook:

The post does not contain a template for German, but I've done minibooks before, so it was quite easy to make my own template.  

I made one following the model from World Language classroom:

and modified it a bit for my students:

Rather than doing a selfie, I plan to number students' books when they finish writing so that they can read each other's books and fill in a guess on a chart:

I am very, very grateful to Ashley for selecting, previewing, and sharing the 16 German music videos because I'm not very knowledgable about German pop music.

A quick Google search led me to this great March Madness bracket from Plexkits:  

I deleted the parts of the bracket that I didn't need, and Rick very kindly added a winner box for me.  I added hyperlinks to the bracket so that students can click and view the various videos.  

This is definitely something that I couldn't have come up with on my own, and I'm very grateful for all the people who shared resources with me.  I hope it will energize my students next Monday morning!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Eins, Zwei, Drei Tier Video

This weekend I found a great video from Die Sendung mit der Maus to use as enrichment with my German 1 students for this unit:  

Students have been working with adjectives and adverbs in opposite pairs as well as Haustiere recently, so it's a great fit.

You can turn on subtitles in German (UT), so students can see what they're hearing.  

I've created a short worksheet to go with it so that students can view the video independently while I am helping students who need reteaching.


Here's the file if you'd like to try it with your students:

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Oktoberfest 2018 - A Mixed Review

My German 2 classes have been studying Oktoberfest the past few weeks.  It fits in wonderfully with our first two units about Feste and Kleidung and out first Landeskunde region of Bayern.

So, after the success of our Apfelstreuselkuchen baking, I decided to schedule a tutorial to celebrate Oktoberfest on October 5.  

My review of how it went is certainly influenced by the fact that it was the Friday before our 4 day October break, and everyone (including me) was tired and ready for a break.  

Added to that, our building was short 9 subs, so I was called in at the last minute to sub during my prep period.  For an introvert like me who desperately needs to sit alone in a quiet room and not talk to anyone for a while after celebrating Oktoberfest with 41 students, this was rough.  

It seems unfair that when we're short on subs the day before a vacation, the teachers who are in the building trying to do some teaching with wound-up students are required to do even more than normal.  This doesn't happen in other schools in my district, so in my opinion, this is a leadership/administrative issue, and I'll leave it at that.

So, keeping in mind the circumstances, here's the review.

The good:

  • 41 students signed up for the tutorial.  I got to meet some of the German students who are in my colleague's classes.
  • 3 of my students who are in band came up with the idea all on their own to play for our Fest, got permission to take their instruments out of the band room, and played for their appreciative peers.

  • I brought in frozen pretzels that needed to be baked in the oven for about 10 minutes, and 3 hard-working students took over that job and completed it like pros.

The bad:
  • Students weren't especially good about making sure everyone got served before going back for seconds.  They acted more like hangry teenagers and less like the thoughful young people I know they are capable of being.
  • We were rushed for time, so I wasn't able to have students wash their own dishes.  That meant most of the cleanup was left to me, but I had to cover another class.  I did eventually get to it and actually enjoyed being alone with the dishes (an introvert's oasis!), but this is again not really ideal for helping to develop thoughtful, appreciative young adults.
The future:  

I'm not sure about doing something like this again.  Parts were fun and students enjoyed it, but it was too tiring for me on a very tiring day.  Maybe we'll do it during class time so that I have more control about who is there and there is a limit on numbers.  We'll see.  Right now I need a long weekend with my family, crochet, Call the Midwife, and rest.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Friday Fun: Speed Dating, 4 in a Row, and Quizizz

We're really into the semester now, and both German 1 and 2 have some big quizzes and tests coming up, so Friday was dedicated to fun ways to get students reviewing and practicing.

German 2 tried Past Participles Speed Dating for the first time  

and played 4 in a Row

Both activities got thumbs up from students and got them actively practicing past participles, kennen, and wissen.

German 1 has their next unit test coming up, and we played Quizizz to review:

All in all, it was a good Friday.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Backe, backe Kuchen

I love to bake!  And I really enjoy doing it with my students when we have the chance.

This year one of my sections of German 2 is Block 3 with C lunch, which means that class is from 11:35 - 12:55 with lunch at 12:55.  Which means that we are all hungry during class.  Which means that we talk about food a lot!

I promised this class that sometime soon I would schedule a baking tutorial so that we could bake in tutorial and eat in class. (Tutorial is our intervention/enrichment period, which meets right before Block 3 for 40 minutes.)  Naturally, they were all in.  

Of course we had to sing "Backe, back Kuchen" for the students who hadn't learned it last year.

Most of the students who participated were from the section of German 2 which meets right after tutorial and before lunch, but it was open to everyone, and some German 1 students and students from other sections attended.  

Since the cake wouldn't be done until after tutorial, I promised students who weren't in my Block 3 class that we would save them a piece of Kuchen that they could pick up before Block 4.

We used a very simple recipe for Apple Streusel Cake, which I found online: 

I divided the students into three groups: one for the dough (it was Throwback Thursday for Homecoming week)

one for the apple filling

and one for the crumble topping. 

And they really took it from there - I didn't have to do much more!  

I even had two very enthusiastic dish washers!  

The cake was done baking during Block 3 and cool enough to eat by the end of class.  Delicious!

It was a definite success, and not especially stressful or tiring for me - also a plus.  

Students asked to do this every week.  I don't think I'll be able to pull that off, but we definitely will do it again!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Clothing, Nouns and Cases

German 2 finished up their first unit, Feste Feiern, and took their test on Wednesday.  Results were fantastic - 88% average across my three classes.  I'm proud of their hard work!

Now we're on to Kleidung (clothing).  Students started the day on Friday with coloring.  

Life is good when you get to color in German class on a Friday.  One of my students told me, "I love you, Frau Swank!"  I warned her that she might not love me as much by the end of class...  

Some of my students wanted to color for the whole class, but I was not going to pass up an opportunity like this to talk about article and adjective endings!

We looked at the sentences in detail, observing how the article and adjective endings changed in the accusative case depending on the gender and number of the clothing item.  

Then, students had the information they needed to describe one item of clothing they were wearing, such as

If they struggled, they just needed to look at the sentences below.  I love it!

Now it was time to flip over to the back and really review cases with my favorite example:

First we analyzed the English sentence, 

and reviewed how to figure out what's what in a sentence.  I emphasized that there aren't shortcuts - they have to understand the sentence and do the thinking.  (My student didn't love me quite as much at this point.)

We reviewed our articles charts

and finally wrote the sentence in German.

That was the end of our notes, and it was time to practice.  I've noticed that students are more willing to try difficult things with dry erase markers instead of pencil and paper, so I created 4 practice sentences that fit in page protectors for table group practice.

I heard some great conversations among students using words like direct object, indirect object, accusative case, and dative case.  It made my German teacher heart sing!

For some groups, those 4 sentences were enough of a challenge, and I didn't want to overwhelm them.  Other groups wanted to try level 2:

and even level 3:

This structure really let me differentiate and individualize.  (It is also wonderful that none of my German 2 classes has more than 24 students this year, so I can work with groups more individually without other groups getting off track and on to their cell phones!)

Students finished up with work time for their assignment:

with one of these two pictures on the back:

Here are my files: