Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wow! A blog!

Well, this is my first attempt at blogging, so perhaps I should start with a little bit about me and why I'm doing this.

I'm a German teacher in Howard County, Maryland.  This upcoming school year will be my sixth year teaching.  I've also taught French and Latin, but there's just something about teaching German...  It's a lot of fun, I've worked with some great kids and fellow teachers, and I've learned a lot about German and teaching in general.

What I've noticed, however, is that there are a lot of resources out there for teaching.  Tons for teaching World Languages, especially Spanish and French.  But when it comes to German... not so much.  My first year of teaching was a LOT of work because I had to create so much stuff... everything from the lessons to the activities to the materials for the activities to the exams to the more basics of how I wanted to run my classroom.  I'm not going to lie, I made some mistakes and pretty much had to re-do half of it the second year.  But it's gotten easier as I've amassed quite the collection of German-related (and French- and Latin-related) teaching material.

So what I'm hoping to do with this is just put another resource out there for German teachers.  I know there aren't as many of us as there are for other subjects and languages, but we should still have access to the same breadth of resources.

My goal is to put up some ideas, activities and resources for my fellow German teachers, practical things that you can use in your classrooms.  I also hope that what I put up can be used by teachers of other languages - I know there's activities that I do with both my French and German classes and there's ones that I can work into Latin as well.

- Frau Leonard


  1. Do you have any suggestions/tips/tricks for stacked classes? Thank you!

    1. Combo classes are always difficult. I've fortunately never had to deal with a combined German 1/2 or German 2/3 (I don't think the former is possible and the second doesn't seem much easier), and honestly I'm not sure how I would approach that. I have had German 3/4AP classes several times.

      The first time I had a German 3/4AP combined class, I found it very difficult. I tried to keep it split - German 3 got part of the room (and my time), German AP got another part. It was a lot of switching back and forth between the groups, the planning was difficult (and involved a lot of activities that could be done without me being there at all... more along the lines of sub work than communicative activities). It was a mess, and I don't think either group got even close to what they needed from me. It's a situation I'm actually looking at again this upcoming school year

      More recently when I've had the same situation, I taught it as more or less one class. All students were presented with the same vocab units at the same time and we worked together in class (obviously scaffolding was needed for the weaker German 3 students and authentic sources helped supplement the AP side of things). The grammar side is a little trickier, but since the AP students need a review I use that as a time to introduce new concepts to the German 3 students, then piggy back new grammar onto that for the AP students (example: Imperfect for German 3, Konjunktiv II for AP). Obviously the AP kids will need to take some of your time to prep for the exam, and obviously the level 3 kids need it to help them build up to being in AP the next year.

      My recommendation is - whenever possible - to teach them as one class. Same curriculum for both in terms of vocab at the very least so they can feel a sense of class unity (no us over here vs them over there). It's really hard to plan, but I felt a lot better after these classes than the first year when I tried to keep them separate.

  2. Do you have any suggestions for a first time learner of German?

  3. Learn all about studienkolleg and how to learn german

  4. I've also had to teach a split level of 1/5. It was crazy! I totally understand wanting to try to teach them as one class. It sure is hard when they are at such different points. I tried having the 5 teach the 1s but that didn't go well with their parents. It wasn't fair to them. Hopefully numbers come up in future years, but it looks bleak!

    I'm glad you are talking about German teachers getting resources out there. I've always had a hard time with textbook companies and their lack of flare. I've visited Frau Leonard's Teachers Pay Teachers store several times. I've also started posting my things as well over the past year. I'm working to make more free video guides and other resources for German teachers. Check out TPt for resources. Busy Bugsy Teachers Pay Teachers