Wednesday, January 22, 2014

School Superlatives: A Project

I talked a little while ago about class superlatives - an activity I do with students as we learn the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives.  I actually tried a new project this year that sort of spring boards off this activity... we did school superlatives!

This is another great idea that I can't take credit for - like the Stammtisch for AP, this was a project inspired by another teacher within my county who did something very similar with her students.  It seemed like a lot of fun, so we gave it a try this year.

Students worked in groups to come up with 20 questions with the idea of school superlatives in mind.  To give you an idea of the questions they came up with, here are a few:
- Wer hat das beste Auto? / Who has the best car?
- Wer ist am schnellsten? / Who's the fastest?
- Wer ist am größten? / Who's the tallest?
- Wer hat die besten Haare? / Who has the best hair?
- Wer hat die besten Augen? / Who has the best eyes?
- Wer ist am klügsten? / Who's the smartest?

The idea was that they would then interview other students to find out the answers to these questions - Who is the fastest in the school?  Who does have the best eyes?

To find out the answers, though, I had students from this German 3 class visit my other German classes.  That's right, German 3 came to visit German 1, 2 and 4.  I love activities where students get to interact with other levels.  It's good for them to see that other people besides their classmates are learning German and they get to see what other classes are up to.  For lower levels, it's fun to get a glimpse into the future at how well they'll be able to speak later.  For upper levels, it's somewhat nostalgic to look back at previous projects.

When they came to talk to German 1 and 2, they were obviously talking to students who hadn't formally learned the comparative or superlative yet and who may not have even learned some of the adjectives or nouns they were learning (for example: athletic and eyes haven't come up for German 1 yet).  I warned German 3 about this ahead of time - they might need props to explain some of these words and to get the answers they wanted.  Because of course no English was allowed during these visits!

After compiling all their data, students had to create a Power Point highlighting six of their twenty winners.  They needed one slide per winner, making sure to include the person's name, a picture of them, and a sentence in German explaining what they won.

I gave them time in class not only to put together their Power Points, but also to visit other classes to find these students and get their pictures.

I also talked to our media specialists about getting these Power Points either in our morning announcements or on our daily scrolling announcements.  They were super supportive and helped out - my students got to see their projects all around the school :)

Pros and Cons:
- Pro: This project involved the whole school - all German classes participated and students had to talk to other classes to get even more data to pull from.
- Pro: The scrolling announcements have German in them now - great way to broadcast the language!
- Con: This can be tricky - students have to get permission to leave other classes in order to visit other German classes AND they needed to visit other classes to get the pictures they needed.
- Con: I fell into the trap of giving the students too much time to do this project.  They wasted a lot of that time because I wasn't sure of the deadlines (since it was my first time doing the project) and we got somewhat behind.  Next year this should be easy to fix though.

I will definitely be doing this project again next year.  It ended up being a lot of fun and is a practical use of the superlative.  I would also do this project with my French and Latin students... I'll just have to wait until the next time it works out that I teach the comparative/superlative in those languages!

All the rubrics and handouts I used for this project are available on TPT - just click here if you're interested!

- Frau Leonard

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