Friday, May 30, 2014

Dirndl und Lederhosen: Traditional German Clothing

Our last vocabulary topic in German 1 is a clothing unit.  We look at a variety of vocabulary words, practice describing outfits, use the verb gefallen, practice shopping, and basically just practice describing things we already have and do in America.

I had some extra time this week so I put together something I felt was missing - a little bit of German culture!

It started earlier in the year when my AP kids did a reading from the Cornelsen AP workbook (which I highly recommend) that talked about Dirndl.  The boys had no clue what a Dirndl was (and as boys, I guess I wouldn't expect them to...), which made the reading more challenging for them.  I decided that deutsche Tracht was something I should incorporate into the clothing unit we do in German 1.

When I went through making this activity, I wanted something that gave a general overview, had some fun details, but wasn't too detailed or overwhelming for students.  We basically talked a little bit about everything, learning some words like Lederhosen, Bundhosen, Edelweisshut, Dirndl and Tracht.  I then gave students a cultural quiz - seven true/false statements that we then discussed one by one.

After that, we watched the following video about Dirndl:

There is a German version available as well (alas, I didn't find the German version until after we had watched the English one), so you can decide which version to use based on your class' abilities.

Next class, we'll talk more about Lederhosen and the Edelweisshut.  Deutsche Welle has a video (similar to the Dirndl one above, though with less of a focus on fashion) on Lederhosen that I plan on showing.

And just like the previous video, there's a German version as well.

Previously when we've had a World Language Fair, my Honor Society students had a craft table where they showed people how to make an Edelweisshut out of construction paper.  We'll be making these hats next class based on this craft page.  I will say that you will need to find the longest/biggest construction paper possible - for teenagers it'll be a tight fit once it's done.

If you're interested in a copy of the materials I used, they're available for FREE on TPT - just click here!

- Frau Leonard

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


We're still in our car unit in German 3, focusing now on how to drive.  In addition to talking about traffic signs, speed limits and general rules of the road, today we talked about bad driving.

I stumbled upon a couple of resources provided by Deutsche Welle that fit into this mini-topic.

The first one was about der Idiotentest.  I asked students to come up with what they thought it would be, then we listened to the provided audio file and edited our definition.  I then asked students to come up with examples of bad driving that would force someone to have to take the Idiotentest.

We then moved on to bad parking via a video article from Deutsche Welle: Eine App gegen Falschparker.  We watched and discussed the video using the provided exercises.  Then I asked students if they thought parking was an issue at our school.  Our senior class has already left (they graduate tomorrow), so the general consensus was that parking has improved a lot recently but that it could be bad (we often have people parking in spots that are not actual spots).  I broke students into groups and challenged them to go into the school parking lot and find Falschparker.  And just like the app we just talked about, they would need to photograph the cars.

Obviously I didn't want to incriminate any drivers at our school - students, teachers or otherwise.  This was just an extension of what we were doing in class.  To make sure that the photos stayed anonymous, students were told not to show any license plates.  And to make this part fun, I designed these European-style fake license plates.
Fake license plates based on ones found from a quick Google search :)
Each group was given one of the license plates (today we had team Deutschland, Liectenstein and Belgien).  In each of their pictures, they had to display their license plate and not the actual one.  I then gave them 15 minutes to try and find as many as they could (we have three parking lots, each on a separate side of the school - the time was necessary just to allow them to walk between them).

When time was up, each group had to send me what they thought were the five most egregious parking mistakes along with a count of the total number of Falschparker they found.

Here are some of the photos:

If you plan on doing this (and I recommend it!) make sure you tell students to include enough of the car to show how bad the parking was - some of the student photos are close ups that basically just show you a car.  There was also one group (ahem, my group of boys) who decided to fabricate some bad parking jobs... by re-parking their own cars.  Props to them on the creativity and effort, though!

Also interesting to note: both of the girl groups found a lot of Falschparker, while the boys found fewer.  The girls were looking for lots of examples whereas the boys were looking for the most obvious examples (higher - or maybe lower? - standards for what it meant to be a Falschparker).

- Frau Leonard

Monday, May 26, 2014

Schnipp-Schnapp: Future Tense Practice

One of our final units during German 1 is the Future Tense with werden.  A common theme that comes up with the future tense is fortune telling.  

My mentor teacher actually had a project for her French III class where they would film videos involving going to a fortune teller and having their fortunes come true (very cute project).  The project works really well with le futur simple, mostly because the students have more vocabulary to work with.  My German 1 students obviously are at a more basic level, and doing a project like that would probably be more frustrating than worthwhile.

I've done horoscopes in the past, but honestly one of my favorite fortune telling activities is cootie-catchers.  

You've probably seen these things if you've spent a lot of time in an elementary or middle school.  You might even remember making them yourself.  Basically, it's a foldable that has fortunes hidden on the inside.  

To prep for this activity, I have students write down eight interesting sentences in the future tense, all starting with "du wirst..."  I give them some suggestions by writing verbs like toeten, heiraten, stehlen, kaufen, and finden on the board.  After students have had time to come up with their own, I ask for examples to write on the board.  Students love sharing their ideas - plus it gives a little extra inspiration or help to students who struggle to come up with eight on their own.  Here are some of the sentences my students came up with this year:
- Du wirst die Mona Lisa stehlen.
- Du wirst 100 Babys haben.
- Du wirst in Schloss Neuschwanstein wohnen.
- Du wirst einen Frosch heiraten.
- Du wirst einen Drachen finden.
- Du wirst im Vulkanausbruch schwimmen.
- Du wirst meinen Hund essen.

Next I tell them to hold on to their list as we make the foldable.  If you've never made one or have forgotten, there are plenty of online tutorials and videos, even templates.  The only thing you need to make sure you have is square sheets of paper - rectangles won't work!

Once students have made their cootie-catcher (or das Schnipp-Schnapp as they're called in German), they get to set it up.  On the outside, I have students put different animals.  I usually stick to basic animals like Katze, Hund, Vogel and Fisch (really easy to draw and shorter words are better).  The students tend to use more exotic animals when they can - the animal alphabet on my wall helps them find some alternatives.

Outer most layer: Animals!
Next we open it up and put numbers on the inside.  1-8 works the best.

Second layer: Numbers!
Then on the very inside, students put the eight different fortunes they've come up with.

Inner most layer: Fortunes!
Once they've set up everything, it's time to play!  This is usually easier to demonstrate the first time through (especially for students who haven't used a cootie-catcher before).  Ask for a volunteer.  Have this student pick one of your animals.  Spell out the animal out loud, alternating between the two opens as you go.  Now the student picks one of your numbers - do the same thing as you count up to that number.  The student gets to pick one more number.  Open up your Schnipp Schnapp and reveal what their future is!  

After showing students how to play, students get a chance to find out their fortunes from other students.  I ask students to play with five other kids in the class.  For each student, they have to write down the fortune they get from them (ex: Joey sagt, ich werde ins Kino gehen) and the fortune they gave them (ex: Joey wird in Deutschland wohnen).  Throughout this activity, students are using all of the singular forms of werden - great practice!

This activity is actually a lot of fun.  It's a bit of nostalgia for some of the students (mostly the girls) and fun to learn for students who have never made one before.  It's more interactive than just doing horoscopes but not as complicated as the fortune telling video.  AND it's easy to add on to - I usually assign students to take it home and play with 10 family members or friends.  They just have to write down the name of whoever they played with and the fortune they got.

Don't forget - this activity is easily done with any language!  French, German, Spanish, Latin, it doesn't matter.  As long as the future tense is involved, you can tie it in :)

If you're interested in this activity and the worksheets, they're available on TPT - just click here (it's the free preview activity!).

- Frau Leonard

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wiener Konditoreis: Authentic Reading

A colleague of mine several years ago had lived in Austria - during my first year teaching German, she gave me this old menu she happened to have.  It was from an Eiscafé in Vienna.  Nothing too fancy - just eight menu items in a small pamphlet style menu.

The great thing was that it went along perfectly with the Deutsch Aktuell, Kapitel 6B.  This unit adds to the earlier vocab list on food by giving different drinks and types of ice cream.  It's relatively easy to find online menus or pictures of menus, but here was a real one straight from Europe for students to see!

I made a bunch of color copies and laminated them to give it more of a menu-like feel (and makes it more durable - I made them six years ago and still use them each year).  It's authentic but more than comprehensible enough for German 1 students.  They love that they have something they can actually read all of!

If you'd like the full menu and questions I use, it's available on TPT - just click here!

- Frau Leonard

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Trabis, Trabis, Trabis!

In German 3 we have a unit that talks about cars - it's a well-timed unit, because students are usually juniors and are just starting to get their license.  In addition to all the usual car-related activities (identifying car parts, talking about car features, talking about how to drive/rules of the road, etc), we spend some time talking about Trabis.  

I start by having students do a little brainstorming.  I use this Power Point to see what they already know.  Depending on their level of familiarity, you can give them more or less background info.  This year, for example, my students had no clue what a Trabi was - even with the picture on screen they weren't comfortable making the guess that it was a car (senioritis a year early?).  

There are also some great videos out there that have Trabis.  Deutsche Welle has this one on YouTube that could be used as a follow-up to the brainstorming activity.  It's a little long, so you might just want to pick snippets to view as a class.

I also really like this one from the movie Toedliche Traeume: 

There's a lot you could do with this video.  Aside from just watching it and discussing what happens, you could stop it at various points and have students predict what will happen next.  

I recently read a blog post about inferring and how to use it to build critical thinking skills.  This seems like a good clip to use - without showing them the title of the video, ask them when and where it takes places, etc. and use what they see and hear in the video to justify their answer.

Deutsche Welle has a great Video-Thema that talks about the new Trabi design.  Like with all of their videos, it comes with a copy of the manuscript and some exercises to go along with the video.  

After that, students have to make an ad for the Trabi (either the old model or the new version).  At this point in the unit, we've already analyzed at German car ads and discussed what we think makes a good advertisement.  Their job is to make the best ad they can for the Trabi - one that really sells the product.  And the only way to do that is to give them a market... German 2 and 4.  Each class gets a chance to look at the finished ads and vote on which they think the best/most effective one is.  

Here are some of the ones from this year:

This is a great cultural tie-in for the car unit.  When students start looking for images of Trabis for their ads, they can't get enough of some of the weirder designs.  Usually we do a short DDR and Ostalgie unit after German 4 has taken the AP exam

And if we get a chance to talk about the DDR and Ostalgie in more detail (usually in German 4 after students have taken the AP exam), they already have a starting point.  When students watched Good Bye Lenin this year in German 4, they all immediately recognized the Trabi :)

- Frau Leonard

Thursday, May 15, 2014

AP Exam Debriefing

Last week was the German AP test.  All six of my students signed up and the next day when they were back in class I got the chance to "debrief" them.

I had the following chart up on the wall:

I broke down the AP exam into three sections: Multiple Choice, Speaking and Writing.  I gave them a difficulty scale that somewhat coincides with the AP scores (1 being very difficult and therefore harder for them to do well on and 5 being really easy).

The general consensus was that the exam was easier than they had expected and that they thought they did decently well.  We talked about each of the sections, looking at how difficult they found it and the topics that were covered.  I then asked them to rate the test (overall) - I told them this score should coincide with how the score they think they'll get on the test.  Here's how it broke down:

Why yes, I do organize my dry erase markers by ROYGBIV!
Multiple Choice
Topics that came up were Umwelt, Arbeit and something along the lines of the future (they weren't terribly clear on this part).  They overall didn't seem to think it was too hard, which was great news for me - since the test format changed a few years ago, I've been worried about the multiple choice section.

The school was nice enough to buy us some AP workbooks from College Board several years ago... and then the format changed two years later and the rigor of the workbooks no longer matched the rigor of the exam.  Even though they don't line up anymore, I still use these books with my students.  I assign them sections from the listening and reading sections throughout the year to do at home.  Even if the styles and difficulty aren't quite the same, I feel that it gives them more exposure outside of class that can help them build vocabulary.

For the previous two years, we have had no suitable practice workbooks for German AP.  Since College Board has yet to publish any (unlike for French...), most of the resources I had were from other German teachers who were nice enough to share what they had produced with their students via the College Board AP German Teacher Community.

Cornelsen recently started publishing an AP test prep workbook which we got at the beginning of this year.  I really like this workbook - it's actually designed around the current AP exam and has lots of practice exercises and even a full practice exam.  It gives strategies for students to use on each section of the test, the teacher's addition has lots of suggestions, the manuscripts for the listening exercises, and vocabulary lists for the exercises.  We've been using this workbook in class (in addition with the other one), and I think it's helped a lot.

Speaking: Cultural Comparison
The cultural comparison prompt was rated as easier than the multiple choice.  The topic was Arbeit.  The AP unit on work and professions probably helped with vocabulary, making it easier for them than the multiple choice.

Speaking: Conversation
This was apparently even easier than the Cultural Comparison.  The prompt was related to Technologie.  Based on my students last year, who did very poorly on the conversations we did in class at the beginning of the year, I decided this was something I needed to emphasize more this year.  I think the extra practice gave this year's students a better understanding of how the exercise works, the types of prompts they'll see, and appropriate ways to respond.

Writing: E-Mail
This was a mixed back - half said it was very easy while the other half said it was moderately easy.  The topic was Reisen.  My only worry is that they didn't appropriately begin and end the e-mail.  I also find that students tend to forget to ask for additional information.

Writing: Essay
Overall they related this easier than the e-mail.  The topic was Ausbildung.  With the help of the Cornelsen book, which provides a useful graphic organizer, I don't think they had any problems structuring their answer.  Their scores on this will most likely come down to their grammar.

Overall Scores
None of them thought they got below a 3, which is always a plus.  It'll be interesting to see how these scores compared to their actual scores.  I'm glad I took the picture just so I'll have it when I get the score report this summer.

Most of the feedback this year was positive about their experience - one student felt it went by faster than the other AP tests he took; several students felt they did better than they had thought (last week a student confessed he expected to get a 1 but today felt he had gotten a 3); they said the test was "just like what we've been doing in class" with our regular AP-style practices (every other week we spent our Wednesday practicing multiple choice questions or one of the free-response sections).  Their reaction was more positive than last year's group (not that theirs was negative, it just wasn't as confident) and much more positive than the group two years ago who were the first to take the new format (one student complained that the exam hadn't even been in German but in some "runic language he had never even seen before").  I'm glad that they can look forward to instead of dreading getting their scores.

Did you "debrief" your AP students?  I feel it's an important part of the AP experience - if they feel they did poorly, they get a chance to vent; if they feel they did well, they get a chance to be proud of themselves.  It's also important for me as the teacher - they can tell me topics that were covered and areas they think they did well so I know what's working and what to emphasis in the future.

Fingers crossed that they did well!

- Frau Leonard

Schnitzeljagd: School Scavenger Hunt

When we talk about the different buildings in a city in German 2, I usually throw in some directional vocabulary like "Turn left at the stop light" and "It's on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue."  It's really important, practical vocabulary that doesn't actually appear in our curriculum, and it leaves things open to a lot of fun games.  

This year I also threw in a scavenger hunt through the school.  Students weren't following clues to find different objects - instead they were given a set of directions and had to use those clues to get to the correct parts of the school.  

The Activity
French 1 covers similar material at about the same time as my German class, so the French teacher and I created five different sets of directions together, each giving directions from the same starting location and going to five different rooms in the school.  Before giving them free rein, however, I did a quick "training" - this was a shorter set of directions that only took them to three rooms within our hallway.  

Turns out this was pretty important - one group misunderstood the word "Flur" and another had problems with "vorbei."  One group was also uncertain as to whether they needed to start the next set of directions from the room they found or the original starting point (they start from the room they found).  Finding these problems early on when I was nearby made it a lot easier to fix.  

Students were divided into groups of 3-4 and set out to find the rooms.  I staggered the start times so it wasn't too crowded at the starting location.  Each group received a list of directions and a map of the school.  In addition to finding the five rooms, I also instructed them to take a picture of the room number to verify that a.) they had actually been there and b.) they had found the correct rooms.  When going over their results, this makes it easier to spot when they made mistakes (if any).

Using cell phones to take the pictures was pretty convenient and the kids had fun with it - a couple groups did selfies with theirs and another group managed to get pictures of what was going on in the classrooms they found.  One group opted out of taking pictures - instead they wrote down the room numbers on their sheet.  

Time Needed
We used basically a whole class period.  The training session probably took ten minutes to get all the groups through.  Groups had varying amounts of time to do their scavenger hunt because of the staggered time, but even the last group had 25 minutes to do the activity.  The fastest group took 10 minutes to finish while the slowest group wasn't able to finish (they only found two of the five rooms).  

In case some groups were faster than others, I had extra copies of all the direction sets.  This way if group one finished their set early, I could give them group two's set of directions to follow.  With the staggered start times, there weren't any problems with groups catching up to each other.  

How to set up this activity for your school:
  1. Get blank copies of your school map.  I wanted five different sets of directions plus one "training" set, so I got six copies.
  2. Highlight five different rooms in the school.  Make sure to have them spread out, be both upstairs and downstairs, and go in different wings/departments of the school.
  3. Figure out which room they will visit first.  I didn't make the order the most straight forward - they might end up doubling back to a room they'd already passed.
  4. Write out the directions.  Because I was going for a practical application, I tried to make them as straightforward and direct as possible.  They weren't going in circles around the building just to get from one room to another and I wasn't given them the longest possible route.
  5. Make sure you have enough copies of each set (at least two sets per group)!  

Sample of how my answer key looked - each color represents a different set of directions and each number shows if it's the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. stop on their trip.

Checking Your Directions
Because this is my first time doing this activity, I wasn't a hundred percent sure I'd written out the directions correctly.  German 3 and 4 were more than happy to lend their services - during AP testing this week, we had a lot of students out so I let them try out the scavenger hunts ahead of time.  They helped me find some typos and some errors (more than once I said right when I meant left and vice versa).  They were incredibly helpful and had a lot of fun :)

It might not be much of a surprise, but the upper level classes were able to complete the scavenger hunts much faster and with a higher level of accuracy (their mistakes were usually related to typos as opposed to misunderstanding the directions), even though some of them hadn't seen the vocabulary in two years.  

Timing didn't quite work out for us, but I would love to do some prep before hand to give students a stronger foundation before sending them out to do the scavenger hunt.  I was thinking of giving students maps of the school ahead of time and having them write out directions from one classroom to another.  I would probably have the whole class writing out the directions at the same time, racing to see who could come up with the simplest directions the fastest.  

Instead of having students looking for rooms, the original idea was to direct students to random parts of the school - not necessarily rooms.  At the various locations, I was going to put up a word.  If students found the correct places, the words they found would spell out a phrase.  Each group would have a different phrase, making it easy to check.  But to make sure students weren't just looking for words, I thought I'd have to put up "fake" words nearby to throw students off.  

In the end, although I liked this idea, it seemed more complicated to implement since I'd have to come up with phrases, fake phrases, and then physically go to each location beforehand to hang up all the words.  

- Frau Leonard

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Das Rad von Glück: Wheel of Fortune Game

A few years ago at the MFLA Fall Conference I attended a session that talked about games (and drills and how to organize class time... it was a really good session), and one game that really stuck with me is Wheel of Fortune.

I have since found my notes from that conference.  Credit goes to Tyrone F. Parker with Baltimore City Public Schools, as he is the one who first introduced me to this game.

Wheel of Fortune - or Rad of Glück as we call it in my German classes - is based on the game show of the same name.  It's a great end of class game if you have an extra five minutes and a great game right after beginning students have learned the alphabet.

What You'll Need:

A deck of cards and your chalkboard.  I'd recommend having different colored markers or chalk, one per each group playing, but this is optional.

How to Play:

1. Divide the class into 2-3 teams (depending on the size).  Each team will work together to try and solve the phrase.

2. Put a phrase on the board the same way you would for hangman (one space for each letter).  I usually have a phrase that uses whatever grammar or vocabulary topic we're currently focusing on.  

3. Each team starts their turn by "spinning the wheel."  One team member volunteers to "spin" by drawing a card from the deck.  This card determines how many points they can get this round.  Each card is worth its face value (2 of diamonds is worth 2 pts, 4 of hearts is worth 4 pts, etc.).  I have Aces worth 1 pt and all face cards worth 10 pts.  I also keep the Jokers in - if a team draws a Joker, their team loses the rest of that turn.
Pick a card - any card!
This team drew a 4 - that means any letter they guess will be worth 4 pts

4. Once the point value for the turn has been determined, the team gets a chance to guess a letter.  They can guess any consonant.  If that consonant is in the phrase, write it in each time it appears (just like hangman).  For each instance of that letter in the phrase, they get however many points they drew.  

For example: My group draws the 5 of clubs.  We guess the letter "t" and there are three t's in the phrase.  My group gets 5 x 3 = 15 points for this round.

Record the letter and point values for each round, plus how many points each team earned

Optional: Different ColorsI use a different color for each team - I write all the letters they guess in the same color.  It makes it easier for me just in case I forget to put in a letter - I can still figure out which team guessed it and then give them points.

5. Keep going through each group until the puzzle is solved.  They draw one card and guess one letter per turn.

6. Vowels: Just like in the game show, groups will need to buy vowels.  At the beginning of their turn, a team must forgo drawing a card and say they want to buy a vowel.  It costs 5 points (doesn't matter how many are in the puzzle - it's a flat fee).  They choose a vowel and all instances of that vowel in the phrase are written in.

Note: I make groups specify that they want to buy a vowel at the beginning of their turn so that they don't draw a card, determine it's not worth very many points and then decide to buy a vowel.

7. Solving the Puzzle: Groups can also forgo drawing a card and guessing a letter for a chance to solve the entire puzzle.  They must have the entire phrase ready - not just one or two words.  If students get the puzzle right, I give them 2 pts for each letter that was missing.  

This team solved the puzzle, giving them 2 pts for each missing letter - a total of 14 points

- Frau Leonard

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wappen als Symbol

Every year in German 1 we do a unit on countries, nationalities and languages.  It's a unit that I actually have a lot of fun with - there are a lot of games you can do with it - and it seems that in general my students have a weak understanding of European geography.

I happened to find a post in Peggy Boynton's blog about a lesson she does to integrate Austrian culture into her classroom.  I so rarely get to do anything that's not Germany-related (mostly because that's where my experience is) that I loved the idea.  It also seemed a great fit with our geography unit.  I definitely suggest you take a look at her post to find out more about this lesson!

Frau Boynton introduces this lesson much earlier in the year than I did (week 3 vs third quarter!), so it's definitely something that's open to multiple levels.  Because we had a little more language background, I decided to expand a little.

We started by talking about how countries represent their national identity through imagery.  I asked them to think about the U.S. as an example - what images are associated with America?  They had to brainstorm with groups and come up with at least one example from each of the following categories:

- Culture: Apple Pie, Baseball, the American Flag
- Language: Yankee
- History: Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars, Oregon Trail
- Monuments: Mt Rushmore, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, White House
- Holidays: Independence Day
- Misc: Bald Eagle, Uncle Sam

I then asked students to think about Germany from the same points of view.  What images come to mind when they think of German culture, language, history, monuments, and/or holidays?  For homework I had them create a collage putting these ideas together.

The next day in class I broke students into groups so they could discuss each other's images.  I also made my own version and handed it out to students who didn't do the homework assignment - this way everyone had something to share and discuss.  Here's the collages we had:

My Collage

After this discussion, we moved on to a discussion of the German flag based on the following video (thanks again to Frau Boynton for posting the link!):

It's a great segue into a discussion on Austrian culture, especially since the focus is on the Austrian flag and coat of arms.  The activity is described in the blog entry sited above - it was a great discussion for students and really informative (I even found some things out about Austria as I prepared the activity for students!).

The activity culminates in students designing their own coat of arms based on where they were born.  They had a blank template (courtesy of Frau Boynton) that they decorated with symbols of the state they were born in.  Most of my students were Maryland born (lots of crabs and Old Bay), but there were some other places that came into play.   Here are some student examples:

I love how this activity played in with the unit.  It gave students some background knowledge about both Germany and Austria while making them think about their own country's cultural identity.  The lesson also ties into the AP Themes (Personal and Public Identities: Nationalism and Patriotism).  I'd highly recommend trying out these activities with your students!

- Frau Leonard

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Game Pieces

I have a lot of quick games that I do that use game boards - Aus der Stadt and Clue are examples, but I have several others that use this generic game board.  The games are easy to set up... if you have the right material handy!  

Coins and Dice:
The easiest way to move around along a game board is to use dice or coins.  Dice are pretty self explanatory - you roll and then go a certain number of spaces.  If your game board is too small and rolling a six twice in a row would effectively end the game, I restrict movement by saying that rolling a 1 or 4 moves you one space, 2 or 5 moves you two spaces, or 3 or 6 moves you three spaces.

Keep these big guys around for full class games - it adds a bit of extra fun :)
Coins are good because students typically have one laying around or you can collect pennies to use.  For the actual movement, students flip the coin.  Heads means go one space, tails means go two spaces (or vice versa).  

Game Pieces:
Usually I just tell students to find something small that they can use as game pieces.  Erasers, pen caps, paper clips - all of these work really well.  I do, however, keep a box of game pieces in case students can't find anything.  These are just random objects I've collected - a set of animal pieces I got at Target from the dollar section, buttons, game pieces that students have turned in with projects but never gotten back.  I've also recently started using Pompoms - they're colorful and take up little storage room.  

Little animals, old toys, buttons and pompoms make great game pieces
You can also buy various assortments of game pieces online or at stores, but I like the random little objects - students request certain ones (the Batmobile and the pigs are particularly popular).  No matter what you use, just make sure they're small enough to make storage easy (and to make them more flexible for lots of different games - a lot of the boards I use require small pieces).

All of it fits in one little box
Have fun!

- Frau Leonard

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Miezel und Molly: Dative Prepositions

Along with the activities for der Wolf und die sieben Geißlein, I also found an activity on called Hund und Katze that focuses on Dative Prepositions.  It's a short poem written by Wilhelm Busch and is super cute (while also being super sad).

In this handout, students listen to a recitation of the story (link is included in the file - see above for another version).  They fill in the missing words from the poem, all of which are Dative Prepositions.  The included handout also has a Richtig / Falsch section at the end to check student comprehension.

I use this activity with my German 2 students when they're first introduced to Dative Prepositions.  They have a general idea of what's going on in the story, but because they haven't seen too much of the Imperfect they usually miss the "Der Herr Förster schoß sie nieder."  

In addition to the activities listed, I ask students to go back through the poem and highlight any other prepositions they find (zwischen, in, etc.) and see if they can find them all.  I also, instead of having them write the summary in English, have them do a short comic.  They have to do three panels describing the events of the poem, then a fourth panel that shows what they think will happen next with Molly - the only catch is that they have to write captions that use Dative Prepositions.

Here's some of this year's comics.  Warning: there are grammar errors!  But keep in mind that students were able to express themselves and (generally) make themselves understood.

- Frau Leonard