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

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