Monday, August 4, 2014

Eine Modenschau: End of Year Fashion Show

It's probably pretty standard to have a "fashion show" project when doing a unit on clothes.  When I took French in Middle School, we put on a big one in the main atrium of the school.  There were probably a hundred students who came to view our fashion show (I assume the other language classes since I don't really remember) and we spent a lot of time on it.  To this day it's the only project that stands out when I think about my French classes throughout Middle and High School and even College.  

Prior to this year, I'd never done this project with my students.  I've thought about it before, we'd done similar "fashion show" activities that involved designing outfits but never an actual fashion show where the students dressed up.  For whatever reason, I decided this year would be the year to try it out.  


My German 1 class this past school year was a little on the weaker side and because we only saw each other every other day, I'd had to cut out a lot of activities I usually do simply due to time constraints.  I wanted to give them something fun at the end of the year to reward them for their progress (although weak as a class, they made some big improvements toward the end of the year).  


I wasn't sure how it would go.  When my French class did this project, we were a group of mostly girls.  With my German classes, they tend to be mostly guys.  In the lower level the genders are a little more even, but I was still worried the male students wouldn't find this project appealing.  I was pleasantly surprised how into this they got.  Even students who had had a lackluster performance all year were interested in the project.  When I did my usual end of the year survey to get feedback, most of the class was very positive about the project and wished they'd done more, similar projects.


We planned and carried this project out over four 90 minute class periods.  However, we never spent a whole class period on the project, so I think it could be done over the course of a week (5-6 days) with a shorter class period.  Here's the overall process:


Day One: Planning

I introduced the project to my students.  We were already in our clothing unit and had learned how to express like/dislike using the verb gefallen.  Before talking about the project itself, we looked at some pictures from fashion shoes.  We discussed what the models were wearing and if we liked the outfits.  This was a great segue into them doing their own fashion show.  I only gave them a general overview of the project at this point - that they'd be working in groups and each group would put on an actual fashion show during class.  More details would come as we went through the project.

I let students form their own groups of 4-5.  I did have to move a couple students around just to make sure the numbers worked out.  For this first day of planning, students had to do the basics for setting up the fashion show: who was emcee, who were the models, what was each model wearing?  There were some vocabulary requirements (needed twelve different articles of clothing, needed to look up new clothing-related words that weren't on our vocab list, etc) to help guide them, but really the sky was the limit.  I did, however, say that they should focus on clothing they already have at home - this was not an excuse to go shopping, this did not require new clothes or anything like that.  I emphasized that they should work with what they have.  



Day One Planning Sheet
As groups worked, I circulated to give them feedback.  The planning sheet helped keep them focused and listed all of the requirements for this stage of the project, but they still needed some guidance.  

At the end of class I collected the planning sheet from each group.  Since there are vocab and outfit requirements, I went through and made sure each group met them.  If they didn't, I highlighted areas for them to work on or finish.  



Day Two: Planning

Students get back their planning sheet from day one and get an opportunity to make any changes they need to.  Groups then moved on to the next planning sheet.


Day Two Planning Sheet
The next phase of planning is writing their script.  Although the emcee will be the person reading out the script during the fashion show, the entire group needs to work together to prepare it.  Students need to figure out the order for the fashion show (who's first) and write a short blurb about each outfit.  From the previous day, they already know what each student is wearing - that's the first part of the description.  The next step is to add detail.  I ask them to describe the colors and to use an adjective to describe each person's overall look (modisch, elegant, etc. - a list is included on the back of the planning sheet).  

They also need to think about the details that could really set their presentation apart from the other groups.  I told them to think about choreography (are there any waves or dance moves involved?) and music.  If they planned on having music as part of their fashion show (something I made completely optional), they needed to provide both the music and the speakers/method of playing it.  I also required them to submit the songs to me first so I could make sure they were appropriate.


At the end of class, I collected both planning sheets.  I made sure necessary changes were made to the day one sheet (if necessary) and went over the day two planning sheet.  I didn't make substantial changes - just spelling and gave help regarding more difficult grammar concepts.  If they made mistakes with concepts we already knew, I would highlight it instead of correcting it.  



Day Three: Practice Run

Students first had time to go over their planning sheets from the previous two class periods.  If they had questions or needed changes, this was the time to do it.  

I then gave students time to do practice runs of their entire fashion show.  The actual fashion show was going to be in the school atrium, so this was the first time students went to this space.  I explained where the audience would be sitting, where they would be starting from, where the emcee would stand, etc.  It was their job to figure out any choreography they planned on doing and to go through the entire script and performance, just to make sure everyone new what they were supposed to be doing.  It was a large enough space that two groups could use the stairs at the same time, while other groups planned.


Note: Although we did a practice run, I would maybe suggest giving more practice time.  


At the end of class, I re-collected the planning sheets (to make sure they didn't lose anything!).  The whole time you should be emphasizing the final date of the fashion show - do a final reminder that they MUST have their planned outfits NEXT CLASS!



Day Four: Fashion Show!
I gave groups a few minutes to prep.  Some students needed to go change and the emcees needed time to go over the script.  I didn't make them memorize it - it didn't seem fair to have one group member do so much more work than the others during the actual fashion show.


I let groups volunteer to go first.  Emcees were given a toy microphone prop I have, just to make it a little more "authentic."  While other groups were presenting, the other students had a peer rating sheet to fill out.  It basically just asked for their opinion of the other groups - were they creative, which outfit was best, etc.  


Here's how it turned out:




Although I liked the idea of using the school atrium as the location for the project (a big space to make the project seem just as big), logistically it didn't work out as well as I wanted.  The space made it too hard to hear what the presenters were saying.  Next year I'll probably find a different space - a hallway, re-arrange my classroom, or maybe the auditorium if it's free.

The kids really did have a lot of fun - it makes me want to incorporate more group projects like this next year!


If you're interested in the worksheets I used, they're available for free on TPT - just click here!


- Frau Leonard

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