Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Question Words and Movie Summaries

German 2 always starts with a full first quarter review before moving on to German 2 material.  I break it into three main grammar review topics: Nouns and Cases; Verbs; and Question Words.  We're currently finishing up our Question Words review, and here's a fun activity that we did combining the question words and popular movies.

First I asked the students to pick a movie they all knew.  We finally settled on "Die Unglaublichen" (it's one of the DVDs I have that students sometimes get to watch).  I then put up question word signs - courtesy of German Language Resources on TPT.  Students had to summarize the movie based on the question word prompts.

The question words we used were:
- WER?  Who are the main characters?
- WANN?  When does the movie take place?
- WO?  Where does it take place?
- WAS?  What happens in the movie?  (Vocab was limited and we haven't done the the past tense - we ended up sticking to the main actions that occurred)
- WIE?  Who did those actions happen?  (For example, they said there was fighting... were they fighting with their hands or with weapons?  They said there was flying... how did this flying occur?)
- WARUM?  Why do the main actions take place?  What are the motivations of the main characters?

Here's what they came up with:

Student analysis of the movie - I basically just wrote what they came up with and helped guide them through the process.  Sorry for any spelling mistakes (there are undoubtedly several!)

I then had students work with their groups on analyzing and summarizing another movie.  I didn't want to deal with students fighting over their favorite movies, so I had cards made up that groups randomly selected.  I had more cards than groups, just in case a group picked a movie they hadn't seen before.

Here were the possible movies:
- Lord of the Rings
- Star Wars (original trilogy, obviously)
- Lion King
- Aladdin
- Frozen
- Harry Potter (just had them pick one)
- Hunger Games
- Iron Man
- The Dark Knight
- The Avengers

Students then answered the six same questions we had gone over as a class.  You can see from the examples below that some groups put more effort into giving details about their movie.

After groups had finished their summaries, they had to present the information to the class.  The class then decided if they had accurately described the movie or if they had left out important details.  Lord of the Rings fans were, for example, not happy with most of the Fellowship being left out of the "Wer?" category.

I got this idea from Frau Gorgan's activity (as found on Pinterest), though obviously I chose a different topic.  Although we focused on movies, this could easily be done with books, short stories or TV shows (though summaries of TV shows might be more difficult).  It was a fun and different way for us to approach reviewing these question words besides doing another worksheet.

- Frau Leonard


  1. I'm not sure if my first comment went through, so I'm repeating. If it did - sorry! I absolutely love this idea, and I really, really love the question word posters that you have on your board in the second picture. So cute! Would you be willing to share them in a downloadable format?
    Thank you for the awesome blog!

    1. Aren't they cute? I actually got them from TPT - here's the link to download them: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Modern-Question-Word-Posters-1322471

  2. We used this today and it worked wonderfully! It also had very little prep for me, which I loved. We adapted this as well to interpret a longer text in a higher level! Thank you!

    1. Glad you liked it! When we do literature or film analysis, I think this will be a great activity (especially now that they're already familiar with it).