Monday, September 28, 2015

Model EU

In German 4 we do a unit on Globalization as prep for the AP exam (last year, since my German 3 and 4 classes are combined, German 3 gets a taste of this unit as well).  The unit basically goes over what Globalization is, the pros/cons of it, and what it looks like in various forms (focusing on the EU and activism/protest).

Once we've settled into the unit, coming up with our own class definition and discussing Globalization in a general sense, we take a look at the EU.  Believe it or not, some of my students didn't know what the EU even is, so we had to start with that.  I then broke students into groups and had them brainstorm the pros and cons of the EU.

Previously I had found this activity (alas, I no longer know where I got it from - if anyone knows a source I can credit, please email me or leave a comment!).  It has pro/con statements about the EU.  Print them out, cut them up and have the groups sort them as positive or negative statements.  I also made this Power Point to go along with it.

We then do a mock EU.  Depending on class size, I either give each student their own country or have them work with a partner.  You can either randomly assign countries or have a lottery to let students pick.  Also depending on class size, you could make it a mock UN to have more countries involved.  I try to limit it to the EU, though I will also include non-EU member countries from Europe just to get some varying perspectives.

Here's a list of the countries I incorporate.  Obviously with smaller classes, not all of them will be represented:
- Deutschland
- Oesterreich
- die Schweiz
- Belgien
- Luxemburg
- Liechtenstein
- England
- Frankreich
- Italien
- Spanien
- die Tschechische Republik
- Polen
- die Turkei
- Griechenland

Students are given class time to research their country.  I give them this worksheet to complete - it covers basic information about their country (GDP, languages spoken, government system in place, currency, etc.).  The second page covers more specific information that will be discussed at our mock EU.  There are a series of proposed agenda items that they will debate and then vote on - their job is to find out what their country's perspective and vote would be.  In the vote, they will either be FOR or AGAINST the proposal... though they're also allowed to abstain.

Each country has a set number of votes (think of the electoral college).  I based these numbers on the overall populations of these countries combined, and found out how much of that total each country possessed.  I.e. Germany had 17% of the total population, so they get 17 votes.  Though I now notice it only adds up to 98, so I must have rounded down a few times to get even numbers.  

- Deutschland: 17
- Oesterreich:  2
- die Schweiz:  2
- Belgien:  2
- Luxemburg:  1
- Liechtenstein:  1
- England:  11
- Frankreich:  14
- Italien:  10
- Spanien:  10
- die Tschechische Republik:  2
- Polen:  8
- die Turkei:  16
- Griechenland:  2

We sit in a large circle.  I also have students sit with their country's flag displayed for the rest of the class to see.  During the discussion, their job is to speak up for their country, argue against other countries that disagree, and vote at the end of each topic discussion.  Students are also assigned another random student in the class.  They will take notes on how they think this student did during the discussion - basically if they participated, made their opinion clear, and had good points.  I'm part of the discussion only as the moderator - I propose topics for discussion and then keep track of the votes at the end.

I use this rubric to grade their overall performance.

This activity often leads into a discussion on the nature of politics.  Smaller countries complain that their votes were basically meaningless unless they all worked together.  It's really a good jumping off point, especially if you want to pair up with a Social Studies teacher.

I've liked doing this activity with my students because it's not just looking up information about other countries but having to apply it.  They find out more about the EU and often a lot more about their own views on current issues.

- Frau Leonard

Friday, September 4, 2015

Still Here (sort of)

This is really just a quick post to say that I'm still around.  I've been busy the past few months because I was pregnant, I'm still busy because I'm on maternity leave, BUT... I still love teaching and want to help out other German teachers, so I will start writing again soon (it's surprisingly hard to type with a newborn in one arm...).

If you're following me on TPT, I did put up a few new activities over the summer and plan on adding more.  If you've left a comment recently, I will reply to them ASAP!  I'm still a little behind but am working on it.

I also want to note that although I am a German teacher, I am also certified to teach French, Latin and Math 7-12.  My hope is to include some entries that are specific to some of those other content areas that I teach.  So even though this blog is focused on helping German teachers (there are so few of us...), I want to talk about strategies that can be used in other content areas and teaching in general.

Upcoming topics:

  • Answer Bank (activity idea for Math)
  • IPAs: Integrated Performance Assessments (which I will be doing with my German 3/4 class this year)
  • Mosaics (activity for Latin)
  • Model EU (activity for Globalisierung in upper level classes)
  • AP Student Feedback (I've only taught AP German, but strategies pertain to other languages)
  • Product Reviews

- Frau Leonard