Today was my first non-school stuff day with my upper level classes, so I decided to have people draw me a postcard of something they did this summer. I had been planning this for some time, but then I stumbled across Martina’s Post “Went” and knew I had a winner.
I started out by introducing the vocabulary, and absolutely loved Martina’s wrinkle to give people examples of the word used in the sentence before you start spinning it too much. My III/IV class are masters at playing around with sentences, so this stage alone rolled for 15 minutes while people spontaneously generated such sentences such as “I flew on a flying flaming Flamingo” (which rhymes just as well in German). Note: you can’t say “I went to New York” directly in German–it means you walked there. You have to specify mode of transportation, so we focused on the verbs “traveled” or “flew”
As for the pictures, I had them draw pictures the day before at the end of a mandatory “go over the rules” day across the school, but with the wrinkle that they had to add five german verbs at the bottom of the picture that related to the picture. As a result when we got going on the pictures today, we first decided if the people “traveled” or “flew” (which I had written on big mini-whiteboards* held by people at the front of the class) and then spun stories out of them. After coming up with random details or backstories for the pictures, we then compared the classes’ version with the five verbs written at the bottom of the picture, and got more reps by verifying our details with the author (who often liked our version better).
We only got through about two stories in 30 minutes, and then at the end of class I asked them to combine the two stories, which took another five minutes and a bunch of good ideas. I really should write up a couple of the stories, but I forgot to have a recorder during class and so the details are dead to me now. Bother. With my upper level students, I’ll probably let them do some writing about the pictures as Martina suggests, but as I’ve got a student this year who I had skip German II because I couldn’t challenge him enough with his normal group(his family is from Mexico, and so German is his third language) I’m taking it easy on the throttle to begin with. Having fun here.
*Last week I went to Home Depot and talked them into cutting up two 4’x8′ panelboards into mini-whiteboards for me by playing the “I’m a high school teacher” card. I wanted massive whiteboards, though, so I had them cut me boards that are eighteen inches by twelve inches. So now I have a set of 42 massive white-boards (for my multiple classrooms) and it only cost me 25 bucks.