With my German I class this last week I’ve been reviewing a few German / Austrian / Swiss Christmas traditions in preparation for St. Nikolaus Day tomorrow (Dec. 6th). On Monday I spent a day talking about the cultural differences between the Nikolaus traditions in the three German-speaking countries as a way of setting up Tuesday (especially Austria’s Krampus who is a sort of hairy demon in chains who hangs out with St. Nick there).
Why Tuesday? Because I wanted to play with three words off of my word list–believes, would like, and receives–that worked fantastically together for a day of killer PQA.
I started by working over believes and then moved to the rest. Who believes in St. Nikolaus? Who believes in Krampus? (make lists of tally marks on board). Who doesn’t believe in them? Who believes that Herr Black is stronger than Krampus? Wait–you don’t believe in Krampus but still believe he is stronger than Herr Black? You believe a nobody is stronger than Herr Black? Ouch.
Would you like to believe in St. Nikolaus? Would you like something from St. Nikolaus? What would you like from Nikolaus? What would you like to give Herr Black for Christmas? Would you like to have Krampus in America?
Hey class, should John receive a ____ from Nikolaus? But John doesn’t believe in St. Nicholas. Will he receive a ____ from St. Nicholas? Should Herr Black receive a ___ from John? Would you like to receive John’s ____? Would Herr Black like John’s ____? Would John’s Mother like him to receive a _____? I believe that would be a bad idea.
Basically we rolled through the conversation like that, and I was surprised how well all of those words just kept intertwining well in a Christmas context. We finished by writing a letter to St. Nikolaus on John’s behalf and read that through. We ended it by writing “I’m sorry. I don’t believe in you. But if I receive a ____ I will believe in you.” (Nothing like a little blackmail to get buy-in).