After going to Agen, France this summer to participate in the week long TPRS workshop (can we rename this to thinkshop or something like that, because it certainly made me think, but it never felt like work) my head was buzzing for weeks, it still has not stopped. The post “I don’t hate French anymore” was the immediate result of this. Now, a few weeks later, I am back in school and once again, I find myself reflecting on what I have learned.
I have always taught using TPRS (asides from about 2 frustrated weeks in my first year and another couple weeks in my first ES year). The methodology spoke to me like nothing else did, simply because it created a classroom environment that I would have loved as a student. My mentor, Eva Kaufmann, who introduced me to TPRS during my student observations had such engaged kids, it amazed me. I mean, these German threes came into class, immediately switching to German and reading Harry Potter in German in their spare time. Whaaat? That’s how I improved my English AFTER school (Disney movies in English and YA books is where it’s at!) and here these 15/16 year olds have it all figured out. She also had a student, who was in the lifeskill program, who loved her class and had learned, excuse me, ACQUIRED so much! So yes, I knew right away, this was for me and I just jumped in. I never had any training asides from observing Eva and reading the “green bible.” I bought Michael Miller’s Sabine und Michael curriculum and off I was.
I don’t hate French anymore
If anyone would have asked me a week ago if I would like to learn French, I would have said: “Thank you, but no thank you.” Why? Because I was a self-proclaimed French language hater. I didn’t enjoy the way the language sounded and had no interest in learning it. Spanish, Swedish, yes, but French? No, thank you. Then I came to Agen, France for the CI/TPRS conference. I was set on observing Spanish lessons all week, because just as much as I had no interest in learning French, I really wanted to learn Spanish. I love the sound of it and I liked my Spanish class in College. I had Spanish for about 4 months and I felt successful in those 4 months. I had French for two years in grade 7 & 8 and I absolutely hated it. I barely passed the class and was thrilled to abandon it when I could. I don’t remember much from my French class. I remember long vocabulary list, flashcards, that are still somewhere in my mom’s house catching dust and freaking out over the accents that accompanied some of the French letters. What I felt when I thought of French is a certain level of anxiety that I couldn’t really explain, but that made me say for the past 20 years: I hate French.
When you start at a new school and you're teaching a whole bunch of new classes, you can get easily overwhelmed with making new lessons, units and all the material that accompanies them. While I don't shy away from making my own materials from scratch (that Graphic Design degree does come in handy!), I am also a firm believer that you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time. So when I started to think about what to do for my next 6th grade unit and I saw that one of the topics, we should cover is puberty/ parent-child relationship, I decided that we could use the movie Inside Out (Pixar/Disney) as a basis for this topic. Most students are familiar with it in English, which is a plus in a language class, it's fun and engaging and it leaves so much room for connecting it to the kids' lives and creativity. I was hoping to find a starting point somewhere in a lesson some other teacher might have already started to develop. I was thrilled to find a health lesson, developed by Project Wellness in my search on Teachers pay teachers. But, of course, the unit was meant for Health and P.E. lessons, not German. So instead of downloading the PDFs and then having to change everything to German whilst destroying the incredible design of the original file, I took a shot and contacted Janelle from Project Wellness, to ask if I could have the original files instead. Of course, I ensured her that those files would be for editing purposes only and that I would neither sell nor give them to anyone else. We all know that we work hard on our material and that just ain't right! Instead I offered that I could send them back to her after I change everything to German and that way she could offer them in German from thereon after.
This was probably my favorite unit I have worked on with my 6th graders this year. They were engaged, had heated discussions, shared a little or a lot about themselves and produced beautiful end projects: Islands of Personality, which you can find here.
Some activities that we did were:
Since moving back to Germany I have been looking for TPRS and CI communities in Europe and now I have finally found what I was looking for. From 25.-30.07 there will be a TPRS workshop in Agen, France. Not only will this undoubtedly lead me to the community I am seeking, but Stephen Krashen himself will be there to speak and THAT is pretty much unbeatable.
Sign up for the workshop can be foud here: TPRS witch
Es ist wieder soweit. Halloween! Da muss man natürlich noch mal Nosferatu raussuchen und den schönen deutschen Klassiker gucken.
Hallo, ich heiße Milia!
Ich bin Frau Walters kleine Tochter und mein Geburtstag ist am 21.02.2014. Ich war bei der Geburt 48cm klein und 3305g leicht. Ich habe viele dunkel braune Haare, wie meine Mama und blaue Augen, wie mein Papa.
Ich schlafe viel, aber ich schlafe nicht gern in der Nacht. In der Nacht will ich spielen und essen, aber nicht schlafen. Meine Mama denkt, dass ist nicht so gut. Sie ist müde!
Meine Mama spricht deutsch mit mir und mein Papa und seine Familie sprechen englisch mit mir. Ich habe viele Bilderbücher und schaue mir gern die Bilder an. Ich habe eine große Schaukel in meinem Zimmer und ich schaukel sehr gern! Ich gehe auch gern mit meiner Mama spazieren. Das machen wir jeden Tag. Es ist schön!
Gruß von mir und natürlich auch von meiner Mama,
As their final project the German Junior Honor Society created their own children's books in German. To get a chance to share them with others, we had a Read-athon with our current 6th graders. The Spanish and French classes joined in as eleven Honor Society students presented their books to about 120 6th graders.
The books were on a variety of topics, from the first day in school to a version of the three little pigs. The students read in German and made sure to help the 6th graders understand the German. Below are some captured impressions from our 2-day event.
Be strong. Be unique. Be creative. Be Yourself.
On November 6, 21 eighth grade students were officially inducted into Junior Delta Epsilon Phi Deutsche Ehrenverbindung.
The chapter Pennsylvania Junior Theta was created this year by Frau Walter, the Phoenixville Area Middle School German teacher. It’s a national educational honorary society for the study of German, and its goal is to spread interest in the study of German language, literature, and culture. It is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German. In order to join the club, students had to have completed one year of German, and needed to have an overall average grade of 85 percent as well as an 85 percent or above in their German class.
The induction ceremony started off with all club members standing up and promising to uphold German culture and language – all spoken in German, of course. As soon as all the students had gotten onto the stage and received their official certificates allowing them to join the club, each person was given a candle. Then, in the style of a traditional National Honors Society induction ceremony, the club president Mitchell Gibson had his candle lit, then he in turn lit the first person’s candle, and they lit the person’s next to them, and so on.
And the stage didn’t even catch fire.
Some activities that the Honor society is working on at the moment are cooperation with PAMS’ life skills class and introducing German culture and traditions throughout the school. In celebration of Nikolaus Tag (a German holiday celebrated on December 6), some club members went be to Ms. Lamb’s (the Life Skills teacher) RECAP class to tell the Life Skills students about the Nikolaus tradition, fill their shoes with candy and sing a Nikolaus song for them. Other students are currently constructing a Christmas tree out of cardboard, construction paper, and various decorations (which will again be worked on with PAMS life skills class) to be put up outside of the cafeteria. Signs will be hung up to show students how many of their own traditions originated in Germany.
The honor society will have many more exciting activities coming up throughout the school year and is always looking to cooperate with other groups.
Congratulations to the first ever members of PAMS’ National Junior Honor Society of German: Katherine Bland, Karly Burton, Maddie Cooke, Caroline Costello, Mitchell Gibson (President), Kaleigh Hartson, Jordan Hrynkow, Kayla Johns, Christian Lehning, Eva McDonnell, Tim Miles, Amanda Monachelli, Cailin Robinson (Treasurer), Tanner Romance, Nina Shafer, Maggie Shillinger, Tyler Skomsky (Vice-President), Jacob Straka, Matthew Tague, Quinn Vollmer (Secretary) & Aaron Weiss.
-Cailin Robinson, Treasurer of Junior Delta Epsilon Phi
The members of the German Honor Society had their first meeting this Thursday. They voted on their representatives for the 2012-2013 school year. Congratulations to our officers:
President: Mitchell G
Vice-President: Tyler S
Secretary: Quinn V
Treasurer: Cailin R
Thank you also to everyone who ran and was willing to take on these responsibilities.
After our first meeting members of the honor society have already gotten busy and started the first projects. Some students started to build a cardboard Christmas tree, while others are finding instructions to craft ornaments and teach them to PAMS life-skills class. A group of students is also in the process to prepare a Nikolaus visit to the life skills class to tell them about this tradition and fill their shoes with candy. Exciting things are happening!
Don’t forget that the induction for members of the Honor Society will be next Wednesday at 6:30pm in PAMS’ LGI room.
Here, as promised, the audio file to practice your lines. Please don’t forget to wear red, black or yellow or any combination of those three colors on Wednesday.