Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sparkle in my mind

Love is a very splendid thing. Love lift us up where we belong. Love....

I must dig out Moulin Rouge this half term, is only for a singalong.

I was meant to be on interview on Feb 14th. But having done a lot of soul-searching, both on my own and by seeking the opinions of my devil's-advocate  and much-respectedcolleagues, I feel at peace with my decision to withdraw. I have a lot of unfinished business to deal with in the department, and I feel so much more determined to make our department a brilliant one. My presentation at #ililc4 really helped. I had to reflect a lot when I was writing it, and then afterwards it left me thinking "Why am I walked away from a half-built project?".

So since making the decision on Wednesday, I have been skipping and dancing. Lightened hugely by the offloading of anxieties, worries and concerns at work. Buoyed and driven by the weekend and my wonderful #MFLTwitterati friends. And imagine my delight on Friday when I found this on my desk:


I planned a Valentine's lesson for year 11. They finished their last Controlled Assessment on Weds, so rather than start the final topic with them, I said that they would be writing some love poems on Friday. What made it even better, was they had been telling other teachers that they would be doing it in their other lessons. (More than I wished for when I wanted to "Get the buggers talking").

So. How did we do write poetry in German? Well, we had a double lesson (2 hours), and this is what we did.

Step 1

Get them thinking about rhyming words - I put some on the board to start them off, and they then took over and came up with some of their own. They matched up pairs that I hadn't even thought of. They were also creative with the words. Which I love. I love students being creative with the tools they know. Love it.

Step 2
(and this was taken from an idea I found on TES)

Students then had to pick out the pairs from the two columns that I gave them. It was interesting to see who made the connection between this task and love poems. Again, they then found their own combinations.

Step 3:
Offer the students one structure and ask them to work in pairs/small groups to work out other structures that they can use. They came up with:
  • Ich bin das Salz und du bist der Essig
  • Wir gehen zusammen wie Salz und Essig
  • Wir passen zusammen wie Salz und Essig
  • Du bist der Essig zu meinem Salz (a good opportunity to revisit the Dative!)
Step 4:
Song Time. The group still struggles with listening tasks, so I prepared some tasks based on Tim Liebt Tina, by Anna Depenbusch.

1. Gapfill. (DM me if you want a copy!) The first time I played the song, it was just audio. The second time I also ran the video. The third time I advised them to watch the video, and where they had gaps unfilled, they should watch the singer's voice to help work out which word was being sung. The result = all gaps filled. The consequence = students' confidence with listening goes up a notch.

(Which got me thinking. When will exam boards issue listening exams on DVD rather than CD, because understanding language is much more than just audio. We rely on gesture, body language and setting to help support our understanding.) 

2. The next task was to draw a web of the relationship, to understand the content a little bit more. Some students added extra detail readily and voluntarily. It looks a little like this:

The best thing about this task was how involved they were in the discussions about the relationships. It was great. My job in all of this was hot-desking around the room helping with the finer details.

Step 5:
Writing the poem and making it look beautiful!!!!

The results are below:

And, while we shouldn't have favourites..... The poem below came from out of the blue, from a student who sometimes finds German a real challenge. It warrants an enormous BOOOOOOM!

Of course, the lesson came with a slight amount of manic-ness. Mainly from the students...

One student said, "Miss, would you say 'I am the door to your knob' or 'I am the knob to your door'?".

To which I replied (and of course the class went silent), "Thinking about semantics, I would probably say 'I am the knob....' I didn't think this through, did I?"

The class seemed disappointed that SLT hadn't popped in at that point.

An overriding success, the students making me utterly proud.

And to the choon for the day? I was playing this through the speakers in my room on Friday morning. Play it loud!


  1. Very nice idea and activity. Thank you for sharing!

  2. You're welcome. Such a great lesson. The class has a lot of musicians and singers in it, so I think the next step will be making a song out of them!

  3. I love this post. Great ideas & happy you're skipping & dancing :)

  4. simply HAVE to try this! Will let you know how it goes... PS have you tried Poetweet?