Sunday, January 26, 2014


Marillen aka Aprikosen fresh from the fruit trees in Graz, 2013

It's a fortuitous thing that my German 2 class is scheduled during third block, which wraps itself neatly around our lunch block. A January 2014 article on National Public Radio on how language affects our view of the world mentions recent research that "...that if you're hungry, you'll pay more attention to food-related stimuli." Fingers crossed and thumbs pressed that Kapitel 8 will be a slam-dunk for this class!

Part of the theme for chapter 8 is groceries. I used this opportunity to integrate p. 10 from my Österreich-Quiz book that I've mentioned using before. My strategy for this lesson was to allow the students the chance to explore "the puzzle of Austria from a culinary point-of-view." I imagine that of all the potential situations that my students could be placed in inside of the German-speaking world someday, interpreting and ordering of off a menu is the most likely to happen.

I think that this exploration activity lends itself well to device use as well. With a tablet, smartphone, or other web-connected device, food items are very easily found and understood by using Google Images or the Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon. As I was prepping for the activity myself, I searched for "Striezel", because I didn't know what it was. With a snap of my fingers...

...asked and answered: a braided Challah-type sweet bread. This activity models for the students how to work within the context of culture and language that we are learning, while simultaneously stretching and reaching out for more.

My questions for the students were focused on cultural practices, perspectives, and products while communicating in the German language. I find this activity to be more deeply connected to why the students learn German in the first place. Here is what some of the questions sound like:

  • Not "What do you eat for breakfast?" but "What does a breakfast in Vienna look like?"
  • Not "What do you eat for dinner?" but "What are specialties of Austrian cuisine?"
  • Not "Do you like to drink this?" but "What would you order in an Austrian Kaffeehaus?"
  • Not "What is the German word for potato?" but "What variants exist in the German-speaking world regarding food?"
Don't get me wrong. I use those first set of questions all the time in the world language classroom. I'm challenging myself to take it to the next level, especially when it comes to the integration of culture into the lesson. 

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I've never seen that culturally authentic pictorial lexicon. Ordering is, I agree, very important.