Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kaffeehaus Mittwoch: a unit for level 3

Not only am I a German teacher, I also moonlight, on occasion, as a Latin teacher. Running and planning a classical language course and a modern language course simultaneously is an extremely rewarding endeavor, because each kind of language instruction requires different pedagogical strategies. The magic happens, however, when a strategy for the instruction of one of the languages informs and inspires for the instruction of the other.

Thus was "Kaffeehaus Mittwoch" born for German, level 3.

For Latin 1, I had created "Monday Mythology."
For Latin 2, I had created "Time Machine Tuesday."
If ever I skipped one of these, my Latin students protested loudly! I imagine they appreciated the predictability and the interdisciplinary nature of these days (relevance!) along with the mental break that it offered them from the daily grind of language acquisition.

My primary source of inspiration for this curriculum is the book published by the Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur called Ins Kaffeehaus: Materialien zur Österreichischen Landeskunde für den Unterricht von Deutsch als Fremdsprache.

You can order this book here from AATG.

The book (which includes a CD for listening tasks) contains 14 chapters with many activities for all three communication modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. The book also gave me several ideas for ways in which I could search out or create my own additional activities.

Over the course of the fall semester, I was able to plan out and execute seven "Kaffeehaus" Wednesdays. I intend to develop a few more of them for next fall. The schedule ended up looking like this:

Central to all of this curriculum, was that the students themselves also created their own Stammtisch in my classroom. On these set aside days, students took turns bringing in treats to share, and I housed in the classroom a water boiler for tea and hot chocolate. We created our own Stammcafe. Observers became practitioners! This is something that we rarely are able to do on this side of the pond. All of a sudden, I'm envisioning a week's lesson in which the students reenact a Kaffeehaus scene. It would fit in perfectly following the week three lesson!

I will outline in more detail each lesson in subsequent postings. Gott sei Dank für die Sommerferien! :) Read here more about my initial first-hand experience in a Viennese Kaffeehaus.

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