IN THE GERMAN CLASS
Welcome to Pete Jones' page on Concept Attainment in the German class. It is a wonderful instructional strategy which I learned about many years ago and which I have used ever since in my French and German classes. Concept Attainment can be used in any language class and indeed in many subject areas.
Beneath you will find a complete lesson using Concept Attainment. Today's lesson is word order but we are not going to tell the students that! They are going to figure it out on their own!
Concept Attainment has four steps:
- Focus statement.
- Presentation of data set.
- Sharing thinking and hypotheses
- Naming and applying the concept.
FOCUS STATEMENTFor this activity I tell my students that they are going to see a series of statements. Some will be blue and some will be red. Their task is to work in pairs to see if they can decide what makes the blue statements different from the red and vice-versa.
PRESENTATION OF DATA SETMy data set is in a table below. In the class I usually have the statements cut out on bristol board strips and them I attach them one by one under their blue and red columns headings on the blackboard using masking tape.
BLAU ER KOMMT HEUTE ICH STUDIERE IM WOHNZIMMER SIE ISST EIN GEKOCHTES EI IN DER KUCHE WIR FAHREN MIT DEM AUTO NACH TORONTO
ROT HEUTE KOMMT ER IM WOHNZIMMER STUDIERE ICH IN DER KUCHE ISST SIE EIN GEKOCHTES EI MIT DEM AUTO FAHREN WIR NACH TORONTO
SHARING THINKING AND HYPOTHESES
In pairs students now think about and then share their hypothesis with their partner. No one shares with any other group and no one shouts out what the concept may be. We then continue with more of the data set. For example:
BLAU ICH SPIELE SCHACH MIT HEINRICH SIE WOHNEN IN KLAGENFURT DER ZUG KOMMT UM ACHT UHR AN SIE TRINKT LIMONADE AUF DEM JAHRMARKT
ROT MIT HEINRICH SPIELE ICH SCHACH IN KLAGENFURT WOHNEN SIE UM ACHT UHR KOMMT DER ZUG AN AUF DEM JAHRMARKT TRINKT SIE LIMONADE
SHARING THINKING AND HYPOTHESES
In pairs students now continue thinking about their hypothesis and again share their hypothesis with their partner. Again no one shares with any other group and no one shouts out what the concept may be. We then continue with what are called TESTERS.
TESTERS are more statements which I have on rectangular pieces of bristol board. This time the statements are not written out in blue or red. They are all the same colour (you decide). One by one I hold them up and the students tell me if they are blues or reds. They can do this orally or can go thumbs up for red, thumbs down for blue or thumbs parallel to the desk if they don't know. As they tell me whether they are blues or reds I place them accordingly on the blackboard with the rest of the data set.
Here are some of the testers:
- Sie übt Geige in der Stube.
- Heute mäht er den Rasen.
- Einen Mantel kauft sie mit dem Geld.
- Ich bin immer krank. etc. etc.
NAMING AND APPLYING THE CONCEPT
Once the concept has now been agreed on by the class it needs a name. When the sentence begins with an element other than the subject then the verb order is changed.
How one might apply the concept is as follows:
If you have a class of thirty students, prepare 15 sentences (one for each pair). Your sentences might look like this:
Cut the sentences up where you see the divisions and place them in 15 envelopes numbered 1 to 15. Number your pairs one to fifteen. Have each pair write the numbers one to fifteen on a piece of paper. Pair one gets envelope one, pair two envelope two etc. They open up the envelope, spill out the fragmented sentence, put it together with subject and verb at the beginning and next with another element at the beginning. They then write out their two sentences by the side of the appropriate number on their piece of paper. Once everyone has finished, pair one passes envelope one to pair two and pair two passes envelope two to pair three etc. (Pair one receives envelope fifteen.) Continue until all the envelopes have been passed around the class and all sentences have been reconstructed.
- Er/ kommt/ bald/ mit seinen Freunden
- Wir/ bummeln/ nach der Schule/ in der Stadt
ENJOY THE ACTIVITY! Please take a few moments to e-mail me your comments.
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SO FAR VISITORS HAVE DROPPED BY
Backgound by Marie
The music playing is The Rising of the Lark - sequenced by Lesley Nelson
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