Getting to Know Berlin in a 1st Semester German Course by Dagmar Jaeger
By Dagmar Jaeger
Higher Ed students practice their German speaking skills by creating a collaborative “tour of Berlin”. This assignment exemplifies collaboration between students and emphasizes the use of listening and speaking skills outside the classroom.
I chose an appropriate map that is detailed enough to show various sites in Berlin. Students then chose a location in Berlin to give directions to.
The goal was to get students somewhat familiar with downtown Berlin in an interesting and engaging way, putting to use vocabulary and grammar structures students just learned, i.e. giving directions/asking for directions. The second goal was to work collaboratively in German outside the classroom.
The VoiceThread shows a map of downtown Berlin. Students were asked to choose a location and to give directions to that location by recording their own voice and by doodling the directions in the map of downtown Berlin. The very first location is determined in class together for everyone in order to know the starting point. It proceeds from there. The first student chooses a new location and gives directions from the first location to the new location. In the way of a chain reaction, the next student picks up where the last student left off and gives directions from the last student’s location to the next location of choice. In this way, students create together the class’ very own Berlin city tour.
Since students rely on each other for this assignment, there is a risk for misunderstandings and getting lost. This did actually happen in this VoiceThread and is part of the learning experience. Nevertheless, the exercise worked very well as a whole.
I continued with this thread and used it for a small project in which students choose three locations from the class Berlin tour and research briefly about these sites. Students present their three sites in class or create their own VoiceThread. Classmates select the best presentation.