Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Culture in the Classroom: Die Geschichte vom fliegenden Robert

Whenever it is rains heavily in Cookeville, every student tends to drive, which means that parking is even harder to find for everyone. Given that I knew today's torrential rain meant many late students, I decided to use this situational factor to their benefit. 

My 1010 students and I visually interpreted Heinrich Hoffmann's "Geschichte vom fliegenden Robert." Discussing weather was key to chapter 1 of Treffpunkt:Deutsch, so the first phase of our discussion was a great review of those previous communication goals. After we described how the first image constructs the idea of bad weather, I asked "Soll das Kind im Regen spielen? Warum oder warum nicht?". This engaged questions of recommendation/suggestion, which we've been trying to apply in class and differentiate from other modal constructions. I find that students tend to understand that they should use "sollen" to communicate recommendations/suggestions, but they rarely do this without direct prompting. Luckily the next two images in Robert's story demonstrate why he shouldn't play in the rain. 

 Actually, in the future and in more advanced classes, I could foresee using the stories out of "Struwwelpeter" to teach modal constructions. Given that the text and images are on wikimedia, this should be simple to integrate into a future textbook.