Conversation Class Lesson Plan

Section: Advanced Conversation
Date: February 25, 2010

Class theme/topics discussed: German poems

How did you pick this theme or topic?
The “Musikabend”, an event hosted by the Scripps German and Music Department, was coming up soon, and my students wanted to take part in this by reciting a poem. Thus, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about famous German poems and to learn how to recite them.

How did you present the material? (handouts, group work, general discussion, student presentations, etc.)
At first, I asked my students if they knew any German poems. They did know a few and I asked them to summarize and analyze them as well as they could. Then, I handed out three pages with popular German poems, ranging from Goethe to Morgenstern to Fried. We read each poem, talked about vocabulary, discussed the meaning of the poems and the author’s intentions. At the end, I asked each student to pick their favorite poem, explain why it’s their favorite and try to recite it to the rest of the class as good as possible. Myself and the other students gave feedback.

How did students react?
I think the students liked talking about the poems, although some of them were rather dated and did not have any kind of reference to them, I think.

Did they engage with each other and you?
Yes, they did. At first, they were a little shy while reading out the poems, but the further the lesson progressed, the more comfortable they got. They asked a lot of vocabulary questions and seemed quite interested in most of the poems.

What materials or media did you use? (articles, satellite tv, digital projector, etc.)
Copies of poems (from 18th – 20th century)

Would you recommend this activity for a future class? Why or why not?
Yes, I think you can integrate poems into a conversation class very well. I think I’d spend even more time on choosing the ‘right’ poems for my class next time to keep them interested and motivated.