Teaching “Die Hälfte der Deutschen ist zu dick” (DW)

Here are additional materials and activities I have created for teaching Deutsche Welle’s Top-Thema module entitled “Die Hälfte der Deutschen ist zu dick“. The original Deutsche Welle materials can be accessed from the theme webpage, or the text and exercises (pdf) and audio (mp3) can be downloaded for offline use.

In the post Teaching with Deutsche Welle’s Top-Thema and Video Thema, I outline how I use these Deutsche Welle modules in an intermediate- to advanced-level courses with varied goals. Visit that page to see how my students begin to work with the materials Deutsche Welle provides. Here I am offering and explaining the extension activities that I use (before and) after we have exhausted all of the excellent materials Deutsche Welle provides to accompany the text. Downloads of all exercises described here are linked at the bottom of the page.


Vocabulary activities

Three activities get students working with the vocabulary in the text. First, students find synonyms used in the text (Synonyme activity). Then students work in pairs or small groups to define and explain words and phrases from the text (Definitionen activity). Students should always reference the article during this sort of activity, because seeing the word in context aids memory, makes the concept more concrete, and reinforces correct usage of words and expressions. To facilitate this, a copy of the text with those words in boldface is included in the pdf-download below. The page can be handed out or displayed at the front of the classroom. Finally students search the text for antonyms (Gegensätze activity).

 

Discussion

Two activities draw students into closer examination and discussion of the content of the text. The first activity (Zum Inhalt) asks students to go beyond the Deutsche Welle comprehesion activity and extract more detail from the text. The second activity (Zur Diskussion) asks students to think more deeply about the problem of obesity, its causes, and some potential solutions. I stress to students that these are not writing activities, and not sit-silently-by-yourself-and-think activities, but conversation activities.

 

Die Hälfte der deutschen ist zu dick - Fragen

 

Game: Situationen

Situationen-KartenDOWNLOAD Situationen-Karten.

Obesity is one of many potential problems a person can have, physical or otherwise. I turned this idea into an oral extension activity. I created a set of cards, each listing a specific problem: Ich habe mir den Arm gebrochen. / Ich habe zu wenig geschlafen. /  Ich hatte einen Autounfall. / Ich habe kein Geld. But also funny or unusual problems like: Mein Reisepass ist ausgelaufen. / Ich habe Angst vor Clowns. / Ich rieche nach Knoblauch. 

The student holding the card gives the others in the group clues about his/her problem — the events or choices leading to the problem, or the consequences thereof. I demonstrate how it works before letting the groups start. For example, my card says: Meine Brille ist kaputt. So I give clues such as: Gestern konnte ich gut sehen. Aber heute kann ich nicht gut sehen. Ich sitze in meinem Seminar und kann die Tafel nicht lesen. Und in der Mensa hat eine Bekannte “hallo” gesagt und ich habe sie zuerst nicht erkannt. Ich habe versucht meine Hausaufgaben zu machen, aber ich habe bald Kopfschmerzen bekommen und konnte mich nicht lange konzentrieren. Students might say “Sie haben Ihre Brille zu Hause vergessen” oder “Sie haben Ihre Brille verloren.” Once students have used a word that is part of the problem, the cardholder can use it, too — in this case, the word Brille. I give further clues. Ich weiß, wo meine Brille ist, aber ich kann sie nicht benutzen. Heute muss ich mit dem Optiker telefonieren. Students have fun with this game. It leaves room for creativity and also makes them think.

I print the cards on colored card stock. The thicker paper makes them more durable and colored paper is harder for students to see through from the back. There are two pages of cards with 27 situations on each one. Page three has the blank template in case you’d like to add some of your own  Situationen cards to the stack. After printing, cut them apart along the gray lines.

I know this game is only tangentially related to the article topic. But I like to use any opportunity I can get to promote oral practice. The more successful activities tend to be fun and engaging and oriented toward some goal beyond the language itself. This little game fills that bill.


Here are the downloads for “Die Schweiz auf Isolationskurs”:

Weitere Übungen zu “Die Hälfte der Deutschen ist zu dick”

Situationen-Karten

And the original Deutsche Welle Top-Thema page in HTML, with audio and comprehension exercises, is here:”Die Hälfte der Deutschen ist zu dick“.

 

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