Suggestions Needed

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



12 thoughts on “Suggestions Needed”

  1. At my old school, a former student gave the German teacher money. He used it to buy a DVD player that could play DVDs that were coded for Europe. Add DVDs to the list as well and some music recordings.

    The FLAP grant I was on (until funding was canceled by Congress) gave us some very useful equipment including headsets with microphones that students use to make recordings on computer, two micro recorders, a Flip camera which we have used to make our own films, and a little notebook computer. The headsets and video camera have gotten the most use. Ask for more not less. Maybe you can give a wish list and say that any of these things would be nice. Maybe you will get them all.

    1. Thanks, Tamula. I already have a DVD player for German DVDs and use it often.! I would love some recording equipment and another camera for making our own short films.

  2. I support books. Get German readers (class sets) and also build your classroom library. This year I am alternating Sustained Silent Reading and Free Voluntary Reading for levels 2 through AP. Levels 3 and 4/AP just finished reading my pirate story. (Even though it is aimed at second semester level 2, I decided to get some extra mileage out of it.) For about a week we will do FVR, then we will start reading Emil und die Detektive. I really like having everyone reading the same thing, even if they are not all in the same place.

    I would also look for some usable videos. Are you acquainted with the “Extr@” series? It’s an English series for language learners. The German version follows the (mis)adventures of two roommates in Berlin, their neighbor and a visiting pen pal from the US. It is educational, the language is simple, the acting deliberately overdone, and the quality good. This year I want to add the videos of “Die wilden Kerle” to my collection of soccer-related items. The recent focus on Movie Talk will make these even more useful.

    Can you use this for classroom supplies? If you get plain shower curtains you can create backdrops, maps and other graphics. I have a map of the route of the Third Crusade on a shower curtain and am working on one to go with the pirate story. When I get a student assistant second semester, I’ll have him create a couple more copies of the maps. Then I’ll create a game: students will spread the shower curtain on the floor, draw a card and answer questions or do something to advance on the map. The first person to reach Acre or successfully go on a “Kaperfahrt” (depending on what we are reading) will win. The cards are just another way to get Comprehensible Input, but the kids think it’s a game. You obviously need shower curtains, permanent markers, a projector and a graphic.

    Does your school allow you to take students abroad? You might use the money to help offset the costs for students to travel to a German-speaking country.

    I’m praying that you get the funds for your program.

    1. Hi Robert,
      I want to read your pirate story! Where can I find it?
      I did find the Extra Series online. I would highly recommend Vorstadtkrokodile 1,2, and 3 for films. I use all the Wilde Kerle as well. It has become a kind of “cult classic” in my German classes.
      Thanks for the shower curtain suggestion. I will think about that.
      I coordinate a relatively large exchange program with Germany and could definitely provide a scholarship to students who are unable to afford to participate. Thanks for your prayers!

  3. Thought of something else . . . culture related supplies. Some years ago I got a little grant that I used to buy calligraphy brushes, student calligraphy books, and reusable calligraphy paper. I’ve used those every year and even for special events like teaching a special class for elementary kids. Your donor might like to see a request for things specific to German culture and language.

  4. I LOVE both of Robert’s suggestions. I think something along the lines a school to school exchange – 3 weeks or so. They come and spend some weeks living with our kids and attending classes with us. We then go there and our kids live with the same kids and attend their school. This has always breathed life into our program. It is powerful actually and always gets students interested in the language/culture. When the 10-15 students from (in our case Costa Rica) arrived at our school our whole school was touched….and makes a big impression. Many classes beyond Spanish classes have them visit.

    The other thing that I am going to do next year is a program in Guatemala called safe passage. Instead of an exchange it is a service project. (

    I don’t know what the socio-economic status is of your school but it is VERY difficult for me to do such trips because so few have the money to do them. A grant for us would open it up to a wider range of students.

    just a thought…


  5. Scanner and projector!

    In my first year of TPRS I did not make a big deal about drawing pictures for homework. But this year they’ve been more or less a routine for each story we come up with and they have proven to be very powerful.

    Students will draw a 4-panel cartoon depicting the events and details of a story. I encourage fancy but don’t require it: hw is done/not done in my grade book. The next day, they discuss/describe it with a partner, briefly.

    I collect the fancy drawings, and usually there are a lot, scan them and some time down the road pull up a picture on my projector. Oodles of circling and retellings ensue.

    I also take a sampling of these pictures and upload them to VoiceThread. Once a month, at all levels, students are given 3-6 minutes to spontaneously record, for as long as they can, a description of the picture of their choice. Students love the speaking practice and seeing how much language they have acquired. It provides a nice break from the routines of CI and almost always invigorates and encourages.

    A nice scanner in the WL office has made all the difference. We might print and bind the best pictures with the stories at the end of the year, making little booklets for the students. Great summer reading!


    1. It’s a website where you can post a picture, image, or other prompt. Then you invite participants to record – based on their typing or a voice recording – whatever comments the prompt suggests. Participants can hear each others’ comments as well. As Liam says, it’s not about really learning the language – so it’s a nice way to have students feel they are speaking without turning class time into spoken drills. I think it could be used as a speaking version of free writes, well, maybe with a guiding topic given.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben