Sabine und Michael

A natural, cultural approach

Sabine und Michael follows the daily lives of two German teenagers in Munich. The series is written as a mini soap opera as their relationship has its ups and downs. All the while the culture comes naturally as the characters go to school, go shopping, go out to eat, etc. The first year takes students through a general TPR unit, greetings, family, school and home. The purpose of the first year is to get our students ready to talk about themselves in German (in my school we start a penpal exchange after the first year). The second year is designed to help students to become “literate tourists”, so the book takes students through topics such as shopping for clothes, groceries, restaurant, places in the city, transportation and finally leisure activities.

The series is divided into several pieces:

The Teacher’s Book is essential for those who want to teach using Sabine und Michael. The 200+ page book has tips for gestures, anecdotes, personal questions and stories -- everything an experienced TPRS® needs to teach the first year of German.

The new Blackline CD has the tests, quizzes and stories as pdf. Word and Powerpoint files for teachers who want to assess student progress and display the stories as they teach. I have a few last copies of the old Blackline Masters, but this printed version will be phased out soon.

The Student Workbook is an optional ancillary. The Student Workbook gives students an organized place to take their notes. It includes some extra readings for each unit and some assignments to practice retelling from perspective.

The Songs for Sabine und Michael CDs have a song geared toward each unit. Those songs also have karaoke versions for in-class singing. There are a few extra cultural songs included on each CD.

The Hilde und Günter reader is another optional ancillary. This simple reader is divided into 4 separate fun detective stories featuring a teenage brother and sister who solve simple mysteries. A very fun reader that is completely separate from the Sabine und Michael stories, yet follows the same vocabulary. There are purposely no assignments connected to the reader to allow it to be pure fun and pure reading. These readers could be started very soon after the beginning of the school year. I do have some helpful powerpoints to direct student reading included in the Resources pages.

There is a 3-DVD set available that shows the Sabine und Michael program in use in the classroom. Six hours of classroom experience with my own students. You’ll see how well the program works in the real world. Look for TPR/TPRS im Klassenzimmer.

Echter Unterricht; Echte Lernzeit! A single 2-hour DVD that shows me teaching an entire 3-day lesson. Read below for a longer description. Note: I have just discovered a few audio and visual gaps in the master and am not able to offer a fix. I am lowering the price for this reason. Only $10 for this DVD. To see a description, read below.

Echter Unterricht: Echte Lernzeit mit Sabine und Michael

What you’re going to see is fairly raw, mostly unedited footage of me teaching an entire lesson to my classes. This is real teaching, with all of my mistakes and everything. You’ll see a very rambunctious class of 7th grade beginning German students. You’ll see some students who struggle with attention spans right up front. You’ll see me have to shush the classes, redirect attention, make announcements, endure interruptions, all things that every public school teacher has to deal with. The only things edited out are times when I am interrupted for an extended time or if students are simply taking a test or copying down vocabulary.

The lesson is G-4-1 in the Sabine und Michael series. The lesson basically covers three days, although the fourth day starts with a brief review and quiz before going to the next lesson. This lesson occurs in February in the first year of German. Notice that I spend the bulk of the time with step one, just talking through the vocabulary, hoping to have a reasonable class conversation. Sometimes I ask very simple questions and give participation points for simple answers. Sometimes I run with an answer. Sometimes I tell a joke or an anecdote about the phrase.

When we tell and act out the Sabine und Michael episode, we really don’t spend much time there; mostly 10 minutes. Step three is reading and writing and I spend a fair amount of time on this step. I have a student sound out the vocabulary words. The student who was chosen is trying to sound out the vocabulary. He is a bit slow with this process, so it really requires patience. Other students can write out the vocabulary in less than half the time. Yet, I find the process of phonetics to be very beneficial to students. We don’t write out the story in class anymore. To save class time I have students write out the stories at home.

You’ll notice how culture is embedded in the lesson. Many times I note differences between German and American schools. You’ll also notice quite a bit of reading. Specifically we are reading the 2nd episode of Hilde und Günter since we had just finished unit G-3 in Sabine und Michael. We also do an embedded reading as practice before the quiz. We also do a Fred Jones Friday PAT time where, once again, we do more reading. I usually give the choice of Kindergarten day or free voluntary reading. This particular day we got the beanbag chairs out and did Kindergarten day.

A few last notes: You’ll see me do “contest words”. These are certain words (mostly random . . . like “Mensch!”) that I have deemed contest words. Whenever I say the word, the first student to make the appropriate noise or do the appropriate action gets a bonus participation point. It’s a way to keep Jr. High interest high and keep them paying attention. It also happens to be Fasching on the first day of the lesson, so I have a costume on that day.

I hope you find this video-taped lesson informative and that you gain some ideas from it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I also give workshops where I show many other clips including TPR and more advanced TPRS.