German Learners Reveal Relatives

Genie Lee, News Editor

Governor Jerry Brown and celebrity Brenda Song were among the unique family relationships German 3 students revealed through in-class presentations made during the weeks of October 16 and 23, captivating family stories to the class.

According to German teacher David Blumberg, one of the purposes of the project was for the students to learn about their family history. “A lot of the time students don’t even know these stories and about this member in their family that had this really interesting life. And through asking their parents about it, they learn something about their own family history, which I think is pretty cool. They tend to be really entertaining too,” he said.

Junior Jasmine Xiong described her relationship with Brenda Song, a famous Disney actress. Xiong used the famous relative to engage her peers. “I wanted it to be interesting, and none of my other relatives are as interesting as her,” she said.

“I got to learn about somebody who I didn’t really know and I didn’t know that I was related to her until I asked my dad, and I thought it was really cool to find out about how she grew up and where she came from,” Xiong continued.

Blumberg stressed the importance of speaking skills, an essential part of the project. “It’s really important for students to get comfortable with getting up in front of class and speaking. It’s one of the first times students have to get up and speak for an extended period of time because we definitely have discussions in class where students have to say a sentence or so in response to something, but actually string sentences together and narrate a story is a really important thing to be able to do,” he said.

“I wasn’t as nervous speaking in front of the class as I was maybe last year because now I’m more confident in my German,” said Xiong.

Junior Claire Sebree, who discussed her cousin in her presentation, said, “I think the more that I practiced it on my own, the better I got with formulating the sentences in my head and being able to respond with correct grammar on the fly, which I think is the hardest part when you have to have the correct word order and all that kind of stuff. I think it helped with just coming up with the grammar without it being written down.”

Audience members were required to take notes and write summary paragraphs in German on 25 presentations. Sebree said, “I kinda think that that is an exorbitant amount. But I liked that you had to take notes so that everyone had to pay attention.”

Blumberg said, “At the beginning, they’re moaning and groaning because it’s a lot of work, but by the time it’s finished, everyone is glad that they were able to hear them and and also give their own.”

Blumberg’s favorite part about the project was “definitely hearing the presentations, hearing the stories that these individuals that often had really interesting experiences that are often so different than what we experience today.”

“It’s interesting to see how so many of us are from the same beginnings and how they have some of the same beginnings in many cases… The ones that I found most interesting were the ones that involved some kind of international travel,” Blumberg said.

“It was a cool way to use vocabulary without it being a really boring presentation. I liked that you had to make it personal,” Sebree said.