German Story Time

Germany has a fine history of fairy tales and stories. After all, this was the home of the Brothers Grimm, and even Walt Disney took inspiration from this place….

In case you’ve never been to a calendar kiosk around the end of the year, that would be Schloss Neuschwanstein, the pet project of the affectionately nicknamed “Crazy King Ludwig.” I guess Disney had a thing for the mildly mentally unstable Wagner enthusiast. 

So to take a page from the grand tradition of stories, I did a little activity with some of my classes. The results were a bit amusing, and I’d like to share them. Disclaimer: My intention is not to mock or make fun in any way, but to illustrate the silly things that happen in my lessons, and to show you what happens when you ask adults to be creative. In another language nonetheless, which is something I could only hope to do. But anyway, this is what you get…

We had been working on a review of the past tense in some of my classes, which is something that they’ve all learned before (a long time before, for some), but they have a tendency to just ignore it and stick to the present. After they had a few review lessons, I decided the time was ripe to play a game I call ‘Chain Story.’ I asked them to take out a sheet of paper while I wrote, “Last week, Bob…” on the board and then told them to finish the sentence. After they finished the sentence, they had to exchange papers, and write the next sentence to the story. We continued this for 10-12 swaps depending on the number of students. Here are two of the results, with the different colors indicating where they changed papers….

Story One:
Last week, Bob was at a birthday party.
He met there his girl friend Betty.

They danced all the time.

But suddenly she said she had to go to the toilet. After ten minutes she wasn’t back, so Bob wondered. So he went to the toilet and looked for her.

Bob asked her why she needed so long and what she did.

At the same time Ricky went out of the ladies rest room and Bob wondered again.

Bob cached Ricky and pulled him back into the ladies restroom. Bob looked around but Betty wasn’t there and Bob wondered again. He asked Ricky what he did in the ladies restroom. Ricky said he looked for his girlfriend Tina.

But now they wondered both – where is Betty and where is Tina? Now they started together to search them and they found them in a dark edge in the cellar.

Bob and Ricky wondered and they asked. What did you do in the cellar. Betty answered, We searched the restrooms in this building but we couldn’t find it.

But now Tina cleared the whole story. They both wanted to finish their friendship but the didn’t know how to tell it to Bob and Ricky, so they decided to make a plan on the toilet but Bob and Ricky disturbed them and they sneaked in the cellar to finish their plan. But now it was the worst possibility to end the story.

Story Two:
Last week, Bob didn’t do his homework. 

He drank a lot of alcohol at a carneval party.
Because of a strong headache he wasn’t able to concentrate to the English grammar, but the party was so funny that it would be better not to make the homework.
He want to do the homework in the morning befor the English lesson started.
But at this moment the telephone rang and it was Tom, his best friend who asked Bob for help because he had an accident with his car.
It was important for Bob to help his friend so he drove to Tom and repaired his car. After this he was late and he had to go to work. But he didn’t do his homework.
So he decided to make a break from work to finish his homework but suddenly his phone rang a second time and a friendly female voice asks him if they can meat today the evening but Bob didn’t know the girl speaks. He thougt: “Oh shit – what happened at the carneval party?”
The friendly girl on the phone was his English teacher and she wanted to remember him to make his homework. 
At the moment he checked this, a wait was lifted of his just and he finished his homework in a few minutes. 

He went to the English lesson and his both colleges didn’t do there homework. 

I particularly enjoyed how one student jokingly complaining that whenever she tried to send the story in a particular direction, the other one would completely derail it. I guess she had a particular plan in mind for Bob, but I guess we’ll never know what it was. And for their sakes, let’s all hope life doesn’t imitate art. I don’t think anyone wants to be dumped in the dark cellar at a birthday party, and I’m certainly not going to start calling them to “remember” them to do their homework. Sorry kids, not happening.


6 thoughts on “German Story Time

  1. Bahahaha!!!
    I love this.
    Do you ever get, “I 'became' something” instead of “I 'got' something?” I love it. It just sounds so funny.
    Oh, Germans.

  2. Oh yes, I'm familiar with that one too. I think one of my favorites though is when they say they get a baby. My response is always the same… “Get a baby? Like, from the store?” Although I think I need to stop doing my 'cocked head with quizzical look' move, because some of them are starting to do it back to me. Whoops.

  3. No, seriously, I 'got' two babies. I'm pretty sure when they are behaving like animals that there is no way I produced them. But you do 'get' babies in German, don't you? Is it “Ich bekomme ein Baby”? – god, I need to go back to German class. It's nice though to get a insight into how awful we must speak in German. I am surprised that people don't laugh more at our efforts!

    My favourite story was the first one. It was a bit dark, and I would have loved to have seen where that was heading, but it's very inspiring. When it's time for me to ditch Stevie, I am DEFINITELY choosing the corner (or edge, if I can find one) of a dark cellar to do it in!

  4. I do believe that is correct, so they're just literally translating again. But it makes me laugh every time. And I totally agree, I don't know how my tandem friends don't laugh at me on a regular basis because I'm sure 99% of what comes out of my mouth is total nonsense.

    Haha. I would like to know where it was going as well. Maybe someday they'll give up their careers and turn to literature and then we'll find out. Don't forget to try to hatch a plot in the toilet first!

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