Post information, resources, and tips for managing independent studies here.

One student classes are hard. I have run a few and they are tricky. Here are a couple of quick suggestions:

1) GET TO KNOW HER - Who is she as a person? As a learner? What are her personal and academic goals for herself? What does she hope to be able to do with her language now and in the future? Does she have any special interests re: German language or culture?

2) GENERATE GOALS - Based on her responses, collaboratively determine some goals for her re: her German. Ideally, those goals would also take into consideration her learning styles and preferences, her outside interests, and her academic goals beyond German.

3) COLLABORATE ON CONTENT - Work together to outline the course. What are the major experiences she needs in order to achieve her goals while simultaneously fulfilling the objectives of a German 3 course?
You may want to set this up on a spreadsheet, so you list her goals and interests, then in the next column, you list experiences that would mesh well with those, then in the next column, you list the vocabulary, grammar, and language skills she would need to develop in order to participate in those experiences. Finally, you'd match that last list to your curricular objectives for German 3. On a new sheet, you'd put the experiences in some sort of logical order, then list individual activities that would help prepare her for each experience.

4) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE TECH - This is a great opportunity for you to develop a collection of learning resources that you can then draw on for use in future classes. There are so many amazing sites with such interesting and interactive content. Some of them will be sites designed for German learning, but I would recommend that you spend the bulk of your time just finding pages about the topics you've selected together that would be of interest to normal German teens--then evaluate each page for its potential to support language learning. She could keep a blog in German. She could make it private so only you and her family can see it. As far as speaking goes, you might want to do a lot with Audacity, Garage Band, iMovie, etc.--digital storytelling, creating music videos, short documentaries, or other such projects. There are a host of possibilities on my Teens N Tech wiki: . Seek out opportunities in your community for her to interact with native speakers--German exchange students, owners of German stores or restaurants, etc. Obviously, take precautions for her safety in each of these endeavors. - chericem1 chericem1

While student teaching, I've had one "independent learner." She is in Spanish 4, but only had Spanish 3 periods available in her schedule for the semester.

One solution that has worked well for her as well as for students who miss class has been to post lessons online. It really only takes a few minutes for me to write out the day's lesson in steps on a class website. I include the activities we did in class, or adapt them in a way that students can complete them on their own. If relevant, I refer students to textbook pages or exercises, ask them to watch embedded videos, to print out and complete activity pages, to read materials I've provided on a topic or to Google the topic, and so on. I bold the items they need to turn in.

This isn't a new idea. It has been effective--easier than scrambling to give one student instructions at the beginning of class when things are busy, or explaining the same assignment over and over for students who have missed class.

Here's one example (originally posted on

3/4/11, 3/7/11

If you missed class today, please do the following:

1. What are characteristics of "right" (derecha) and "left" (izquierda) in politics?

2. Who is Salvador Allende? (Google it) Answer questions "El gobierno de Chile, 1970-1973" and "Izquierda o derecha" on in-class worksheet
3. Read this poem by a Chilean woman who experienced this time: "Two Women"
4. Read pages 210-211 in textbook about using subjunctive in adverbial clauses
5. Do exercise 1 on page 212 to practice (won't need to turn this in)
6. Compose your own poem with two points of view following the pattern of the "Two Women" poem (see step 3). The poem should include two points of view with four lines each. It should include two examples of adverbial clauses with subjunctive (see page 210). You will need to turn this in.
7. Read page 225 and answer last part of the "in-class worksheet."
8. Watch the first two minutes of the video that follows [The video is embedded in the original post, but not included here]
9. When you come to class, put the completed in-class worksheet and poem in the basket.- CarrieKum CarrieKum