Implementation of “Everyday life in East Germany” (SOI-HR-417)

This scenario was interesting to me because of the topic itself, which is not normally covered in regular classes, and for students aged 17 and 18, the topic is interesting, because they can connect it with knowledge of history, but also geography. The scenario seemed to me to be a good example for processing the culture and civilization of Germany, as a deeper questioning and connection with German as a foreign language and the culture of that nation, a slight departure from grammatical and orthographic structures, but again as an example of adopting and/or expanding vocabulary, which is for students was mostly unknown until then. Through group work, students collaboratively researched and questioned the topic using the Europeana (History) platform, YouTube, The and other sources. In creating their own works, they used the well-known padlet platform and some of the new web tool and this improved their IT knowledge and skills. They compared each other’s works, but also the topic with current contents and issues of today, as well as with the history of Croatia, they debated and came to their own conclusions. Of course, they adopted a lot of new information about the history of Germany and the everyday life of the DDR. By the end of the lesson, the students were able to describe the influence of political, social and cultural conditions in East Germany on everyday life, but also to compare it with today’s Germany and Croatia. They also knew how to state the causes that led to such circumstances. They showed and explained all this with their works (posters). This learning scenario certainly prepared the students for better navigation in a world that changes indescribably quickly and suddenly, it encouraged them to think critically, as well as cause and effect.

I applied this learning scenario to German language classes and implemented it among high school graduates (students aged 18). These are students for whom German is a second foreign language, but they have been learning it since the 4th grade of primary school and are thus continuing to learn German. So, they have been learning it for 9 years. A total of 15 students participated and they very well connected the newly acquired information with knowledge from history and with current everyday life. The students were unfamiliar with the Europeana platform and did not know digital heritage in art and science. Therefore, before the actual class and independent research, I explained and showed them the platform.

I first read and studied the teaching script and thought about the adaptation and content of the activities for the age, interest and (prior) knowledge of my students. 


First, I introduced the Europeana platform to the students, explained to them what kind of source of information and knowledge it is, what it is for and how to use it. I showed everything trough the projector on the board. For that I needed 10 Minutes. The students were very interested, because it was something new for them. After that, I started teaching and scenario activities that I adapted to my students. 

Gathering basic information about the DDR

As an introduction activity, I used clips and photos from the movie “Goodbye, Lenin!” as the activation of prior knowledge, reflection and questioning about the possible topic of the class. We wrote down all their associations, ideas and suggestions and briefly commented on them.

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Slika na kojoj se prikazuje tekst

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Slika na kojoj se prikazuje tekst, vanjski, osoba, zeleno

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Slika na kojoj se prikazuje tekst, ljudi

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Slika na kojoj se prikazuje tekst, zgrada, vanjski, grad

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After that, I followed the activities listed in the script. I divided the students into groups and gave instructions and for research work (What is DDR?) and instructions for working in the web tools. and padlet.

Plenary discussion

After the mentioned activity, that took almost 20 Minutes, there was a comparison of the works and reflection and discussion about them.

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Mind map 1

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Mind map 2 


In the next activity, I shared with each group various Internet sources for further research on the topic of “Everyday life in the DDR” and gave instructions for making posters. 

They could use for example;;

Making posters and presentation

Each group presented its own poster, and we compared the posters and thought critically about them and tried to connect them with current events in the world and that took 45 Minutes.

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Poster 1

Poster 2 

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Poster 3 

“Goodbye, Lenin!”

After the mentioned activities that were foreseen in the script, the students watched two school hours the movie “Goodbye, Lenin!” and after the movie they solved tasks related to the movie 1 school hour. 

              Worksheet 1 

              Worksheet 2 

             Worksheet 3 

Mind maps

After checking the tasks, mind maps were made in groups, with which we compared the knowledge and information acquired through independent research in the previous classes. 

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Slika na kojoj se prikazuje tekst, dokument

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We thought about all what we learned and discussed the issues of the movie, the content, the characters and the point of the movie. After all the activities, the students evaluated the lessons.

                         Worksheet 4 

With this learning scenario, the students expanded, but also adopted new knowledge about the culture and civilization of Germany and everyday life in the DDR and connected it very well with their previous knowledge of history and geography. By working in pairs, they developed cooperative learning, but also independence in researching new information. By presenting their works, they developed speaking skills and used newly acquired vocabulary. Solving tasks for the film and creating a mind map, they developed critical thinking. The learning scenario encouraged students to think about the importance and influence of historical and cultural heritage in building their own identity, but also the identity of the community. The scenario encouraged students to learn content and language in an integrated way, as well as to develop social and civic competence.

By using the Europeana platform, I expanded, but also adopted new knowledge about the subject I teach. I also found very useful topics and ideas for implementation in the planned teaching content, as well as topics and content that would be a refresher for students in German language classes and would encourage them to connect with the content of other subjects and encourage additional motivation in learning German as a foreign language. , which is not very easy for students.

I also found very interesting and useful sources of other fields that interest me, such as music, art, fashion, geography, etc., and which I can connect with German. The platform is very useful, because it offers a wide variety of different areas of interest, different forms of resources (images, photos, videos, teaching scenarios, implemented scenarios, etc.) It is also very transparent and easy to use.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Everyday life in East Germany created by Lidija Kolar

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Bohusläns museum.

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