Apps for Weihnachtzeit in German 1

Christmas season is a pretty fun time in foreign-language classes, none more than in German, which is the culture that invented traditions like Christmas trees, Saint Nicklaus, and oh so many Christmas carols.

Every year I try to teach three carols to my students. The first, obviously, is Stille Nacht, an excellent carol for teaching, especially because the English translation is often so close to the original German. Here is a video--
And here is a sample of the translation that I provide when we go over it in class:

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, (Silent night, holy night)
Alles schläft; einsam wacht (All is calm all is bright)
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar. ('Round yon virgin Mother and Child)
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar, (Holy infant so tender and mild)
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh! (Sleep in heavenly peace)
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh! (Sleep in heavenly peace)

My second choice is a really simple song for teaching new words: "Kling, Glöckchen, Kling."

This year, inspired with the spirit of the season, I encouraged students to download Christmas bells to their phones. A variety of apps were quickly identified and used to varying success.

My favorite bell was an Android app called "Christmas Bell," a simple, Salvation Army-style bell that 'klings' when the user shakes the phone. Some of the other apps had nicer bells--ranging from jingle bells to deep tones--but they also included lots of pop-up ads and didn't work when the phone was shaken.

All in all, we had a great time shaking our phones and singing to "Kling Glöckchen" yesterday.

Today we learned the final carol of the trio, the outrageously named, "Schlittenfahrt" (sleigh ride). If I need to explain to you why teenagers love this Christmas song, then you don't know teenagers.

This year we had our Christmas bell apps ready, and we klanged and schlitted and fahrted merrily throughout the first fifteen minutes of the block.

'Tis the Season!