Julia Morris, TES Author jusch12, tells us how she uses an enticing murder mystery resource to motivate her German students
Tell us a bit about your professional background and why you joined TES
I am from Berlin but have always loved England. After I got my degree in English and German, I moved to the South West, where I have been teaching for eight years.
Over the years, I found lots of really useful resources on TES and I felt that I should give back and share mine too.
What made you decide to create a murder mystery resource?
I love reading crime stories and making puzzles for my students, so I combined the two to create a murder mystery activity. This one, entitled Mord auf der Hochzeit, explores all of the key vocabulary in a typical family and marriage unit. It even has its own trailer to get the students excited and ready to act as detectives.
How do you use this resource in the classroom?
Each student is given a workbook with a list of suspects. In order to eliminate the suspects and ultimately solve the crime, pupils must complete a series of varied tasks.
It engages learners by getting them involved in a story. It makes a nice change, rather than having to talk about themselves all the time. But I also hope that teachers will love it too! It makes the entire unit more fun to teach while still ensuring that the students are using the required vocabulary and grammar.
You have also uploaded puzzles onto TES. How effective do you find these problem-solving resources in the classroom?
Puzzles can be a good way of differentiating learning. They allow lower-ability students to revise and write texts without realising and stretch more-able pupils by combining language learning with thinking skills and logic. I create puzzles at both word and sentence level so that all learners are practising grammar, as well as vocabulary.
What are some of the challenges of teaching MFL and how do your resources overcome these issues?
Compared to their counterparts in Germany, many English students are less motivated to learn languages. But I find that pupils are more engaged when I use games and puzzles as they bring a sense of fun into the classroom.