Interview with Paola Layton

We are very happy to have student feedback from our latest Speaker, Prof. Dr. Albrecht Classen. The students at German School Phoenix were particularly impressed with his talk and we were able to interview Paola Leyton for her honest opinions. Paola is a new student at German School Phoenix. She had previously studied German in Zurich and Chile, but is now continuing her language learning with us.

This was the first speaker Paola had seen. In the past, we have invited local Germans, Professors and even the Honorary German Consulate to speak to our students. Paola felt that Prof. Dr. Classen’s lecture was “very simple, very open and sincere”. He spoke at great length about the linguistic relationship between English and German and how it has evolved. For example, in northern Germany there are many words that are pronounced very similar in English. Where in the south of Germany, the pronunciation takes on a very different dialect and linguists find fewer English sounds. Paola tells us that “[she] enjoyed everything. He did a good summary about what German means. [I was] able to refresh my memory and hopefully start speaking [German] again.”

Many Thanks to Paola Layton for taking the time to answer all our questions!


Dr. Albrecht Classen, Guest Speaker

Imagine that you’re told to attend a presentation made by a distinguished professor who specializes in the history of medieval and early modern German and European literature and culture from about 800 to 1800. Would you expect to be bored by a dry, serious presentation?

If that distinguished professor is Dr. Albrecht Classen, then that expectation would be wrong. Very wrong.   Just ask any of the students, faculty and friends of German School Phoenix who were fortunate to meet Dr. Classen on Saturday, January 27th. Everyone there was captivated by his enthusiasm, inspired by his energy, and disappointed when his presentation had to come to an end.

Dr. Classen talked to the group about the history and development of European languages and the relationship between English and German.   During his visit to classrooms before the presentation, he emphasized the importance of understanding history and appreciating what it can teach us about the present.

Currently serving as University Distinguished Professor and Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of German Studies at the University of Arizona, Dr. Classen has studied at several universities in Germany, Spain, Great Britain and the United States. For more information about Dr. Classen’s background and publications, please visit

Our teachers celebrate German week

As we work our way through this week our amazing German teachers are preparing for class on Saturday. We are celebrating National German week and our teachers are ready!

In the children’s class, students will be coloring Hannah the Bear. She is a good friend of Flat Stanley and is looking forward to the many locations the kids will take her.

The beginners 2 class will be reading about “Tag der Deutschen Einheit” and have a Germany quiz (heads up!)

Beginners 1 and intermediate classes have learned about the history, meaning, and celebration of “Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit”
– Watched video footage explaining this Feiertag and original footage of November 9, 1989
– Studied vocabulary pertinent to this day
-Took the AATG Quiz about “Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit” as a Homework assignment
– In celebration of the “fringe benefits” of learning (and teaching!) German, we ate German sausage, tasted 3 different types of German bread, including the famous Pumpernickel, laced with original German “Senf” and “Currysoße”, and indulged in Zimtgebäck, learning food and utensil vocabulary along the way. Lecker!

The advanced class will be taking a fun German Cultural trivia quiz!

Join us as we celebrate on Saturday!


October 2-8 is National German Week!

Welcome to National German Week!  We are celebrating at the German School Phoenix following the suggestions below from  Every day there is something you can do at home to celebrate as well!  Here are some suggestions:

Monday, October 2 – Schwarz-Rot-Gold Day

Kick off the week by showing your pride in Germany and the German language—wear Schwarz-Rot-Gold! Whether you’re at school, at work, out in the community or anywhere else, everyone around will know you’re a fan of German. Hannah’s already dressed for the occasion, so be sure to include her in your events and when you’re engaged on social media!

Tuesday, October 3 – Day of German Unity

Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) is the German national holiday, commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990. The Day of German Unity is celebrated each year with a Bürgerfest hosted by a major city—this year Mainz, the capital of Rheinland-Pfalz, under the motto “Zusammen sind wir Deutschland”. The Bürgerfest also includes the Ländermeile, where each Bundesland can highlight their tourist attractions, cultural treasurers, and culinary specialties. Create your own campus Ländermeile and highlight regional specialties. Celebrate today with our October 3 quiz!

Wednesday, October 4 – National TEACH GERMAN Day

National TEACH GERMAN Day is a celebration of German teaching and learning designed to recognize the important role that German teachers play in our schools and communities and encourage the next generation of German teachers. Find out more on the National TEACH GERMAN Day website.

Thursday, October 5 – Famous German-Americans Day

Hats off to German immigrants to the US and German-Americans! The cultures of the German-speaking world have had an enormous influence on American culture. You’ll find the contributions of German-Americans in every walk of life—actors, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, musicians, politicians, scientists, teachers, filmmakers, and writers. Can you identify all of the Americans with German roots in our quiz?

Friday, October 6 – National German-American Day

German-American Day was first proclaimed a holiday in the US in 1983 to honor the 300th anniversary of German immigration to the US. It commemorates the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld, near the Rhine, landed in Philadelphia. These families subsequently established the first German settlement in the original thirteen American colonies. See how well you know the influence and impact of German culture on America with our quiz!

Saturday, October 7 – German School Phoenix Celebrates!

Students will be taking fun trivia quizes in several classes and our Children’s class will be coloring Hannah the Bear and taking pictures of her this week as we find different ways to remember our German Culture.  If you would like to participate too, please post any pictures of yourself and Hannah the Bear (below) to our Facebook Page!

Hannah the Bear





Summer Reading Program

We were very excited to partner with the Tempe Library this summer as part of their Summer Reading Program!  Our school donated 1 semester of German Learning for their incentive program.  We would like to congratulate Brenda Cranson and her daughter Jordan for winning this years class!  Please check out Tempe Public Library for next Summer’s reading program.  See you there!


German School Phoenix Success Story

Today, Frau Cindy had coffee with Jeffrey Nardone.  Jeffrey came to the German School in Spring of 2016 and took the Beginner 2 class with Frau Cindy.   Today, he is living in Passau, Germany and is an opera singer with the Landestheater Niederbayern, where he sings in leading roles. This past season, was in many productions, among them 2 highlights: he played the baron in the Zigeunerbaron and Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. He is also enjoying the benefits of working in Germany. This summer, he has 8 weeks paid vacation. Jeffrey is continuing his German studies in Passau. It is great to see the success of students and to catch up for a brief moment of free time while Frau Cindy is on a Danube River Cruise with her husband.

Another GSP success story!

Frau Cindy and
Jeffrey Nardone

How much can a baby remember?

Do you remember the lullaby that your Grandma sang to you while you were 6 months old?  No?  This study shows that if Grandma sang the song to you again, chances are it would sound familiar to you, even if you haven’t heard it since you were 6 months old.  Language and it’s vocal patterns can also be identified by infants as young as 3 months.

Happy 70th Anniversary!

Anniversary’s are special.  They mark a milestone of a life shared together with all it’s ups and downs.  Merle and Helen Pipho hold a special place with the German School Phoenix as well.  20 years ago, they worked to start a school to teach local adults and children the German language.  Since then over 500 students, both children and adults, have attended German classes presented by what is now named German School Phoenix.

Helen and Merle celebrate another momentous milestone.  They are celebrating 70 years of marriage.  Keep on dancing… even when the music stops. Sing that special song in your hearts… even when it sounds off key. Only true love like yours can create a lifetime of cherished memories… and a romance that last forever.  We wish you a very Happy Anniversary!

Founders of the German School Phoenix

Did you retain any of that language?

Did you take a language class in School?  How much do you remember?  Did it benefit you at all?

Here’s a study that says even if you don’t remember any of the vocabulary or words of a foreign language, there are still benefits to your brain.

1. You’ll Become A More Intuitive Problem-Solver

Sometimes we need to step away from learning all the grammar rules and just simply listen to a language.  Listening and hearing how it sounds can be a great way growing your intuition on how a language should be spoken.

2. You’ll Get Better At Messing Up

Riding a bike wasn’t always easy.  You had to practice, and fall down many times before zipping along on your bike.  And even if you haven’t ridden your bike in a long time, a few wobbly blocks might be all it takes before you can ride like a kid again.  Practice, practice practice.

3. You’ll Start Seeing Things From Fresh Angles

Learning a new language means also opening yourself up to new cultures.  Different cultures perceive things differently, from how you organize your home to the logical transportation to work.  Exposing yourself to multicultural opportunity leaves the door open to creativity and a different way of thinking.


Congratulations Jennifer Martinez-Sanchez

Congratulations to Jennifer Martinez-Sanchez of the German School Phoenix in Tempe, Arizona. Jennifer has been awarded the Gold Medal and received special recognition on the Presidential Honor Roll for outstanding performance on the 2016-2017 National German Exam for High School Students. Jennifer received this award after scoring in the 93rd percentile on the Level 2 2016-2017 National German Exam sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG).

Over 21,000 students participated in the exam this year. The National German Exam, now in its 56th year, rewards students through an extensive prize program and provide a means of comparing students in all regions of the US. Hal Boland, teacher of German at Heritage High School in Leesburg, Virginia and AATG President said, “The outstanding performance of these German students in our national competition brings honor to their school, their district, and their German program. The AATG salutes their tremendous accomplishment and the great work their teachers do.”

Founded in 1926, the AATG represents German teachers at all levels of instruction. The AATG is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the teaching of language, literature, and culture of the German‐speaking countries.

Jennifer Martinez-Sanchez is a student of Arun Ryan, German teacher at German School Phoenix.


%d bloggers like this: