German for Kids: Curriculum Units/Plans for Advanced Beginners
I wanted to share a post about our German lessons now that the kids are beyond the beginning stages. I would still consider my kids advanced beginners (or pre-intermediate).
The kids are learning German as their foreign language in our homeschool. I have a lot (at least a dozen!) German textbooks, but none of them have worked perfectly for us due to the age of my kids (currently 9, 11, 13) and also due to my style of teaching foreign languages. (I taught German in a US high school and English as a foreign language in Hungary.)
I have made a lot of our materials and they include *lots* of pictures! I put the worksheets together in a spiral bound book that’s 3/4 of an inch thick with various practice worksheets, matching pages and more. You can kind of see that in the photo above.
Our German lessons these days consist of three parts:
- vocabulary building activities, games, and/or conversation practice (using the German packets I’ve made for the kids) – lots of bingo games to review vocabulary!
- Reading and translation (about 5-10 minutes)
- Movies (20 minutes) – As beginners we used the children’s stories, Bobo Siebenschlafer and audio CDs). Over the last six months or so, the kids have watched about 10 kids’ movies in German! I’ll include a list of some of the films we’ve watched a little later in this post.
Vocabulary Building/Conversation Practice
I have made a number of units for the kids. We use picture cards, worksheets, games (as I said, bingo has been a *huge* hit this year!), question/answers, and role playing as we build our vocabulary. I’ll list them in the order that we covered them (we spend time regularly going over our past units even as we add in new ones.) We are currently on the city/travel/buildings/jobs unit. I hope to finish both that and a summer/summer activities unit this semester. I’ll link to these packets so you can check them out in more detail if you are interested.
- School Materials – We still review this vocabulary from time to time and play the bingo game about once every two weeks!
- Greetings/Family – We focused on conversation skills, basic greetings like: How are you? What’s your name? How old are you? We used a “family” of people and pretended to be different people. We continued to use these as we jumped into our next units.
- Clothing – We went over clothing vocabulary. Our “family” members got clothing and we talked a lot about what “we” were wearing. We also “went shopping” and learned out to ask about prices, how to try things on, how to get another size, etc.
- Weather – With this unit, we talked about the months, seasons, and weather. We practiced talking about the weather (using weather cards they were given). We then went on to talk about Winter Words (vocabulary building).
- Sickness/Symptoms – Following our study of the winter, we talked about catching a cold, the flu, having a fever, having a sore throat, ear ache and more. We play the “Lesespiel” regularly to review all this vocabulary (Who has a cold? I have a cold… Who has diarrhea? I have diarrhea. Who has a sore throat…)
- Daily Routine – Our next unit was all about our day. We started first with activities we would do during the course of the day (getting up, eating breakfast, brushing our teeth, taking a shower, etc.) Chores – We then added in various chores we do around the house (washing and drying dishes, doing laundry, sweeping the floor, etc.)
Things around the house – We did vocabulary building activities with various appliances and things you would find around the house (refrigerator, broom, curtains, chair, rug, etc.)
Hobbies/Activities – We talked about things we would do for fun – playing the piano, chess, soccer, walking the dog, hiking, swimming, etc. We now use these cards to practice the past tense.
- Adjectives – We have been working on opposites – old/young, high/low, expensive/cheap, boring/interesting, etc. We’ve read texts/paragraphs from Learn German (affiliate link) that use comparative adjectives – big, bigger, biggest. I made some bingo cards. I read a word aloud and the kids have to cross the opposite word off (high-low, white-black, active-lazy, sharp-dull, etc.). The kids now know about 30 adjective pairs!
- Valentine’s Day – Vocabulary builder worksheets and game.
- In the Countryside – We learned vocabulary for things like stream, bush, mushroom, cloud, branch, twig, farm, various farm animals, farm tools
- Easter/Spring Vocabulary (This set is included in the German Bundle below) We have just started this short unit on words relating to Easter and Spring (Easter bunny, tulip, basket, church, chick, candy, etc.)
- Verbs – We have been learning regular (and irregular) verbs this year. They have started learning the two forms of past tense (Präteritum und Perfekt). The kids have also been practicing future tense. Lately, we have been using the hobbies/activities pages a lot for practicing past/future tense.
- In the City – Directions, Getting there (verbs), means of transportation (by bus, by taxi, by foot, etc), vocabulary in a city (crosswalk, traffic, street, traffic light), a trip (airport, luggage, suitcase, airplane, seat belt, etc.),
buildings in a city (library, town hall, hospital, police station, etc.)
Jobs – businessman, sailor, mailman, butcher, etc.
This packet is nearly 50 pages, but is not yet available.
- Summer and Summertime Activities (This packet is half-made, but we’ll be doing it in another month or so, so I have time!)
Reading and Translation:
This year, we have been using the texts (paragraphs) from Learn German (affiliate link) by Dominik Wexenberger. Huge thumbs up for this book!! He writes about one theme and generally there are 3 or 4 texts/paragraphs on each topic. The sentences are simple and we have extremely helpful for continuing to build vocabulary and to read more fluently. Some chapter topics include: Colors and Clothing, Things on a Desk, Shopping, Family, Body, Free Time (which fit in perfectly with our unit on activities/hobbies), Calendar (what do you do all week) – again this fit in well with our unit on activities, Jobs, House (fit in well with our vocabulary building on words around the house and with chores), Sickness/Symptoms, Places (activities), Adjectives (which we are using as we work on opposites – high/low, etc.) and that’s only about half of the topics. Note: This book does not come with English translations. You can check it out here Learn German (affiliate link) and if you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow it for free! Again, I highly recommend it!
Last year, we used German Made Simple regularly. We like that it has texts both in German and in English. Each chapter built upon the previous ones. We learned about a businessman who is learning German. Here are some of the first few chapter titles: The Clark Family, Mr Clark is Hungry, Who is Mr. Clark, Mrs. Clark Goes Shopping, The Home of the Clark Family. You can see those topics fit in well with our units on family, clothes, etc. (My sister homeschools her kids and my niece and nephew, who are now 15 and 17, are also learning German as their foreign language. They really like this text because they can study from it easily with the side-by-side translations.)
This year, we purchased a multi-region DVD player (we bought one of the cheapest models, the 10 inch Sykik Portable DVD (affiliate link) and it works well for us. I plug it into a speaker to boost the sound). We have about a dozen movies that we’ve watched in German so far this year. We set the timer for 20 minutes (because we have other things to do!) but try to watch most days. The kids always beg for more. The purpose of this portion of our lesson is for the kids to hear German as it’s spoken. They said they can understand a lot more than they could at first. And, since these are kid-friendly movies they’re drawn in by the action/plot and can basically follow what’s going on even if they only understand 30% of what they hear. My kids are 8, 11 and 13, though I have enjoyed these movies too – so I would say they would work well with high school students as well. Here is a list of what we have watched this year. I’ll put in a link to the US Amazon if it available here, but you can also purchase these movies from Amazon.de. Remember, these only work with a multi-region DVD player. These are affiliate links:
- Bibi & Tina – We watched 4 or 5 of the cartoons. (The cartoon version about Bibi Blocksberg when she’s a bit older and rides horses.) Then I saw there was a film (with actors!). The kids liked that even better…
- Bibi Blocksberg – Bibi and her Mom are both witches. Bibi is given a Hexenkugel (witch ball), a special award usually only given to older witches. The evil witch, Rabia, does not think Bibi should get this award and destroys Bibi’s Hexenkugel/ball. The other witches find out and Rabia has to give up her own ball. This film has some singing (which my kids found a little bit silly), but overall they really enjoyed it. (This is a children’s film from 2002.)
- Bibi Blocksberg und das Geheimnis der blauen Eulen – This movie is also about the adventures of Bibi, the witch.
- Der Verlorene Schatz der Tempelritter – This is a series of three movies about 4 friends who come upon a big secret – the legend of the treasure of the Knights Templar. Others are also on the hunt for the treasure and the kids have a huge adventure as they try to find the treasure, avoid the bad guys, etc. (This was originally a Danish film; we watched it in German.)
- Das Haus der Krokodile – This is about a boy who find the diary of a girl who died in the apartment house where he lives. He knows there is a great secret. Why did the girl fall? Why was there a burglar there in the house/what was he looking for? (This ED’s favorite of all the films we watched.)
- Timetrip–Der Fluch der Wikinger-Hexe This is about a couple of kids who go back in time to try and find a crucifix from the Middle Ages. (This was originally a Danish film; we watched it in German.)
- Fünf Freunde – Five friends are spending the holiday together when they come upon a smuggler’s cave. They realize George’s fathers is in danger. Since no one believes them, they have to try and find the bad guys themselves. We actually watched all four movies in this series!
- Ostwind, Zusammen sind wir frei – This is about a girl who learns to tame and ride a wild horse.
- Remember if you purchase German movies you need a multi-region DVD player.
Here’s what we did earlier today for German. We spent about 45 minutes on German today. The bingo games take about 2 minutes each.
- bingo: activities/hobbies (but we said them in the future tense and past tense)
- We did the sickness/illness Lesespiel (Who has a sore back? Who is throwing up? Who has a fever?)
- bingo: buildings (gas station, pharmacy, school, etc.)
- bingo: countryside/farm animal bingo
- bingo: clothing
- The kids did part of one of the Gegenteilen/Opposites worksheets. I then drilled those… telling them one word and they had to fill in the opposite.
- We worked on regular verbs (Präteritum und Perfekt; Futur).
- We read just one paragraph from Learn German.
- We watched 15 minutes of Wickie und die starken Männer – A silly kids movie about Vikings. We’re watching the film not the cartoon. We almost always watch 20 or 25 minutes, but today we had to cut it short because of music lessons.
If you are interested in the German Conversation Units, these sets are available for $2.50 to $4.00 each (click on the links above). You can purchase the bundle below for $6.50.
- With the purchase of this bundle you will receive 7 pdf files to download. Once you pay through Paypal, you will receive an immediate link to download these materials. You will also received an email to your PayPal Email Address from Sendowl (the service I use) with a link that you can click on (This email might take a few minutes. Be sure to check your spam folder). That too will allow you to download the files. And of course, if you have any trouble with your order or if you have any questions be sure to contact me via email liesl at homeschoolden dot com, or via the Contact Form here on the blog. ~Liesl
(The bundle does not include the Daily Activities/Chores Packet or the Countryside Packets. Those are sold separately.)
Daily Activities, Hobbies and Chores:
Our 50+ page Daily Activities, Hobbies – Freizeit German Packet is $4.00. It is NOT included in the Bundle above.
Remember to check your PayPal email address for this file. ~Liesl
Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link from SendOwl!
Das ist alles für heute!
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