Category Archives: teachers

Landeskunde – facts about Germany, Austria & Switzerland

If you are learning or teaching German, you will certainly wish to familiarise yourself with facts about Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We are talking here about Landeskunde which includes culture, lifestyle and many other information on land and people. There are many web pages that enable you to do so.

Wind turbines – so typical for Germany, Pixabay

GERMANY

There is a portal with up-to-date statistics, facts and information about Germany: Tatsachen über Deutschland. You can read it in numerous languages (including Turkish, Chinese etc.) and you can choose to find out more about the German history, society, life-style, culture, media, education, politics etc. There is also a version of this site for young peopleTatsachen über Deutschland für Jugend which is also available in several foreign languages. A PDF version of both sites is available which is very convenient.

Also up-to-date facts and news about Germany can be found at deutschland.de. The site is available in several languages.

There are also some other materials about Germany – for kids and teenagers – however, they are available only in English, like germany.info for teens and germany.info for kids

The Young Germany portal  provides many useful information in English. This is the right place for you if you plan to study or work in Germany.

Goethe Institute also has also created an interesting material – in as many languages as you can imagine: In Deutschland leben This site prepares you for living in Germany.

If you prefer videos about the every day life in Germany, feel free to use the episodes Das Deutschlandlabor producedby DW (Deutsche Welle).

Chocolate – a typically Swiss product, Pixabay

SWITZERLAND

The swissinfo.com portal provides you in 10 different languages with latest news from Switzerland. Facts about different aspetcs of Swiss everyday life can be found in the Menu. Feel free to explore! However, if you would like to find out anything that you are interested in with just one click, then this is the right choice for you: Klick auf die Schweiz

A Hunderwasser house in Vienna, Pixabay

AUSTRIA

Everything that you would like to know about Austria can be found here: austria.info Information is available in different languages.

Since you now have several different sources for getting to know Landeskunde i.e. facts about German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), you can spend some time reading! Enjoy!

Teenagers learn differently

Teenagers learn differently than kids and adults. Their learning process is being influenced by various factors. They learn very fast (foreign languages, skiing etc.) because their brain develops fast if it is being used actively. On the other hand, teenagers are said to be really problematic because of their behaviour. The following things are problematic: lack of motivation, lack of discipline and attention deficit. They get easily bored, distracted, tired and don’t feel comfortable with speaking in front of the class. Their behaviour has its scientific explanation: teenagers are going through a phase of adolescence which means that they stop being a dependent child and evolve to an independent adult. This phase starts in their 10th or 12 th year and continues at least until they turn 20. During this period they have to manage challenges of the physical, mental and social evolvement which affects their learning habits. Put it simply: they just look like adults, however, they are still kids.

MOTIVATION.
Teenagers become critical. They do not show interest for everything what they learn in school. They find their personal fields of interest and change their focus of interest. In addition, they body starts to change. They like school only because of their class mates and not because of the things that they are being taught in school. If
you want to awaken their interest, leave them more freedom to choose and take responsibility. For example, they could choose if they are going to write about Berlin or Köln, whether they will work alone or in pairs. Also, choose materials about danger, love, future, music anything that addresses their emotions.

OVERREACTING.
Teenagers can literally explode if you tell them to behave or if they get a bad grade from you. Other people would feel bad in situations like that, however, they wouldn’t overreact. Why is that so? The teenage brain processes information about emotions in a different way than by adults. The part of their brain which controls emotions is not well developed yet, while the part where anger and fear emerge already functions well. This is why they sometimes overreact and ignore advices or warnings from their teachers and parents. Adults need to show more patience and tolerance, explain their teenagers how they should deal with fear, anger and disappointment as long as they do not disturb other students. Sometimes you just need to explain them the consequences of their behaviour.

CLASSMATES MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE TEACHER.
Making friends and being in contact with other kids of the same age is most important for teenagers. They want to feel socially accepted. They ask themselves if they are popular enough and how other kids of their age see them. That is why teachers and even parents loose their importance. This affects even their grades. They want to get good grades because they don’t wish to look stupid, however not too good grades because they don’t wish to stand out. They don’t want to look like nerds and even if they get god grades they pretend as if they did nothing much to achieve that success. This means that you as a teacher should have your students work more often in pairs and groups.

BOREDOM.
Researches have proved that one third of students aged 12 -16 years feel boredom during the classes. This doesn’t mean that the students don’t have what to do in the classes. This is related to the fact that often the relevance of the learning material is unclear. Students often feel that they learn something that they are never going to need later in life. When they are bored, students think about some other things, talk to their class mates, do homework for other classes and eventually get bed grades. That is why is so
important that you teach students something that they could find relevant and interesting, something which concerns their world.

ATTENTION DEFICIT.
Teenagers are unable to concentrate for long. They get easily distracted during the class or when they learn. An important part in this plays their brain. Like any other part of the young teenager body, their brain develops slowly and its evolvement lasts many years. The part of the brain which is responsible for concentration develops completely only in the end of the adolescence phase. Experimental researches have proved that teenagers cannot concentrate for a longer period of time or exclude irrelevant things which distract them from learning or doing any other activity which includes long concentration. You as a teacher can overcome this by  changing the social forms in the class dynamically – the students should work individually, then in pairs, in groups or all together. You should divide the time in classes in well organized parts and give the students clear instructions. Also, students concentrate better if you work with photos, videos and other visual materials.

TIREDNESS.
Many researches prove that more than a half of students feel tired in the morning classes. This applies more to boys than to girls and increases during the phase of adolesence. This occurs because the students sleep less – they go to bed later than when they were kids, although they need more sleep than before because of their physical
transformation. They go late to sleep because they start to do their homework late, cannot leave the Internet or just wish to behave as adults. However, the changes in their hormones is the main cause of this behaviour. Melatonin which helps control the sleep and wake cycles is actively produced by teenagers only late in the night which is why they go later to bed. This is why early morning classes are not the best solution for teenagers. In order for you as a teacher to overcome this situation, you could start your classes with music,
physical movement or have the students work in pairs/groups. Avoid grammar and difficult topics early in the morning.

***

These were results of a Survey about the teenage learning habits. Author: Dr. Dorothé Salomo, University of Jena, Germany. Dr. Dorothé Salomo is researcher at the Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany. She organized and led the research „Jugendliche lernen anders“ (Teenagers learn differenly).

Learning foreign languages with “Real-Life-Tasks” and Social Media

Learning foreign languages through social media
Spice up your classes with “Real-Life-Tasks”

Host: Dr. Elke Lackner, Akademie fuer neue Medien und Wissenstransfer, University of Graz
Webinar held on April 19, 2016
Organized by: Daf Lehrer online (group on Facebook)

– Social media should be used as a tool not as a purpose
– How do we learn: 10 % through the formal material provided in classes; 70 % through interaction with other people; 20 % in informal learning contexts
– “Real-Life-tasks” means that you have the students speak and write in real contexts, in the real world, outside the class room. You give them a task and its product can be accessible for real people in the outside world. The students will need to think independently, choose their audience, speak and write as clear as possible and learn actively. They’re going to love it!
– Students could use any possible social media network (Instagram, Youtube, Skype, Twitter etc.) write blogs or make vlogs (video blogs). Give them a task and let them choose the social network that they prefer.
– Example tasks: cooking recipes (actually instructions with photos on how you could cook a delicious dish, for example, a national dish), book reviews, film reviews, history (write about the life of the local famous people), journal, diary, fashion, lifestyle, healthy food, where you can bye the best food/clothes, detective-story where everyone can participate and once a week each person could write one part of the story, you can even vote on how the story should go further; weather forecast; anything that can be interesting for your students.
– Example for a book-blog: Kossis Welt
– The result doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’. Your students (including you, because you also need to familiarise yourself with the technical part of the story) can only get better.
– You can even use some other social networks that are more common in schools: Padlet, Microsoft Office Publisher etc. Here is a YouTube guide on how you could use Padlet. In order to write blogs, your students could use Kidblog . If you yourself would like to write blog, you could try Blogger. For instructions on how to use Blogger click here.

German fairy tales – read, watch and listen

German fairy tales are not the best solution for totally beginners, however, it’s worth trying reading or listening to their easier versions (see below). They are ideal for learners who would like to improve their vocabulary and have great imagination and love to read, listen or watch fantasy genre at the same time. We are talking here about stories and films which were written or made by Germans. The plot is always great, the films are of highly quality and you will enjoy watching them.

READING

If you would like to READ fairy tales, then feel free to take advantage of the following possibilities:

Reading – EASY language:

  1. Literatur in einfacher Sprache – when you are there just click on the Märchen box on the left hand side menu. These texts have been adjusted for kids with hearing impairment.
  2. Goethe Institute has adjusted 12 most popular Grimm fairy tales for learners:  Grimms Märchen zum Lesen

Reading – “NORMAL” language:

Autenrieths Linkbibliothek für Lerner und Schüler (when you are there, just click on any of the provided links and chose a fairy tale that you would like to read).

LISTENING

Listening – EASY language:

Grimms Märchen zum Hören: Goethe Institute has also provided a possibility for learners to listen to fairy tales. They are between 3 and 16 minutes long.

Listening – “NORMAL” language:

You can listen to Grimms Märchen as radio dramas too.  When you are on that web page, just click on the links in the right hand side menu.  

FILMS

If you would rather WATCH films, there are two possibilities for you:

My favourite source of German fairy tales: Fairy Tales in the ARD Mediathek

Another valuable source of fairy tale films can be found here: Märchen TV (this is actually a real fairy tale TV!)

FOR TEACHERS

Materials provided by Goethe Institute that you can use for your classes can be found here: Märchen im Unterricht. You can find many other interesting stuff there. Just look at the tabs at the top of the page!

 

German level test

This test is not for total beginners. Students are given this test if they already have some knowledge. They should do it before they start a new course in any German language school. This way teachers can determine at which level the students are. It shows are you at the A1 or A2 level i.e. should you be placed to the A2 or B1 course or just redirected to the basic A1 course.

Scroll to the bottom of the page in order to see solutions.

1. Wie heißen Sie?
a) Mein Name ist Stein. b) Ich komme aus Stein. c) Meine Frau ist Ingenieurin. d) Ich studiere Medizin.

2. Wie _________ du?
a) viele Jahre habst. b) alt bist. c) viele Jahre hast. d) viele Jahre bist.

3. Warum __________ ihr Deutsch?
a) lernen b) lernst c) lernt d) lerne

4. Jeden Abend _______________.
a) ich sehe fern b) fernsehe ich c) sieh ich fern d) sehe ich fern

5. Was ___________ er zu Mittag?
a) isst b) ist c) essen d) esst

6. Er __________ einen Kaffee trinken.
a) magt b) möchtet c) möcht d) möchte

7. ___________ du gut schwimmen?
a) Können b) Könnst c) Kannst d) Kann

8. Markus, _________ mir, bitte!
a) hilf b) helfe c) hilft d) helft

9. Kinder, _________!
a) räumt auf b) aufräumt c) fräumt au d) räumen auf

10. Er ____ gestern 2 Stunden ___________.
a) hat … getelefoniert b) habt … getelefoniert c) hat … telefonieren d) hat … telefoniert

11. Sie hat Medizin studiert und _____ Ärztin __________.
a) ist … geworden b) hat … bekommen c) ist … bekommen d) hat … geworden

12. Angela _____ zu Hause __________.
a) hat … gebleibt b) hat … geblieben c) ist … geblieben d) ist … gebleibt

13. _________ fährst du diesen Winter?
a) Wer b) Wo c) Wohin d) Wessen

14. Ich brauche Eier für ____ Kuchen.
a) das b) den c) der d) dem

15. Marta kommt ____ Deutschland.
a) in b) aus c) zu d) vor

16. Anna ____ um 7 Uhr __________.
a) hat … aufgestanden b) ist … aufgestanden c) ist … aufgestehen d) hat … aufgestehen

17. Er ________ gestern Besuch.
a) hatte b) war c) hattet d) wart

18. Wir ______ gestern Abend sehr lange ____________.
a) sind … ferngesehen b) haben … fernsehen c) haben … ferngesehen d) sind … gefernsehen

19. Ist dieser Weg _________ als der andere?
a) länger b) längere c) langer d) am längsten

20. Alle ________ zu Hause.
a) hat b) waren c) hatten d) ist

21. Sie hat _________ Kleid.
a) schöner b) schöne c) am schönsten d) das schönste

22. Wie gefällt Ihnen dieser ________ Apparat?

a) neu b) neuer c) neuen d) neue

23. Ich lege das Buch _____ _____ Tisch.
a) auf dem b) auf zu c) an der d) auf den

24. Mein Auto steht _____ _____ Haus.
a) vor das b) vor der c) hinter den d) vor dem

25. Ich gehe heute nicht in die Schule, _______ ich bin krank.
a) weil b) denn c) deshalb d) da

26. Niemand ________ so was tun.
a) ware b) hätte c) würde d) ist

27. Wäschst du ______ die Hände?
a) deiner b) dir c) dich d) deinen

28. Dieses Buch ______ gern gelesen.
a) hat b) hatte c) wird d) werden

29. Wenn er nur nicht krank _______!
a) war b) hätte c) wäre d) sein

30. Wenn ich mehr Zeit ______, _______ ich dich ________.
a) hätte, würde … besuchen b) habe, würde … besuchen c) hätte, würde … besucht d) hätte, werde … besuchen

31. ________ sie viel verdient, ist sie mit ihrem Beruf unzufrieden.
a) Trotzdem b) Weil c) Obwohl d) Wenn

32. Letzte Woche ________ ich viel arbeiten.
a) muss b) musste c) müsste d) müssen

33. Er interessiert sich sehr _____ Sport.
a) in b) um c) auf d) für

34. ________ du gute Noten hast, kannst du Gymnasium besuchen.
a) Wenn b) Obwohl c) Als d) Bevor

35. Ich warte hier schon lange ____ dich.
a) um b) auf c) über d) für

36. Das sind Leute, von ______ ich dir erzählt habe.
a) die b) den c) denen d) deren

37. _______ er uns anruft, fragen wir ihn nach der genauen Adresse.
a) Wann b) Sobald c) Als d) Bevor

38. Diese Briefe müssen übersetzt _________.
a) sind b) worden c) haben d) werden

39. __________ du deine Hausaufgaben machst, sehe ich fern.
a) Während b) Wegen c) Gegen d) Nachdem

40. Wir freuen uns ______ die kommenden Ferien.
a) in b) auf c) über d) unter

41. Es interessiert uns, ______ der Zug in Frankfurt ankommt.
a) als b) wann c) wenn d) dann

42. Wir hoffen, Sie nächstes Jahr bei uns ___________.
a) gesehen b) sehend c) zu sehen d) gesehen zu werden

43. Hast du ihr schon gesagt, ________ sie jemanden mitbringen kann?
a) ob b) da c) dass d) das

44. Ihr solltet euch mehr _____ eure Großeltern kümmern.
a) um b) für c) auf d) an

45. _________ des Regens mussten wir zu Hause bleiben.
a) Weil b) Deswegen c) Wegen d) Trotz

1. a; 2. b; 3. c; 4. d; 5. a; 6. d; 7. c; 8. a; 9. a; 10. d; 11. a; 12. c; 13. c; 14. b; 15. b; 16. b; 17. a; 18. c; 19.  a; 20. b; 21. d; 22. d; 23. d; 24. d; 25. b; 26. c; 27. b; 28. c; 29. c; 30. a; 31. c; 32. b; 33. d; 34. a; 35. b; 36. c; 37. b; 38. d; 39. a; 40. b; 41. b; 42. c; 43. c; 44. a; 45. c. A1 level: approximately first 20 questions; A2 level: the other 20 questions.

Not satisfied with these results? Do the official Goethe Institut placement test (A1-C2) and find out the results online. DW also provides placement tests for the levels A1, A2, B1.

Teaching numbers 0-12

Teaching numbers can be boring both for you and your students. But it doesn’t need to be! I’ve found an interesting way to spice up teaching/learning numbers.

Here is how you could organise a class:

1. Start (of course) with writing numbers on the whiteboard: 0 – null, 1 – eins, 2 – zwei etc.
2. Explain the pronunciation and draw the student’s attention to “ei”, “eu”, “z” etc.
3. Work with Quizlet. All you need to do is to create flashcards for all numbers that the student needs to practice (or find other people’s existing flashcards with numbers) and let them practice with standard Quizlet tools (match, learn, test)

3. Ask the student: “Which number is missing?” and give them, for example, the following row: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12; you can, of course, change the missing numbers at some other occasions (for example, during the next class): 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 11. Other variations are also welcome.
4. Continue the line: eins, zwölf, zwei, elf…
5. You can give them mismatched letters which they need to bring in the correct order. This is not very easy for younger children. However, you can start with easier ones: FEL (solution: elf), EDIR (drei), UNNE (neun), EVRI (vier), NESI (eins), NATC (acht), HZNE (zehn), EZIW (zwei), LZFÖW (zwölf), HSSCE (sechs), BSENEI (sieben)
6. Ask them to write correctly on a piece of paper: 2, 5, 8, 9 (and any other numbers). Another variation of this would be a running-dictation. This could be very interesting in groups. Each group gets a piece of paper with some numbers wrtten on them. Each player in each group should run to their piece of paper which is placed somewhere away in the room and then run back in order to write the one number on another piece of paper. Each player should write only one (next) number. The winner is the group which is done before the other group and which has written all numbers correctly. This game works well even if you are working with just one student.
7. Play a game with 2 dices: you need 2 dices which you should throw and sum up the result. The student should say something like: “2 plus 5 macht 7.” Then the other player (this can be you) throws the dices. He who has the better result has won and could say: “gewonnen!”
8. Play hang man (Galgenmännchen). You know how it works, right? For those who don’t know how this game looks like, here is the explanation: Write lines instead pf letters on a piece of paper or on the white board and the other player needs to guess which number you had in mind by suggesting various letters. If they name a correct letter, write it on the line. For each letter that they miss, you can draw body parts below the “gallows”.

9. Answering the question “Wie ist deine Handynummer” is the usual goal of this class. The students answer with “Meine Handynummer ist…”

***

If you are teaching larger numbers, you could use something like the following tasks at some point:

 

For Teachers

The initial idea behind this web site was to store everything that a German language teacher might need for their German language classes in one place. Thus, you should be able to find here everything what I considered crucial. Let me take you to a tour.

“Everything that you might need for the very first class with total beginners”

You will now and then have to test students in order to find out at which level they are before they start learning and that is why we will start with the German level test. If you don’t know what to do with the total beginners in the first class, consider drawing their attention to the same words in German and English and explaining them similarities between English and German. This is a good start because that way the learners will figure out that they already know many German words (like Bus, Auto, Hotel etc.). Also, it’s recommended that you explain the basic German pronunciation rules too. Also, if you are a beginner-teacher, you will need some time until you master the checklist for the class preparation. It’s crucial that your timeline is realistic. If you don’t have an idea which textbooks to use, check out these recommended textbooks.

school-1822565_640
Pixabay

“If you or your students are not beginners any more, there are still many challenges”

If your students are not total beginners any more, you might find useful repeating German through describing pictures. I use this method starting from the A 1.1. level and it worked well even after several first classes, you just have to choose the right picture, give clear instructions and set realistic expectations. If you are teaching numbers, you know how that can be boring. However, if you use these ideas for teaching numbers 0-12, the boredom will disappear. At some point you will also notice that teaching privately can be challenging. If you check out this class preparation for 1 on 1 with a young teenager it can make the process much easier for you.

Pixabay
Pixabay

Teaching in a group is much more interesting, especially if that is teaching youngsters through games. On the other hand, if you are teaching in a public school and working with older teenagers, you know exactly how difficult it can be. That is why I have collected my experience and created this tutorial for people who are teaching older teenagers in a state school. Conversation courses can be challenging because you have to find many interesting topics. Before you start looking further, check out this list of conversational topics for advanced learners.

Pixabay
Pixabay

“You’ll have to use interesting materials and you’ll also have to be a handyman”

As the time goes by, you will notice that you would like to create your own work sheets and exercises. That enables you your personal teacher’s tool kit. There are also many other useful tools that can make your every-day life much easier. Also, you will constantly be asking yourself “how can I work on my student’s vocabulary?” I have also prepared some suggestions related to this topic too and named it vocabulary trainer. However, if you are fed up and would like to make a change in your career, check out these job opportunities for teachers.

Teaching a younger teenager 1 on 1 – prepare a private class in any foreign language in no time

If you wish to go through some vocabulary with a younger learner of yours, you could consider (apart from explaining what each word means – because that is the first thing that you will do) using these (free) tools:

QUIZLET – this application enables you to create a list of words that you will practice in the class. You can type translation either in your mother tongue or in English. Entering word lists in Quizlet means that your student can play the match-game (match a word with its translation) or a Learn-game (type translations into the foreign language) and test-game which eventually tests if the learner has learned something (type in the answer, multiple choice answers). The good news is that you can even use Quizlet offline. Download your Quizlet here.

NANU? – this is a memo game which can be played in every foreign language and it’s interesting for people from 7 to 77. You can draw words that you need and use 5 plastic lids (red, blue, green, yellow, orange) in order to cover those little drawings on the table. The point is to remember which picture is under which lid. Each player throws a dice (with 5 colours and a joker on its sides) in turn and should guess what is under the lid in the colour he/she got (if they can remember). There are several cards in the game itself, but you can draw yourself as many pictures as you ever might need. You can order your ‘Nanu?’ here.

GALGENMÄNNCHEN (hang man)- your young student will love this game because that way he/she can “hang” you if you are not fast enough to guess the word that he/she had on mind. In order to play this game, one player draws lines on the white board – one line for each letter in the word that he/she has on mind and the other player needs to guess the word before he/she got hanged because every time he/she says a letter which does not show up in the word, one part of his/her body is drawn under the gallows. If you have more time, you could use the LearningApps application in order to create as many hang men games as you like online.

If you have more time, you can prepare dobble cards or Quizzes.

QUIZIZZ – This application enables you to create multiplayer quiz games. It works on computers, tablets, smart phones. Students do not need to create an account in order to play. They can join the game that you have created for them directly (with a game code). It’s interesting because you may use music, avatars, memes and a timer. Try out this app here.

DOBBLE CARDS. If you wish for your student to play (good old traditional) cards and learn or – better said – repeat the words that he/she learnt with you, I highly recommend Dobble cards. You can create your own, customized cards by using a special Dobble generator.  Just read the instructions on the site, the process is quite intuitive, you should not worry. The only thing that can be tricky is that you will need to find appropriate images to use for your cards. In order for you to find some free pictures you could navigate to Clipsart free.  If needed, search for appropriate images on Google. Instructions on how to play this fabulous card game can be found here.

Teaching older teenagers in a state school – teaching as a challenge

Teaching foreign language in a class with more than 28 students is a challenge of a kind. However, if you are teaching older teenagers (15-19 years old) German as a second foreign language in a state high school – it could become a nightmare. Of course they are always tired and don’t want to participate. There are scientific explanations for that (read more about it here). However, you may find yourself in a class where students who should be at least at the A2 level cannot build Present time correctly. If you happen to be that  “lucky” teacher, you will have to do anything to keep the class rolling and you will invest many hours thinking of some ways to draw the students’ attention. This post is handling topics and games which could be used in classes with older teenagers in public schools.

Topics

1. Similarities between German and English
Since both languages belong to the group of German languages, you can always pick up this topic and go through it in your class. You can teach your teenagers many German words only due to the fact that they sound similar in English.
You could start with easier words like ‘Vater, Bruder, Tausend’ and continue with little more difficult words like ‘Freund, helfen, besser’ and then go through the least easy ones like ‘Apfel, Ding, Buch, Herz’. You can write these words on the white board and have the students guess which English words are their pairs. You can provide solutions if you wish and tell the students to join the words in lists. Of course, at some point you can explain to them that similarities between those words are based on specific consonant changes. More examples and everything about these consonant changes can be found here.

2. English-German false friends 
German is full of words which sound similar to some English words, but mean something totally different. For example, ‘wer?’ means ‘who’ and not ‘where’; ‘Gift’ means ‘poison’ and not ‘gift’; ‘bekommen’ means ‘to get’ and not ‘to become’.
More examples can be found here.

3. German castles
Students want to find out more about the land and people. Since German castles can be an attractive travel destination, your students are going to love this topic. Of course, you should work with pictures and videos if possible. you can explain to them that Germany was divided in numerous principalities which is why there are so many castles in Germany.  More material can be found here. You can even show the students a comedy about the fairy-tail-king Ludwig II (Lissi und der wilde Kaiser).

hrr_1400

4.  LORELAY AND THE RHINE
If your students don’t know how to even read in German, you have to find a simple text which would be interesting and easy enough for them. The poem ‘Loreley’ seems to be very convenient. It tells an interesting story about a girl and it is short. This is a well known legend and you can discuss that too with your students. At some point you realise that Lorelay is placed in the Rhine valley which is a very pretty part of Germany and became part of the UNESCO world heritage. You can show students some videos too. More about this topis can be found here.

5. German inventions
There are so many of them and they can provide a good impulse for learning of numerous German words. This topic is going to intrigue your students – they will find 101 reason why you are wrong when you claim that the Germans invented telephone, computer or beer. However, you will still be able to work on their vocabulary with these words. Who want to dispute can prepare a presentation and prove that the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs is wrong.
Detailed information along wit a card game can be found here.

picture1

6. German Nobel Prize winners
Believe it or not, Germany has 78 Nobel prize winners. Not 16, not 36, but 78. You can use this information as an item for a quiz. For more information click here.

7. German brands
You can share with your students interesting stories about the history of some German brands like Audi or Adidas. It will definitely be very interesting for them to find out what the word “Audi” means and how the Audi sign came into being. About the history of Audi read here (including a video in German).

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8. the longest German word
“Fußbodenschleifmaschinenverleih” (31 letters, meaning: shop that lends floor sanding machines) is not the longest word in German. Find out what is the longest word in German and compare that to your mother tongue. Your students can help you. This information can be used for a quiz.

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9. Humor
Your students are going to love jokes about Chuck Norris or ‘regular’ jokes about, for example, Italian guys who still live with their mothers. You could also use jokes when teaching grammar, like, for example, Wechselpräpositionen: Ein Schornsteinfeger kommt in die Bar. Der Barkeeper sagt zu ihm: Der geht aufs Haus.

10. Funny photos
You can find numerous funny pics on Facebook or Instagram and use them to start your classes. Teenagers love visual materials and this will definitely draw their attention. You could ask them to describe what they see, to try to translate, to try to imagine what they would say in the same situation. Find some pics to start with here.

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11. Swearwords
This topic might be inappropriate, however it will abruptly make German “cool” among your teenagers. Remember, you don’t have to translate the swearwords into your mother tongue, use translations in English instead. List of German (censored) swearwords can be found here. In addition, there is a German film which is full of swearwords and which is fantastic. Consider watching it with your students: Fack ju Göhte

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12. German pop music
Since teenagers bother deep emotions and daily problems with adults and their peers, pop-songs which speak about these topics are always welcome. I would recommend these bands: Deine Freunde and AnnenMayKantereit along with Clueso. Clueso who was a culture ambassador on behalf of Goethe Institut), while Deine Freunde make make hip-hop music for younger teenagers.

13. 10 useful phrases
If you run put of interesting topics, you may consider teaching your students some 10 useful sentences that they could use in everyday life during their stay in Germany. For example, you could teach them how to say “I’ll get the beer” – which they will need if they visit Oktober-Fest.

14. Tests from magazines
If you get your students interesting tests from real German magazines which you bought lately, they will be delighted. For example, there is a test at the begining of every issue of my favourite magazine “Neon” (for example: “bin ich verliebt?”). In addition, there is a photo riddle at the end of each issue – people should guess what particular pictures represents (for example a music instrument, occupation etc.). Click here in order to see how this looks like.

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15. Digital media
Not all teenagers have tablets, but they all use their iPones and other Android telephones on a daily basis. You could take advantage of this and organise an interesting project for your students. They could test various free applications for learning foreign languages like Deutsch-Trainer A1, WordPic, Memrise, Deutsch-Akademie, Busuu, Duolingo, Learn Deutsch. You could divide them in groups and have them test the layout, describe the app, say which operating systems does it support, can it be applied in classes and give one final evaluation. They could give points from 1 to 10 for each category they are evaluating. That will give them the feeling that they are important and make them take the responsibility.

16. Recommended textbooks
There are so many textbooks for teenagers. I would recommend Deutsch.com (Hueber) for older teenagers (15-19), while Beste Freunde (Hueber) appears to be appropriate for younger teenagers (9-15) because it includes also a DVD.

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Games

1. Quiz in groups
Anything that you have gone through with your students can be “tested” in a form of a quiz in groups. You can divide the whole class in just two groups and ask them questions with a-b-c answers provided (you may use a PPT presentation for this purpose). The students should guess which answer is correct and they should choose one representative who will talk on behalf of all of them after they decide that they are ready to say their final answer. For example, you could ask them which tongue is the most spoken language in the EU: a) English, b) German, c) French; or: which city from the German speaking area is the most convenient city for living in the world: a)Zurich, b) Munich c) Vienna. For other examples click here. And don’t forget, you can test grammar this way too.

2. Ping-pong story
using Skype, Viber or SnapChat your students could tell any story you can think of. They should work in pairs and write one sentence each in a row. They could describe how some person’s day look like or even tell the following story: “one day in the life of my iPhone”.

3. Think as many words as you can
Give the students some letters and have them think of as many words as they can. You can start with these letters: DEUTSCHLAND and continue with any other interesting words, like EUROPE etc. Click here to find solutions for these letters.

4. Cross word puzzles
Any vocabulary that you are going through can be practiced with cross word puzzles. You can create your own exercizes, including cross word puzzles by using numerous online generators.

5. write a simple poem
Some poetry in just 5 rows cannot harm. You should write the following instructions on the white board and students should complete the rows:
1. row: 1 word: chose any word that you like.
2. row: 2 words: write something that describes this word.
3. row: 3 words: what is this word, what does it do?
4. row: 4 words: start with “ich…”.
5. row: 1 word: end with one word.
Here is an example from my students (A1.1.):
Warten.
Ist lang.
Wann kommst du?
Ich komme sehr bald.
Wunderbar.

6. other useful suggestions:

6.1. At the beginning of any class, have your students gather in groups and discuss what was gone through in the last class. That way those students who weren’t there or have forgotten to do their homework will be able to catch up. The following questions could be answered:
– What have we done last time?
– what have we learned?
– what did you like most?
– what was boring?
– did you like the homework?
– miscellaneous
You could discuss with them afterwards in plenum or ask each group individually what are their foundings.

6.2. Students don’t need to express them selves only with words. They could work in groups and present their work either as a short presentation, or through a collage or a comic strip. That way they will use German, however, they will feel free to express their creativity. One important aspect here is that students which don’t prefer to speak in front of the class, will be involved and get their chance to take part in the class.

6.3. “Heißer Stuhl”
If your students feel tired you could have them play this game. One student comes in front of the class and sits on a chair with his/her back turned to the whiteboard. You should write a word on the whiteboard and the student which is sitting in front should guess which word that is. Other students are divided in 2 groups and should have one speaker who will try to describe the word on the whiteboard so that the guessing student should guess as fast as possible.

6.4. At the end of every class, the students should tell which word did they like most, and they should explain why that so is. You could also vary the task and ask them to tell which verb, adjective or phrase did they like most. Students could work in groups too. Ask them to chose one word, write it on a piece of paper and hang it somewhere in the classroom. Other students will then go around and look at other groups’ words. If they don’t know what some of them means, they could write a minus sign beside it. The meanings are to be explained afterwards.

6.5. Before you start practising listening with your students, you could write about 10 most important words which will appear in the text on pieces of paper and place those papers on tables in the classroom, on windows or on the door so that everyone can see them. Divide your students in groups (3-5 players). One player from each group should stay in the middle of the classroom and run to each word as soon as they hear it. The task is that the players get the piece of paper with that particular word back to the middle of the class room. The winner is the group which grabbed the most words. In addition, students should find the words that they have grabbed in dictionaries and explain them to the rest of the class.

For other ideas in the field (from Goethe Institute) click here. 

 

 

 

Slang & swearwords from the film “Fack ju Göhte”

ficken, bumsen, poppen = to fuck
bescheuert = dumm, verrückt
Wichser = jerk
Schlampe = slut
ohne Scheiß = no kidding
verpiss dich! = piss off!
lass den Scheiß! = cut the crap!
du gehst mir auf die Eier!
einen blasen = suck the dick
leck mich = kiss my ass
du kannst mich mal = bite me
Sau = Schwein
es ist mir scheißegal = I don’t give a damn
Hure, Nutte = hore
Ficker, Pisser, Arschloch = asshole
Schwanz = penis
verfickt = scheisse, verdammt
Fotze = cunt
verarschen = to be kidding with somebody
Klugscheißer = wise guy
Spinner = weirdo

einen Mann/eine Frau aufreißen = to pick up (and have sex)
Kohle = money
Kippe = cigarette
BH = bra
Penner = bum
besoffen = drunk
Alter = dude
halt die Klappe! = shut up
klauen = to steal
heulen = to cry
auf die Fresse hauen = to punch in the face
keinen Bock haben = keine Lust haben
pennen = schlafen
meckern = to grump
im Stich lassen = to let down
ausflippen = to flip
der Bulle, n = cop
chillen
‘ne Macke haben = to be nuts
nimm das zurück = take that back (what you said)
labern = to talk shit
runterkommen = to relax
dicht = drunk
koksen = to take coke
pinkeln = to pee