Curriculum - Languages - Lesson plan - Take a break

19th March 2010 at 00:00
Primary: Encouraging children to talk about what they eat and drink during the school day will give them an appetite for new vocabulary

What the lesson is about

Having started school much earlier than English children, German pupils often enjoy a second breakfast, or Pausenbrot, when their classes stop for break time in the morning. Use this cultural reference to get pupils to talk about what they eat, and learn the German words for different foods at the same time.


- To name, in German, ten things pupils eat at break time.

- Learn the verbs for "I eat", "I drink".

- To rehearse vocabulary. This could be set as homework.

Getting started

The best way to get pupils engaged in learning a new language at primary level is to do it collaboratively through games, songs and rhymes and to show what they have learnt through simple conversations, role-plays and short performances.

One method is to compare German school traditions with our own, and build this discussion into a simple conversation session. For example, you could explain the national tradition of das Pausenbrot and how the school day differs in Germany. As children tend to start school earlier than we do, they often break for a sandwich (which is where the word Pausenbrot comes from) when we would stop for a short break time, eating their lunch at home once school finishes in the afternoon.

Once you have set the scene, start off the practical part of the lesson by asking: "What time is break?" in German, so pupils can revise telling the time. Next, turn the questions back to the class, using the verbs essen and trinken to find out what they eat and drink at break. Use PowerPoint or an interactive whiteboard display with pictures of the objects, such as orange juice, crisps and their German words, so pupils can pick from a menu.

If your class is able enough, ask pupils to formulate whole sentences around the items. For example: "Ich trinke eine Cola".

Taking it further

Pupils could match words to pictures on the interactive whiteboard or PowerPoint presentation. You could teach them the words for healthy (gesund) and unhealthy (ungesund) and see which ones they think are good for them. This lesson could easily be exported into other languages as well.

What to watch out for

Pupils should be able to understand questions such as: "Was isst du?" (What do you eat?) but may not be able to use the verbs correctly themselves, so focus on learning the vocabulary.

Where to find it

A PowerPoint of different items we eat at break time, together with classroom and revision worksheets, is available from

Further reading

For resources and access to the QCDA schemes of work for primary languages, visit

For a selection of songs, games and puzzles that could be used with primary-age pupils www.klein

Read this

Teaching Modern Foreign Languages in the Primary School

By Sally Maynard

Published by: Routledge

Available for pre-order from

Teaching Modern Foreign Languages in the Primary School supports student and practising teachers. Based on the author's experience of teaching across key stages 1-2 and delivering initial teacher education, the book provides comprehensive guidance on the essential theory and pedagogy that underpins language teaching, together with strategies and tools that can be easily implemented in the classroom. It includes ideas for lessons and case studies of language teaching in practice.

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