After 10 years of teaching German in comprehensive education, I felt it was time to create a resource that would help inspire pupils, raise their motivation for learning German and prompt a greater curiosity about contemporary German society. At the same time, I wanted to give pupils a feeling of achievement and a can-do attitude, which would then convince them to carry on and choose the subject at a post-16 level.
I decided the resource should also be teacher-friendly, easy to use and save preparation and research time on lesson planning, exam revision and homework setting. Ideally, it would offer a holistic approach to practising language skills. And, above all, it should make learning German fun.
After three months working with Zigzag Education, we finally got there. There are 15 source texts on current and authentic German issues, designed to meet the interests of young people and combined with activities that cover comprehension questions and offer revision opportunities for grammatical topics. They also encourage reflective and independent learning. Relevant writing activities provide the opportunity for learners to apply their language skills and develop creativity in German. Some topic areas encourage further exploration and guided internet research.
The different texts suit a variety of interests allowing pupils to make choices. For example, topics include facts about the Berlin TV Tower, mobile phones, Formula 1, the modern German band Culcha Candela and the adventures of a Russian au pair in a German family. Further topics covered in the resource are spare-time activities - birthday party preparations, a family weekend at Europa-Park and winter holiday resorts in Switzerland.
The activities related to each source text go beyond the development of dictionary skills and practising reading comprehension. Based on each text and contextually linked with it, key issues of grammar and language knowledge - such as tense forms, pronouns, passive voice, forming questions and subordinating conjunctions - are revised. At the end of each activity block, there is an extension task to encourage pupils to move their German on to the next level. The idea is that pupils will not notice they are actually doing exam preparation.
German can be fun and entertaining. German grammar can be made easy to understand and apply. Germany is an interesting country with a rich history and culture and this resource conveys that in a lively and innovative way.
Kirsten Herbst-Gray is a member of the TES MFL subject panel. This German resource covers GCSE requirements and can also support the delivery of the new National 5 and National 6 courses in Scotland
Got to www.zigzag.atUH98 for more information on the resource.
Try the perfect tense carousel from CombertonVillageCollege, which is highly recommended by TES adviser Rachel Hawkes.
Save preparation time by visiting the TES German grammar collection for work on tenses, agreement, adjectives and pronouns.
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