Category Archives: german

Teaching Materials Series: Videos

People get tetchy at the mention of using videos in the classroom – and sure, there’s little educational value in learners zoning out in front of a cartoon with no context! But done right, video is a great way to engage learners, enlarge their horizons and – our crucial aim here at Struck Fluent – encourage them to produce language.

Here are a few of our fave video resources and how we use them:

TED talks

A language teacher’s manna from heaven, TED offer engaging material on a host of topics from social issues to environmental concerns; from philosophy to the latest scientific research. In other words, material to suit the needs and interests of every learner – this is great news for us as we’re all about tailoring our sessions to learners’ individual needs! TED talks are mainly in English which make them a go-to ESL resource but there are a few foreign-language talks too. The one above is a firm fave of mine addressing the status of English as a global language and the harm it may be doing – guaranteed to get even the most reticent second-language speakers talking!

Once I’ve selected a talk, I’ll use a range of techniques to approach the video. I might begin by discussing issues around the selected theme, then watch the video once in order to establish its gist. I’ll then do a second watch with some more detailed questions to answer, and end with sharing views on the speaker’s position or (if it’s a larger class) a debate. TED also include transcripts of all their talks, which are useful for detailed listening practice and language study. As an added bonus, you’ll find all kinds of accents and dialects in the talks, which is great for reinforcing the concept of World English and introducing learners to new sounds and expressions.

The News

We tend to use a mix of target-language clips like this one (ie those for and by speakers of the foreign language) and those specially created for language learners, like A la Une, above. Resources like these are great for leading engaging sessions around current affairs and present the opportunity to learn and practice grammar and vocabulary in a meaningful context. Research shows that this makes it much easier to remember, which is great news for our learners!

Infographics

Similarly to picture books, these are a great way to build confidence for lower-level learners as they tend to use minimal words and focus on visual images. For this reason, we often like to play the infographic with the sound off to begin with, allowing learners to glean and discuss the overall meaning of the clip, before adding the sound and moving onto a more detailed discussion of the information.

To state the obvious, infographics are particularly useful to quickly show learners concepts or processes that might be boring or time-heavy to explain in words, and will definitely not appeal to visual learners. To this end, I’ve used infographics to introduce learners to the difference between England, Britain and the UK (tricksy distinctions for non-Europeans in particular – my Korean students were surprised to learn they were not one and the same!) or to processes like the water cycle in the clip above.

Lucy McCormick is Head of Client Services at Struck Fluent, a community of tutors specialising in Modern Foreign Languages and ESL. She has extensive experience as a teacher and tutor of French and ESL in the UK, China, Korea, Vietnam and India. When not teaching or language geeking, you can generally find her in the company of a book, a gin or (preferably) both.

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Teaching Materials Series: Songs

For Young Learners, it’s not a lesson if we haven’t raised the roof with at least one ridiculously catchy tune (accompanying actions obligatory). Songs are fantastic for raising kids’ energy, learning grammar passively, and getting in some Total Physical Response (co-ordination of language and movement to help cement words and meaning).

You can use foreign-language versions of English classics, such as this French version of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, which has the added bonus of covering other emotions too:

…a French classic like this one (great for parts of the body and future tense):

…or alternatively something utterly bonkers such as this (seriously, the bonkers-ness makes the vocab more memorable):

Songs are also a great tool for older children and adult learners. They can be used to teach grammar points in context, for example this beauty for the difference between the perfect and imperfect in French:

Or this, for ESL learners battling with the second conditional:

They’re also great for straight-up listening practice. I’ve used this fun rap with adult beginners as much as Young Learners, usually getting them to fill in the blanks in a copy of the lyrics to consolidate the sound of the word with its written form:

Hope you enjoy this selection of our musical faves – let us know what you think!

Lucy McCormick is Head of Client Services at Struck Fluent, a community of tutors specialising in Modern Foreign Languages and ESL. She has extensive experience as a teacher and tutor of French and ESL in the UK, China, Korea, Vietnam and India. When not teaching or language geeking, you can generally find her in the company of a book, a gin or (preferably) both.

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Songs for Kleine Katzen this week (10/05/2017)

Our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen meets every Wednesday from 11am – 12 noon at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell. Parents and small ones with all levels of German are welcome!

This week, Alice will be introducing songs about the weather. Song sheets will also be available on the day. Hope to see you there!

 

Bis Morgen, Eltern und Kinder!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Songs for Kleine Katzen: 26/04/2017

Our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen meets every Wednesday from 11am – 12 noon at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell. Parents and small ones with all levels of German are welcome!

This week, we’re singing well-known English nursery rhymes in German – take a look below for some classics that Alice will be introducing. Song sheets will also be available on the day. Hope to see you soon!

 

Bis Mittwoch, Eltern und Kinder!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Songs, Lyrics and Vocab for Kleine Katzen (Weds 19th April): Part One.

Our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen meets every Wednesday from 11am – 12 noon at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell. Parents and small ones with all levels of German are welcome!

Following some great feedback from parents at our last meeting, we’ll be putting lyrics for the week’s songs up here ahead of time, with key vocab and interesting language points highlighted. We’ll also be supplying songsheets in German and English at the group. We hope this can help you all join in and feel confident!

This week, German tutor and playgroup leader Alice will be introducing four popular children’s songs to do with animals. Take a look at the YouTube videos and lyrics below for some pre-sessional practice!

  1. Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen (Fox, you have stolen the goose)

NB: Like all the best nursery rhymes, this one gets a bit dark in the middle…I think of it as kind of a more explicit version of ‘Run Rabbit Run’…

Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen,
Gib sie wieder her! 
Gib sie wieder her!
Sonst wird dich der Jäger holen
Mit dem Schießgewehr,
Sonst wird dich der Jäger holen
Mit dem Schießgewehr.

Seine große, lange Flinte,
Schießt auf dich den Schrot,
Schießt auf dich den Schrot,
Daß dich färbt die rote Tinte,
Und dann bist du tot.
Daß dich färbt die rote Tinte,
Und dann bist du tot.

Liebes Füchslein, laß dir raten:
Sei doch nur kein Dieb,
Sei doch nur kein Dieb,
Nimm, du brauchst nicht Gänsebraten,
Mit der Maus vorlieb.
Nimm, du brauchst nicht Gänsebraten,
Mit der Maus vorlieb.

  1. Ein Fuchs – Fox
  2. Eine Gans – Goose
  3. Geben […] wieder her – Give […] back again
  4. Ein Jäger – Hunter
  5. Schießgewehr – Gun
  6. Flinte – Gun
  7. Schießen auf […] den Schrot- Shoot shot (ie the small pellets of shot) at […]
  8. Tot – Dead
  9. Ein Dieb – A thief
  10. Eine Maus

2. Alle Meine Entchen (All my Little Ducklings)

This one is a bit less deathy…

Alle meine Entchen
Schwimmen auf dem See,
Schwimmen auf dem See,
Köpfchen in das Wasser,
Schwänzchen in die Höh.

Alle meine Täubchen 
Sitzen auf dem Dach,
Sitzen auf dem Dach;
Klipper, klapper, klapp, klapp,
Fliegen übers Dach.

Alle meine Hühner
Scharren in dem Stroh,
Scharren in dem Stroh,
Finden sie ein Körnchen,
Sind sie alle froh.

Alle meine Gänschen
Watscheln durch den Grund,
Watscheln durch den Grund,
Suchen in dem Tümpel,
Werden kugelrund.

  1. Die Entchen – Ducklings
  2. Die Köpfchen – Little heads
  3. Die Schwänzchen – Little tails
  4. Die Täubchen – Little doves
  5. Das Dach – The roof
  6. Die Hühner – Chickens
  7. Scharren – To scratch
  8. Das Stroh – The straw
  9. Froh – Happy
  10. Die Gänschen – Goslings
  11. Watscheln – To waddle
  12. Der Tümpel – The pond
  13. Kugelrund – Round like a ball

Entchen, Koepfchen, Schwanzchen…notice a pattern? Stick –chen onto the end of any noun and it makes it a diminutive. It works for literal meanings, like when Gans (goose) becomes Gänschen (goslings – literally ‘little geese’), but it also works to make nouns a bit cuter, hence Schwänzchen for ‘little tails’. Imagine going ‘awwww your little taaaail!’ in English and you’ll get the gist.

Check back in tomorrow for two more classic German kids’ tunes and language pointers!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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