Goals for elementary levels Pre-K to Level 6
- Introduce the sound and pronunciation of German words
- Practice basic, everyday vocabulary from the student’s perspective
- Learn through fun and playful activities
- Build awareness of major grammar points
Children from English- and German-speaking families are exposed to spoken German through games, songs, and role-play. With an emphasis on simple communication skills, children acquire the ability to speak about the major course themes. Topics covered include the following: Family, Clothes, Colors, Holiday Celebrations, the German Alphabet and its sounds, and Numbers from 1 to 10.
Kindergarten In a relaxed and fun-filled environment, young learners build upon and refine the skills and vocabulary developed in the previous level. Games, songs, simple rhymes and poems create an atmosphere where learning is fun and effective. Thematic units at the Kindergarten level include the Colors, Seasons, Days of the Week and Months of the Year, Weather, the Family, Foods, Parts of the Body, Animals, Birthday and Holiday Celebrations.
Although the primary emphasis remains on the acquisition of spoken German, some simple reading and writing are introduced. The goal of the Level 1 course is to expand the student’s listening and speaking skills and to encourage confidence when speaking German. In this total immersion course, directions (steh auf), acknowledgements (sehr gut) and idioms (vielen Dank) are used passively and repetitively. In addition, definite articles are passively practiced. Games and other group activities subtlety encourage students to reply confidently with single-word responses and then short phrases. Creative projects and crafts are used to expand the student’s vocabulary. The Level 1 course focuses on similar topics as the previous course, but introduces a new and more expanded set of vocabulary words and expressions. How German-speaking people celebrate certain holidays adds a fun dimension to the course.
While building upon previously learned materials, the focus of the Level 2 course is to motivate the students to speak in simple sentences about daily activities. Through the use of creative exercises and group activities, basic conversational patterns, simple sentence structure formulation, and question development are introduced and practiced. The use of receptive and expressive vocabulary is expanded. The present tense and the nominative case are passively introduced. Choral and dramatic reading as well as role-playing adds a lively and fun dimension to the Level 2 course. Cultural topics and projects, which highlight customs and holidays, are also included.
The focus of the Level 3 course is on reading and writing with a continued development of listening comprehension and speaking. Producing and responding to simple questions such as “Wieviel Uhr ist es?” “Es ist 2 Uhr” is further developed using innovative classroom exercises. Pre-existing vocabulary is expanded and pronunciation refined. Students practice their writing skills by formulating a postcard or email to a relative or friend. From a grammatical perspective, the present tense and nominative case are practiced, while letter/sound relationships (differences and similarities) and cognates are explored. In addition, pronouns are introduced. Cultural projects, games and songs play an important role in this course.
Students build upon the speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension foundations laid in previous levels. In Level 4, students increase their vocabulary and comprehension, enabling them to talk more about a wider variety of subjects. Picture interpretation and interactive activities, such as singing and playing games, help to develop the students’ language proficiency. Writing continues to be practiced with short creative projects such as describing the student’s family. The accusative case is introduced passively. In Level 4, basic German geography is introduced through maps and photos, so that the students become familiar with the most important German cities and rivers.
The Level 5 course continues to develop the four major language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Special emphasis is placed on building stronger vocabulary competence. Short connected narratives and conversations that focus on everyday situations improve reading and listening comprehension, while strengthening communicative skills. The course continues to further develop student’s writing skills, by, for example, writing an invitation to a birthday party. Grammar remains one of the foci of the course. The accusative case, selected accusative prepositions and adjective endings are practiced. Interactive group activities stimulate and motivate the students. Knowledge of German geography is expanded. Students take part in the Internationale schulische Vergleichsarbeit Level A1.
The Level 6 course continues to develop and practice the student’s listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills. Correct sentence structure and the accusative case are actively practiced. The new grammar points include adjectives endings, the dative case and the present perfect tense. Students develop their writing skills by creating short essays describing, for example, their summer vacation or their school roster. German geography continues with the introduction of the countries that neighbor Germany, as well as major regions, such as the Black Forest, and large bodies of water. Cultural texts are read and discussed so students learn to draw comparisons between German-speaking countries and the U.S. Students participate in Level one of the National German Exam.
This is an intensive course for older students just beginning the study of the German language. The main objective of the Level A course is to develop proficiency sufficient to enable placement in classes more closely aligned to the student’s age group. By incorporating basic language instruction in communicative and playful ways, students become comfortable and begin to speak German. As the course progresses, students deepen their basic communicative competence in speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Students practice basic grammatical structures through communicative activities. Cultural projects and games play an important role in this course. Upon completion, the students will be placed into a class more closely aligned to their own age.