Course descriptions for all Immanuel German School Levels
"Studies have shown that students who continue study of a foreign language (or foreign languages) beyond a bare minimum of two or three years not only perform better on the Foreign Language Achievement Tests, but generally also score higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and on tests of English composition. Most importantly, those students who continue foreign language study will be better prepared to live and work in the global community of the 21st century."
Source "Program of Studies 2000-2001" published by Lower Moreland High School, a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
The objective of the Immanuel German School is to develop foremost German language proficiency in our students, to introduce them to the culture of German-speaking countries and to expose our students to the rich historical fabric of German Americans in the greater Philadelphia area.
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
Pre-Kindergarten 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.
Level 1 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.
Level 2 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, add a lively and fun dimension to the Level 2 course. Cultural topics and projects, which highlight customs and holidays, are also included.
Level 3 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 like 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.
Level 4 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, like 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.
Level 5 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. German geography is expanded.
Level 6 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, like 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 US.
Goals for secondary Levels 7 – 9
- Improve the oral, aural and reading proficiencies acquired at the elementary levels.
- Refine these skills to produce effective communication through written and spoken word.
- Prepare for national exams
- Foster community and communication among levels 7 through 9.
Level 7 Level 7 is a continuation of the Level 6 course. The primary focus is to build upon previously acquired competencies giving students a greater comfort level in spontaneously expressing themselves both in verbal and written form. Students review the nominative, accusative and dative cases, present perfect and future tenses, adjective endings and pronouns. Students are introduced to the simple past tense. Since this course is the first course in which students participate in the national AATG testing (AATG Level 2), consistent accuracy in both verbal and written form is reinforced. Cultural topics include: German geographical regions, the Bundesländer and their capitals, the German school system, and an introduction to political parties and thoughts. Students participate in monthly meetings with other secondary levels.
Level 8 In the level 8 course, students continue to develop vocabulary, as well as oral and written comprehension. Students move from simple, highly directed conversation and composition to more complex forms. They engage in creating a school newsletter with students of the Level 9 course to practice their writing skills. Students are introduced to the genitive case, relative pronouns, subjunctive 2, and the passive voice. Cultural topics include post World War II Germany and the European Union, as well as a more in-depth presentation of political parties and government. Students participate in monthly meetings with other secondary levels. Testing goals are AATG Levels 3 and 4.
Level 9 The emphasis of the level 9 course is to further develop language competency, refine pronunciation, increase vocabulary and deepen understanding of grammatical structures. The focus consists of extensive vocabulary building, as well as intensive oral/aural practice and grammatical analysis to facilitate accuracy in speaking and writing. Students participate in classroom discussions to formalize their use of idiomatic expressions and grammar structures refining their personal communication style. Literary readings are presented and could include short stories, drama and poetry. Students participate in monthly meetings with other secondary level classes. The testing goal could include the AATG Level 4.
Level 10 (Pre-AP): Advanced Placement This is a college level course, for which many American colleges and universities grant college credit. Students should consult prospective colleges regarding credit for Advanced Placement courses. In the Advanced Placement course, the student continues to develop and refine the various language competencies in preparation to the Advanced Placement exam, which is given in the spring. Along with knowledge of literature, the student develops a greater understanding of the foreign language, culture and people. (Modified from the Lower Moreland Course of Study.)
Knowledge and Skills Required for the AATG and Advance Placement examinations
Students are expected to show the following competencies:
- Understanding the spoken language through short stimuli or everyday situations through brief interchanges and connected discourse
- Vocabulary mastery: meaning of words and idiomatic expressions in the context of printed sentences and situations
- Grammatical control: ability to identify usage that is structurally correct and appropriate
- Reading comprehension: ability to read and understand text representative of various styles and levels
Students are expected to show the following competencies:
- Strong command of vocabulary and structure
- Comprehension of spoken German in conversational situations
- Comprehension of newspaper and magazine articles, contemporary fiction, non-technical writings without the use of a dictionary
- Ability to fluently and accurately express ideas orally and in writing
Older Beginner – Level A
One of its main objectives of the Level A course is the development of students’ appreciation of the German language and German–speaking cultures. By incorporating basic language instruction in communicative and playful ways, students become comfortable and begin to speak German. Through music, games, rhythmic exercises, creative projects, and role-play, students develop basic language competence, expand day-to-day vocabulary and familiarize themselves with customs and geography of German-speaking cultures. In addition to begin speaking in German, students also practice basic writing.
Older Beginner – Level B
Students build upon the foundations laid in the Level A course by increasing vocabulary and comprehension. Students deepen their basic communicative competence focusing on speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Students practice basic grammatical structures through communicative activities, read authentic materials, write a brief narrative describing the student’s family and their favorite animal or pet and in addition learn to listen to each other speak German. Cultural projects and games play an important role in this Level B course. Upon completion, the students will be placed most likely into Level 6 or 7.
Student Diversity Our students vary widely in age and come with different language backgrounds, abilities and motivations. Our curriculum is designed to accommodate these differences, and we take great care to assign students to the classes that will give them the best opportunities for learning. The age span in children's classes seldom exceeds two years, but different groups of children in the same class sometimes progress at different rates.
Class Size The average teacher-student ratio is 1:10. When a class is considerably larger, or when multilevel instruction is required, the teacher will be assisted by a teacher's aide. This is typically the case with the pre-school class.
Homework Homework is obligatory. Weekly assignments should take between one-half hour to one hour, depending on the grade level. Students are advised to spread this time out over the week. Parents, please support your children in doing their homework. As the classes meet only once a week, homework is a very important skill development and assessment tool.
Report Cards Mid-year progress reports and year-end report cards are issued for the children. Certificates of attendance are presented to the adult students at the end of the school year.
Computer Lab Children practice their classroom learnings by working on selected programs in the supervised computer room.