Advanced search

German - getting started over the summer, any suggestions please?

(25 Posts)
WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 15-Jul-13 12:57:35

DS(14) is starting GCSE German in September when he goes into year 10.

The rest of the class will have already studied German for 1 year as a second MFL. We have promised the teacher that we will help DS to get up to speed before he starts.

DD1 and 2 are on hand to help but does anyone have any suggestions about the materials we could use please? We want it to be fun and to help DS to start the GCSE course with confidence.

Any help or suggestions would be gratefully received.

forevergreek Mon 15-Jul-13 13:39:40

Honestly, the best way if you can afford to is to spend time in Germany. Every teen has to do 3 weeks compulsory volunteering between 14-16 years approx in Germany so many places open for it. Maybe too late now for this holiday but maybe for half term/ Easter etc..
I remember working in a zoo and theatre ( English- sent by school abroad).

Otherwise story books are good. If they have a kindle with VoiceOver or iPod or laptop then you can buy audio books o virtually anything. Something they have read in English before may help. The Harry potter ones are good.

Maybe get the basic alphabet pronounciations or simple words online so he has an idea. The forms of machen ( to do), haben ( to have) are probably the first things he will learn. And the whole I, you, she/ he, they etc..

NewFairy Mon 15-Jul-13 17:16:14

I'm intersted in this too. My DS will start university in October (fingers crossed) and wants to study German in one of his options modules so I have suggested he should tke a look at it thus summer. My thinking was the Rosetta Stone pack, but I think I might be being influenced by their advertising.

Forevergreek - would he really pick up german from listening to a Harry Potter story? I thought something more structured might be better, but am willing to be persuaded otherwise.

GrendelsMum Mon 15-Jul-13 17:30:33

Go to Germany! (Go to the south, where the ice cream is yummy and the summers are hot.) Have a fabulous family holiday there, and get your DS talking as much as possible.

This is a bit of a weird suggestion, but you can also watch the German version of Midsummer Murders (it's called Inspector Barnaby, and apparently Angela Merkel is a huge fan), if your family enjoys that.

forevergreek Mon 15-Jul-13 18:25:44

New fairy- I learnt most of my German from teen years onwards. I moved there at 18 fairly fluent, and I would say 90% was from regular books ( ir German Harry potter/ jack reacher etc), and films. Most DVDs have language options nowadays and I'm sure now you can download lots of german films easily.

I also went abroad volunteering as mentioned and to the local uni theatre when films on in German.

Could you host a language student/ exhange etc?

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 15-Jul-13 21:00:08

Unfortunately going to Germany or having an exchange student are out of the question this summer.

I suppose what I am really looking for are tips for books/cds/dvds to help get a teenage beginner started. DS was bilingual English/Dutch a few years ago but has now forgotten all his Dutch (and quite a bit of his English wink).

In September other students in the class will have already had a year of teaching though not started the GCSE course. What we are hoping is that with intensive assistance from his sisters and some good materials that DS will get some confidence before he starts properly in September.

I would start by letting him watch films he is already familiar with but switch the language to German. Many UK DVD releases don't have German as an option, so you might need to buy films you already have again on

Personally I think novels (even familiar ones) come into their own closer to A level than the summer before starting GCSE with no prior knowledge.

You could buy a Letts GCSE revision book and just learn the first few irregular and some regular verbs - don't overdo it, they orobably won't have learnt huge amounts in year 9 alone.

When German kids start learning English vocabulary flashcards and vocabulary bingo are popular - I am sure you'll find the same for learning German on Amazon. Alsp make sure he knows to capitalise nouns, and how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet.

If you do all that hopefully he'll be in a reasonable pisition without having been put iff!

GrendelsMum Mon 15-Jul-13 21:53:26

Is there a German equivalent to the Coffee Break Spanish podcast? If so, that might get him off to a flying start.

TheWoollybacksWife Mon 15-Jul-13 22:04:45

My DDs are using the Duolingo app. DD1 is using it for Italian and DD2 is doing German and Spanish.

I have no idea if it helps with grammar and written skills but my girls are enjoying using it.

daphnedill Mon 15-Jul-13 23:53:17

If the rest of the class has only done German as a second MFL for a year, they won't have done much.
It would help if you your DS knows how to talk about himself and his family (relationships, ages, descriptions, hobbies, where you live, etc.) This would give you an opportunity to teach the present tense and cases.
The most commonly used textbook in schools is "Echo". If you want to buy a book, I would advise buying "Echo Express 1".
If you want some video, it's possible to watch "Hallo aus Berlin" on YouTube. It's quite old (and looks dated) but it covers KS3 and is (in my opinion) the best language series the BBC ever produced.

luxemburgerli Tue 16-Jul-13 05:56:04

If the school hasn't broken up can't you ask the teacher to give you the year 9 text book and/or an idea of what they've done?

solveproblem Tue 16-Jul-13 06:11:38

Make him watch lots of German films with English subtitles.

CarpeVinum Tue 16-Jul-13 06:42:06

Try these, (free) (not free)

All very basic

CGP also have language books with CD specifically for revising for the GCSE.

You can buy them through amazon too.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 16-Jul-13 07:09:10

Many thanks! lots of resources to look for.

teabagpleb Tue 16-Jul-13 07:31:11

BBC website has decent free resources. verbs - sein (to be), haben (to have) and machen (regular, to make/do), vocabulary about family, pets, schools, where you live.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 16-Jul-13 08:43:25

Many thanks again. I have checked with school, they are using Echo Express so I will also look into getting that.

Plan is to help DS get started and keep DD2 up to speed. DD1 already has GCSE German and is also a fluent Dutch speaker. I'm hoping that the combination of DD1's language skills, DS's desire not to be outsmarted by his little sister and DD2's desire to outsmart her big brother will have the desired effect.

lainiekazan Tue 16-Jul-13 13:27:28

Das Boot might appeal. We are watching it at the moment and ds age 14 is enjoying it and it is not too wordy so you can pick up a good few phrases.

daphnedill Tue 16-Jul-13 16:24:34

There are also some teacher-created games on

You could also have a look at (free outside school hours).

daphnedill Tue 16-Jul-13 16:29:33

New Fairy,
Your DS could try "Deutsch Interaktiv" from "Deutsche Welle"

It's free and moves at a fairly fast pace.

derektheladyhamster Tue 16-Jul-13 16:30:19

we were recommended these websites (although we haven't checked the out yet!)

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 16-Jul-13 17:08:24

Good suggestion about Das Boot, thank you. DS is into all things military so that might capture his interest.

Again, many thanks for all the resource suggestions.

forevergreek Tue 16-Jul-13 18:00:12

Also der untergang

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 18-Jul-13 20:43:38

Many thanks again

DD is going to ask the teacher what needs to be covered as well.

Dundonald Fri 20-Sep-13 18:48:45

Why don't watch German satellite TV?

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 20-Sep-13 20:12:57

DS has started the course properly. I asked him, he said he is bottom of the class but not by far.

We will keep him moving along.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now