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Students begin their introduction to German by focusing on the four key areas of foreign language study: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The course represents an ideal blend of language learning pedagogy and online learning. Each unit consists of a new vocabulary theme and grammar concept, reading and listening comprehension activities and practices, which reinforce vocabulary and grammar. There is a strong emphasis on providing context and conversational examples for the language concepts presented in each unit.
Students should expect to be actively engaged in their own language learning, become familiar with common vocabulary terms and phrases, comprehend a wide range of grammar patterns, participate in simple conversations and respond appropriately to basic conversational prompts, analyze and compare cultural practices, products, and perspectives of various German-speaking countries, and take frequent assessments where their language progresion can be monitored. The course has been carefully aligned to national standards as set forth by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). (Grades 9-12)
A stable Internet connection is needed for this class since all work is done online. A minimum connection speed of 5Mbps is required. iPads are not compatible with this course.
From the Teacher
We have all heard the expression, “think outside the box”. It originated with the drawing of nine equally spaced dots enclosed in a square. Is it possible to connect all of the dots, by drawing four lines without lifting your pencil? It seems impossible, unless, of course, you think outside the box. If lines are drawn extending beyond the square that encloses the dots, there are several ways to connect the dots with only four lines.
What does this have to do with learning German? Learning a foreign language helps students to think outside the box of the (American) English language. Ever since birth they have been absorbing English words and sentence patterns. Then, from Kindergarten through sixth grade, they learn English phonics, English spelling, English vocabulary and English grammar. They continue by reading good books, laughing at jokes Shakespeare made hundreds of years ago, and learning to think logically and to speak and write clearly, all in English.
In German each noun has a gender, which means it is masculine, feminine, or neuter. A tree is masculine, so “he, him and his” are the pronouns used to refer to a tree. The word for girl is neuter, so “it” is used. When referring to a tree seen by the girl, you would say “It (the girl) sees him (the tree)”. Some things are expressed differently: Germans have hunger, while English speakers are hungry. German word order can be challenging: I will with you to the movies go because the babysitter to come can.
Once a student really accepts that ideas are expressed differently in a foreign language, and that English rules of grammar and pronunciation no longer apply, learning becomes much easier. Studying a second foreign language is much less work. Instead of fighting the new ways, the student thinks, “Oh, the verbs must be conjugated, just as in German”, or “Of course, the capitalization rules are different”.
Learning German not only enables students to express themselves in another language, and exposes them to another culture, but also helps them to analyze and think more deeply about their own language and culture.