Building Sentences

This week in Year 4 and Year 6, students have been exploring how to ‘build’ sentences in German.

We used a Lego board to create a model of a sentence.

We discussed the essential components of a sentence:

building sentences base board

Subject + Verb

See if your student can explain what the Subject and Verb are

Subject:  Who or What is doing the action

Verb:  The action they are doing.  We discussed tricky irregular verbs “to be” and “to have” that don’t necessarily look like verbs (eg. I am big), and that don’t follow the normal rules – these verbs are also irregular in German:

In addition, a sentence often has a Predicate (this may be a new word to you!).

The predicate covers all the other parts of the sentence.

We talked about how you can manipulate a sentence by replacing the subject or the verb.*

We concentrated on these sentences:

Year 6:

Ich bin…

Ich habe….

Year 4:

Meine Raupe ist …

Mein Schmetterling hat….

We sorted our word-bricks into the right colours, and then had fun making up and changing sentences  by swapping out the Subject, the Verb or the Predicate.

The students responded really well, and seemed to have a much clearer grasp of how to create a sentence of their own, rather than just copying a phrase they have been taught.

I’m really grateful to the amazing teacher I heard at a recent Languages Teacher meeting. You can check out more of her good ideas here.

*We didn’t talk yet about Subject + Verb agreement – for those of you who have ever studied languages! This means the way that the end of the verb changes according to who the subject is. I wanted to keep the focus on the overall sentence construction this time.

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