School in Germany

It is HOT! in Europe in the moment.  It’s probably hard for you to believe while it is cold in Sydney just now.  But even their hot weather isn’t as unpleasant as our really hot Sydney summer days.

I met some Year 5 students here who wanted to know if we have “Hitzefrei” (heat-free) when it gets too hot.  At their school, if the temperature goes above 30 degrees celsius, school is canceled.  Can you imagine that?  We would hardly go to school! They can’t believe that we don’t have Hitzefrei, or how hot it gets for us.  But they were glad to hear that we have air conditioning at our school (they don’t).

The students had many questions about school, and as I showed them photos, they couldn’t believe our uniforms!

Everywhere we go, people are astounded that we have been able to pull our children out of school, as German regulations around this are very strict – the maximum extra time you can take your child out of school is 2 days, and they cannot adjoin holidays. You have to seek permission and have a very good reason!  Police go to the airports on the last day of school, and if parents can’t produce the child’s report (issued on the last day), they receive massive fines for breaking these laws.

Austria’s rules are not quite as strict as Germany’s.  They are allowed to have a maximum of 1 week out of school, and permission is sought from the Government to do this.

German children have so much more independence and much more is expected of them.  School starts by 8, and is usually finished by 11.30.  There are no casual teachers, so teachers are not replaced if a teacher is absent (at least in upper primary and high school).  Many schools put their timetable online, and students can check in the morning to see what their lessons are, and if any are canceled.  They are expected to do some work on their own, or go home and come back again. High school starts from Year 5 onwards.

In Year 5, students learn German and English and 1 other language!!!, the level of proficiency is impressive, because they have at least 5 lessons a week of their other languages, so everyone has the opportunity to become fluent.

Students pass a “walk to school test” at around Year 2 age.  They receive their “Walk to School Licence” – then they are expected to walk to school on their own, and many will be allowed to walk home alone (even if their parents are not at home yet).

There is an after-school program for younger students whose parents work.

Schools also conduct bike riding lessons, and when the students are ready, the police assess whether they pass and receive their Licence.

In the towns and cities, there are so many aspects of life like this, that mean it’s easy to lead an active, healthy lifestyle.

 

What do you think about all the things that are different?  Which things do you prefer? The German way or the Australian way?

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Which language would you like with that?

We have arrived in the UK, and already I love the way I can see how people are aware of some other languages that are spoken.

We popped into McDonald’s for some familiar food yesterday…  The kids love to use the screens to order their own meals.  Look what we saw!

 

Have you ever seen this before?

maccas languages 1

We had a look at the French screen:

 

maccas languages 3

And the German screen:

 

maccas languages 2

Are there any words you can work out?

 

Can you find out what the other languages are?

 

Can’t wait to tell you more!

 

Frau Holmes!

 

 

 

 

Das Geld

Have a look at the photo…

What do you notice about the money?

Have you seen money that looks like this before? Where?

Have you used it before?

What’s different from the money we use in Australia? Is anything the same?

What do you think is interesting?

Most countries have their own “currency” (the word for the type of money they use).

If you travel outside of Australia you need to get some of the money for each country. You swap some Australian money for whichever currency you need.

Lots of countries in Europe now use “the Euro” instead of all having different types of money – this makes it much easier when you go traveling!

What currencies can you see in the picture?

Can you find out which countries they are used in?

Germany – See : Think : Wonder

Year 4 has been solving a jigsaw puzzle of the states of Germany, it’s trickier than it looks, and it has loads of illustrations which tell us interesting things about Germany.

Here are our thoughts from our See : Think : Wonder response to the map.

SEE (some of the things we’ve seen in the illustrations)

  • fish, animals
  • giant scissors
  • the Rhine / Rhein
  • Nürnberg
  • an Eiffel Tower
  • country called Germany
  • places in Germany
  • weird man in Freiburg
  • picture of beer
  • some names of states
  • Cathedral
  • food
  • animals / farms
  • people
  • castles
  • boat
  • buildings
  • instruments (musical)
  • stalls / markets
  • snowflakes
  • axes
  • names of places
  • statues
  • Porsche Factory
  • Berlin Church / Cathedral
  • Wheat
  • Cranes
  • Sausages
  • Lots of soccer teams
  • Knights & Horses
  • German words
  • Mountains
  • Rivers

 

THINK (why we think they are there)

  • To show what the things are
  • To show people what it looks like
  • it looks like little continents
  • the places are very old
  • I think there is a church in München
  • They are the important things

 

WONDER (what we wonder / want to know)

  • I wonder what the map would look like in colour
  • are they states
  • are they countries or states?
  • Who are the people
  • How old is it?

 

We will use our ideas to construct some investigation questions about Germany in our mini Research unit.

 

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.

Die Wochentage

 

This week Klasse Vier have been revising the days of the week.

Sonntag

Montag

Dienstag

Mittwoch

Donnerstag

Freitag

Samstag

Can you work out the translations for these German words?

Here’s a fun song to help you learn them!

 

 

WinterFest!

WinterFest kommt bald dran!

WinterFest is nearly here!

It will be lots of fun.  Come along and bring your friends.

You will have lots of fun activities to do:  Schlittschuhlaufen, Schneespielen, Singen, Tanzen, Laterne-machen, und vieles leckeres Essen zum essen!

Can you work out what any of those words mean?

Don’t forget there will be a Lantern Parade – you will be able to paint your very own lantern for the parade.

Year 1 will be learning more about this later in the year.  Older students should remember what the Lantern parade is about:  Martinstag (Sankt Martin).  See if your students can remember the story of St Martin.

Here is a link to one of the songs we will be singing – you might remember it!

 

Tschüß!