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What will students be learning in German this year?

Students begin their German course in Year 7. We will start at the very beginning with introductions and common everyday expressions, before introducing a range of other topics such as family, pets, daily routine, number and dates, house, places in town, school life, hobbies and future plans, asking and answering questions.  From the beginning we teach the structures of the language and the relationship between sound and spelling, which is very regular in German. This empowers the students to understand the language and form sentences for themselves, rather than learning  everything parrot-fashion. Lessons use a mix of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Songs, video clips, games and computer based activities help to bring the language to life and Impart a sense of German culture.

Building on the foundations laid in Year 7, students will broaden their vocabulary and learn a wider range of structures, so that they can build extended sentences, refer to past events and future plans and ask and answer questions. Specific topics covered include describing a past holiday, talking about favourite films, TV programmes and books, discussing the pros and cons of modern media, food and healthy living, attitudes to fashion and clothing. Whatever the topic, the aim is to

equip students with the tools to confidently form language of their own now and in the future. We will be also learning about cultural aspects such as carnival in German-speaking countries, German films, music and cooking.

Expectations of students in German

There is one 1 hour lesson and one homework per week, which may be a reading comprehension, written exercise, preparation for an oral, learning vocabulary or grammar, or practice of a grammar point. This increases to 2 hours a week in Year 8 and 9. It is important to see learning homework as just as important as written ones. Students should be prepared to 'have a go' in lessons and not worry about making mistakes, as that is an important step in the learning process.

Written work is marked with the department's marking codes, which indicate to students how to improve it rather than the teacher simply writing in the correction, and students are expected to redraft their work using these. They will normally be given the opportunity to do this and to ask any questions in lesson time. The codes are explained to the students and a copy placed in their books at the start of the year. The codes Identify the type of error rather than simply writing in the correction so that students learn how to redraft their own work.

What are the major assessments this year?

There will be formal end of unit tests which will take place roughly at the end of the first Autumn half term, the end of the Autumn term and the February half term and will address different skills as well as grammar. Each teacher will set ongoing grammar or vocabulary tests and will regularly assess and give feedback on written work. The end of year exam will include all topics and grammar covered and test all four skills.

What will the current performance grade be based on and what does it mean?

Students have been issued with descriptions of what they are expected to achieve by the end of the year, based on the revised Programme of Study issued in 2014. They are invited to self-assess their progress towards these targets once a term and discuss this with teachers, who also look at unit test marks, homework and performance in class when deciding the termly assessment. The end of year exam will play an important part in the final grade, but the teacher will look at the year's work as a whole when deciding.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

She should not be afraid to speak about any concerns to her class teacher, who will give targeted support and advice and may suggest extra resources and strategies. Remember it is a normal part of the learning process to experience difficulties sometimes. Above all, don't give up!

How can I support my daughter?

Taking an interest in what she is doing and showing that you value what she is learning makes a tremendous difference. It is not necessary for you to know any German yourself, although obviously it's great if you do. Otherwise asking her to explain what she has been doing in class, testing her on the vocabulary she has learnt, and looking through her book with her will help her consolidate her learning. Do encourage and praise her for her efforts.

What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?

It is good practice to spend a few minutes looking through the lesson notes as soon as possible after the class, and then again a few days later, rather than forgetting all about it till the next lesson! This is particularly true when it comes to learning new vocabulary. It does not need to take a long time but will help to keep the language fresh in the mind. We recommend a range of websites which your daughter can use to help with grammar and vocabulary and to learn more about German culture.

Whom can I contact for further advice and information?

Please feel free to contact your daughter's class teacher in the first instance, but Frau Lacey as Head of German is also available on

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