A Second Unit for German Beginners

Published by Roslyn Green in January 2023

Über mich 🖤❤️💛 ⇢ About me 🧒🏽

This unit guides learners towards introducing themselves and describing their origins in German. It covers regular verb conjugation in a simple way and provides practice with verbs such as wohnen (to live) and kommen (to come). There are also exercises related to the irregular verb haben (to have).

In addition to a downloadable booklet (embedded below), there are speaking flashcards, quizzes and a simple audio recording.

For a more challenging version of this unit, intended for fast learners, an alternative booklet as well as additional but related activities are available on this page.


Bildlexikon – Picture Dictionary: haben and sein

haben – to have: Ich habe heute Geburtstag. → Today is my birthday.

sein – to be: Ich bin zwölf Jahre alt. → I am 12 years old.


haben – to have: Wir haben eine Katze. We have a cat.

sein – to be: Sie ist süß. She is sweet.


haben – to have: Wir haben beide Laptops. → We both have laptops.

sein – to be: Wir sind Freunde. → We are friends.


haben – to have: Mein Bruder hat ein neues Handy. → My brother has a new mobile phone.

sein – to be: Es ist fantastisch. → It is fantastic.


Useful Links


Online Activities

Flashcards

These are question and answer flashcards. The first side has a greeting or question and the second side has an appropriate answer. The flashcards will “speak” if you click on the tiny microphone above the cards. A printout of this conversation is also provided below.



A Fill the Gap Quiz: Using Three Verbs – kommen, wohnen and sprechen

Revise your knowledge of these three key verbs.


A Jumble Kahoot: Place the words in the right order to answer the questions

Play with your class or with a small group of friends.


Audio text from page 7 of the unit booklet

Hallo! Mein Name ist Phoebe.

This audio was kindly recorded by Linda Manteuffel.

Read the text while you listen:

Hallo! Mein Name ist Phoebe und ich komme aus Neuseeland. Meine Eltern kommen aus England. Natürlich spreche ich Englisch, genau wie die Kinder in Australien. Meine beste Freundin heißt Sophie. Sie kommt aus China. Woher kommst du?

Ich wohne auf dem Land. Das finde ich super, denn ich liebe Tiere. Ich habe mein eigenes Pferd!

English Translation: Hello! My name is Phoebe and I come from New Zealand. My parents come from England. Of course I speak English, just like the children in Australia. My best friend is called Sophie. She comes from China. Where do you come from?

I live in the country. I think that’s wonderful, because I love animals. I have my own horse!


A Fill the Gap Quiz: Conjugating haben – the verb to have

Learn the conjugation of this crucial verb and practise using it correctly in sentences.



A German Starter Unit

Published in January 2023 by Roslyn Green

Ich lerne Deutsch 🖤❤️💛 I am learning German 🥨

This is a unit of work for beginner learners who are starting high school German. I wrote it in 2017 and updated it in 2022, improving the downloadable unit booklet and adding two quizzes and a Kahoot. The audio files were kindly recorded by Anthony Jäckisch, a gifted and charismatic young teacher with a melodious voice.

For fast learners, there is a more challenging version of this unit on this page, which also provides additional quizzes and activities on the conjugation of sein – to be and haben – to have.

All the very best from Roslyn Green

A tribute to Jacinda Ardern, a woman of integrity, honour and kindness: It has been a pure pleasure to live in a nearby country while Jacinda Ardern was the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I always hoped that her empathy, decency and humanity would rub off on our politicians in Australia. I wish her the very best for the next phase of her life.

Useful Links and Booklet 



Online Activities

Quick Introductory Quiz

The list of essential words in the table below will help you to complete the quiz.

Masculine NounsFeminine NounsNeuter Nouns
der Lehrer – male teacherdie Lehrerin – female teacherdas Buch – book
der Mann – mandie Frau – womandas Handy – mobile
der Junge – boydie Schule – schooldas Mädchen – girl
der Hund – dogdie Katze – cat
der Freund – frienddie Freundin – friend

Audio 1: Short text from page 4 of unit booklet

Hallo! – Guten Tag! – Ich heiße Finn.

This audio was kindly recorded by Anthony Jäckisch.

Audio 2: Short text from page 9 of unit booklet

Ben: Hallo! Wie heißt du?
Mia: Ich heiße Mia. Und du?

This audio was kindly recorded by Anthony Jäckisch.

Kahoot: Introduction to German

This quiz can be played with your class or in a small group of friends. It includes introductory questions about noun genders, German numbers and simple introductory sentences.


Revision Quiz Based on This Unit

This quiz provides practice with essential nouns, the concept of gender, subject pronouns and the conjugation of sein – to be. The last question includes a simple audio text with a fill-the-blank exercise.

Embedded below ↓


Kahoots for Those Desperate Moments 😱

Published by Roslyn Green in November 2022

Here are thirty freshly updated Kahoots to accompany teachers and learners through the last exhausting months of this year. These games could be just the thing to get you through a torturous afternoon period in a long and wearing week. Students can also play them in little groups with one student hosting.

I’ve listed the Kahoots roughly in order from the simplest to the most difficult, with links to related pages that also offer individual quizzes for early finishers.

Please note: You may have to click through Kahoot’s marketing prompts initially. But hopefully you will get to a point where you can “continue as guest” or log in if you have an account.


Introduction to German

Beginners answer simple questions about greetings, noun gender, numbers and self-introduction. Suitable after 4-6 lessons of German.


Woher kommt…? / Was ist das?

This Kahoot provides practice with questions about people’s origins and the names of objects.


Jumble Kahoot: Ich lerne Deutsch

Learners respond to each question by placing four words (or sets of words) in the right order. This could be played with a class or by a small group of students.


Mein Steckbrief

This is a simple introductory game for students who are in the first 2-3 months of learning German. Players need to choose the correctly written sentence in each question.


Freunde, Freundinnen, Freundschaft

In this simple Kahoot, useful words for friends, friendship and the characteristics of friends are introduced.


Doktor Tierlieb: Ein Doktor für Tiere

Learners can revise animal names in singular and plural forms, definite and indefinite articles, and adjectives.

Audio text Handout


Mein Schultag

Players experience a simple school day in German, from breakfast before school to feeling tired afterwards.

Note: Both of the above units provide downloadable booklets for students.


Schulsachen

This game revises the names of school items; ein/e and kein/e; and the uses of common school objects.

Note: Both of the above units provide downloadable booklets for students.


Pure Conjugation

Learners revisit the conjugation of important verbs, including sein, haben and some common vowel-changers.


End of Year German Quiz

This Kahoot provides revision for the first year or two of German learning.


Hobbys und Freizeit

The questions focus on the conjugation of key verbs for describing hobbies.


German Word Order with weil and denn

This is a jumble puzzle in which students need to place words in the correct order to form or complete a sentence. Each question allows a minute to work out the puzzle.


Weihnachten

This quiz offers 20 questions in which simple vocabulary is introduced and then reiterated in the following question. Ideal after a year or two of German.


Allgemeinwissen | General Knowledge in German

This quiz is purely in German. A new word is introduced with the help of a simple sentence and picture, then reinforced in one or two of the following questions. The students therefore learn new German words by applying their existing general knowledge.

This is actually my most popular German Kahoot – it has been played more than any other. Who would have thought?


A Multitasking Verb: werden

Practise using and conjugating werden in two of its roles: as a verb meaning to become, to get, to turn; and as an auxiliary verb to create the future tense.


Cases and Adjective Endings

Players have to distinguish between the nominative and accusative cases and then choose the correct adjective endings in simple sentences.


Comparisons: Mein Hund ist größer als dein Hund!

Learners can practise making comparisons, including with irregular comparatives such as größer, wärmer, älter, jünger, länger, etc.


Persönlichkeit und Aussehen

Players can learn and revise adjectives for describing personality and appearance.


German: The Perfect Tense

This Kahoot focuses purely on the correct conjugation of the auxiliary verb: sein or haben. There are several simple sentences with a variety of activities represented.


Which Past Participle? – The German Perfect Tense

The key task for learners is to choose the correct past participle from four options. There are several simple sentences with a variety of activities represented.


The Long Weekend in the Present and the Perfect Tenses

Each question has a sentence in the present tense, followed by an equivalent sentence in the perfect tense. Players have to choose the correct auxiliary verb and past participle to complete the perfect tense sentence.


In den Schulferien habe ich…

Players choose between sentences that describe school holiday activities. They also revise W-question words, which should then allow them to pose questions about the holidays themselves.


Ich mache eine Party!

Learners revise vocabulary related to giving a party, inviting people to come, preparing for the event, and so on.


Viele Familiengeschichten

This Kahoot introduces key verbs for love, marriage and marriage breakdown, as well as exploring the complexity of family relationships in a very simple fashion.


Manchmal verstehen wir uns gut, manchmal nicht

This Kahoot reinforces vocabulary for describing how people get along — or don’t. Some questions require the use of weil to give reasons for feelings; others revise the reflexive pronouns.


Reflexive and Reciprocal Verbs in German – Accusative Reflexive Pronouns

Learners practise the usage of verbs such as sich anziehen, sich verstehen, sich beeilen, etc. This Kahoot provides good practice for the accusative reflexive pronouns and common verbs that require them.


Traumtag oder Horrortag?

In each question a typical teenager experience is described. The students have to decide what kind of day is represented. Later questions present players with 4 situations; they have to choose which belongs to a happy day or an awful one.


Die Umwelt

Players are asked to choose between options that are friendly to the environment and actions that might lead to harm. The vocabulary is summarised in the two pages buttoned below.


Relative Pronouns

This is a relatively challenging quiz for senior or more advanced students. Students need to choose between relative pronouns and distinguish between nominative, accusative and dative cases.


Die Wechselpräpositionen

This is a relatively challenging quiz for senior or more advanced students. I made it originally for students learning German at the Goethe-Institut in München, so it is completely in German and includes some photos from that visit.


Using Capitals in German – With the Help of an Elf 🔠

Posted by Roslyn Green in September 2022


der Hauself – the house elf

Dobby is not just a free elf. He is also a noun.


die Nase – the nose

Dobby hat eine lange, spitze Nase. – Dobby has a long, pointy nose.

The parts of his elvish body are common nouns and must be capitalised in German.


das Auge – the eye

Dobby hat auch große Augen. – Dobby also has large eyes.

Common nouns are always capitalised in German, along with all other nouns.


So this is how German capitalisation rules look in an English text:

The young Girl sat in the Courtyard reading a Book. She had a sweet, kindly Face, with dark brown Eyes and long black Hair. To the shy Boy, she seemed almost to glow in the Sunshine.

Although she was in his Class, he scarcely dared to approach her. For one Thing, she was deeply absorbed in her Homework, looking up Words in her Dictionary.

Then suddenly she saw him and gave him a Smile. She was wearing Braces.

At least her Teeth aren’t perfect,” he thought with Relief. “And she has lots of Freckles on her Nose.

It was actually those friendly Freckles that finally gave the Boy the Courage to speak.

OK, it’s a sappy English love story in the making, but the noun capitalisation is pure German.


Words Requiring a Capital in German

  • The names of countries: Deutschland, Neuseeland, Australien, China 
  • The names of languages: Deutsch, Englisch, Chinesisch
  • The names of cities: Berlin, München, Melbourne
  • People’s names (but not the first person subject pronoun, ich
  • Common nouns relating to everyday concepts and objects: das Handy (mobile phone), der Geburtstag (birthday), die Idee (idea), etc.

A word is always a noun if:

  • it can have der, die or das placed before it – or any other form of the definite article.
  • it can have ein, eine or einen placed before it – or any other form of the indefinite article.
  • it can be possessed, as indicated by a possessive term like mein, dein, etc.
  • it can be counted – e.g. 20 books, 20 Bücher
  • it can be described with an adjective – e.g. a free elf, ein freier Elf

A Quiz to Practise German Capitalisation

Quiz: Capitalising Nouns in German – With Dobby’s Help

A short story of Dobby’s life: find the missing capitals (quiz embedded below)

Taming the Vowel-Changing Verbs 🦁

Dealing with the Vowel-Changing Verbs in German

Posted by Roslyn Green, September 2022

Bildlexikon – Picture Dictionary

helfen – to help

Er hilft seinem Freund.

→ He helps his friend.


fahren – to drive, ride, travel

Er fährt gern BMX.

→ He likes riding a BMX.


essen – to eat

Sie isst gern Eis.

→ She likes eating ice cream.


lesen – to read

Das Kind liest mit einer Taschenlampe.

→ The child is reading with a torch.


Non-Conformist Verbs

The vowel-changing verbs in German remind me of children who misbehave, but only at certain predictable times, like toddlers who always throw a tantrum at the supermarket checkout.

If you focus on when these verbs fail to follow the normal rules, you will be able to use them with ease.

These verbs only “break the rules” in the second and third person singular. Otherwise they are utterly regular, predictable and conformist. They retain the normal endings for regular German verbs; they just have that little vowel mutation in their stem in the second and third person singular.

In English we have a couple of verbs that act like this too. For instance, “I say” becomes “he says” (sez); “I do” becomes “she does” (duz).

Below is a short list of some common verbs that are affected by this little quirk, along with a quiz that will help you to tame them.

Er schläft tief und fest. – He sleeps deeply.

Vowel Change: a becomes ä in…

  • tragen – to wear, to carry (du trägst, er/sie/es trägt)
  • fahren – to drive, to travel (du fährst, er/sie/es fährt)
  • schlafen – to sleep, (du schläfst, er/sie/es schläft)

Vowel Change: e becomes ie in…

  • sehen – to see (du siehst, er/sie sieht)
  • lesen – to read (du liest, er/sie liest)

Vowel Change: e becomes i in…

  • nehmen – to take (du nimmst, er/sie nimmt)
  • helfen – to help (du hilfst, er/sie hilft)
  • essen – to eat (du isst, er/sie isst)
  • sprechen – to speak (du sprichst, er/sie spricht)

For a longer list of the most useful stem-changing verbs, go to this German website. In German, the term for these verbs is Verben mit Vokalwechsel.

You may also like to watch this simple explanation from Deutschlernen mit Heidi on YouTube.


Online Activities


Audio-Quiz: Am Wochenende mache ich gern nichts

Practise conjugating the vowel-changing verbs in a fairly challenging text about a laid-back teenager. The audio is embedded in the quiz and was kindly recorded by Carolina Seez.