At Die Zaunkönige we offer small, interactive, friendly and fun German classes for children (ages 6+) in Brisbane. The classes are taught by a qualified native German teacher. You can find us at Cannon Hill State School on Thursdays after school.
Cancellation of all classes
I’m sorry to announce that all German classes for children and youth will be cancelled from March 23rd due to COVID-19. I’m trying to do the best for the students and their families under the current circumstances.
I’m planning on setting up online classes in the meantime by using zoom. I love teaching your children and would like for them to keep learning our beautiful language. I also like to keep our gorgeous community going.
Different times require different actions. I hope you will join me in this new adventure until life goes back to normal.
Classroom activities we use during German lessons can vary from week to week. But some are part of our usual warm up. Like last week we started off discussing the homework. This classroom activity helps us to revise content from the previous lesson and shows if the students can do it on their own. It also gives students who missed that class a chance to catch up and ask questions.
As a reward a round of stickers, if possible scented ones, go a long way.
This week’s homework was to write sentences about your daily routine. It turned out only a few students were keen on sharing their work. But when they had to name verbs that match activities they do always/often/sometimes/occasionally/never, I couldn’t jot down the answers fast enough. All of a sudden, hands were shooting up in the air, students snapped with their fingers and called out wanting to be picked.
It’s amazing how a slightly different task can change the level of motivation in students.
Another popular activity the students get excited about is writing old or newly learned words on the whiteboard. This gives everyone a chance to have a go and learn from each other how to spell.
It also serves the purpose of getting students moving, resetting their brains and making them think.
I find giving the students a good selection of coloured markers and letting them add little doodles, adds extra fun to the activity.
After coming across 20 odd versions of the four-letter word spät (meaning late) the previous week, we only had two in the recent lesson.
Learning a language shouldn’t be all about grammar and vocabulary but creating an intercultural understanding.
My students live in Australia but are either born in Europe or have German speaking parents. We are lucky to have not only students from Germany in our class but also from Austria and Switzerland.
As some of them just recently headed back home, I asked them to bring along photos from their trips. One student showed us some images of Austria with its stunning mountain range. Another student presented a slideshow of Switzerland. We were transported to Lake Geneva and its surroundings:
- We climbed majestic mountains.
- We spotted one of the native animals, a cute alpine marmot (Murmeltier).
- We went on a paddle steamer trip across the lake.
- We visited the famous Castle de Chillon.
After seeing these wonderful images of Austria and Lake Geneva, I want to visit these parts of the world.
We also used this opportunity to look at maps and compare the population, area size,… of Austria, Germany and Switzerland with Australia and the rest of the world.
Among the classroom activities we use during German lessons this was one of my favourite ones.
Hurray, it’s the end of term! I don’t know about your children but mine are shattered – “kaputt sein” as we say in German. They can’t wait to have free time, lounge around, see friends and watch movies.
Die Kleine Hexe
As some of my students had already left to head home to Austria, Germany and Switzerland, we ended the term in a relaxing way. We watched a German movie called Die Kleine Hexe. It is a story of a kind young witch that would like to become a “good” witch and learn all the spells there are. By doing so she would be able to join the circle of the older witches and be allowed to take part in their activities. But “good” might not always mean what you have in mind.
It’s a charming movie for kids and a great adaption of Otfried Preuβler’s classic book. Karoline Herfurth makes a perfect Little Witch.
Keeping students engaged
The students took their shoes off and got comfy on lots of cushions. To keep them engaged, they had to tick off animals on a list when they spotted them in the movie. They also had to answer a couple of questions and figure out the meaning of some new words such as “Hexentanz”. Watching a movie is a great way of learning a foreign language. You can learn new phrases, hear the language spoken and connect words with images.
I wish you all a relaxing break.
For more details please feel free to contact Die Zaunkönige
m: 0466 376 038
Young learners courses:
Enrolment Form Term 1 2020
Please send your enrolment form to email@example.com
Mondays – Norman Park
03 FEB – 30 MAR
3.30pm – 4.45pm
03 FEB – 30 MAR
4.45pm – 5.30pm
Thursdays – Cannon Hill
06 FEB – 02 APR
4pm – 5.30pm
The German Film Festival 2019 is opening in Brisbane tomorrow. A wide selection of contemporary films will be on offer. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in German culture, learn the language and for the expats among us to enjoy a bit of home comfort.
Watching movies helps to learn a language
Teaching children German, I encourage all of my students to go and see one of the family movies showing over the two upcoming weekends. As we know, time in class is often too precious to watch an entire film. Part of learning a language is to hear it and develop a good ear for it, and watching a movie is a fun way of practising that.
Jim Button and Luke the Locomotive Driver
One of the movies is JIM BUTTON AND LUKE THE LOCOMOTIVE DRIVER, a wonderful memory of my childhood. We would spend Sunday afternoons eating freshly baked cake, sitting on the lounge and watching the “Augsburger Puppenkiste”, a marionette theatre company. The theme song, the “Lummerlandlied” (I can still hum it to this day) would come on. The next moment the curtain would open and off we went with Jim, Lukas and his locomotive Emma on an adventure. It is a beautiful adaption of Michael Ende’s book “Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer ”.
Jim Knopf, the movie
Recently, when I went home to Germany, I had a chance to watch the newly released movie version of “Jim Knopf” that came out in 2018. I must admit, I was skeptical, loving the TV series from the 70s so much, but it turned out to be a very good film. I can highly recommend it for families with younger children.
My choice of movie
The movie I have chosen to watch with my children is HELP, I SHRUNK MY PARENTS. It’s a modern comedy for the family that is showing in the Valley this Saturday. I hope, lots of my students will join me at the German Film Festival 2019. Watch, learn and eat popcorn!
My daughter loves baking. When she asked me whether we could bake something for Easter, I remembered that I have a beautiful set of Easter themed cookie cutters. After retrieving the cutters from some hidden corner of my kitchen, we got to work. First, we decided on a recipe that would both work for using cookie cutters and decorating. We selected shortcrust pastry. Then we got baking.
Shortcrust pastry recipe
- 1 large baking tray
- Baking paper
- Large mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Cling film
- Cookie cutters
- Oven gloves
- Cooling rack
- Small bowls
- Small sieve
- 200g plain flour (we used 100g wholemeal spelt flour and 100g gluten free flour)
- 100g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 50g sugar (we used raw sugar)
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of salt
For the decoration:
- Icing sugar
- Food colour
- Hundreds and thousands, candy pearls, hearts, coloured sugar, …
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (fan forced). Line the baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the ingredients in the mixing bowl and knead the dough with your hands into a smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 5mm. I place a piece of cling film on top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Use the cutters to cut out shapes. Repeat with leftover dough.
- Place the biscuits on the lined baking tray and cook for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden. Let the biscuits cool on the tray first before moving them onto the cooling rack.
- Have fun decorating the biscuits! The only limit is your imagination.
The entire family, even dad, got involved in decorating the biscuits. Among the creations: a rollerblading bunny, an upside-down smiling lamb, a bunny hiding in grass, chickens with heart shaped feathers.
You can use this recipe for any shaped biscuits.
Ostern – Easter
Ostern (Easter) is well celebrated throughout Germany. It’s both a religious and a family holiday. It commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and marks the end of Lent. In Germany both Karfreitag (Good Friday) and Ostermontag (Easter Monday) are public holidays. All shops are closed on Friday, Sunday and Monday. The Easter days are quiet. Some people go to church, others get together with family and friends over breakfast or dinner or seek the outdoors.
My favourite time of the year
Ostern is my favourite time of the year. Growing up in Germany it marks the beginning of spring. Everywhere you look daffodils, crocuses and tulips pop up and trees show the first signs of lush green leaves and pale pink buds. At home it was the time for my dad to blow out eggs for us kids to paint. My mum would decorate the house with clay bunnies and wooden ornaments. When I was old enough to handle the delicate eggs, I would help my mum decorate fresh cut branches with the eggs we had collected over many years.
At German class we got crafty and played games
This week at German class we talked about Easter traditions in Germany and got crafty. The children first made out of yellow cardboard little Easter baskets. They decorated them with bunnies, eggs and flowers.
Afterwards we painted eggs. Some of the children had brought blown out eggs, others eggs made of styrofoam or plastic. They all looked very colourful and beautiful once finished.
While we waited for the paint to dry, we had a sack race and an egg spoon race outside. The children formed two teams and skillfully balanced a boiled egg on a spoon while running down the hill and back. It was great fun.
German Easter Traditions and Vocabulary
- Osterhase – Easter bunny/hare. The Easter bunny hides eggs either in the garden or house.
- Ostereier bemalen – Painting blown out eggs
- Osterstrauß – A bunch of fresh cut branches arranged in a vase hung with coloured eggs and little ornaments
- Osterbaum – Easter tree. A tree that is decorated with coloured eggs
- The tree and the egg both represent symbols of life/new beginnings.
- Eier färben – Dyed eggs. First the eggs are hard boiled and then dyed with food or natural colour.
- Ostereier suchen – Hunt for Easter eggs. Children hunt for chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies on Easter Sunday. Sometimes they even find little nests with eggs.
- Ostereier-Ticken – A game played at breakfast. Each person holds a boiled egg and tries to crack the top end of another competitors egg. The winner is the one with the pointed end still intact.
- Osterzopf – A sweet braided yeast bread. It’s part of a traditional Easter breakfast. The braid tastes especially good eaten with butter.
- Osterfeuer – Big bonfires are lit on either Easter Saturday or Sunday in various parts of Germany. In pre-Christian times this ritual was probably held to expel winter.
- Osterspaziergang – A walk on Easter Monday to welcome spring
Frohe Ostern! – Happy Easter!
What is the meaning of Frühstück?
Frühstück is on the menu for the Thursday German class. What does it mean? Is it just the German term for breakfast or more? Germans love to start their day with a good breakfast, especially on the weekend. You either invite friends over for a shared Frühstück or go to one of the many cosy cafes you can find in Germany. It involves spending leisurely time and eating well while chatting.
What belongs to a typical Frühstück?
As most of my students either have German parents or relatives they know that a typical German Frühstück consists of more than a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast. Breakfast in Germany is substantial and generous. It includes an assortment of jams, honey, chocolate spread for the children, a variety of cheeses and cold meats (such as salami, ham, liver pate), butter, muesli, yogurt, eggs, fruit, veggies and most importantly a good selection of bread and bread rolls (spelt, rye, sourdough, multigrain – you name it). Don’t forget to serve it with coffee or tea (best on tap), juices and Kakao (cold or warm milk with cocoa).
When in Germany my kids normally head out, either on their bikes or on foot, to fetch still warm bread rolls – Brötchen from the local bakery. Sometimes they also buy Laugenstangen (like a Bretzel in form of a small baguette) and Hörnchen (a small sweet wheat twirl bread) – my absolute favourite. In the meantime, you set the table in a fun and inviting way. I like to pick a nice table cloth, place fresh flowers in a jug and get my colourful platters and bowls out as well as my collection of mugs. Egg cups and spoons can’t be missed. Next put the kettle on. And then it’s time to boil the eggs to perfection, either soft – 4 minutes, 5 minutes or 7 minutes and rinsed under cold water – or rather hard boiled – 10 minutes. It’s an art and you better get it right! If you have it, get Oma’s homemade jam out. Make sure you don’t run out of rolls, coffee/tea or anything else. As I said: Germans like their Frühstück.
What do the German learning students eat for breakfast?
Asking the children what they like for their breakfast, they got excited listing boiled and fried eggs, yoghurt, chocolate spread on toast, Brötchen, salami, cereals, honey and good bread. They told me that German bread is quite different to the local bread. So, despite living far away from Germany, it seems that the breakfast culture is one to keep.
On Monday Die Zaunkönige and their siblings celebrated Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), the highlight of the German Karneval. While in Cologne – one of the carnival strongholds in Germany – the carnival fools were waiting for the storm to subside, we were busy making colourful masks. Part of the “crazy” street carnival is to wear costumes, dance and watch the famous parade of fantastical floats make its way through the city.
Instead of my usual group of school children I had basketball players, a striking pink unicorn, a panda who must have escaped the zoo, a scary ghost and even an elf attending class.
All of them got right into the party games which included musical chairs, balloon races, dances and tennis and not to forget the ever so popular musical statues. To keep these hungry creatures happy, we fed them doughnuts. Traditionally it would have been Berliner Pfannkuchen, a similar pastry filled with jam.
The kids had so much fun celebrating Karneval that we extended our usual session by almost an extra hour.
I have asked this question my students of 8-14 years of age. The answers ranged from being able to communicate with my family abroad, read German books, watch German films, travel when I grow up, make new friends and my parents would like me to. The latter reason might not make any sense to a child at the time but once older they will enjoy the benefits. These might include the possibility to study at a German university, live in Germany or even more work for a German company.
German is an important second language not only in Central and eastern Europe but within Australia. It’s recognised as a language of culture, music, philosophy as well as a key language in the fields of science and technology. Being proficient in at least one of the world languages can open up greater academic and career opportunities.
Understanding the German language and culture is a key to interacting effectively with German speakers and helps provide a clearer understanding of the traditions, beliefs, attitudes and values of German speakers.