Posts Tagged ‘German’

Learning German with Felix and Franzi

October 19, 2017 @ 6:18 pm | Filed under: Foreign Languages, Fun Learning Stuff

A few weeks ago the kids and I discovered a new-to-us resource for our German studies. The Goethe Institute has a set of comprehensive and quite entertaining lessons for children—fun, thorough, and (amazingly) free.

The elementary-aged program is called German With Felix and Franzi, a cartoon frog and duck who move from Berlin to London. Each lesson begins with a short animated video. Supplementary materials include a Powerpoint with vocabulary-practice activities (we download them, move the words and pictures around as directed, and then close without saving changes), as well as music and lyrics for a couple of songs. The site is loaded with additional resources, and I’ve only just begun to mine the possibilities.

While the animation tends toward the preschool end of the spectrum, the lesson content is just right for my two beginners, ages 8 and 11. We work through several lessons a week, beginning each day’s session with a re-watch of earlier videos in the series, with the speed bumped up to 1.5 to help with comprehension. (Since conversational speakers usually talk a lot faster than the characters in educational videos.)

A real plus: the already rich lesson content is further enhanced by corresponding Memrise lessons for vocabulary review! (I’ve raved about Memrise before…)

So our lessons look something like:

—watch one or two of the videos whose content they’ve already learned;
—watch the next new lesson in the series;
—sing a few of the songs;
—(maybe) play with the Powerpoint activities;
—(maybe) watch a few other German children’s song videos on Youtube—not part of Felix & Franzi, just things we find in search;
—(later in the day) Rilla does a Memrise lesson. (Huck’s not a fan.)

It’s a good format for us and I’m pleased with their progress.

Beanie, with several years of German under her belt already, has been investigating the Goethe Institut resources for more advanced students. She especially enjoys the music playlists.

This was an accidental find last month, right when I needed a nudge, and so far the program gets high marks from me. Which is saying something, because I do believe I’ve tried just about every foreign language program on the homeschooling market, at some point or other!

Learning Languages and Other Stuff at Memrise

November 23, 2012 @ 8:12 am | Filed under: Foreign Languages, Fun Learning Stuff

How I Learned a Language in 22 Hours” — Joshua Foer describes how he used Memrise.com to learn Lingala, an African trade language, in 22 total hours of study (over a three-month period). Memrise uses visual memory techniques and modern computer gaming incentives to make such a feat possible.

If five million people can be convinced to log into Zynga’s Facebook game Farmville each day to water a virtual garden and literally watch the grass grow on their computer screens, surely, Ed believes, there must be a way to co-opt those same neural circuits that reward mindless gaming to make learning more addictive and enjoyable. That’s the great ambition of Memrise, and it points towards a future where we’re constantly learning in tiny chunks of our downtime.

Naturally, I leapt straight from that article to the Memrise website and, two days later, am happily up to my eyeballs in German vocabulary. The kids and I are working our way through a course on the trees of England. (I always wondered what yew and rowan looked like.) Highly, highly, highly recommended.

Monday Links & Language

September 10, 2012 @ 8:53 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Foreign Languages, Language Arts, Links

New Thicklebit: Tats for Tots.

New interview: Writing on the Sidewalk.

Foreign language app we are finding irresistible, with a deliciously mockable edge: Earworms. (I learned about it at GeekMom. Rose and Beanie are using the German; Jane, the Japanese. Rose likes it so much she ponied up her own funds for the Arabic.)

Other resources Jane is using to learn Japanese (answering Ellie‘s question from my learning notes blog): Pimsleur Approach audio program (check your library for these); Free Japanese Lessons; Learn Japanese Adventure (another free site).

I had such a fun time yesterday recording a Brave Writer podcast with Julie Bogart and her son. I’ll let you know when it goes live! The Prairie Thief is the October selection for Brave Writer’s Arrow program—a monthly digital language arts curriculum featuring a different work of fiction in each installment. Brave Writer is one of the first resources I ever gushed about on this blog, way back in 2005. 🙂 And as you’ll discover in the podcast, Julie Bogart was the blogger who inspired me to start Bonny Glen in the first place!