Happy Monday (again)! So last week there was no post due to my relocation back to Vienna, but I’m back this week and ready to go!
My plan for the next few weeks is to look at some of these GCSE topics a little more in depth – though they are, of course, quite broad. I’m hoping that I can bring together different resources that are out there on the internet that you can use to practise your German and prepare for your exams. Some of them may include vocabulary and grammar that aren’t as necessary for your exams, but they might have more practical real-life applications. As with anything in this series of posts, if you have any questions or any suggestions for anything you want to see – let me know! I’m happy to hear from you and help you if I can.
So, for this week, we’re going to talk about health!
Now, I am using the AQA topic list as a guide, because it’s quite comprehensive and I sat the AQA German GCSE myself, so I have a slightly better idea of how it works. However, there is a general crossover between all three exam boards, so this should be helpful for all of you.
I’m going to split this post into four parts: listening, reading, writing and speaking. Under each heading will be a few activities you can do to practise that skill. I would also urge you to begin working on your vocabulary now – I left links to the specifications (which have vocabulary lists) in the first post and to memrise courses where you can practise those words. You might not be on this topic yet, but start practising vocab for the one you are on; that way you’ll just be building on top of what you know, instead of cramming all in one go.
Leben in Deutschland – Gesundheit: This comes from the Goethe Institut and it’s a listening and reading exercise. You have a slideshow which involves a woman named Anne Geiger going to the doctor. You can listen to what she and the people around her say and read along with the text. There are also eight Übungen (exercises) which accompany this topic; they include comprehension questions, a crossword, putting sentences in order and reading an email.
BBC Bitesize – Healthy and Unhealthy Lifestyles [foundation] [higher]: These are quite old but useful revision tools, as they’re designed to help with GCSE exams. They’re very straightforward – you listen and answer the questions – and they give you the information to mark yourself right or wrong. There’s only the one exercise, but it’s very good practice to get in before your exam.
DW.com – Donnerstags kein Fleisch: This is an article (though you can also download and listen to an mp3/wma of it) about a town where every Thursday is ‘vegetarian day’. It is a little more advanced than would be expected of you at this level, but it talks about food and health, as well as being environmentally friendly (another one of your GCSE topics). There’s a glossary underneath the article (the article is ~300 words) and five multiple choice questions. The solutions don’t appear to be on the site, however, so if you’re not sure and want them checking, go to your teacher!
Deutsch Perfekt – Rauchverbot in der Schweiz: Deutsch Perfekt is actually a magazine with articles and features at different levels, to help you learn German. They also have a very comprehensive website, with articles and exercises you can use to practise. This article is rated at a ‘mittel’ difficulty – I think that makes it around an A2 level, which may be difficult, but I think you can probably read it. Again, some words are highlighted as being unknown, so you can hover over them to see their definitions. This article is shorter than the other one – ~160 words long – and there are no questions to answer. Plus, smoking and drinking are usually topics you have to touch upon when it comes to healthy and unhealthy lifestyles – and you’ll learn a little about Switzerland!
nthuleen.com – Krankheit und Gesundheit: This website has a multitude of worksheets (some of which you might see pop up in class!) which are really useful. This worksheet has a couple of vocabulary/reading exercises, but importantly, there’s a writing task at the bottom – Max doesn’t want to go to school, so you have to write a short dialogue, conversation or story about what happens. There’s an answer sheet here too, so you can check it against that – or, again, take it to your teacher.
Another good writing task for practice: write a short blog post or article about the advantages and disadvantages of a healthy lifestyle. Write seven to ten sentences (or 100-150 words). To get this checked, you can take it to your teacher, post it on lang-8 and wait for a friendly native speaker to correct it, or even post it in the comments here if you’d like! I’ll do my best to help you out.
It can be more difficult to find speaking activities, so what I’ve done is taken some questions from this website: Conversation Questions for the ESL/EFL Classroom. Try answering them with a friend (listen to each other and see if you hear any mistakes), or record yourself speaking and listen to it back. This can be a bit cringey at first, but no one else has to hear it – and it’s a much better way of catching yourself out.
Try answering some or all of the following questions. See if you can speak for ten seconds. Then twenty. Keep adding on time until you get to a minute. It might seem impossible at first, but if you build it up then you will get there.
- Denkst du, dass du einen gesunden Lebensstil hast?
- Was ist gesundes Essen?
- Ist Fettleibigkeit (die – obesity) ein großes Problem in deinem Land?
- Ist es wichtig zu trainieren? Trainierst du?
- Jedes Jahr beginnen ungefähr 200.000 junge Leute in Großbritannien zu rauchen. Wie denkst du darüber?
(If you want more health questions – but in English – then you can find those here.)
I realised I’ve been a bit remiss in giving you links to German dictionaries, though I guess you already know at least one. Still, my favourite is dict.cc, though dict.leo.org is a good alternative.
One of the websites I mentioned above, nthuleen.com, is one I’d forgotten about in my last post – but it has a lot of worksheets that you might find useful to use at home. Here’s another one which works on food vocabulary; have a look through the site and see what else you can find.
Other advice: make note of the words you don’t know. When you’re reading, highlight and then come back to them later, especially if it’s a word you come across more than once. Check if it’s on the main vocabulary list; if it is, make a note to learn it and if it’s not, then definitely learn it because it might come in handy later, especially for your speaking/writing exam or coursework. When you’re writing, do the same – maybe skip the word at the time, but look it up later. Write down any necessary information about the word (its gender and plural form if it’s a noun, any irregular conjugation if it’s a verb, etc.). For speaking, try and talk around the term if you can’t remember it exactly, as this is a skill that will pay off. It’s difficult at first, but like all things, it becomes easier the more you do it.
This might sound like a lot, but remember: you don’t have to do it all at once! Take your time. Enjoy yourself. You might not like talking about smoking or food, but chances are there’s a part of this topic you are interested in – so see if you can find anything about that in German, too. Plus, the more you use materials like this alongside your school exercises, the more used you’ll get to German and the better you’ll become.
Good luck, and I’ll be back next week!