Thursday, April 19, 2012

German: Da & Wo Compounds Activities

Chris here again. Today I would like to share a set of activities which I designed to help my students practice the often tricky Da- and Wo- compounds in German. While the specific focus here is on these compounds the activity types are still adaptable for other grammar and vocabulary and should be useful for all language teachers.

I will forego a grammar explanation and leave that up to the individual instructors.

I like students to be able to quickly move from simple question-response type activities which focus on only one of the compounds at a time toward more complex activities which effectively make use of both compounds in more realistic situations of language use.

Another type of grammar which lends itself well toward practicing the Da- and Wo- compounds are the many prepositional phrases found in German. Below is a brief listing of the most common ones:

sich argern uber
sich beklagen (uber)
sich beschweren uber
sich beziehen auf
denken an
diskutieren uber
sich entscheiden fur
sich freuen auf
sich freuen uber
sich gewohnen an
glauben an
hoffen auf
sich interessieren fur
sich konzentrieren auf
sich verlassen auf
sich verlieben in
warten auf
aufhoren mit
sich beschaftigen mit
rechnen mit
leiden an

For the first activity, I had students pick eight of these phrases. Students then folded a sheet of paper into eight pieces and then separate the paper into individual pieces. Upon these eight little cards the students wrote the prepositional phrases.

The class was then divided into groups of three. Student A would begin by choosing one of their prepositional phrases and using a Wo- compound, pose Student B a question (e.g. Woran denkst du?). Student B would answer Ich denke an... Student C would then use a Da- compound and say Er denkt daran. After one such cycle, the roles would rotate clockwise with each student taking on a new role. This ensure that each student will take turns using both types of compounds. The randomly selected phrases chosen by the students ensures a good mix of both the prepositions and the concomitant compounds.

A followup activity I have used is to have students interview fellow classmates using these prepositional phrases and Wo-compounds in order to pose questions. Students are free to choose which prepositions to use. I generally ask students to ask around 5 questions or so per interviewee.

I will be adding some more activities to this post in the coming days so stay tuned!

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