Culture · Elementary School Education · 英語ノート② · Lesson Plans · Living in Japan · Teaching

英語ノート② Lesson 1 – 2 : the Alphabet

It is a beautiful and sunny day here, but I am unfortunately still rather horizontal with my “cold.” Fever is gone, throat doesn’t hurt as much anymore, but this darn cough will just not go away. It is a pretty deep chest cough that is just doing wonders for my voice *rolls eyes* I ended up emailing my boss yesterday to give him details on my condition and that I did not think I was going to be physically strong enough for the 30-40 minute bike ride to work on Monday. In my mail, I explained that the reason for the mail instead of a phone call was because I did not have much of a voice and that it was pretty painful to talk – which is very much true. Now, my previous boss would read this and then call at like 7 pm to “check on my condition.” I was shocked when my new boss actually e-mailed me back to say take care and to call his cellphone Monday morning before 7:30 on whether or not I was feeling up to work. Major points being awarded.

But now, how about one more lesson plan from 英語ノート②?

Greet with students

Let’s sing 【The Alphabet Song】

By this point, kids can sing this with their eyes closed, so I encouraged them to speed the song up. A few of the elementary school teachers had guitars in their classrooms, so it was a lot of fun to create our own sing-a-long. I told kids they would get extra points for dancing, and they were more than happy to do so. If nothing else, it got the kids feeling silly and energized.

Activity 1 pgs. 4-5 (pick up from where last lesson left off)

Most of my classes had completed the activity, but there was a class or two that got all the way to “T” or “U” and had to stop because we ran out of time.

Let’s Listen pg 6 (connect the dots via letters①&②)

I have never seen a group of 6th graders look so serious as when they were connecting the dots. The way the activity is set up is that there are a bunch of letters in a grid. Student then listen to the CD and connect those letters according to what they hear and create a picture. Now, the CD was really fast for most of the kids, so I re-read the letters a two – three times to make sure everyone was on the same page.

10 Minute Phonics

Back before the Board of Education was moving buildings, us ALTs had to spend a few hot summer days in what can only be called a storage room. There were tons of books in there, some of which surely had not seen light in a long time, and among them was an old phonics book for preschool and kindergarten aged kids -clearly an American product. I took it home and flipped through a few pages before deciding that I would try some of the activities with my 6th grade students.

Now, the thing with teaching the kids phonics is that it technically is not allowed. I got chewed out last year by my previous boss for just writing English words on the board, so I am not sure what the man would do if he knew I was teaching kids phonics. However, he is not here and I have a new boss that seems to be more open to ideas and improving the education system, so maybe I would not be chewed out this time. My elementary school teachers love it and the kids seem happy about it.

The first phonics activity was focusing on the sound made by the letter “B.” You should have seen the way the kids’ eye lit up when they realized that the b in the word book was what made the noise (if that makes any sense). It was a little difficult for some of the kids, but that is because they had never had to think about the alphabet like this before. The activity had a giant beach ball with some pictures drawn on it. As I read each word, if the student heard the “b” sound, they would color it. It actually went surprisingly well for the first time, and I really hope that it helps them.

Play 【Alphabet Survivor】 【Hop Say Jump】

I was originally going to play a game I created after watching an episode of Survivor: Heroes vs Villians, but I thought that it might not be active enough for the kids who had, until this point, been sitting at their desks doing various activities. I opted instead for a game that my students call their favorite: Hop Say Jump. In Japanese, this game is very similar to one called hebi janken with a few changes. What I do is divided the class into 4 teams (more opportunities for everyone) and divide the classroom in two. You can either use the desks or have them pushed to the side, but I like to use the desks because it makes things a little less hectic. On the desks, you place some flashcards (in this case alphabet ones) and one student from each team begins to weave through the desks, stopping at each card, saying the card, and then continuing on until they run into someone from the other team. When they do, they plan rock-paper-scissors and the winner is allowed to continue while the loser has to go to the back of their team’s line. Kids love it and hate it when I tell them they have to stop.

Review and say good-bye with students

That’s that. Hopefully I will be able to get back into the swing of things soon and be over this illness…I have plans for going to Disney Land and Disney Sea next weekend!

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