Education · Elementary School Education · 英語ノート① · 英語ノート② · Lesson Plans · Living in Japan · Teaching

英語ノート Lesson Plans – Should Have Been Posted Sooner

I owe some lesson plans from my elementary school lessons. I have been terrible about posting these guys recently, but I need to get back on it…if nothing else, for my own records. Anyway, I’ll post the most recent 5th and 6th grade lessons here. My one elementary school is a lesson behind the other one, so these lessons I did today at one were done last week at another. This means I will have another set of lesson plans coming soon-ish. Google documents is being stupid and not uploading my document correctly, so I cannot provide links to the handouts like I was planning to. Of course, if you are a fellow ALT and would like copies, you are more than welcome to email me or leave me a message and I will send them to you.

In 5th grade, we started lesson two which has a kind of ridiculous title: Let’s Make Gestures! Last year, I totally missed the point of this lesson and ignored the whole gesture thing, but I wasn’t really doing my students justice. As I have mentioned before, the goal of 英語ノート is not to teach English. The goal is to foster international understanding and a curiosity in foreign languages – all by means of using English. The target language for this unit is “How are you?” and “I’m (hungry),” and while the book only shows four feelings (happy, fine, sleepy, hungry) the real goal is to get kids to realize that they can have themselves understood without knowing the language 100%. The example I gave my students was this: imagine you are in America and it is a really hot day. All you want is something to drink, but you cannot remember the word thirsty to save your life (my students had a really hard time pronouncing this word). Would you just give up and hope to not pass out from dehydration? Of course not! You would try to get something to drink. I randomly picked on a student to come to the front and try to tell me they were thirsty without using any words. There were some really great gestures from the kids and it really illustrated to them the importance of gestures. I used a few examples from my own lack of Japanese ability to reinforce this a little more. Hopefully, by the end of lesson 2, students will take away a confidence that they can still have a voice even if they cannot speak a language fluently or just simply forget how to say something.

Greet with students
Chant 【Hello Chant】
Meet and Greet with 5 friends and sit down
Introduce new expression for lesson two

Few, finally done with lesson 1 review and time to move on! I did a mini demonstration with the JTE where students listened to us ask each other “How are you?” and the easier to understand responses of “I’m hungry” and “I’m fine.” I then asked kids what they understood from the conversation – most kids understand this much by just watching gestures. Next, the JTE and I repeated the dialogue and then had kids tell us what sort of English they heard to try and build sentences on the board. This conversation is simple enough that kids pick up pretty fast.

Introduce new words

As I mentioned, 英語ノート only teaches the kids four words and this hardly presents the kids with a challenge. I upped this to ten words and the kids had little trouble remembering them – minus thirsty. The words I selected are: happy, fine, hungry, thirsty, sleep, mad, hot, cold, sick, sad.

Play 【Feeling Rhythm】

This was actually something I just came up with on the spot to reinforce pronunciation without the whole listen and repeat process becoming too mundane for the kids. What happens is that I will say one of the words and then we all clap twice and the students repeat that word. You can clap faster to make things more challenging if you’d like. I had a few classes where the kids did not want to stop doing this because they wanted to keep saying the words faster and faster. Note to self, use this again!

Demonstrate the importance of gestures

Re-read my above explanation if you forgot what I did. I also stressed that for them, it is important to use gestures even if you know the words in English to make things easier for the listener to understand.

Play 【How are you? BINGO】

Each student is given a BINGO sheet with nine feelings on it. The goal is to get two lines and receive a chocolate scented stamp from me. What students do is first find a partner. They then ask their partner, “How are you?”. Their partner then picks any emotion from their BINGO sheet to answer. The student who asked the question then marks that emotion on their sheet. If this sounds confusing, read the below dialogue for a better picture.
Student A: How are you?
Student B: (looking at their own BINGO sheet) I’m hungry.
Student A crosses hungry off their sheet.
Student B: How are you?
Student A: I’m sleepy.
Student B crosses off sleepy.

Let’s Listen pg. 10

This activity is a little confusing because the pictures are misleading depending on how you interoperate them. What I found helped the kids get 4/4 was to tell them to really listen for who is asking the question and who is answering the question since there is a male and female voice and, likewise, the pictures depict a male and female speaker. Once kids understood this much, they had no problem.

Review and say good-bye with students

And that is a wrap on the first lesson of lesson 2!

Now, onto 英語ノートfor the 6th graders!

In 6th grade, we finished off lesson 1 of learning the alphabet. Sadly, these kids have one more month of “learning” the letters of the alphabet, but lesson 2 has randomly mixed in big numbers along with it…interesting choice.

Greet with students
Play 【Alphabet Slap】

One of the nice things about 英語ノート, and also one of the more tedious things, is there are cards in the back of the book for kids to cut out and use for various activities. At one of my elementary schools, I made it homework for the kids to cut out all 26 letters of the alphabet, but at the other one we had to use class time to cut out cards. Now, cutting alone takes Japanese elementary school kids over 10 minutes. You need to add another 10 or so for them to write their names. The thing is, most of these kids want to make sure that they cut exactly on the dotted line and do not want to make any mistakes. These kids will also use rulers when they are connecting dots.

Back to the game. In Japanese, the game is known as カルタ karuta, but I grew up calling it simply “slap” or “that slapping card game.” You can play in groups, but I had my students play in pairs. Using one set of alphabet cards between the two, students spread the cards out over their desks. When they hear a letter called, they try to slap that card before their partner does. Each card to slap first you keep and get one point. I made it a rule that if you made a mistake (slapped the wrong letter or just slapped for the fun of it) you had to give one of your cards to your partner. Once I got down to about six letters, I started repeating letters that had already been called to make sure the kids were really listening and to keep them on their toes. You would be surprised how much kids like this game. The top card getter of my 6th graders was a girl who got 24 out of 26 cards. Pretty impressive.

Let’s Listen 1 pg. 7 ③&④

This is just picking up where the previous lesson left off. Some of my classes, because they were a little behind, already had this done. What is tricky for kids with the second batch it that numbers are also thrown into the mix.

Activity pg 9.

Or, what I like to call, “Search for English Letters Around the Classroom!” activity. This was actually really good for the kids because they got to see just how much English, or at least English letters, they see every single day. One kid was so surprised to see that he had always looked at the calendar and never fully realized that he understood MON to be Monday (getsuyoubi月曜日) along with the other days of the week. A few others were super excited to know that their Pokemon and other anime related things that had the title written on it were also written using the alphabet. Next week I will have students share what they found. Kids seem to be looking forward to that.

Review and say good-bye with students

Thus ends lesson 1 of the 6th grade book!


2 thoughts on “英語ノート Lesson Plans – Should Have Been Posted Sooner

  1. I adore your lesson plan posts. Since I’m just under two months away from ALT-dom, getting to see your lesson plans is really nice.

    I might want copies of your handouts. It can’t hurt to check them out, right?

    Also, I just have to share that, since I’m a city ALT, rather than prefectural, I’ll teach in elementary and jr. high schools, rather than high school. I’m so happy about the elementary schools! 🙂

    1. I can send you anything that you like. I have materials made for the entire year – that is, unless I come up with different games and activities. In terms of this 英語ノート stuff, if you elementary schools are using the book you will be starting about half-way through it. Even if you are not, a lot of my games and activities do not require the book at all.

      Elementary school is a lot of fun. I love it! Jr. high school, at least for me, has been a hit or miss. You might get lucky 🙂

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