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Good fun 50 min. ESL lesson with 40+ gr 9 students?

 
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:41 am    Post subject: Good fun 50 min. ESL lesson with 40+ gr 9 students? Reply with quote

Hello teachers.

Does anyone have a new fun and hip lesson plan they are using these days with our middle school Japanese junior high students?

This is my last lesson with these groups and there isn't a specific objective, so I'd like to do something new, doable, and fun for a large group of middle school Japanese students. My Japanese colleagues are watching too, so I'd like to do something good.

Anyone care to share? Much appreciated.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can use the gym, you can play baseball with English. Class in two teams, a bunch of questions of different difficulty (1st, 2nd, 3rd base, home-run). Batter chooses the question difficulty, pitcher asks the questions. You get the idea. I haven't taught it myself but a friend has and said the students love it. If the students are good at self-governing, you could even have four teams and two smaller games going on at the same time.

In class, there are fun things you can do for review quizzes. Draw horizontal lines on the board, print good and bad character (eg. Mario and Bowzer), a pair for each team. Good characters start at 0, bad two spaces below. When a team answers a question correctly, they advance their character up the board, and they also choose another team's bad character to advance one space. If the bad catches the good, the good character gets taken back down to 0.

You can go to the 100 Yen store and buy some fake money. Give each team some notes (say 30,000 Yen) and before you ask each question, announce the kind and difficulty (difficult listening, easy spelling, etc) and have them bet on whether they will get the right answer. Set limits to their betting, increase as you get towards the end of the quiz. Takes a bit more organising as you need to be sharp with keeping track of the bets and taking/giving money after each question.

You can also buy mini white boards and pens from the 100 Yen store for students to write their answers on, first team to write and hold up the board gets the point. Make the students pass the board to the next student on the team after each question to stop one answering everything. Tends to get everyone involved. Make sure you ask plenty of easy questions to get them frantically writing too, and don't accept answers that you can't read easily.

Do something fun for a warm-up... Music karuta is good for any age. Students in pairs or small groups, cut out some individual words from a song and have students try and grab the word when they hear it. Good with a familiar song where they know what's coming, or with a new song where they don't.
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Fifty. Great suggestions. I appreciate that.

One of my problems isn't really with ideas or even the students though. It's my Japanese team teacher. It’s the end of the year, and we finished the New Horizons book early so s/he expects me to just do a bunch of classes myself while s/he just watches, and (ehem) judges. Which I find a little frustrating because I already have an existing quality control system and s/he is not a part of it.

Based on past experiences, I’d prefer s/he to just give me the class and they just stay in the office as I often find their presence a hindrance to learning and student participation under these circumstances. By the way, I’m not an assistant in the JET program. We are team teachers in a MEXT school abroad.We are supposed to be equal and share the responsibility of the class as we are both licensed teachers. What typically happens when I do make a plan though, while explaining and modeling instructions to the students, my team teacher listens with a very confused expression on their face like I’m crazy and the students then draw upon this and then the lesson deflection occurs as a result. One would reasonably say, well just go over the lesson with your team teacher before class. I would, but s/he avoids outside class collaboration and has taken a minimal approach to this aspect of their job. I think they are afraid to speak English or as coming across imperfect, and as a result, lose some sort of superior position.

It just feels like I shouldn’t be designing a student activity that expects them to work or try. For example, if one student isn't involved then I'm told, for all the class hear, "sorry teacher, but they don't know that yet", or " sorry teacher but they are worried about their spelling", as if I'm supposed to drop the whole lesson plan idea right then. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, well help me out here and let’s make it work. Then, when I do make the activities easily understood and doable, so that even the lowest level English student can understand, I get the " sorry teacher, but your lesson is too easy for them".
I get very little assistance with "selling" my ESL activities to the students by using Japanese translation from my team teacher. But I always help them sell their NEW HORIZONS Japanese curriculum stuff to the kids.

As a result of this, I feel a lot of pressure going into these classes just because of this. It’s silly and it’s a little frustrating because I’ve been successfully teaching ESL kids for years without these complications.

I firmly believe that if the Japanese teacher wasn’t there, the lesson would go smoothly and as planned, but for some complex reason, their presence brings out of feeling of lesson deflection and rejection from the students.

Ok, well, now that I got that off my chest, I need a plan that overcomes this context. I could easily just give them a level appropriate writing assignment or make an ICT booking and get them to prepare a small PowerPoint presentation. This is what my J team teacher does when there isn’t any New Horizon material to cover. They spend 2 or 3 classes that prepare the students for a speech that ultimately consists of 2 or 3 simple English sentences. I’ve never seen them create or innovate their own plan.

But it very much seems like I am expected to make the cover of “ESL Today” magazine with my lesson idea.

Anyway, I need a new idea that engages a packed room of 40 kids with little mobility. I just feel like I’ve already done every modified game show going and every variety of vocabulary game as well.

I need something really good. Something that would actually get me on the cover of "ESL Today" magazine Wink

Any other really successful 50 minute activities going on over there in Japan that maybe I can try?

Thanks again Fifty.
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Ryu Hayabusa



Joined: 08 Jan 2008
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a lesson that was given to me a while back by a friend of mine who teaches at a high school. He's big into Drama and likes to incorporate a lot of role-play and skits in his classes. He's lucky because he teaches solo at a high-level school and teaches classes of about 14 students. My situation is not as good as his but I still got a lot of mileage out of his lesson.

This is a lesson that practices writing, listening, reading, and speaking skills. There is an element of role-play that some of my students really got into. I don't have much experience with that kind of stuff but I've successfully taught this lesson at my schools with classes as large as 30 students and with classes full of shy and/or unmotivated students.

I've taught this lesson both with an enthusiastic team teacher who helps whenever she can and with a team teacher who just stood at the back of class watching.

Lesson Flow:

Warm-up/modeling 3-5min
Activity and wrap up 10min
Modeling and explanation of next activity 5min
Writing 10min
Guessing and explaining 15-20min
Wrap-up and reflection 0-5min


Lesson Walkthrough:

"Guess Who" game

Before class, write the name of a famous person on a small piece of paper and put it in a hat or bag. Prepare small pieces of tape for quick taping during the lesson. At the beginning of the lesson, take that piece of paper out of the hat and tape it onto your forehead making a show of not looking at name on the piece of paper. Ask your team teacher and/or various students yes-or-no questions to model how to determine who it is on the piece of paper on your forehead. After asking someone, emphasize the fact that you’re going to ask another person and that you’re not going to keep asking them same person. When you have shown them that you know who you are, you stop and model how you want them to demonstrate their guess.

Ex. Student: Mr./Ms. (teacher’s name)!
Teacher: Yes, (student’s name).
Student: Am I _______?
Teacher: Well done, (student)! You can take the paper off your forehead but you can keep answering your classmates’ questions if you want.

Elicit the questions that you asked the students and write them on the board. Explain that they are all yes-or-no questions and give an example of a kind of question that cannot be asked. E.g. Is this person a man or a woman? What movies is he in?

Give students a minute to write down the name of a famous person on a small piece of paper. Explain that they can write down famous people or characters and that Japanese people are ok as long as their written in English/Romaji. The papers are collected, put in a hat, and shuffled.

Instruct students to line up single-file. The shuffled papers are taped to students’ foreheads or backs. Make sure that students wait for you to say “Start!” before they begin asking each other questions.

Give them 4-5 minutes to walk around and ask each other. They walk around and ask each other yes-or-no questions to try and determine who the person on their sheet of paper is. Once they know who they are, they go to you and use the grammar structure to tell you who they think they are. Then they keep walking around answering questions.

As the students are walking around, you and your co-teacher erase the example Yes-or-No questions off the board, put up the conversation pictures, and number them 1-20. Put the numbered pieces of paper (for the next game) in the hat or bag. Make sure to balance your time between preparing for the next activity and answering students’ questions in the guessing game.

Stop the game after a set time and get the students to take the pieces of paper off their foreheads. Congratulate the students who were able to guess who they were. Praise everyone for using the correct grammar and not using Japanese (if they deserve praise).

"Picture Pair Conversation Guessing Game"

Instruct students to throw away their pieces of paper and spend 1-2 minutes looking at the pictures on the board.

The students sit down and you choose a high-level or confident student to help you demonstrate (or you can use your team teacher to help demonstrate). Point out to the class that you and him/her are partners. Point out that there are 20 pictures on the board and 20 numbered pieces of paper in the hat. Get your partner to pull out a numbered paper and instruct him not to show it to anyone else but you. Fake whisper your number to the rest of the class so that they know which picture you got. (this is just for this demonstration)

Step away from you partner and tell the class that their task is to write a 6-line (minimum) conversation based on the numbered picture that they choose out of the hat. Ex. If my partner and I chose a 2, we’d write a short conversation based on picture 2.

Point out that the conversation shouldn’t be too obvious. For example, if the picture has two people holding tomatoes, the conversation shouldn’t go like, “Hey, these are some nice tomatoes we’re holding!” Make sure the students know that they will be reading their conversations to the rest of the class and that their classmates must guess what picture they’ve written about.

If a pair finishes writing their conversation much earlier than the rest of the class, mark (in pencil) errors for the students to correct themselves, and correct errors that the students aren’t capable of fixing.

After everyone has finished writing their conversations, students volunteer and read their conversation for the class. If there are no volunteers, randomly choose student numbers and have those students read their conversations. After the students hear the conversation, they briefly talk with their partner and write down the picture number that they think the conversation was based on. Help students by reiterating key information in the conversation (that was just read) to help students guess if necessary. If students are stumped, ask the pair to read their conversation one more time.

Elicit guesses from students. When a student pair correctly guesses, give them appropriate praise and, if they are confident or high level students, ask them to explain the reasoning behind their guess.

If there’s extra time, get students to fill out a quick self-reflection sheet as a “ticket out the door”. (Only students who are finished the sheet can leave.)

Notes: This lesson may not work well with lower-levels students because the conversations would be too basic/ambiguous and the students might have too difficult a time matching the conversation with the picture.

The pictures should be in color and big enough that they students in the back of the class can still see them. Or, you could display each picture once using a computer and projector. Then put the A3 color pictures on the chalkboard.
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for this Ryu. I think I'm gonna give this a try with the grade nines. Just knowing that it is a popular lesson in the Japan JET program gives me some confidence.

Especially, if the students try to deflect it with my team teacher, i can just say to myself ( and maybe my team teacher too ) "...well, I'm trying, this lesson was a success with other Japanese students?"

I'm gonna try Fifty's earlier suggestion using the "good and bad" character game with the 7 and 8's I think.

Any more ideas out there?

Here are a few that have been a big hit with the Japanese students in my neck of the woods. I'll just include a brief description and just let me know if you want more details.

1: "Dice of Fortune" - it's just a variation of "wheel of fortune" that uses dice instead of a wheel and uses the Whiteboard/blackboard as the playing grid and teams and terms/phrases from their curriculum. The dice #s represent money/miss a turn/and bankrupt just like the game show.

2. If you have a TV with USB port you can import flashcards up on the screen that have the " POWERPOINT Transitions effects" programmed in. Set the transitions to drag out to 15-25 seconds and the students watch in anticipation as the picture/vocabulary slowly reveals itself. The team or student who call out the correct answer gets the "carrot". Say goodbye to flash cards and laminations and say hello to USBs/Flatscreen classroom TVs/ and Google images with a little PowerPoint work! The students love it!

3. Always remember too - a class of 40 students are made up of 8 "Hans". Japanese students get in groups faster than any other student dynamic in the world according to both my experience and readings. Also important, the "Kakari" is 1 assigned weekly rotated student role that is responsible for classroom managemant among each Han and they report problem students to the homeroom teacher at the end of the day homeroom meeting. This is how the Japanese teachers elucidate their classroom managment role and achieve the highest student on-task behavior percentage in the world according to the OECD PISA Report , especially for J. subject based teachers. This whole concept is often withheld info from the foreign language teacher. After digging deep through various action research interviews, I applied the knowledge of the Hans and their accountability functions into my classes, and as a result, my classroom management improved significantly and on-task behavior went way up.

If the foreign language teacher does not use the Han system the job is very challenging. Japanese teachers have told me they wouldn't know what to do without them. Generally speaking, this is why Japanese teachers have lost their specialization skills and have mostly become pastorial education administrators. The magic and art of student engagement has been lost and they marvel at a Western educated teachers ability to draw students in out of pure intrigue rather than through the conditioning system they are typically accustomed to.

But yeah, any other Japanese "Hits" out there. I find that these learners are very specific. Ideas that I used with Chinese and Korean students do not work the same as with Japanese learners. A lesson can "flop" in a interesting way that I have never seen before.

Thanks again Fifty and Ryu!
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TokyoLiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1087
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:37 pm    Post subject: Jeopardy Reply with quote

Some great ideas here!

I've been doing Jeopardy as a review game in elementary school. I first saw this game when my wonderful mentor teacher in a Vancouver ESL school did it with our team-taught classes.

I described the game preparation and pattern of play on the blog I keep for Kashiwa City ALTs.
http://kaltitude.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/gaikokugo-review-jeopardy/

I just realized, after reading Japanology that you could prepare some or all the questions on Power Point slides. Managing the question display would take a little ingenuity.

I have a variant on Ryu's Guess Who activity that does not present any new language. I'll blog it today.
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link to your blog TokyoLiz. I looked through and really enjoyed it. The "Review Jeopardy" Game sounds perfect for my classes.

I couldn't find the activity you mentioned that you were planning to post though.

Nonetheless, thanks.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't really help with the teacher situation, I guess just be glad it's almost over.

Make use of the New Horizon text book. Have spelling questions using some of the words in the back. Ask questions like "Where is Emi from?" and "What does Shin play?" Do "What comes next...?" and read out random sentences. Use "he, his, him, his" for a bunch of questions. Using the white boards for answers will make it more fun.

Also, ask them questions about you. See how much they've remembered over the year. It's a good chance to act pretend angry when half of them think you're from Australia, the other half Canada, and you're actually English.

Can you explain more about the Han system? If I said to my class "Please get in your 'han' groups." would they know what I meant?
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TokyoLiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1087
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japanology, I got busy this weekend and only posted one activity so far. I might have time this week to post the interrogative activity this week.
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Onejoelfiftywrote:

Quote:
Can you explain more about the Han system? If I said to my class "Please get in your 'han' groups." would they know what I meant?


Brilliant question!

And the answer is YES!. Japanese teachers have been using hans and Japanese term for " get in your Hans " since grade 1. The students will know what you mean. But they will also be very surprised that you know about them.

I'm gonna start a new thread on this.

Thanks Fifty .
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. Is it the same as their lunch groups?
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneJoelFifty wrote:
Thanks. Is it the same as their lunch groups?



Yes, the same as the lunch groups. Sometimes they put two hans together for lunch groups though.
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