Elementary Curriculum and Lesson Plans

<b> Forum for elementary education ESL/EFL teachers </b>

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Elementary Curriculum and Lesson Plans

Post by TomG » Mon May 30, 2005 2:45 pm

I am an elementary school teacher at a school for Japanese students, I worked as an ALT in Japan the previous three years, however this is my first time teaching at an elementary. The students here have english class once a week, and have all been taking English since the first grade, and so there level is fairly high. Coming up with an appropriate curriculum has proven to be difficult as the students have already studied nearly all the topics that I had planned on teaching them before arriving.
I have looked at the Genki English site and their curriculum, as well as an elementary curriculum that was used at my previous company, and they all seem too simple for the students here. But if I try anything too grammatically advanced, they are not able to keep up with it.
My previous style of teaching involved a brief intro of the topic, and then a series of games. However this style is not working so well here, and I am out of ideas about what I ought to do. I heard some students complain about how all we do is play games, but I am at a loss as to what else I ought to do. You can only lecture so long on a topic like "please pass me the...", or "how many are there?", and I prefer not to give them too many worksheets as they are so young. If anyone here has any experience in this kind of situation, please help me out with anything you could add. It has been pretty stressful so far scheduling what I am going to teach for 10 different levels a week, and coming up with effective lesson plans for each of those classes. I want to improve my classes, and I hope to get some good advice on this board.

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Post by mesmark » Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:21 am

I think a balance between games and work/learning needs to be struck. They need enough to remember that it makes it interesting and enough games and fun to practice what they have learned.

I'm a little shocked though. I've never heard any of my Japanese students say they play too many games. It may be that they don't find the games interesting or more correctly they don't find them challenging enough.

I have a website with a lot of materials www.mes-english.com I just started it so I haven't had time to get up very many game ideas and such, but you might find something you like. There are two pretty good games for elementary school children that are versitile and have always been a big hit for me, Big Town and Eigomon. I also have phonics materials which will help you with those students who just can't believe they're learning if they aren't reading or writing.

Here are some other sites with materials/games for children that I think are pretty useful:


Take a look at these and I'm sure you can come up with some good lessons and balance work and games.

As far as curriculum is concerned think about what your students want to say, not what we adults think they should learn. Ex. children don't care what the weather is like in Paris or what time it is in Sydney. Nor do they ask "How's the weather?" They need to be able to say "It's raining" and "Is it raining?" They usually only care about the "now" and what's right in front of them.

That's a generalization but there are all kinds of things in children's textbooks (like the time/weather example) that don't promote communication, but work to advance adult concepts of being able to communicate. This might also be a problem with students if they aren't using English to communicate something they want to say, but something that we think they should learn.

Anyway, food for thought.

I hope that helps.


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Post by Sally Olsen » Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:06 pm

How about getting a set of picture dictionaries so there are enough for one for each two students? I like the Let's Go but any picture dictionary with colour would be good. Each picture is a theme and you can develop the theme according to the level. There are going to be some words the students don't know whatever the level. The younger ones can learn the vocabulary in the ways that you have been doing with Bingo, match games and so on. The older ones can write stories using the words and some verbs you introduce. I liked the Let's Go because it introduced questions with each theme. We hardly ever teach questions and yet that is what they usually get from foreigners they meet. Get the children to exchange stories and keep them in plastic sheets in a binder on a particular theme (eg. Animals) so they can read each others. Make sure you correct mistakes before they put in their final product so they don't get any teasing. They don't have to put their names on them though. They can make up games, puzzles, crosswords, comprehension questions and information gap exercises based on each others stories and put those in the back of their little binders. Stories can be posted in bulletin boards in the hall. By the time you teach the 10th lesson on the same theme you will develop your ideas and be able to do other things with that theme - movies, funny pictures, plays. Just keep passing around the materials from class to class so they are sharing ideas. Just because you are hired to teach conversation doesn't mean that you have to do only that. People need to use all their skills to learn and some people need to be able to read something before they can use it in conversation or hear it and read it and so on.

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Post by TomG » Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:41 pm

Yeah I was pretty shocked to hear it myself. The classes here are all very small, and, like I said, the students have been studying English once a week since first grade, so their level is pretty high. Some of my third graders pick things up faster then my first grade junior high schoolers did last year. This is a good thing of course, but it has just presented me with a challenge.
Since I wrote last time things have started to go a little bit better, though, and I appreciate your ideas. I agree that we need to start working on some projects, so that the students can start to practice their english in another context as well.

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Post by GenkiRichard » Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:14 am

Hi TomG,

If they've got all the basics, how about these exchange projects:

http://genkienglish.net/petproject.htm ( talking about school pets)

http://genkienglish.net/schoollunchproject.htm ( talking about school lunches)

These are what I usually recommend for higher level kids and they work really well. Or if you have some ideas of things you'd like to do but are not quite sure how, let me know and I'll see if I can help in anyway.

Be genki,


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