Lesson Plans for the Eigo Noto

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Grade 5- Eigo Noto book 1

Lesson 5-1
Lesson 5-2
Lesson 5-3
Lesson 5-4
Lesson 5-5
Lesson 5-6
Lesson 5-7
Lesson 5-8
Lesson 5-9

Grade 6- Eigo Noto book 2

Lesson 6-1
Lesson 6-2
Lesson 6-3
Lesson 6-4
Lesson 6-5
Lesson 6-6
Lesson 6-7
Lesson 6-8
Lesson 6-9

Monday, February 22, 2010

Corrective Feedback Strategies  

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Error Correction in foreign language classes is something every teacher must do at one time or another. After all, there is a right way, and countless wrong ways, to say something.
Like almost everything else we do in the classroom, it's not always what we do (in this case, correcting incorrect student production), but how we do it. This post will give several examples and a brief explanation of Error Correction or Feedback for individuals (Teacher-> Student), and at the end give an example for Error Correction with the whole class.  A more thorough discussion of Error Correction and Feedback will follow at a later time.

There are 2 major divisions in Error Corretion in published literature:



  1. Implicit vs. Explicit Feedback, and
  2. Corrected vs. Uncorrected Feedback.


Explicit feedback is thought to be less communicative in nature, and tends to draw students' attention more to form.
Implicit feedback is thought to be more communicative in nature, and so, while still giving corrective feedback, to encourage more and continued focus on meaning.
Corrected feedback, like explicit feedback, is thought to draw students' attention more to form, and less to meaning.
Uncorrected feedback tends to promote learning through student self-reflection.

Given these features of the 4 types of corrective feedback, the order of preference for using these kinds of feedback in a meaning-centered, communicative langauge learning-based class would be:
  1. Implicit, Uncorrected feedback (more communicative, less focus on form);
  2. Explicit, Uncorrected feedback (more focus on form, but emphasizes student reflection for learning) OR Implicit, Corrected feedback (more communicative, though more direct focus on form);
  3. Explicit, Corrected feedback (less communicative, more direct focus on form).
Examples of Feedback

(S= student; T= teacher)

Implicit, Uncorrected feedback
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T (emphasized)- ‘LIke.’  Or, like a question, T- ‘lIKE?’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘He LIKE dogs.’ T- ‘He LIKE dogs?’ 
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘Try again!’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘Pardon me?’; ‘I don’t understand.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘Did you say ‘like’ ?’ 
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘Try again.’ or
    T- ‘Heee.......?’ or ‘He what?’
    Or T- ‘He playS tennis.  He LIKE dogs?’

Explicit, Uncorrected feedback
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T - ‘Not like.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘That’s not right.
    (That’s not how we say it.)  Try again.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘He LIKE dogs?’
    (That’s not right.)  Not LIKE.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘Did you say ‘like’ ?
    That’s not right.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘Try again.’ or
    T- ‘Heee.......?’ or ‘He what?’ 
Implicit, Corrected feedback
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘He likes dogs.’ or
    T- ‘He likeS dogs.’, with verbal or gestured emphasis.
  •   S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘He LIKE dogs. He LIKES dogs.’ or
    T- ‘He LIKE dogs?  He LIKES dogs.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘Do you mean ‘likes’?’.              
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘You said like.  Do you mean likes?’
Explicit, Corrected feedback
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘You should say, He likeS dogs.’
    S- ‘He like dogs.’ T - ‘Not like.  Likes.’   
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘No. Not He LIKE dogs.   He LIKES dogs.’
    or T- ‘Did you say He LIKE dogs?  It’s He LIKES dogs.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘He LIKE dogs?’
    ‘He LIKES dogs.’ is the right way to say it.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ T- ‘(No.) You should say ‘likes’ ’.  or   
    T- ‘You said like.  It’s likes.’
  • S- ‘He like dogs.’ ‘Not LIKE.  HE is the third
    person singular, so it’s not like, it’s LIKES.’

A less direct method of error correction is to make mental note of common mistakes heard during speaking activities, and then to write the incorrect pattern on the blackboard. Then, ask the whole class what is wrong, and also what is the right way to say something. AND THEN WRITE THAT ON THE BLACKBOARD, TOO. 
In this way,
  • students are asked to reflect on what the correct form is; 
  • no one student is singled out (limiting individual student stress); 
  • communicative- (ie., a meaning-) focus during the speaking activity is maintained; 
  • and all the class participates in a learning experience.

What, How and WHEN

What we do, and how we do something are important. The other pervasive choice is WHEN to say something. In the Eigo Noto classes especially, the focus is on COMMUNICATION. If the students are speaking in Japanese, English, another languauge, pointing, gesturing, or in any other way making you understand, and you actually understand, for that moment, perhaps no error correction is necessary. Then you can think about making the mistake a learning experience later, for the whole class.

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Should We Call It 'Communication Class?  

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As we approach the end of the school year, I make it a point to ask the HRTs I team teach with what they think of the Eigo Noto lessons as a whole. The teacher I taught with this morning had a very illuminating answer....


He said the hardest part for him, and for the students, has been knowing what the classes are all about. The list of questions included:


  • Are the Eigo Noto classes preparation for Junior High School English classes? 
  • Are the Eigo Noto classes English Conversation classes? 
  • Are they about communication?
  • Why is there so much focus on speaking English in the workbook? 
  • How are Eigo Noto classes different from other subjects/classes?
  • Eigo Noto classes don't have any tests...
These kinds of questions have been in my head for a year, and I have often heard other teachers voicing the same questions.

Whenever I go to a new school, I always ask the Koucho-sensei (school Principal), "What are your hopes or goals for my classes at your school?" And I always get the same answer, "Improving students' communication skills." There are other answers I get as well, but every Principal has put a priority on Communication.

So to address the HRT and his students' confusion about the goals of the Eigo Noto classes,
I wonder if a simple solution would be to call the classes 'Communication Class.' 
This would label an obvious goal for the classes for everyone to think about. There might be different class labels, such as 'World Culture', too. Just giving each class a clear name, and content or goal, would do a lot to help both students and teachers more successfully approach the learning task at hand. Throughout this year, I have heard a wide variety of class names/titles used by the toban (class leader) at the opening aisatsu of the Eigo Noto classes. How many have you heard?

Regarding confusion about teaching communication, in my 15 years of teaching in Japan, what I've seen some English teachers call Communication has really left me scratching my head sometimes. Clearly making Communication the name (or one of the names) of the classes would be an effective way of forcing everyone involved - students, teachers, administrators and textbook publishers - to have a serious discussion about what real communication is. Having an in-class, regional or national dialog about this could be very fruitful.

I have often had reason to ask why almost everyone in Japan studies English for years, but most adults are unable to have even the simplest English conversation. A common answer is "We're an island country!" Well, I lived in Indonesia for 2 years before I came to Japan, and it's an island country, too. And LOTS of people, with A LOT LESS education, speak a functional English. So I have a hard time accepting this reasoning. Perhaps an island nation that refused contact with the outside world for centuries would be a better explanation.
There are other reasons that are commonly put forth, and no doubt you have your own. But personally I have often wondered if, among other things, the socially-hierarchical nature of the Japanese language and society lend themselves to a handicap to true communication. It is often more important just say, 'Hai!', especially when talking (or rather, listening to) superiors, but does this really demonstrate comprehension?

And in the classrooms, a Japanese junior high school home stay student once observed,
'In America students raise hands to ask questions; but in Japan, students usually raise hands to answer questions.'
And my foreign friends agree on another point- 90%+ of Japanese people, when asked (in Japanese) 'Pardon?', go mute or stutter at best; seldom does a Japanese person repeat what they have just said to us. And asking a Japanese person to speak slowly, something I had to do as a learner of Spanish, Indonesian and Japanese, usually gets a positive response for only 1 or 2 sentences. And then speaking returns to 'normal' speed. These two points have been foremost in my learning 3 foreign languages; in Japan, these points have, and continue, to handicap communication with native speakers.

These are personal experiences I've had in Japan regarding why English is so difficult to learn for students here. No doubt you have other experiences or ideas. But regardless of why communication skills are lacking in young (or older) students, here or anywhere, let us next address Communication Skills.

There are 2 basic skills to Communication, Listening and Speaking.

To any adult, whether involved in education, business or personal relationships, the importance of listening skills should come as no surprise. And for the purposes of Communication (as well as Language Learning), we need to go one step further- Listening AND REPEATING.
Repeating what has been heard is often used as way to confirm what has been said. 'I have a dog.' 'A dog?' Or when someone tells us their telephone number on the phone, we usually repeat the number back to them again.
And for language learning, I think this is one of the most important skills, as well- Listening and Repeating. And I have been wondering if just the ability to do this repeatedly is one of the features of the language classroom that makes it different from learning language naturally.

Speaking well is something that takes practice. Again, the classroom setting allows students to say the same thing again and again. For students, or natural language learners, just saying something once seldom leads to speaking competence, let alone long-term memory.
As teachers, and especially those of young learners, we need to be creative in doing repetitive speaking activities just to avert boredom for the students. In Japan, this is often easily accomplished just by having students play Janken/Rock-Paper-Scissors first (it also conveniently serves to determine the order of speakers). See Janken Conversation Rounds and Janken 4's for a variety of ways to use this strategy.

Another aspect of speaking is simply having something to say. At a deeper level, this also requires self-knowledge. And the ability to give it a voice. Degrees of Introversion and Extroversion are different in all of us. There are probably also cultural tendencies that might make one stronger than the other in a given culture.

There are not-too-difficult classroom activities that prepare students for speaking, such as Brainstorming or Previewing, that I deal with on the ConverstionalFluency website. Another activity that I think would work well for elementary and junior high school students are the SOCC (Student's Own Conversation Cards) by Duane Kindt at this website. I will be working in the future to adapt his approach for elementary school.

We also need to be sensitive to what are known as Affective Factors, or simply said, students' feelings. Creating a speaking environment that reduces stress, and risk, for the speaker is very important. Compare
  1. Standing and speaking once in front of the class, and 
  2. Taking turns giving a speech with the other members of your small group. 
  3. Students making pairs, each saying a speech, and then forming new pairs and speaking again. 
Given these three activities, in what order would you put them for maximum student success with the least amount of stress?

Clear training in Communication and Conversation Skills is not that hard, in my opinion, but is something that anyone, in any culture, would greatly benefit from. Heck, it might even reduce violence and war.
The ConFluency Card game, and many of the other activities on this website, are activities that teach and practice these basic communication skills.
My own opinion is that many of these communication activities, and others, could be used in the lower elementary school grades, and used as a basis for building competence for later higher-speed and higher-level communicative interaction. At the lower grades these would be done in the native langauge, not only making it easier to teach (and for students to comprhend), but also building a foundation of communicative competence in the native language that will later be transferred to use with a foreign langauge.

To repeat, all of the school Principals I have asked in Japan have said they put a priority on improving Communication Skills for their students. Communication is such an all-encompassing parameter, as I have tried to discuss in limited detail, that making Communication a main theme or name of the Eigo Noto classes would do a lot towards bringing it to the front of teachers' and students' awareness, and towards giving the Eigo Noto classes a broad foundation upon which to build a many-faceted curriculum.

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Story Telling in Rounds  

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A very simple, yet fun and effective way of telling stories is to have students take turns, 1-by-1, telling one sentence of a story. After one student says a sentence from the story, then the next student has a turn to say one line.
Grouping can be done in a variety of ways:

  • Students can be in groups of 3-4, telling the story 1-by-1 together;
  • The whole class can be divided into groups, and each group (and each member within each group), in rounds, take turns telling one line of the story;
  • The whole class can tell the story, volunteers giving the next sentence of the story.  This works well as a time filler at the end of lessons in Grade 6, Lesson 8: use Momotaro, The Peach Boy, or another well-known Japanese children's story.
In Grade 6 Lesson 8 students are asked to make an original story, or geki. Having students first do this in Japanese in small groups, and then doing the same story again as a whole class, is a very fun and interactive way to tell the story of The Giant Turnip, or any other well-known story.

I originally used this activity with traditional Japanese children's stories with adults, in English, in conversation classes- and it was a great success there, too.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Students Don’t Have to Speak English (but some of them want to...)  

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Eigo Noto classes are not to discourage students from further English study, nor are the lessons meant to be Conversation Lessons. But what about students who CAN and WANT TO speak English?

Do you, or the HRTs you work with, ever insist that the Eigo Noto students interact in English? I sometimes hear Home Room Teachers exhorting kids to speak English together.
There are times when we want a student to speak English in the Eigo Noto lessons, to be sure- when listening and repeating words and phrases, or when checking accuracy in pronunciation, for example. And looking at the workbook itself, you could easily get the idea that the kids are supposed to be speaking English.
But as for student-to-student interaction in English,



there are voices from above, as well as implied expectations in the Mombusho Guidelines, that would not have us, as teachers, insisting that students interact in English in the Eigo Noto lessons.

This seemed obvious to me months ago. But an HRT/elementary school head English teacher recently returned from a Mombusho Eigo Noto training event and was telling me that she was told there that we should not be expecting the students to speak English. From the tone of her voice I got the feeling that not expecting the students to speak English in the Eigo Noto lessons was, for her, a striking and extraordinary idea.
Based on that conversation, I thought it worthwhile to discuss it here.

My thoughts on this points are based on these ideas:

  1. ‘All students should feel a sense of success in the final activity.’ See the post here.
  2. Not all students will be able to produce correct spoken English after 2-3 classes.
  3. Eigo Noto classes are not to discourage students from further English study. (From the Ministry of Education’s Guidelines for Elementary English Education. See the post here.) This is also true for students of ability who CAN speak English.
  4. Students don’t need to speak English to be able to communicate together.

If we can accept these points, it becomes easy to make a list of the things we can or should do, and those we shouldn’t, in Eigo Noto classes:

Things NOT to do in Eigo Noto classes

  • Don’t choose, or require, a student to stand alone in the class and speak English unsupported by a teacher. This includes any lesson that finishes with a Show-and-Tell activity. (The Listen and Repeat CROSSFIRE activity is meant to test students’ pronunciation, for all to learn from, and demonstrates an exception to this rule. A teacher is there as support.)
  • Don’t explicitly tell a student that they are saying something in English incorrectly (“That’s not right!”)
  • Don’t insist that all, or individual, students perform tasks in English.
  • Don’t expect students to speak English without A LOT of modeling and practice. And while they may be able to say the words and/or structures, meaning is something that will take even more time.

Ways to Structure Communication, and Spoken English, in Your Classes

  • If you expect students to perform a speaking task in the last activity of the lesson series, model from the very first lesson the language you want them to produce. And then repeat the language, in both listening and speaking activities, again and again and again.
  • Keep English langauge patterns very simple and very repetitive.
  • Use vocabulary words that are commonly used in Japanese.  See suggested word groups here.
  • Ask for volunteers to demonstrate spoken English to the whole class.
  • Allow the whole class to respond in English as a single voice first. Then ask for a volunteer to say it again after the correct form has been identified by the whole class and confirmed by a teacher.
  • If a student speaks English incorrectly, say the correct form for them to hear. Using a rising intonation at the end, like a question, can mean, ‘Is this what you meant to say?’ Or, give examples of the pattern, changing a word, to model the language by talking about yourself.
  • In the whole class, when someone responds in Japanese, ask if anyone knows how to say it in English. If they don’t know the whole meaning, start breaking it down into smaller and smaller chunks- phrases first (blue shoes), and then single words (blue, shoes). Gesture, and point to examples, to help.
  • When speaking to individual students, and they respond in Japanese, repeat back to them what they just said, in English. Or, make it an English question. (‘Onaka suita.’ -> ‘I’m hungry.’ or, ‘Oh, are you hungry?’)
  • To support low-English ability students, prepare materials with pictures and written Japanese as much as possible.
  • Use written English on the blackboard and in materials.
  • Narrow the conversation in activities to simple, repetitive patterns. Some of the Eigo Noto lessons use several language structures in one lesson. The EigoNoto.com lessons have simplified the language in these lessons already.
  • Use small group and pair speaking activities to advantage- these groupings lower student anxiety, allow for more direct interaction, and many other things.  See this post. And this one.
  • Structure activities so that students can repeat the same language experience several times with different partners. Some partners will offer better modeling than others, assisting lower-skilled students to advance their ability. Repeating the experience allows students to learn from their own, and others, successes and mistakes.
  • Make activities as communicative as possible. This is the most difficult to describe, but in simple terms, meaningful responses confirm comprehension. Responses can be verbal (Yes or No is the easiest to understand), active (Here is the FISH card.), gestures, or in Japanese.

With visual and written English support, spoken Japanese, spoken English and gestures, and enough repetitive practice, all students will have the best chance of successful communicative interchange, whether it’s in English or not. And those students who WANT to speak English get a chance to.

The Students Don’t Have to Speak English (but some of them want to...)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Grade 5 Lesson 9 What Would You Like? Chant  

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Here is  simple chant for Eigo Noto Grade 5 Lesson 9- What Would You Like?
To convert the file for using in the classroom, click on the video, copy the YouTube url, and paste it here.

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Eigo Noto Lesson 6-8-1  

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Grade: 6
Lesson: 8 (1 of 4)
Target: Please help me. (writing an original story)
Materials: CD & player; Text


Greeting- 2 minutes
Teacher to Students- Listen &; Repeat (some or all)
Hello, Hi, Hey, Howdy, G’day, Good Morning, Hola, Aloha, Bon Jour, Bon Dia, Bon Journo, Ni Hao, Konnichiwa, Anyohaseyo, Sambaino, Kiola, Selamat Pagi (am) (pm-Siang), Shalom, Jambo, Asalamalekum, Zzdrastvet-yah, Namaste.

Janken 4’s- Warm-Up/Review/Conversation Skills Practice- 5 minutes
ALT/HRT: Janken and do the conversation first together, then with a few students to practice/demonstrate.
Students: Winner chooses one daily activity from lesson 7 to say in English or Japanaese. Each student Janken and Converse with 3 others in groups of 4. 
Blackboard:     
W) (Daily activity sentence in English or Japanese) I get up at 7.
L) Watashi wa 7-ji ni okimasu. (or- I get up at 7.)

Let’s Listen 1- 8 minutes
EigoNoto- page 50
CD- track 60
Students- Listen to the CD and write numbers 1-2-3-4 in the boxes. Check answers with seat partner. (1-Big Turnip; 2- Peach Boy; 3- Red Riding Hood; 4- boy with horse)
ALT/HRT- Play CD, check students answers

Story Telling in Rounds- The Big Turnip- 10 minutes
ALT/HRT- Introduce activity
Students- In small groups, one student at a time tell the next line in the story for The Big Turnip.

All Class Storytelling- The Big Turnip- 10 minutes
ALT/HRT- Introduce and assist the activity
Students- Volunteers students tell one line at a time for The Big Turnip.

Let’s Listen- 5 minutes
EigoNoto- page 52
CD- tracks 61-62-63
Students- Listen to CD and try to tell the meaning in Japanese after each track.

Let’s Chant- 5 minutes
CD- track 71.
Blackboard-

  • Grandpa pulls the turnip.
  • Grandma pulls Grandpa.
  • The girl pulls Grandma. 
  • The dog pulls the girl.
  • The cat pulls the dog.
  • The mouse pulls the cat.
  • 1-2-3 Yo! Heave! Ho!
Students- Sing along with the CD.
ALT/HRT- Play the CD, lead the singing.

Storytelling Practice- if time
EigoNoto- page 50
Students- Choose one of the stories on page 50 for the whole class to tell the story 1-by-1 in Japanese (volunteers, or in order of small groups).

Wrap-Up- 3 minutes
(Present common mistakes to the whole class. Write the mistaken point on the blackboard, and ask if anybody can see the mistake.) Or-
HRT to Students, in Japanese:
-What did we talk about today? 
-Were there some words you already knew?
-Did you learn any new words?
-What was fun or interesting?
-What was difficult?
-How can we make that easier next time?

Closing- 1 minute
Students: ‘Thank you! Good bye!’
Teachers: ‘You’re welcome! Good bye!’

EigoNoto.com copyright 2010 Elton Ersch

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Team Teaching Made Easy  

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There are several ways to think of Team Teaching:

  1. Two teachers sit down together and discuss what they want to study, what activities and materials will be used, who will lead which parts, etc..  The two teachers share responsibility for preparation and teaching, each providing their own strengths.
  2.  One teacher is always the lead teacher, making the Lesson Plans and being the T1, or lead, teacher in the classes. The teachers don’t share responsibilities, other than the T2 teacher doing occasional support in the classroom. This is what ALTs sometimes call being a ‘tape recorder.’ Conversely, the situation could be that the ALT is alone in front of the class, and the HRT or JTE is almost uninvolved in the class, except for probably choosing the content of the class and asking the ALT to prepare the Lesson Plan and materials.
  3. The two teachers take turns preparing for and leading classes.  Today, teacher A writes the Lesson Plan, prepares materials and leads the class. Tomorrow, teacher B writes the Lesson Plan, prepares materials and leads the class.
  4. One of the teachers takes the lead role in Lesson Planning, but asks the T2 teacher to prepare content-focused activities and materials. The lead T1 teacher generally leads the class, but clearly signals when the T2 teacher is to take the lead role for the prepared activity.
   
It is not really fair to say that one way is better than another. In practice, you and your team teacher may, over time, have any or all of these work relationships.
In upcoming posts I will discuss in what situations each of these models may be advantageous.

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