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Thread: Vision Quest Support Group

  1. #1

    Default Vision Quest Support Group

    For those of us lucky enough to have this rousing textbook for our English Expression classes. If you are afflicted with this textbook, let this be a sounding board for your VQ woes. Share your coping mechanisms with like-minded saps in a safe environment. We shall overcome.

    (For serious though. Ask questions, rant and btch if you need to, and post successful lesson ideas. Let's expressing English!)
    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    Since when does awareness of surrounding make an ALT better? Chances are if they didn't have a clue and got lost in the forest and eaten by bears on the way to work, the school would be better off and the ALT would in turn be a better ALT.

  2. #2
    Because Japan... Cytrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Brilliant. I am still to talk to my JTEs about what they want me to do with this book, since I'll only be taking 1 out of the 3-4 'communication' classes they will have using it every week. I'm hoping I'm allowed to base my activities off of the 'expressing' section of each unit. I really do NOT want to tackle the grammar section at all.

    Are you using the 'Standard' or 'Advanced' book with your classes?

    With the standard we've basically got...
    Unit One: Introducing yourself
    Unit Two: Interests and favourites
    Unit Three: Travel Plans
    Unit Four: Have you ever...
    Unit Five: Ordering Food
    Unit Six: Sights around the World
    Unit Seven: Hobbies

    There's more but that's all I'll probably do (probably even less than that) in the next four months. At least for the first two classes I'll have my self introduction and then get the students to introduce themselves with a 'shield' and 'interview' activity.
    tabemoto...: Cooking in southern Japan

  3. #3

    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Standard. And I'm expected to teach grammar. Buhhhhhhhhhhh. I had this nice 2-day approach (1 day grammar, pronunciation, intonation 1 day conversation) but then I realized that some of the sections have 1 grammar page, some 2, and some have 3. What's a shield activity?
    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    Since when does awareness of surrounding make an ALT better? Chances are if they didn't have a clue and got lost in the forest and eaten by bears on the way to work, the school would be better off and the ALT would in turn be a better ALT.

  4. #4
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    If you haven't already, remind your teachers that their first lesson isn't lesson 1 in the book, it's the first page of the book. They need to be retaught this.

    I suggest making student pairs (or groups of 3....) where they practice these phrases and one acts as the teacher while the other(s) ask questions/perform actions.

    If they are hesitant, also include a basic introduction component to the activity, which they might appreciate given that it's one of their first classes together as a class.

    When I brought this up, my teachers basically when "ohh shit, we forgot about that. Right!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  5. #5
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Working on Standard, but we've also got the advanced books kicking around if this goes fast (they think the content is less than previous grammar books we've used)

    Cytrix, your order seems about right... I haven't looked at it too much yet though, been relaxing this week more than I should :P


    They're using me for the model conversation then the expression after they've done the grammar teaching themselves.

    There's absolutely nothing useable in the workbook.

    If you guys get a second, ask your teachers to let you borrow the team teaching book that is in the teachers set. Give it a quick look over, and see if your teachers are cool with that model if this is genuinely something new.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  6. #6
    Because Japan... Cytrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    My shield lesson is just basically an introduction activity to the class and students (since they're all new to the school/class). It's a blank shield divided into 6 and each section has a title e.g. 'my hobbies' 'my family' 'my pets' 'my favourite subject at junior high was...' etc. and the students fill them out (I provide glossaries to help them out) and make them look cool. It's one way for me to get to know what makes the student tick (e.g. their creativity level, a hint at students that need extra support or extension based upon what they write/how they write etc.).
    tabemoto...: Cooking in southern Japan

  7. #7
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    We're using Standard. My JTEs aren't happy about it, but apparently it's the most popular Expression textbook in the prefecture (which I suspect means the company selling it got there first and handed out envelopes full of cash).

    Like Cytrix, I'll only have one of 2-4 Expression lessons in a week, and my JTEs have told me I can use the whole lesson for "activities" to reinforce either the expressive stuff, the grammar, or both. I've also been told to lag behind the JTE-only lessons, so they've had a chance to explain the grammar before I reach it. All in all, I'm in a fairly good situation, even though the textbook sucks. I suspect many of my lessons will only have the barest relationship to the book.
    ...because Japan.

  8. #8
    Because Japan... Cytrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Yeah I'm basically going to try to use as much as my previous lesson materials as much as possible, since it appears I'm being loaded with more classes this year, so far less planning time.
    tabemoto...: Cooking in southern Japan

  9. #9

    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Would you say it's more important to start with self-introduction stuff and then teach the classroom phrases the second (or third) lessson? Or go straight into the classroom phrases? I'm thinking letting the kids get to know each other first is better but I know they need to learn the classroom phrases as soon as possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    Since when does awareness of surrounding make an ALT better? Chances are if they didn't have a clue and got lost in the forest and eaten by bears on the way to work, the school would be better off and the ALT would in turn be a better ALT.

  10. #10
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    I think you can merge basic self introduction stuff they learned in JHS into the classroom phrases. Both should be review, low work classes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  11. #11
    Because Japan... Cytrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    I'll be doing my self-introduction first, and then probably classroom English. And then move on to self-introductions. Mine are low enough that it'll be newish to them (some are coming in without the alphabet apparently).
    tabemoto...: Cooking in southern Japan

  12. #12
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    I'll be doing my self-introduction first, and then probably classroom English. And then move on to self-introductions. Mine are low enough that it'll be newish to them (some are coming in without the alphabet apparently).
    Jesus... WHAT!?! Without the alphabet? What are their feeder schools doing for three years?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  13. #13
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    The school across the street from mine occasionally has kids that need to review the alphabet. It's not even the delinquent school. The kids manage to get into the school by squeaking by with scores on the other subjects' exams, interviews, and being good in certain clubs.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Cytrix, are you doing 3 different lessons for those topics?
    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    Since when does awareness of surrounding make an ALT better? Chances are if they didn't have a clue and got lost in the forest and eaten by bears on the way to work, the school would be better off and the ALT would in turn be a better ALT.

  15. #15
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    My JTEs are taking half the first term doing JHS English stuff, because they got together and realised how many kids have been coming to our school without it (I'm guessing they studied and forgot it after the exam, but either way...).

    I'm going to do self-introductions straight away while they don't know each other, then my own introduction. After that, stuff to reinforce the JHS-level lessons (noun, adjective, verb, basic tenses, etc). I won't hit the Vision Quest material until mid-May. Having already done introdcutions, I may have to think of a different activity to start with.
    ...because Japan.

  16. #16
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    I guess this is where I'm the worst ALT in the world, but I don't really do the self introduction thing at all. It's like 2 minutes. Hi, I'm me, this is where I'm from, lets get to work cuz you really don't care.

    Antonath, I kinda agree with that approach, except for that is the first two units in VQ. First is basic question grammar, second is SV/SVO/SVOC structure. In fact, I'm rather impressed by the sluggish pace the book sets at the beginning.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  17. #17
    Because Japan... Cytrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Yeah my kids have VERY basic English. My friends thought I was exaggerating how bad their English was, until they met a graduated student from my school and he thought the appropriate answer to 'how are you?' is 'faito' (I didn't teach his class so no blaming me). They all basically seem to forget English they've learned previously when they arrive here.

    I'm hoping to get some clarification with my teachers at our meeting this afternoon because it looks like I'm not even taking the 'English Expression' class (instead of the Communication) which looks like it'll be the expressing part (THANK CHRIST).

    My self intro quiz thing (largely about NZ but it helps me to gauge their ability to understand sentences/pick up key words) takes about half a lesson so the other half we go over useful classroom phrases and then test them on it during the next class. Then I'll move on to their self-introduction. I don't like skipping those 'getting to know you' classes for the 1st graders, since it's vital to build the class culture. I've found the classes have been much better this last year since I really pushed doing those introduction activities with the classes (my JTEs were happy to not do them).
    tabemoto...: Cooking in southern Japan

  18. #18
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Ohh yah, those comm activities are huge at the very beginning, especially when they don't have a class dynamic yet. That's why I skip the whole Hey, I'm the gaijin and come from somewhere not here so I must be cool, crap, and just rock straight into them getting to know each other through English.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  19. #19
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    I use my introduction to get them used to things I do in other lessons, like group work, getting them writing on the blackboard, etc.

    And Giz, I agree I'm going to be doing similar activities in the pre-VQ lessons as for the first few lessons on VQ. The introductions bit is the only one I can't easily swing a second activity for.
    ...because Japan.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Vision Quest Support Group

    Yeah, I am just planning on a 2-3 minute self-intro for me and one for the JTE as well and then we will go over class rules, make their stamp cards/ nameplates, review classroom English, and then do a self-introduction activity for the rest of class. The first lesson in the book is also self-introduction stuff so after 2 lessons of that they should be good and... introduced. I want to set up a structure that we will follow pretty rigidly. Last year my pred did stamps as a reward for speaking English. I'm hoping to make it known that English is the minimum and stamps are for trying hard (good homework, expressive voice, volunteering, translating for the class, etc). The greetings will be done in English. I think I'll also print out a list of common classroom questions in English with the Japanese translations and put it on their bulletin board and if they try to ask me something, point to the list to see if it's on there. I'm also hoping exposing them early to presenting/ answering quesions publicly will make my life easier in a few months. I'm also going to try explaining the grammar with very simple English and lots of examples and only supplemental Japanese from the JTEs. I would like to call on students to come up with their own examples for the grammar. My hopes my be dashed within the first few classes but we shall see. Going for the strict but fun teacher approach this time.

    tl;dr I have no clue what I'm doing and these are my guinnea pigs.
    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    Since when does awareness of surrounding make an ALT better? Chances are if they didn't have a clue and got lost in the forest and eaten by bears on the way to work, the school would be better off and the ALT would in turn be a better ALT.

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