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Thread: Introductory Lessons [take 2]

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    &%$#@!!! Timoshi's Avatar
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    Default Introductory Lessons (take 2)

    So, after Spring Break, we're (nearly) all of us are going to have a brand new class of ichinenseis to work with... and this means a new introduction lesson.

    Having been in the job for (at least) over 6 months now, I'd hope we've all gotten better at making lesson plans and teaching. So, I was wondering how you guys plan to do with your intro lesson plans. What will you change? What will you keep?

    As for me, my first introduction lesson was a pile of shit, I've discovered. So, I've decided to change it up a fair bit.

    First, I want to start out by giving them some useful English to communicate with in class (like "do you get it?" I got it! / I don't get it...; put your hands up if...).

    After that, I'll introduce myself through playing a betting game, with the students being put into groups.

    Then (while still keeping them in groups) I'll get them to write something to introduce themselves to me. While they're writing it, I'll go around and meet each student personally.

    What will you all do?
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    Senior Member tedcase's Avatar
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    Just photocopy my preds plans, after changing the name.
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    I'm going a bit back and forth on this one, myself. Last year I just had them stand up, say their name and Junior High school, and then had them questions from a hat to ask me.

    Super lame. The upside to it, I suppose, was that it was so structured that it was no-pressure for them. They're still getting to know their classmates, the school, etc. and I think that standing up and just saying a few lines in English they were comfortable with was comforting for a lot of them. That was the vibe I got anyway.

    I'm hoping to think of something better, but so far I'm coming up a little blank. I have 50 minutes and 40 kids to address in that time, so it's tough.
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    Default Re: Introductory Lessons (take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by Timoshi
    After that, I'll introduce myself through playing a betting game, with the students being put into groups.
    Can you explain the mechanics of this Tim? My self-intro involved them asking a lot of questions but I'd like it to be more of a fun game than just a "which kid is brave enough to stick their hand up? None? Ok, lecture time :-(" kind of experience (in fairness most classes asked quite a few questions but still...)

    I plan to do a similar thing to what I did last year though. First of all write a load of things about me on the board like "22" (my age), "Daisy" (my pet's name) etc. etc. and then give them a sheet with lots of questions and things to ask about. Then tell each student to make 3 questions and write them down. Then volunteer to ask.

    I then answer each question with map, flag, photos and so on, and give them a UK postage stamp with a pretty picture for asking something. Then, in a group of 4, they help each other fill out a crossword on what I said.

    Second lesson, I'm going to teach classroom English, as well as have the students make passports.

    Third lesson, the OC proper begins and they act out their own introduction dialogues etc.

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    &%$#@!!! Timoshi's Avatar
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    What I'm going to do is divide the classroom into 4.

    Then, give each table a set amount of photocopied money (with doraemon, kitty-chan, totoro etc on it). I will introduce a new 'fact' about me or Australia, and they'll have to bet some of their money on whether it's correct or not. Table with the most money wins.
    Me Rikey Very Much!!!

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    I do the same as Timoshi, but dont' give them any real money, just use points on the board. I also ban them from betting more than half, as some kids will bet it all on the first question, lose it all, and then be screwed unless you lend them money, and then it gets all crazy. I also have them ask me questions, no yes of no allowed, I'll come up with 4 choices, they pick, whoever gets it rights gets their bet back plus equal amount, wrong loses the bet money.

    How do JHS people approach this, though? Are you going to bother with a self intro? Or is their english too nonexistatnt to bother? or do it in Jap?

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    I'll do a basic self-intro with slide-show.
    Then play "Heads or Tails" to check their comprehension. Everyone stands up. If they think what I say is true, hands on heads. If they think it's false, hands on bums. Those who are right stay standing. Last one standing in each class gets an Australia pen, badge, sticker or whatever other shit I still have leftover (I wrote to a ton of companies and tourism boards before I came over and almost all of them sent me stuff - there's a good tip for the newbies!)
    After that, they'll be put in pairs to interview each other with a simple "fill in the blanks" exercise. Eg. "What's your name?" then they write "My partner's name is _________". While they're doing that the JTE and I will take digital photos of each pair. Afterwards, I print each photo in the centre of a B4 sheet of paper and put the two relevant interviews on either side. This then becomes a "class book" which I use to remember their names; and I give it to the class at the end of the year.
    Questions include:
    What's your name? Do you have a nickname? When's your birthday? What are your hobbies? What is your favourite subject? What do you want to do in English this year?
    I make a note of their birthdays on my calendar and their hobbies in my teacher's book - helps me to plan classes and get to know them.
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    I play karuta and bingo, with a short round of fruit basket for a treat. I've found the self intro lessons are fairly redundant seeing as everyone has forgotten about it 2 weeks later.
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    Senior Member Narnia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddieHitler
    everyone has forgotten about it 2 weeks later.
    I agree. I go through such effort to get the students to know about me and South Africa, but they still think I am from Australia or the USA. I have decided the kids really don't care
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    Im gonna spend the first 10 or so mins getting them to make cards for their name...
    About 20x14 cm, fold them in half lengthways so they stand up like a triangle...
    Then they write their name in romaji so they can stick it on their desks whenever im there and I know who they are.
    On the back, facing them will be some helpful classroom english, and on the inside they can draw 20 small square for points/stamps whatever.

    Means I have a task for the next 2 blank weeks as well... Cutting up cardboard for 300 students.
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    I've been wanting to do something similar with the name tags at my elementary, especially since they're upping my visits to three times a week. With four elementaries, I'm lucky if I can remember even one name per class!

    I want them to be able to personalize it, but sadly most of them don't know the alphabet yet :P

    I think I'll use that betting game though.

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    i agree with narni, i honestly think they don't really care or they only care for about 1 minute in the class. Also, i feel like a tool making this big deal about me and myself and my life and whatever , fill out some worksheets as if my hobbies are fucking important :?:
    SO, i think for our first lessons i want to do a really pared down self introduction, maybe with posters or else with slide show, have my jte also do a small self introduction. Ask a few questions each to check they understood (prizes for those who answer, ofcourse). Then go over the 'rules' for english class and helpful phrases like ' i dont understand', ' please say that again' etc.
    That should be one lesson.
    The next lesson i'll have them work on worksheets for introducing themselves, make a name badge with their name in romaji (good one! will help my successor too), interview their desk partners and some of them present to the class.
    Then i guess the 3rd lesson we will start with whatever crap is in the textbook

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    No offence, but if you don't think your life is interesting or your hobbies are important to the kids, then why are you making them do exactly the same task? Maybe they'd rather not talk about themselves.
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
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    My thoughts on the self intro are this:

    I too don't like to talk about myself that much (why the hell should they care indeed!) and I really hate having to tell them "how wonderful my country is" (I'm not that patriotic). I think it's a very important thing to do though.

    For one, it gives an example to students on how to talk about oneself - that's clearly important useful English. By doing it first, yourself, it gives them something to aim at, and takes the pressure off them in the first lesson.

    Believe it or not - they ARE interested in your country. Many of these kids have never been abroad, never flown in an airplane, and you are one of the few foreigners they'll have ever interacted with. If you want your students to ask questions in class and be happy communicating, then it's good to lay your cards on the table first and build the trust.

    Find interesting things to tell them about yourself. I soon realised what the students do like me to tell them, and I make sure it's covered in every intro class (e.g they love seeing pictures of my pet rat and are amazed I kept THAT as a pet: it died a long time ago but that really doesn't matter, they also find it interesting that we have 3 names and that my middle name is Alexander - for some reason this causes a fair few "sugoi"s). Basically, just try to tell them facts about yourself they WILL be interested in, and show them lots of photos. The most effective things are those they can compare to Japan. If you have the facilities for powerpoint, and video, then you're well lucky; I wish I did!

    And Wicket - I don't get your comment about "if you don't like talking about yourself, why are you getting the students to do it?". Why does it matter whether they'd "rather not" - it's a bloody important thing to be able to do in a foreign language and so surely as teachers it's our job to make them learn how to?

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    Fucking Classy lains's Avatar
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    I think she was just meaning that its a little hypocritical to say its a waste of time to talk about yourself in class, but then get the kids to do that exact activity.
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    hypocritical? how's that?

    Its an introductory lesson (see topic?) and all the students and teachers will be new so ofcourse (and obviously) there will be some self introduction FROM ALL PARTIES.
    What i'm talking about is not just having me stand there for a lesson going on about myself, country,life etc and then testing them on it as if its wildly important. Is the difference now apparent?

    As narniaru said, i honestly don't think they really care all that much (when i did that when i first got here, they didn't ask anything about my country or anything like that -i also don't think they even know where i come from now even though 90% of the presentation was about s.a - they only asked things like do i have a boyfriend, do i like japanese food blah blah). They are senior high school students, after all.

    Anyway a whole big self intro thing may have been more relevant when i was a new person being introduced to the already established class and jte, whereas now we will all be new so why the hell should there be more focus on me just because i'm foreign?

    Anyway i'm just going to do what i think and fee comfortable with - from the previous self intro rounds, i observed that that didn't work so i'm doing something different. Its as simple as that. If the whole slide show and testing works for you all, then thats all good?

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrissey
    And Wicket - I don't get your comment about "if you don't like talking about yourself, why are you getting the students to do it?". Why does it matter whether they'd "rather not" - it's a bloody important thing to be able to do in a foreign language and so surely as teachers it's our job to make them learn how to?
    I meant it seems a little hypocritical.
    Granted, the ability to introduce yourself to other people is important, but that involves shaking hands and saying your name, which I do with all new classes (ie. when the kids are new to each other and not just to me).
    I think it's actually quite rare that anyone has to get up and do an extended self-introduction - even AA lets you get away with just saying your name and admitting your problem.
    I don't like talking about myself, but I do love my country, as in the land itself, which is different from patriotism. My students are inordinately interested in Australia for some reason and that way I can model true public speaking, rather than the Japlish idea of self-intros.
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    Hi kids,

    My name's Dombay. I'm from Sydney. I like chinese gyoza.

    Now turn your text books to page three.
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    Senior Member Narnia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wicket
    My students are inordinately interested in Australia for some reason .
    I think this is the problem. I too am passionate about my country. I am extremely proud of how far South Africa has come. I have put so much effort into explaining South Africa, and I do it through all mediums to keep them entertained. I even include the Soccer World Cup. But after all that the kids still ask me about kangeroos and Koalas and baseball. It seems that there is no pleasing the kids unless I am an Australian or American.
    Dr Peterson: 'I'm a schoolteacher'
    Porter at Empire Hotel: 'Thought so: they always look as if they've lost something' -From "Spellbound"

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    I've had an interesting day in that I'm teaching these new students with two new JTEs, so I'm trying to figure out a way to incorporate them introducing themselves as well, but obviously they probably won't get as detailed with information as I will about my family and whatnot.

    My problem has been coming up with an interesting activity where we can all introduce ourselves to each other. I want to focus on the kids for the first class, them filling out their passports and all, so that maybe during the powerpoint about me in the second lesson, they'll pay a little more attention since they didn't just meet me five minutes before.

    I'm sure they'll all be shy, and not know each other. One of my JTEs had the idea to have the students trade fake meeshi with each other, but I don't know about that. Is anyone doing anything fantastically interesting for their first class as far as incorporating everyone getting to know each other?

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