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Thread: "My Summer Vacation"

  1. #1
    Member shusuime's Avatar
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    Default "My Summer Vacation"

    one of my schools is a low level agricultural SHS..and they constantly ask me to come up with "My ----- Vacation" type lessons. Seems easy enough but the lessons never go well and always bore the students and fail to get them to actively participate. Their english ability is fairly low and they are often impossible to get to speak..does anyone have any suggestions or lesson plans that have gone well for them? I'd appreciate any sort of help here..

  2. #2
    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Paul's right.

    I hate doing these lessons but I have to anyway.

    What I often do is model the English for the students with my JTE. I tell them what I did ('I went to Hong Kong. I ate steak. I went to the beach. I like Hong Kong' - simple stuff like that). I work in a JHS and there is a wide variety of English abilities so I draw pictures on the board. The kids like that because I cannot draw very well and they think it's funny but they get the point.

    Once the kids see that you don't care about making a fool out of yourself it often emboldens some of them, especially the class clown who then in turn emboldens someone else. Have a few kids come and draw a picture on the board and explain in simple sentences too. Or add to yours. Move around the room and tell their friends what they did if they don't want to do it at the front.

    What you want to avoid is the monotony that Paul mentions above. "I went to Kurashiki Mall", "I watched TV", "I did my homework" is boring for you, your JTE and most importantly the kids themselves. It also doesn't make them feel good about themselves or their ability. Everyone wants to feel a bit special.

    Forcing everyone then is a bad idea because some kids aren't very imaginative. If they are though and they want to tell you that they went to the moon and picked roses then let them. But they won't. So solicit some bullshit out of them with pictures, kanji, mime, dumb sounds, etc and most importantly get them to do it to otherwise you're just a hired clown.

    Kids often want to be moving, drawing, talking and generally doing rather than writing and reading. So let them. Your JTE can worry about grammar and stuff.
    Last edited by dombay; September 2nd, 2008 at 18:44.
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  3. #3

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    Trivial to the rescue... I have a low-level ichinensei SHS agriculture class too. I made the suckas do some really simple speechwriting from prompts with LOTS of help in the form of examples. If it's too hard, make it first-person, or take out the speech part altogether. I'll put this in the "Lessons" area tomorrow. Here ya go:
    "The complex Japanese language and its writing system are inventions of the devil, designed to prevent the spread of Gospel."
    -Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

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    Member shusuime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivial View Post
    Trivial to the rescue... I have a low-level ichinensei SHS agriculture class too. I made the suckas do some really simple speechwriting from prompts with LOTS of help in the form of examples. If it's too hard, make it first-person, or take out the speech part altogether. I'll put this in the "Lessons" area tomorrow. Here ya go:
    ahh that's incredibly helpful! I really appreciate all of the comments and suggestions from everyone....I'm going to try this lesson on tuesday and I expect it to go much better than any previous lesson like this.. so thank you

  5. #5
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    I usually do something like what Trivial posted (Actually, I think I'll use Trivial's worksheet because the clipart is prettier than mine! Thanks!) with a couple generic games.

    One game that works is the memory chain game. Students work in small groups, and each says something they did during vacation as well as everything that has been said already. So Student 1 says something like, "I went to the beach," Student 2 says "She went to the beach. I ate watermelon," and Student 3 says "She went to the beach. She ate watermelon. I slept," and so on. The whole class does this in separate groups for a set period of time, and then when time is up the group that has the longest chain wins. If your students are bold you can have a representative from each group recite their sentences for the class. (This game works for pretty much any grammar point, and is excellent for when there's five minutes of class left and you're not sure what to do!)

    If you have prizes, bingo works too. First I go around the room and have each student call out something they did that summer, no repeats allowed, and the teachers write the English on the board. I let low-level classes make suggestions in Japanese, but high-level classes have to at least try to make the English sentences on their own. Then when you have a whole board full of ideas, hand out blank bingo sheets and have the kids write sentences in the squares. For the actual game, I either have the students one by one ask me "What did you do this summer?" and they have to listen for my answer, or I pick a random pair and have them ask each other, which usually leads to lots of shouting and pressure from the students who need a certain response in order to get a Bingo.

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