Lesson 4-1 The First lesson - "Can you...?" English ESL Lessons...

Sep 08 2009 0 Comments by The ENB

Can you swim? Yes, I can./No, I can't.

I can swim./I can't swim...

Well, here we are back in the classroom for the second stretch of the year. It was nice to see all the kids again. Usually there are some big changes in them as they get back to school from the summer vacation. They were however quite relaxed and easy-going.

Getting into the new lesson chapter we are now on the language item of can vs. can't, questions regarding ability, and the active side of things - verbs.

Eigo Note Book 2 Lesson 4-1 - Page 24 - Teaching the verb CAN as in... I can swim! ...

In previewing Eigo Noto Lesson 4 First, one cannot help but notice the references to can and can't in the audio quiz Let's Listen 1 and the Chant. Suffice to say, the students had already learned "can" in previous years but that was way back when/before Eigo Noto came around. That was when you could actually just count on your fingers the number of lessons per year the students had gotten. So, they had already known the verb "can" but would they have remembered it?

teaching can with katakana eigo noto The lesson was simplified at first to give the students a feeling of review. (As long as we are following the textbook and curriculum I have the allowance of adding items to the lessons on a peer level basis.) So, I simply wrote "can" on the board and asked the kids if they had remembered it from last year or the year before. Well, you get the answers quickly this way as most kids will tell you straight off so I lead the other kids back into the meaning of "can" by telling them and reminding them of some of the things they already know that I honestly can or can't do.

The item sequence went like this:

CAN >>> I CAN >>>> I CAN "PLAY TENNIS" (using the play tennis flashcard)

CAN'T >>> I CAN'T >>>> I CAN'T "RIDE A UNICYCLE" (using the ride a unicycle flashcard)

This method even works well silently but that depends how well the students know you. They've already seen me fumble around the school yard with unicycle so they know for sure. (In your ALT situation, you might want to try this a week before your lessons... If you can really ride a unicycle then why not just show it off to the kids, you smarty pants, you... )

As they got the hang of it and accustomed to it, we went through a practice session of all the verbs/actions on page 26 and they all didn't seem to mind working on each card twice with "I can..." and "I can't..."

Perhaps, one of the hardest and most difficult things for ESL studies in Japan, especially with kids is perfecting accent. You would be really surprised just how hard it is to differentiate can and can't while listening to your students. It's quite hard for most students to produce as two distinct separate words. That's why today the theme is can vs. can't.

After going thru that rigorous round of repeating practice, we headed into the chant first. As you can see on the blackboard, the three pictures were explained first just to get the kids into the context of it. So, we labeled the first card as "sing" and the second card as "fly" and the third card as "swim."

Lesson 4 chant Eigo-Noto


Next, as the kids were listening to the chant, I started writing the lyrics on the board. It took about 4 or 5 repeats on the CD before I was finished but by that time I think since the students saw the question marks in the lyrics they could realize it was the bird asking the penguin if he could sing or fly, and what he could do. Now, it seems a little troublesome to go through a translation of the whole song but I think the kids appreciated it and the practice of the chant went very smoothly. Actually, it is more of a review of what they've previously learned.

It helped us however to consolidate can and can't, questions and answers, in preparation for the quiz on page 24. In all of my classes we had no problems going thru the quiz, although I did want to point out the difference of using "and" or "but" so we made it into a reasoning quiz to let the kids try to figure it out followed by a quick explanation in Japanese that all in all took about 3 minutes. Don't forget to quiz the kids on the real name of that type of fish. (Get it? He says "I can fly!" so some might figure it out and say "Fly Fish" or "Flying Fish." Give the kid who gets it right a quick praise of "kashukoi, ne!" and you'll have a kid feeling great about English for the rest of the day!)

Eigo Note Book 2 Lesson 4-1 - Page 25 - Let's Listen 2 and Let's Chant - I can swim Once through that quiz, it might be unfortunate depending on your point of view about quizes, but we've got to tell the kids there is another quiz for this Lesson 4 lesson; Let's Listen 2 on page 25.

Before the kids could say anything, we just went straight ahead and started it.

(The students usually have to practice for their Sports Day Events in September so they usually won't mind a kind of passive lesson. They do feel somewhat exhausted after 2 classes of exercise practice outside in the somewhat summery sun so we didn't see any point in pressuring any individuals into offering the answers by oneself in front of the class either.)

In checking the answers it did seem noticeable that some of the kids could not clearly see the flow of the audio's conversation so as we checked the answers we had put up the flashcards in the order of Ken and Mai's questions and comments for each other. As you can see in the board's picture we've got them in order. Then as we go thru the audio again, one of us would check the answers with a simple O or X in the appropriate slot. (I actually mistook a slot once or twice but that showed me the kids were still on their toes since they had let me know quickly enough by a few yells and shouts.)

Ken and Mai's quiz Lesson 4 Eigo Note


The kids were actually experiencing this kind of sequential (audio) checking technique for their first time so I was quite pleased to see that they were actually paying attention in seeing the order visually as well.

As a little prize for those classes which finished quickly enough we played a quick game of "free-throw" boys vs. girls, with some crumpled up scrap paper. Of course the kids were required to produce some of Lesson 4's target language before they could take a quick shot.

playing "basket" with the kids


I guess you can really ask to kids to play "basket" this time instead of "basketball."

Then soon again there goes the chime. And to consolidate it all it was quickly explained that this was mostly a listening lesson for today and we will get into the speaking portion next week.

Sorry we don't have an audio file for this lesson... Check out the next post to hear the students interviewing their HRT (Home Room Teacher).

Eigo Note Book 2 Unit 4 Lesson 2 ...


Hope your lessons went well!


Eigo Note Book 2 Unit 4 Lesson 2...


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The ENB writes for eigonoteblog.com whenever possible. The ENB's favorite school lunch is curry and rice. ( Short and spicy since we don't want to annoy anyone ;D )

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