Lesson 5-1 The First lesson - "Turn right " Following Directions...

Oct 01 2009 0 Comments by The ENB

"Turn right " Following Directions...

Then, Turn Left... (Watch out for the... DOH!)

Here we are again for another new Lesson in Book 2 for the MEXT Eigo Notebook.

In previewing the new units, the first thing that 'catches my mind' are the really simple titles (like on page 30) in the top left hand corner of the textbook's first pages on the Units, in this case "Turn right."

For us native speakers of English they must seem really simplistic, but for the titles in kanji I'm sure there are deeper truths behind them just waiting to be prodded and investigated further.

Take for example, the kanji right below the "Turn right." As of yet I have no idea about what that means right now. I've been living in Japan for sooo long, and I still can't read a simple text from a Grade 6 level textbook! What will my future native country employers say? (If they ever hear about this...)

Eigo Note Book 2 Lesson 5-1 - Page 30 - Turn Right


So, let's ask the kids, I thought, and at the beginning of the lesson, I did. Little did I know, the meaning of it and sound of it would be a lot harder to comprehend. That group of kanji characters actually sounds like: "michi-annai-shi-yo" which actually I had never heard of put together like that before. But with help from the kids and in a short amount of time we broke it down to "road-follow-together or let's." Oh!...so this means, "DIRECTIONS."

Directions on the board

Now I get it, I was wondering what all that kanji meant. I should have asked my HRT's at some point prior in the morning, but they were all too busy counting and confirming new-type (Shingatta) influenza absences; which is a good thing of course. But in some way, as a statistically illiterate-in-Japanese English Teacher teaching English in Japan, I guess you should not let all that Japanese in which you have no understanding or idea of, "get the better of you."

Anyway's, most of the writing in the Japanese (light-green) teacher's books have been written more for the HRT's benefit than for us ALT's because we know what we are doing, don't we? Don't we...?

Well, for starters, on page 72 in the teacher's book, starting at the top-left-hand-corner in the first paragraph I can barely decipher, Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge, and...pathetically, that is all I can come up with (and those words are mostly in katakana). "What does this all mean!!!" Should I really care? Should I really spend up all or any of my desk time worrying about it? Does it make me feel jealous that my HRT's can read it?

Let me see, and I think...NOT! (as in sarcastically saying, no.) Does it bother me that there is more Japanese in there than English? Well, no. It is an HRT's teacher's Guide, so...no...it doesn't bother me... much. It's just one of those things that you let slide by, the longer you have been living in Japan.

However, the "so-called-on-the-net" one-sidedness teacher's books might possibly mimic or cause an attitude somewhere, or some poor ALTs are possibly thinking such as some comments and vibes on the local forums may suggest a scenario like:
"Me, HRT, so I read teacher's book made only for me."
"You, ALT, so you just teach. No need to read this book, right (desho)?"

Now don't get me wrong, it's not all like this where I teach. We are actually team-teaching over here. Well most of the time, to be honest. In our own special kid of way...and they have no fault in this matter so let's leave them out of it. "Me bad" a little up there, I guess.

As many people and a few bigwigs outside of the teaching world have told me
and anyone else looking at it from outside the box, there is a BIG difference however between the two resources; the free lesson outlines translated in text from the Eigo Noto publisher and the (2) complete 150+ page teacher's books. But, as for me, I'm just speaking for all those ALT's out there who want a little more out of MEXT.

All you other ALT's like me, who don't really mind, with the "What me worry?" attitude. Let's try to work on our Japanese reading skills, shall we? So, we have something to boast about back home at the office or in a job-interview and perhaps find more interesting words in the teacher's book other than Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge.

Well, back to the lesson. That's way too much ranting...but this is a BLOG in essence, remember? And ranting should be somewhat be allowed...

So, back to the lesson...and how we did it.

Starting off, the kids were simply told we have a new chapter for study, and just to remind them that "Lesson 4 finished last week by the way." My "penguin-performers" still wanted to do that last lesson's chant "one more time."

Now, the teacher's guide ("in the publisher's lesson notes translation" because yes, I am a statistically average ALT and by those standards I cannot read Japanese perfectly, hint, hint, the good old boy's over at MEXT, have pity on us and produce an online edition if you need to save money on printing costs, hint hint ;) says:

HRT: Look at this picture! You can see many flowers.
Student A: O-ha-na?
HRT: Right! But o-ha-na is Japanese. How do you say o-ha-na in English, _____ sensei?
ALT: Flower. We say "flower" in English. Repeat after me. Flower!
Students: Flower!
ALT: And this is a flower shop. Repeat after me. Flower shop!
Students: Flower Shop!
HRT: Excellent!...

Hmmm...not bad and I couldn't have done better myself for a lead-in to a lesson, but didn't the HRT in this dialogue already say "You can see many flowers," so why the need to ask. Alright, for maybe a Grade 2 or 3 class, but I can just imagine the kids saying (or me saying because I wouldn't be able to resist...)
"Sensei-mo-iiyuitetta-desho" ("You just said it, didn't you..") in a manzai kid of way. (Ha-ha.)
So, we scrapped that and introduced the new chapter for its key points like this:

First, getting the kids to translate, Turn Right. Second, translating the kanji below it for me. Third, confirming they understand (and the concept of) Directions. Fourth, providing some "showering" expressions related to giving directions such as:

"turn right and left,"
"go straight,"
"go back"

...which were actually studied last year so it also doubled as a review. And fifthly, we finally told the kids "Well, you might know how to get there (with directions), but do you really know where it is you are going "in English", too?"
"So, let's study the names of the places first, shall we?"

We quickly, got into a model-and-repeating session and finished it off with a review by the kids themselves, and a "mada-wakaranai!" (I still don't get it!) question corner for the kids for those items that are just too hard to remember. (There are 13 building/shop names in the target language so the kids will forget 1 or 2.) Some, of the tough ones were park, hospital, fire station, and bank. You'll probably get a variety in your own classes.

Eigo Note Book 2 Lesson 5-1 - Page 30 and 31 - Turn Right After the kids were satisfied, the concept of store vs. shop was also brought onto the kids as a breather quiz to see who could come up with the best answer why some places are called shops and some cases are called stores. The hints are flower shops and cake shops vs. shoe stores and book stores, and to think about the real meaning behind "shop" because depending on their hobby some people in America actually have their own "shops" at home but it is not a place to sell something, just for a hobby.

The HRT's translated where necessary. So, how about you reading this page, can you spot the difference? If you can put it together for the kids, they'll have one up on their parents by the end of this quiz. A lot of people in Japan still say "book shop" which is somewhat ok, but perhaps they think it is that way because we "shop" there...hmmm

So, after spending about 10-15 minutes on the above... we told them GAME TIME!!!

Game 1 Expressions

To get the kids into game mode and get their bodies moving, we asked them to "QUICKLY" find their Alphabet Game cards. And gave them the chore of finding their A B C D and E cards for the first game. I tried to introduce that these cards will be their game cards in Japanese, but I mispronounced 'ohajiki' as 'ohijiki' and had a laugh out of the kids.

We did play the first game twice, once slowly and the second time a little more quickly to save time. There's an audio sample of it. The kids basically place the 5 'ohijiki' on the town map page and as I call out a place in random, they can "turn" that 'ohijiki' around or take it off the page.

If they can take off or turn around all their 'ohijiki' they can win and say "finished!"

In the second game, Let's Play 2, we introduced the game, had the students make pairs, and started playing with just one book this time. We kept the same rules as the teacher's book, and it says to play for points, but we had it done as a Round 1 game of first to five points (fingers) and a Round 2 game of continuing the game to see who could make a comeback and beat their partner 8-5 or 7-6. But...here is the kicker, you can't take your fingers off the page, although you can use both hands in any possible combination. This is kind of like a "finger-Twister" type of game. I thought of "Google-ing" it and yes, you can play it on your computer too, just check out:

but be wary of this link, somebody slipped up...


This one is much better!

Eigo Note Game 2 Expressions

Most of the scores, in checking with the kids got pretty close at around 7-6 but some were way apart at 9-4, 10-3, and even 11-2. ;) Just kidding... (The sharp kids picked up on that quickly enough when I asked "So, who got 11-2?")

Well, you might have heard the chime in there somewhere, just a minute ago, and there wasn't much time for anything else.

In one class we barely got to do a 1-13 quiz at the end on the T.L. using the CD and the alphabet cards but I don't think there was really much need for it. And a test at the end of a class can usually spoil the mood so maybe we will try it in the next class. The kids had fun and it was a good day!


Eigo Note Book 2 Unit 5 Lesson 2 coming soon!...


Eigo Note Book 2 Unit 5 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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