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Classroom Activities

English Teaching Materials, Games and Activities

August 17, 2009

I'm David. Nice to meet you.

Hello, I'm back! I've been very busy since the beginning of April and haven't had time to do this column justice, but now I'm back and have time on my hands, time which I hope to put to good use.

As some of you know, I'm busy developing Blending a Hand 4, a digital data disk full of support materials for New Finding Out 2 (NFO2) by David Paul, which I hope to publish before the end of this year. I have already created many of the materials, but have yet to sort them and write about them. Perhaps writing about them in this column will be beneficial for us all.


Let me start off in unit 1 of NFO2, where the main targets are "I'm..." and "Where do you live?" To teachers who have no experience with these books, then the targets may seem a little sparse, but after NFO1, then on your students should have some good reading, writing, pronunciation and spelling skills and be ready to tackle NFO2 with gusto.

The pronunciation "I'm" or "I am" is usually not easy for Japanese children as they often don't touch their lips together when speaking these words. I will help the children practice by using songs such as "I am five." from (American) Get Ready! published by OUP. My version of the song goes like this:

I am five. Yes, I am. I am.
I am five. Yes, I am. I am.
I am five. Yes, I am. I am.
I'm a little (big) boy (girl). I am five.

We also sing a version of the song "Are you hungry?" from Super Simple Songs.

These songs really help the children focus on the pronunciation of "I am". Page 5 of NFO2 has the children doing simple introductions such as "I'm David." I like to expand on this and have the children do some easy introductions using "I'm...". For example:

I'm Mayu.
I'm seven.
I'm from Japan.
I'm happy.
That's me.

For older or more experienced children then I have them fill in a worksheet and practise self introductions. Here is the worksheet:


This can also be used to introduce a classmate and for pairwork when one child asks the questions and the other answers. I sometimes have the children memorise and practise their introductions; this is great for impressing parents or surprising ALTs.

NFO2 is designed as a student centered course, so you'll find very little overt drilling and repetition. The "drilling and repetition" is built into the many games and activities which David Paul writes about in the Teacher's Book. So, in developing support materials I also try to look at the book from a child's perspective and create materials which children will enjoy. If they only want to play the game once, then the game needs scrapping or redesigning. A game or activity needs to be fun, every time it is played, and needs to practice or review/preview target language.

There is one more game from my up-and-coming disk which I would like to share with you, today. It is the "I am track.", which can be done competitively or cooperatively. Here is the game:


1. Played competitively
There are two tracks, the blue track and the red track, and the target is to be the first one to reach the end of your track. The two players start in the bottom left and right hand corners and say:

"Hello! I'm Takashi." (or "Hello! I'm a boy.")
"Hello! I'm Satoshi."

Then they each race along their tracks saying "I'm a cat. I'm a rabbit. I'm a cow. Etc. (I'm a dog. I'm an ant. I'm a mouse. Etc.). When they meet in the middle, they 'jan-ken' by saying "Nice to meet you." and the loser goes back to the start. Once someone wins the game, they reverse positions and play again.

2. Played cooperatively

"Hello! I'm Takashi." (or "Hello! I'm a boy.")
"Hello! I'm Satoshi."
"Woof! Woof! I'm a dog."
"Meow! Meow! I'm a cat." Etc.

You can of course throw in "Nice to meet you." If you like. When they meet in the middle, they reverse positions and do the activity once again. You and your students can probably think of other valuable ways to use these materials.

If you want a full size version of the board or worksheet, then please make a request in your comment. Otherwise wait for the disk.

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