Animals and Colors through Picture Books

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Name of Teacher: Michelle Holliday

Class/Grade/Language Level: Elementary School (any grade but designed for 2nd grade)

Textbook and specific lesson: N/A

Goal: Learn to how to say the names of animals and colors, and how to combine them

Preparation: Picture Book: “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”, color flashcards for board, animal flashcards for board, 4-5 decks of small color+animal cards for karuta

Class time: Full-class lesson


Stages of the Lesson:

Greetings: When doing this lesson with 1st or 2nd grade, they may need extra practice on answering “How are you?”

Read Aloud: ALT reads aloud from “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” Keep it interesting by being animated while reading and pointing to things in the pictures and have the students respond to what they are. If they know the English, great, but at this point it’s not really necessary. HRT can give Japanese hints to the content if necessary or help out individual students, such as those who shut down and start making negative comments upon hearing any English.

Practice Colors and Animals: Practice saying the names of the animals that appear in the book, then the colors, then practice the pattern color+animal. Whether one does animals first or colors first does not really matter, that’s up to personal preference.

Activity: Karuta: Explain the rules: The class will split up into groups of 4 or 5 (the class’s usual group division for lunch etc. [班] works well for this, HRT can tell them to separate into their groups) and will get a pack of cards to spread out on their combined desks. When the ALT says something in English, students try to take the card that was called. Student with the most cards wins (for belligerent/sore loser classes, winning can be de-emphasized and replaced with an “Everyone try to get one card!” mentality). Also, something that requires HRT approval/collaboration but that can be very useful: if the same few children are winning every time, have students rotate based on number of cards they got, so that groups can be fairly equal level. During the game, the HRT can go around and help the children who can’t seem to get a card.

Level 1: Play with color only.
Level 2: Play with animals only.
Level 3: Play with color+animal, if both don’t match, the card can’t be taken. This level may require extra explanation in Japanese from the HRT. I personally would not have the kids play with “wrong card rests a turn” [お手付き] on any of the levels but especially not this one, almost going for the wrong card is what makes this one fun.