Initial Search and Otedama Relay
Name of Teacher: Katsuaki Kuroki, Kasumi Kadokawa, Mayumi Shimoda, and Ethan Barkalow
Class/Grade/Language Level: Elementary School, 3rd Grade
Textbook and specific lesson: Let's Try! 1, Unit 6: Alphabet
Goal: Allow students to memorize the letters of their initials and get more familiar with capital letters.
Preparation: Large alphabet cards for review, small alphabet cards, teachers’ names spelled out on individual squares of construction paper, otedama balls.
Class time: 45 minutes
1. (5 min.) Greeting: I usually have them sing the Hello Song from Unit 2 of Let’s Try! 1. You can also have them mingle around the classroom and ask others “How are you?” and respond “I’m happy/sleepy/tired/hungry/etc.”
2. (3 min.) Today’s goal: Whoever is T1 explains the content and goal of the class. Since the students are so new to English, it’s best if this is done by the HRT or JTE.
3. (7 min.) Review the alphabet: This is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to review the content before jumping into the main activity since third graders only have English once per week and they forget things easily. You can use picture cards to review how to recognize and pronounce the names of capital letters and/or sing the alphabet song.
4. (15 min.) Activity 1 – Initial Search: The activity in the textbook for Unit 6 has students cut out and paste their initials into the textbook. This game is a version of this activity, but it’s not necessary to use the textbook. Before class, you’ll need to check a class roster to make sure that you prepare enough individual letter cards for every students’ initials. Ask the HRT for the roster. The students’ names should be written in hiragana as well as kanji, but if you can’t read the hiragana, then ask the HRT to help you. Using construction paper and a marker, make enough cards so that each student will be able to find their initials. For example, means that if there are 10 students with one S in their initials and 2 students with double S’s, then you’ll need at least 14 S cards. Pass the cards out randomly to each student. The goal is to gather the two cards of their initials. You may need to confirm with the students which letters are their initials. Your JTE and HRT can help you with this. Give the students a demonstration:
- A: Hello. My name is John Smith. JS. J card please.
- B:(has a J card) Here you are.
- A: Thank you.
- If your students are struggling to find their initials, you can help them out and make sure that each gets a hold of them.
5. (15 min.) Activity 2 – Otedama Relay: Split the class into three or four teams depending on size. Prior to class, you’ll need to spell out the teachers’ names on squares of construction paper; one letter per square. First name only is fine. You need one teacher’s name per group, so if you have four groups but only two teachers in the classroom, choose two other teachers in the school that the students will know. If you like, you can use something else instead of the teachers’ names such as cartoon character names (e.g. Mario). Before starting the game, confirm that the students can read each name and each individual letter. Push desks and chair to the back of the classroom and have each group form a line. A few paces away from the front of the line, have the students spread out the letters on the floor. Give two otedama balls to each group; each student will have two tosses. The goal is for the group to land an otedama on each letter in sequence. So if the name on the floor is “John,” they must first hit J, then O, then H, then N before they can finish. Because some groups might have longer names, it’s not a competition against other groups but it will still have a competitive spirit. Once a student has expended their two tosses, the next student in line can go. Make sure that they announce the letter they are aiming for.