Teaching Animal Names with ''Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?'' (1st-4th grade)
Name of Teacher: Richy Lee
Class/Grade/Language Level: Elementary School 4th – 6th Grade
Textbook and specific lesson: Club activity
Goal: To introduce world cuisine and countries / Practice simple grammar and pronunciation.
Preparation: Food cards / Wordsearch / Country flags / Lollipop sticks with students names on them / Post it notes (2 hours prep time needed)
Class time: 60 - 90 minutes
Roles: The ALT should be the main teacher for this class. The JTE should be ready to translate any difficult instructions. The JTE should also be available when the students find the Post it notes and need to speak to pass that stage or to help with the wordsearch activity.
- Choose students randomly using lollipop sticks and ask questions about the weather / day / date / feelings.
- Divide students into 4 equal groups, mixing different level students. 6th grade students can act as team leaders. Assign each group one country. For this lesson, I used the USA, France, Italy and Japan. This becomes the group’s team, e.g. Team Japan.
- Place 4 small country flags on the board in the corners. Under these flags, you can make a note of points won for each team.
- Elicit food and drink that comes from each country. 4 pieces maximum for each country. The food and drink I used was mostly known to the students by its Japanese katakana form so this drill focuses on the English pronunciation. The team that successfully guess all 4 pieces first are awarded a point.
- After placing all the pieces of food and drink under the correct country’s flag, the teacher will ask the question, “What’s this?” and mime a specific food or drink from one country, removing it when the correct answer is given, “It’s______” / It’s a ______” .
- Holding different food and drink items, the teacher will elicit the name and country, practicing and drilling: Miso soup is from Japan, Pizza is from Italy etc. Go through all the cards and attach under the country flags again.
- Students will be given one piece of food or drink from a random country. Each piece will be in the shape of the specific food or drink. Students will walk around with their flashcard/item face down. They will ask other class members, “What’s this?” If the other student guesses correctly, they will mark one point on a small score sheet. If they cannot identify the shape of the flashcard, they will answer, “Sorry, I don’t know”. If the student guesses wrong, their classmate will answer, “Sorry”.
- Students will complete a wordsearch with all four countries and their country’s 4 pieces of food and drink. The wordsearch can be created online at: http://www.atozteacherstuff.com. You can add extra lines of letters to make the wordsearch more difficult for higher level students. Award points for fastest finishers.
- Scavenger hunt. Students will search for hidden Post it notes around the classroom, the bigger the space the better. I was able to use the library and it made this part of the lesson more enjoyable. The Post it notes will have a small picture of a food or drink attached and the expression below:
X is from Y. B is from C.
Students have to collect all four pieces for their team and then go to either teacher, speaking using full sentences. After speaking to the teacher, they attach it to the board under their country’s flag. 4 points awarded for the fastest team and descending points for the following teams.
- Depending on your students abilities, the target structures could be expanded, using pictures of famous places for each country on the Post it notes, e.g. Tokyo Sky Tree is in Japan.
- Students will make a short presentation for their country. Students can ask questions to the other students or they can present amongst themselves in front of the class. For example,
Student one: Team Japan! What’s this? Student two: Hmm, ah! It’s sushi. Student three: And, whats this? (Asking the class) Class: It’s miso soup! Student three: Yes! Miso soup is from Japan.
It should be a simple presentation and last a minute or so.
Prepare a template for the format of the small presentations; consider using katakana or using higher level students to act as team leaders when preparing.
Review / Closing
- Have all the students stand and show them the back of one piece of food or drink. The quickest student to raise their hand makes a sentence, “It’s pizza” or “Pizza is from Italy”. This will decide the order in which students can leave or have the last 5 students standing help tidy the class.
- Award the team with the most points a prize. This could be something related to the country or something ‘international’. Pin badges of the countries flags could be given to all the teams so they can remember this club activity with fond memories, hearts full of warmth and minds packed with world food and drink knowledge.
The lesson worked well because almost all the food and drink was known to the students. If you were going to teach new vocabulary, the practice stage would be longer. The lesson could be expanded in any number of ways. My primary ideas would be to show tourist information videos for each country or a shopping activity where students visit the country’s shop, eg, The USA Shop, and buy the food and drink from that country. Activities that incorporate cultural aspects are, in my opinion some of the most important activities you can do with your students. Make them love the world; give them a thirst for world knowledge.