Telling the Time and Introducing the Months of the Year (4th grade)

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Name of Teacher: Hugo Dragonetti

Class/Grade/Language Level: 4th grade at Elementary School

Textbook and specific lesson: None

Goal: Telling the Time and Introducing the Months of the Year


Class time: 45 minute class

Class Intro (5mins)

Basic Greeting: Good morning / Good afternoon.

Question 1: ‘How are you?’

If possible, ask every student in the class this question individually. If it’s a big class, pick a limited number of students at random to answer the question. Encourage as much diversity as possible in the responses from students. They should know at least six answers to the question.

Question 2: ‘How is the weather?’
Question 3: ‘What day is it?’
Question 4: ‘What month is it?’

Students are likely to struggle with the months of the year at this level, hence the lesson. After the question’s been answered, quickly go through the months of the year and have the students repeat after you. Ask the original question again after you’ve finished practicing.

The introduction should follow the same pattern every time that you teach the class. All of the questions should be supported with good quality visual materials. When teaching months I believe that it’s beneficial to have the Japanese translation displayed in brackets alongside the word in English.

Telling the Time

Getting started (5mins)

Students at this level should be able to count to twelve, but quickly practice counting to make sure. They’re likely to struggle with the pronunciation of ‘twelve’, so drill that for a short period. Explain that when telling the time, the number is followed by ‘o’clock’. Spend a short period of time drilling the pronunciation of that too.

Asking the Time Using a Model Clock (5mins)

Elementary schools all have model clocks that you can manually change the minute and hour hands on. Contact the school to ensure that you can use one for your class when you visit. Have the students answer the question ‘What time is it?’ as you display different times using the model clock. After you’ve asked the question a few times, and you’ve made sure that the students are using ‘o’clock’ when answering the question, choose volunteers to change the clock hands and ask to the question to the class.

Time Bingo Game (10 mins)

Give the students a bingo sheet with blank clock faces. Nine clock faces seem to work best. Have the students choose the times that they want on their bingo sheet and get them to fill in the clock faces by themselves. In the ‘Time Bingo Game’ students should ask the question ‘What time is it?’ and you can use the model clock to supplement your answer. I normally make it a condition that students have to get bingo twice to win. I usually give stickers to the winners too.

Months of the Year

Getting started (5mins)

Begin by quickly going through the months of the year, as you did at the start of the lesson. You should use twelve sheets of laminated A4 paper, each with a month of the year in English alongside the Japanese translation in brackets. Make sure that there’s some magnetic tape attached to the back of each of the cards too.

Missing Month Game (10 mins)

Having practiced the months of the year, both at the start of the lesson and just before this activity, the students should be relatively familiar with them by the now. Scatter the twelve sheets of laminated A4 paper with the months of the year on them across the board. Tell the students to close their eyes. Take away one of the cards from the board and ask the students, ‘What month is it?’, the answer being the month that’s missing. Make the game more exciting by dividing the class into two teams and having them compete against each other.

Robber Game (5 mins)

Clear a space in the centre of the classroom. Divide that area into three sections. Designate one part of the classroom for yourself, another part for the students and then have a neutral zone in between you. Scatter the twelve sheets of laminated A4 paper with the months of the year on them in the neutral zone in the centre.

When you call out a month, the students need to run out from their section and attempt to grab the correct month card without being tagged by you or one of your crime fighting assistants. Depending on the class size, you might want to start with a couple of students helping you to apprehend the robbers.

The students playing the role of the robbers are successful if they succeed in choosing the correct card and carrying it back to their designated section. Once behind their line, the student is safe and cannot be tagged. If a student is tagged while in the neutral zone in the centre, where the cards are scattered, they are no longer a robber. Instead, they have to join your group in helping to tag the robbers trying to take the month cards from the centre.

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