6th grade, Lesson 5-2 (National Flags)

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Name(s) of Teacher(s): Jonathon Allred

Class/Grade/Language Level: ES Grade 6

Textbook and specific lesson: Hi Friends 2 Lesson 5-2

Goal: To describe national flags in English

Preparation: Greetings Cards, Feelings Cards, several printed pictures of national flags

Class time: 45 minutes

  • I like to start all my ES classes the same way. Since Japanese classes always start with military-style ceremony, I try to get students to start class in English. I know, for some or many of us, students don’t actually have to say anything at the beginning of every class in our countries. But I find that HRTs are pretty receptive to doing the opening greetings in English. Even if you explain that we don’t usually do such greetings in our countries’ schools, some teachers won’t be able to relax until you say something to formally start the class. Also, even though we may not say such greetings in our countries, the students are using English and learning new words, which is a positive in my book. With that being said, the greetings cards are simple. The first one says “Who is the classroom leader?” and has a picture of me holding my arm on it. The classroom leader has to raise his/her hand and say “me.” Then they direct the class to “stand up,” followed by “Let’s start Jonathon time!” After that, he/she tells the class to “sit down.”
  • I teach kids that “hello” is pronounced “hello,” not “harro.” I also teach them that “good morning” in English is said pretty much up until noon, which is different from Japanese, where “konnichiwa” starts to take over sometime after 10am. I have the students greet each other in English and I greet them myself. I have small schools, so I usually walk around and greet all students. I also instruct students not to bow when saying greetings in English.
  • After that, I have the kids ask each other “how are you” in pairs. I make sure that they don’t fall into the “how are you?” “I’m fine, thank you” trap of mindless conversation. I do this by telling them that talking like that makes you sound like a robot with no emotions. I tell them to say how you actually feel, even if you have to think about it for a bit. Most of my students have now stop using the standard response and can use many different phrases. I also tell them how to make the conversation more interesting by using “very” and “a little.” After they converse with each other, I usually pick a few students at random and ask them how they are. They also learn the phrase “how about you?” and that is applicable not just to the this specific conversation, but to lots of conversations.
  • After this I tailor the rest of each lesson appropriate to the grade/topic. I would like to suggest a lesson plan for the second hour of Lesson 5 (Let’s go to Italy) in the Hi Friends 2 textbook. Since the students may have forgotten the name of the countries from the first hour, I would review by playing the pointing game. Have students make pairs and then say a country. They have to compete to touch that flag first. Switch it up by saying countries that aren’t on the page or tell them not to touch anything when you say the countries in Japanese--but only in English.
  • After reviewing, read off the 4 quiz questions of Lets Play 2. Make sure students notice the phrase “What country?” After each quiz question, go over what you read and confirm that the students know what you said (colors, shapes, numbers, “it’s”). After you complete all four quizzes, inform the students that you now want them to make their own country quizzes. Confirm that they know the pattern of what to say, i.e. (“What country? 2 colors. Red and white. Red circle in the center. It’s Japan) by doing a demonstration. I used my home state’s flag and used this as an opportunity to point out that Kumamoto does not have a flag.
  • Divide them up into groups of 4-5 students. Give each group a flag. They can be English speaking countries or random countries, but they should be different than the countries listed on pages 18 and 19. On the back of each flag, you will have written clues in English. (“What country? 3 colors. Green, yellow and black. 2 black triangles. 2 green triangles. 1 big yellow x. It’s Jamaica.) Tell the groups that they must divide up the workload on their own--i.e. decide who will say what. Tell them that hints are written on the back in English but that they should really try to do the activity without looking at the hints if possible.
  • Walk around and help the groups that are struggling to think of what to say. Remind them of your demonstration in English. Once it is clear the groups know who will say what, have them stand together in front of the class. They will each say a sentence about the flag. (“What country? 3 colors. Green, yellow and black. 2 black triangles. 2 green triangles. 1 big yellow x.) Then one student from the standing group will pick a seated student to guess the country. If no one raises their hands, help the standing team by giving them hints to tell other students about the country. For Jamaica, “Bolt” is enough to get the point across. Seated students will say the country with Japanese pronunciation, but work with the standing team to have them teach the proper English pronunciation.
  • Each group will present their flag. If time permits, have each group do more than one country. This is a fun activity to learn some different flags and use English in a quiz game.
  • At the end of class, praise students on their hard work and point out things they did well (attitude, pronunciation, volume, effort, etc.)

End class with having the classroom leader say “class is over!” and “thank you” to you and the HRT.

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