Comments: on the Eigo Noto's Teaching Timeline

June 29 2010 4 Comments by The ENB and Jesse

A few comments turned into a post from one of our readers:

With all the different activities in the Eigo Note, this might be a concern with a few teachers so feel free to add your comments via the contact form below. Please reference this page.

It has been a bit late but better late than never since Jesse requested for this so here goes...

Please refer to the comments below:

They basically make up for the body of this post.

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About the author

The ENB writes for eigonoteblog.com whenever possible. The ENB's favorite school lunch is curry and rice. ( Short and spicy since we don't want to annoy anyone ;D )

Comments from the contact form: Eigo Noto Timeline

  1. Jesse-sensei says:

    Hi there,

    Just wanted to first thank you for your work on the eigo-note blog, which has been a source of inspiration for my own lesson. Cheers.

    I also wanted to know about how long each of your elementary classes runs and how often you see them. Thanks again.

  2. The ENB says:

    Dear Jesse,

    Actually, now that I think of it I never really did write about the timeline. So, good question.

    Each shogakko lesson runs for 45 minutes and sometimes 40 on special days. Since the Eigo Note runs for 35 lessons a year, I see the kids about once a week. Timing is a little tight, so the most important thing is to get the kids moving quickly from the start of each activity. But the having a textbook really helps since the kids can have a clear image of each activity and a clear set of instructions. So, even if the textbooks have "too much" Japanese written in them (mostly for instructions and each unit's theme), it still has its benefits.

    The old way, was to have an HRT translate your instructions which would take about 10 minutes or so depending how well the HRT can understand the activity. But bing badda boom, with the textbook it can run so quickly especially for the quizzes.

    Are you teaching in Japan and how are your lessons going? Do the kids take well to the textbook.

    Hope this helps!

    The ENB

  3. Jesse-sensei says:

    Hey there Mr. ELB,

    Thanks for you quick reply to my question. I also really appreciated the depth of your answer to my initial question. Feel free to post my question and name with your post, as I am sure it will be useful to others.

    The length of your shogakko lessons are actually the same as myself as well. I am currently working as an ALT in Utsunomiya city, Tochigi prefecture for the local school board. And of course Eigo Note is our textbook for our elementary lessons. Actually you may be pleased to know that one of our veteran ALTs recommended your blog to the ALTs in the school district, so I am sure you have many fans.

    The books themselves are for the most part commendable, although I sometimes find certain parts of it don't necessarily fit well into the lesson or a bit lacking in "interest" for children. However, I suppose this is where a teacher is given the flexibility to make changes, adding games and activities to flesh it out. Personally I have found games like your "Atteru game" and "Hanin Sagasu" (or "Jishin epicenter" as its known here) to be very excellent additions to the lesson plans provided with the book.

    That being said, any limitations the book does present are certainly minor and I can't begin to imagine the difficulty of teaching without it as a visual aid to the students and even HRTs. I would imagine that it must have been something of a godsend for ALTs here in Japan when it began being used.

    Much like yourself I have found its really important to transition quickly between the different activities in the book in order to effectively teach. However, simultaneously this a bit of a weakness for me as I really hate to interrupt the natural flow of an game that the kids seem to be enjoying in order to move on to another activity. Do you have any tips for smooth transitions. For example do you prefer to do Listening activities before or after games, etc?

    Anyway's, thanks again for all of your help and valuable insights that you have provided on the blog. Your passion for teaching is quite evident and really helps keep me motivated and excited as well. Keep up the good work.

    Cheers,

    Jesse

  4. The ENB says:

    Dear Jesse,

    Thanks for the nice comments!

    Sorry this took so long, I really missed your question.

    You wrote:

    "Much like yourself I have found its really important to transition quickly between the different activities in the book in order to effectively teach. However, simultaneously this a bit of a weakness for me as I really hate to interrupt the natural flow of a game that the kids seem to be enjoying in order to move on to another activity."

    "Do you have any tips for smooth transitions. For example do you prefer to do Listening act ivities before or after games, etc?"

    Well, Listening activities for their main part have two critical uses for me depending on my class-type:

    1. As an Intro for a lesson.

    2. As a "calming activity" after a certain game or such activity.

    For me, Point 1 being that it should spark interest for the kids, otherwise it falls under the old "test-teach-test" system which might do the exact opposite of gaining your students interest if the listening quiz is too difficult. So, it's a pit fall if one fails to keep it simple; it might be a good idea to have a "Plan B" in such a case.

    A good example of using a listening exercise prior to a lesson might be playing a recording of animal sounds as a quiz (for answers in their first language) if let's say you were teaching an "animal" lesson (for the younger grades).

    Point 2 can work quite well if it can also be used to consolidate the lesson, but also more importantly it should leave the kids with a high level of self-satisfaction and a feeling of "learning" compared to leaving them with a feeling of being confused.

    As far as "transition" and stopping the "natural flow" goes, I'm not really shy to break off an activity if there is something more important or even better to do, but I'll usually consult the HRT either by "huddle" or a "signal" such as a "time-out" gesture or "sliding my hand across my neck" if I really want to stop the activity. There is also the necessity of keeping to your time-parameters, so I also use a "tap-my-watch" gesture to the HRT and he or she will give me the usual big "O" or "X" with the arms gesture depending on the case involved.

    But is it ok to let the activity roll if the kids are having fun and speaking English freely and effectively? Sure it is!

    Lesson parts that haven't been played out can always be played the next time around and we do have 4 lessons for each chapter so there is always room. "Happy Endings" are always good for lessons so if the activity seems fun, save it for last and let the kids finish with a laugh!

    Any ways, if I do have to cut it short, I can always leave the kids with a promise of playing the game or activity again next time.

    Hope this helps.

    The ENB

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