Friday, 8 June 2007

"I like it"

"Can you teach the lesson today, Jim Sensei?"

Music to my ears; in five years 'teaching' at Fuzoku JHS, I think this happened once. I really detest the "larynx on legs" that is the usual work experience for Assistant English Teachers (AETs). Is the JET programme a waste of time...? Anyway, today just by chance I had an old lesson plan I wanted to try with my High School class, and by the end we were all singing and dancing along to Sinatra's dulcet tones "How about you?"

If I can post a video of the end product, it'll be here somewhere. Still trying to figure out "how to" on this site.

Lesson plan? Simple enough. With a lethargic pre-thunderstorm Friday morning, thought we might dive into patching the song together.

  1. Lyrics in bits - a simple song for this level is ideal - with students in small groups to listen to the song a couple of times & arrange the words back in order. Mistakes OK, as that makes the checking phase more fun.
  2. A 'secretary' from each group runs to the board, rest of group dictates the first line. Switch secretaries & continue through the song. The further from the board the group is the better - blackboards at front and back of the classroom ideally suited. This gets noisy, and insist on correct spellings. A couple of wags were 'not helping' other groups, calling out incorrect hints!
  3. As a race, the students are well motivated & 100% involved. See them in action:
  4. Checking the checking = groups look for mistakes in another's posting as we listen to the song again, familiarising ourselves with the rhythm along the way - some have got it & are starting to join in - especially the repeated bits. Quick re-arrangement on the desks = lyrics good to go and mistakes crossed out on the boards.
  5. Important - all heads up & standing up, with lyrics plainly in view (if not entirely legible) on the board(s).
  6. Read through line by line at a good pace - no need to explain anything, see 7!
  7. Performance preview: I read the song through again, this time adding BIG gestures to the key words - one, two, even three per line, which students mimic. The 'daggier' the teacher, the more succesful participation!
  8. Without any more messing around, hit play & encourage 'singing' (at the very least muttering along at the right tempo) AND following the teacher through all the gestures. Should work a treat and if you finish just as the bell rings, you're a genius.
  9. Show off next class with a stunned expression on the other teacher's face!
Just thought I'd share that with you - I had a great laugh & I think 'my' crew did too.

I like it - how about you?!