Today, we were visited by members of the English Department as well as a university professor who came today in order to give advice about my lessons and our program.
The students were awesome. We enjoyed some conversation before class ...
Students presented a dialogue from the book ...
Students did conversation practice ...
Students practiced asking questions using 'have', 'like', 'want' and 'need', using questions including 'how many', 'when' and 'where' (things we've been studying recently ...
I felt the lesson went very well. The professor who visited us today gave me some very good advice that I shall be incorporating into future lessons.
投稿者 nelp : 18:18
It's been a busy week!
Today in Special Projects, students began learning how to use Powerpoint. In the future, I hope that my students will be able to give Powerpoint presentations. Today, however, I just turned them loose with a few tasks to do and told them to 'play around with it ... experiment!' Students did just that.
It was a little confusing because half of our computers use Office 2007 with has quite a different interface that previous versions of office.
I'm really looking forward to doing this more.
投稿者 nelp : 18:52
Yesterday was the annual Seishin Junior High School Speech Contest. Twelve NELP students participated: two in the first grade recitation contest, three in the second grade recitation contest, and four first graders and three third graders participated in the original speech contest. In the first grade recitation contest, the NELP students took both First and Second Prizes out of ten contestants.. In the second grade recitation contest, the NELP students took the Third Prize and the First Prize out of ten contestants.. In the original speech contest, all seven participants were NELP students. The First Prize was won by a third grade NELP student. The Second and Third Prizes were won by first grade students.
I was so very, very proud of all of my NELP students, whether they won a prize or not. All of them did an outstanding job, and I'm spectacularly pleased with all of them.
In the original speech contest, the students wrote their own speeches, and I encouraged them to choose their own topics. I gave them three rules for choosing a topic: (1) You must know about your topic. (2) You must care about your topic. (3) You must have something to say about your topic, i.e. you must have a reason why you are giving this speech and a reason why the audience should listen. I was very pleased with the speeches.
Here are some pictures.
投稿者 nelp : 18:40
Recently I've begun some rather interesting changes in the content of my lessons. These changes have been motivated by the results of a survey I conducted among my students. A couple of months ago, my second and third graders each made a list of topics they'd like to discuss in class and things they'd like to do in the NELP program. A week ago, I assigned my first graders an essay on the same topic. I asked my first graders to tell me what they'd like to do in the class, things they'd like to see more of, and things they'd like to see less of. The results of these surveys has already begun to shape the classes. The curriculum will not change significantly. What will change is the way in which the curriculum is implemented.
The most significant change will be that students will have more choices: more choices in terms of activities and more choices in terms of work. For example, starting next week, one of our reading classes each week will be transformed from a teacher-centered approach to a more learning-centered approach, meaning that instead of the teacher guiding the students through a variety of reading exercises, students will now have a choice to either (a) read books on their own, (b) discuss their reading with other students, or (c) do individual and group activities based on reading, including reading exercises, reading test skills development, or games which require reading. Each week, students will also present new vocabulary to the class. Students have been assigned a weekly quota of new words to bring. All new words must meet two criteria: the words must be new, but they must also be useful: meaning that the words should be words that students expect to use with some degree of frequency.
Likewise, from next week, students in the grammar classes will sometimes be given options in how they approach the material. For example, students who already have a strong familiarity with the material may choose to essays based around the grammar structures we're studying. Students will less familiarity with the material may choose to do drill worksheets or even teacher-guided instruction that allows the teacher to introduce and do controlled practice with students using grammatical elements with which they are less familiar. In this way, students will be allowed a measure of control in determining how much structure and teacher involvement they need in their personal learning process. However, as a teacher, my job will be to assist students in making decisions that will benefit them the most, which means that sometimes my recommendations will supersede the student's.
Now, why did I do this? Why am giving students control over some aspects of the learning process? The answer is simple. By involving students directly in the learning process, by allowing students to make decisions about their education, I'm placing a measure of responsibility back on the student. I'm emphasizing that education is not something that I'm simply giving to them: it's something they have to take for themselves. Studies have indicated that this can be a powerful factor in developing student motivation and increasing student satisfaction with their education. When students become part of the educational process, the educational process, under the guidance of the teacher, gains in potential for effectiveness.
At the same time, because I will be making an effort to present grammar and classroom content within the range of topics in which students have expressed interest, students will be more likely develop their interest in the class. In other words, by presenting class content within the context of topics with which the students are familiar and in which the students are interested, I will increase the effectiveness of the content.
There will of course be other changes, again motivated by activities and choices in which students have expressed interest, and I'll document those changes as the year develops.
投稿者 nelp : 18:10
On June 14th, the first grade NELP students took a field trip to Seishin Elementary School along with the students from America and their teacher. We visited art classes and English classes, and had lunch with the elementary school students. Seishin Elementary School students gave several presentations, including origami, Japanese toys, and tea ceremony.
Here are some pictures from our trip:
投稿者 nelp : 14:59
Today, the first grade NELP class met six students and a teacher from America. They met two of these students last week, but today, they got to meet everybody. The first grade students gave three really impressive presentations. The first, was a lesson in origami, where three students taught the American students and their teacher how to fold a paper crane.
Next, several students dressed in yukata and demonstrated and traditional Japanese dance.
And then they taught the students from America how to do the dance too!
Our last group then taught the students from America how to use a traditional Japanese toy called a kendama.
And how to spin a top.
It was a really great presentation and I was really, really proud of how well everybody did.
The American students who did best with the kendama and the Japanese top each got to take one home as a prize. They were spectacularly good.
投稿者 nelp : 18:53
Today, we added two new forms of classroom management. Already, I have several things that I use to help keep my class organized. The first is my class participation record. This is a record that shows students' effort, participation, behavior, attitude and homework completion. When students do well, they get a plus. When students don't do their homework on time, when they don't bring their book to class, or when they misbehave, they get a minus. The second thing I use are my yellow cards and red card. If students begin using too much Japanese in the classroom, I put up a yellow card as a warning. If they continue to use too much Japanese, I'll put up two yellow cards. That means that students should only use English. If they continue to use Japanese, I'll give them a red card. The red card means that anyone who speaks Japanese in my English class without permission will receive a minus on their participation.
Today, however, I've added two new forms of management. The first is detention. Detention means that a student must stay after school. In America, detention is given for bad behavior. In my class, I give detention when students don't give me their homework. When a student is missing three homework assignments, they get a detention. I told me students: "You have a choice. I can either do your homework at home, on your own time, in your own way, or you can do your homework here, with me." In the past, when students didn't do their homework, I simply gave them either a lower grade for late work (which I will still do), or a zero for work they didn't do. However, now I can see that this isn't acceptable because students who don't do their homework are not learning the things I want them to learn, and so they are falling further and further behind in class. If this situation is allowed to continue, the student who doesn't do their homework will have a significantly lower English level than the rest of the class and will no longer be able to participate effectively and equally. Therefore, in order to make sure that students do their homework and continue to improve their English, I have started giving detentions. I'm pleased to say that one student who was given a detention paper has managed to avoid detention by turning in her work, and I'm further pleased to say that her work was very well-done.
This week, in addition to detention, I also began giving invitations. With detentions, I give students a time and day to come, and they must come. With invitations, I ask my students, for example, to please come next week when they have a little time. I'm beginning invitations because some of my students really need extra practice, especially in speaking, and in developing the confidence to speak in class. I really want to help them learn to speak more fluently in class. So, I'm giving them invitations to come. If they don't come, I'll start giving invitations with a time and date, but I would prefer the invitation to be relaxed, and for students to feel that they are volunteering to come. It's important for them, psychologically, to be making the choice to come, so I'm hoping I won't have to push them too hard to come and work with me after school.
Anyway, that's what's new this week: Detentions and Invitations.
投稿者 nelp : 14:44
Today, in our first grade oral communication class, we had a chance to talk with two students from American who are visiting our school. The students all enjoyed a nice visit, and I was very pleased by how much English they spoke. I hope the students from America enjoyed the visit as much as we did.
投稿者 nelp : 18:02