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2012年4月

This Week in NELP

2012.04.25

This week, the junior high school first grade students talked about the poem "For Sale" by Shel Silverstein. We talked about families this week. We've been very busy taking tests and learning the basics of what we do in NELP.

In junior high second grade, talked about the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. We talked about symbolism and choices.

This year, Brian is teaching NELP second grade oral communication and I'm teaching second grade reading.

The junior high third graders just read "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost. We also had a lively debate just the other day. The third graders' homework completion rate is looking very good so far this year.

The high school first grade is studying speaking skills through debate. Our main topic this term is "[Invasive Species] should be eradicated from Japan.] Last week we talked about feral cats. This week and next week we'll be debating the mosquitofish.

投稿者:nelp

New Pictures from the NELP Program

2012.04.25

Here are the pictures of the new NELP classes.

This year, the junior high school first grade class has four students.

g1 04-25-12 class.JPG


Here is the junior high school second grade. This year, four students transferred from SELP to NELP and one student returned to Japan from America.

g2 04-25-12 class.JPG


Here is the junior high school third grade class. This year, there are thirteen students because one student returned to Japan from America.

g3 04-25-12 class.JPG


Here is the high school first grade class. This year there are seven students in the class.



HS1 04-25-12 class.JPG


Here are the junior high first grade students watching the Introduction to First Grade video that we made in first grade last year.



g1 04-25-12 intro to first grade.JPG


Here are the junior high second grade students doing a discussion.



g2 04-25-12 discussion.JPG

g2 04-25-12 discussion2.JPG


Recently, two former NELP students came to visit me. One came to visit from America, and the other came to visit from Tokyo. I hadn't seen them in a long time and I was really happy to see them!



gx 04-25-12 with student.JPG



gx 04-25-12 with student too.JPG

投稿者:nelp

The Difficulty of the NELP Program

2012.04.01

There are a lot of questions about NELP, but perhaps the question I get most often is "How difficult is the NELP program?"

This is a difficult question to answer because the REAL answer to this question is "How difficult do you WANT it to be?"

You see, the teacher doesn't decide the difficulty of the NELP program.

In NELP, we have a wide difference in levels for each student. Each student has different strengths. I have students who are good at speaking, listening, reading, and writing. I have students who know a lot of words, and I have students who are very good at using the words they know. I have students who have great accuracy in their language production, and I have students who have great fluency in their language production. It's very rare, though, to find a student who is strong in ALL these areas.

Each of my students faces challenges in different areas of their language development.

So I designed the NELP program for a wide range of levels in different areas of language reception and production.

The curriculum is based on a sliding scale. The low end of the scale is very easy, very basic, very concrete. As you move higher up the difficulty scale, the work becomes more challenging and more abstract.

I designed this program to serve the needs of intermediate students while still challenging the levels of very high-level language learners.

I did this by designing into the program different levels of tasks.

In our discussions, we have discussion questions ... but I don't require that students be able to answer EVERY questions.

In our class presentations and small group presentations, students can choose the easy topic, the intermediate topic or the advanced topic.

In our library reading, students can read as much as they want, and we have a wide range of library books that will suit all levels of students in our school.

In addition to the vocabulary required for the vocabulary quizzes, students have other vocabulary they can study, if they want to.

If that vocabulary is too easy, we have option Language Development vocabulary exercises which can help students prepare for the Eiken 2nd Grade, Pre-1st Grade and 1st Grade STEP tests.

In addition to the grammar exercises we do in class, first graders and second graders have access to Self-Access grammar sheets for further study.

Junior high school NELP students are welcome to join the high school NELP 8th period classes on Fridays. These include an oral communication conversation class, a presentation and debate class, and my own test preparation class. In my test preparation class, we prepare students for the Eiken Pre-1st and 1st grade STEP tests, the TOEIC test, the TOEFL test and the Center Test.

In our homework exercises for 4 new words, the students choose the new vocabulary words that they want to learn. How much time they devote to learning those words is completely up to the student. It can be used to introduce new words, or students can actively study those words.

In our homework exercises for 10 sentences, students may choose the words from the reading vocabulary that they want to use. The difficulty of the sentences is completely at the discretion of the students. I accept easy sentences, but students who want a bigger challenge are encouraged to try more difficult or complex sentences.

In our class presentations, students have a minimum speaking time. If the student does 80% of the time, they get full credit. However, students who would like a bigger challenge are encouraged to do MORE, prepare more, make slide presentations, make posters, be more expressive, etc. They can try not to use notes, for example, to make the exercise more challenging.

If the class is too difficult, I have English Open Room 3 days a week, and students are encouraged to come and study with me. They can prepare for speaking activities, study for tests with me, ask questions about the reading, and do homework with me.

I tell some of my students to come after school. But ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to come.

The NELP program really isn't so difficult. Challenging? Yes. Does it make you think? Absolutely! Is it super-difficult? Not really. The basic NELP program isn't really all that hard. But everything in the NELP program can be very easily scaled by the student to challenge even the highest level student.

No, the NELP program isn't "for everybody." But it does accomodate a wide variety of levels and strengths.

投稿者:nelp

The New School Year

2012.04.01

There are going to be a LOT of changes in the NELP program this year.

First, we're moving up to Curriculum 8. This isn't a very accurate name, since we're actually on the 10 to 12th curriculum since the start of the program. A few of these curricula were never even used!

Curriculum 8 carries over many things from Curriculum 7, but includes a lot of updates. I've gotten rid of a few readings that weren't working and I've brought back a few older readings that students liked better. I'm also bringing in a couple of recently discovered readings that I think the students will like.

I actually have enough readings for two or three different NELP programs now! It's so hard sometimes deciding what to keep because there are a lot of good readings that we just don't have time for.

In addition, I'm updating the look of the reading quizzes, making them look more attractive. I'd post a picture, but, well, they're tests!

Speaking of which, I'm updating the oral communication tests for the first time in years. The oral communication tests will no longer be multiple choice! Students will have to write the answers!

This is good and bad. On the good side, on average, the tests will have fewer questions, more time to think, and the questions will be easier in the sense that they will be a more direct assessment of students' knowledge and a lot less tricky than the old questions. The old tests were quite demanding.

The new tests will make the students think more. On the bad side, if they don't study, they can't fake their way through the test. If they don't know the material, they're going to get crushed by the test.

It's not that hard, but the students do need to pay attention in class.

As well, I'm bringing back final presentations for 2nd and 3rd graders and I'll be introducing new writing projects for the 2nd and 3rd graders.

I'm also changing the library reading system. Instead of focusing on HOW MUCH students read, we're going to a new system to emphasize HOW OFTEN students read. It's my belief that how much a student gains from reading has less to do with volume than with frequency of contact. In other words, if I have two students and one reads a fifty page book in one day, and the other reads the same book, five pages a day for ten days, the student who read for ten days will get more benefit from their reading than the student who only read for one day.

I'm going to reduce the volume requirements, but I'm going to insist that students read every week. I think this is vital to their progress. I've consistently seen that the students who read regularly through the term see a much greater impact on their English language development than students who quickly skim a book the night before the final book report is due.

I think these changes will vastly improve the NELP program.

There will be other changes, but these will have to wait another couple of weeks, as they are kind of a surprise.

投稿者:nelp