Junior High School Textbook
aim of this section is to provide an example of how to turn a typical textbook
unit into a series of communicative activities that are more effective and
memorable for the students. For
this, we have based the lessons around: New Horizon 2, Unit 2: gYumi Goes Abroadh (pp 14-17). However these types of activities
can be suited to virtually any lesson at any level.
many JTEfs may be familiar with activities such
as these, it is our hope that many AETfs
(particularly one-shot AETfs with little prior
teaching experience) may find these sample lessons helpful as a guide for teaching
When you introduce a new topic, it is important
to get the students interested in what they will be studying. There are a
number of good introduction activities:
Bring in pictures, souvenirs, or things related
to the topic. Make a dialogue about the things you have and ask students
unit begins with a dialogue about vacation plans. So objects related to vacations may
stimulate interest in the rest of the unit: Pictures of an airport in Japan
or the AETfs home country; world map; old
boarding pass; video tape of airport or vacation trip to a foreign country;
Write a theme on the board, and have students
think of some things that fit the topic. As students raise their hands, the
teacher writes them down.
Encourage your students to use English. For new words itfs okay for students
to use gHow do you say __________ in English?h Lead your students by giving them
hints about other answers (Passive eliciting). This will also introduce
your students to the new words in the Unit.
Example: Unit 2 is about
taking trips during vacation time. Let the students
think about words and concepts related to traveling.
Example: A blackboard with a brainstorming
session on it:
gTravelingh or gTriph is circled in the center, various words around
the board include: Sightseeing, airport, train station, foreign country,
luggage, suitcase, packing.
Below is an example of a brainstorming session about Australia:
Another good introduction is a quiz related to the topic, where
students must guess the answers.
Any type of quiz is okay so long as the students can understand.
Unit 2, letfs talk about Buddha statues:
1) Where is the largest Buddha statue in Japan?
What is it called?
2) What country do you think has the largest
Buddha statue in the world? How
tall do you think it is?
different type of quiz is where you give the students a handout with
multiple-choice questions. After they have answered, go through and explain
the correct answer so they can understand the subject.
1) Leshan is in which country?
2) How tall is the Buddha Statue in Leshan?
10 meters tall b) 37
meters tall c) 71 meters
3) How old is the statue?
600 years old b) 1,200 years old c) 2,000 years old
4) What is near the statue?
the sea b) a
d) a farm
For team-teaching classes, an excellent introduction
to the unit is by a dialogue.
Students are very interested in hearing their teachers speak with
the AET, so will listen to the contents carefully. Choose a theme related
to the unit and make a simple conversation.
gDo you know the tallest Buddha statue in the world?h
A: gI think so. It is in China, right?h
J: gThatfs right,
itfs in the city of Leshan.
What can you tell us
about the statue?h
gItfs very tall and very old. I
think it is near a large river.h
gAh, I see. Why did people
build the statue?h
gIfm not sure.h
gI think we should study more about the Buddha in Leshan.h
There are lots of ways to introduce new words
apart from translation. It is important
for students to understand the true meaning, and be able to use each word
in a different sentence. Some
Use flash cards, and then make a sentence using that word.
gSit. We sit at our desks in school.h
Use picture cards and point as you say the word.
a picture of a dog and say, gdog.h
Use demonstrations or point out actual examples of the words:
Example: Say gSith as you sit
gFooth as you point to your own foot.
Use English explanations as alternatives to translation:
Sink = When something falls to the bottom of a river (Use
gesture with your hand)
= A scary animal or person
= a religious person who works at a temple or
If the students understand the contents of the
story, it is easier to understand the grammar and vocabulary. One good
method is to paraphrase the story into easy English, while using the
picture cards. The pictures are really helpful for the students because
they give them a visual clue. You can also use the video tape, audio tape,
or large pictures that accompany some textbooks. (The New Horizon series
has excellent audio tapes and large-scale picture cards to augment each
Students explain the story
each picture card, a student explains what is happening in the story in
their own words. (e.g. gThis is Leshan City. This is the Buddha statue. It is very
large! 100 people sit on one
Question and Answer
You can make the questions easy or difficult
depending on the level of your students. Lower level students can answer the
easy ones, while higher level students are challenged with harder
questions. gWho, what, when, where, how, whyh are good questions and you
can use the picture cards to help.
gTrue or Falseh quizzes are not always good
because students have a 50% chance of guessing correctly, so they may not
test true comprehension. If
using T or F, have students stand and make O or X with their
arms. This makes every student involved in the activity.
some questions not answered in the text. Students give their own opinion
after thinking about the story.
(example gDo many people visit the Great Buddha of Leshan now?h
gDo you think people enjoyed making the statue?h) Itfs important
to challenge your students, or they will become bored with any
activity. By asking their
opinion, they must think about the meaning of the story, and not just read
out an answer.
Reading practice is most effective if done in
the language lab using the drill tape.
But this is not always possible. Reading practice is important, but
that does not mean endless chorus reading.
Students should only repeat after a teacher or
tape one or two times. After
that, they should read at their own pace with the teacher(s) walking around
to help with any problems, or to answer any questions. A good activity is for all students
to read the text out loud for 5 minutes at their own pace. After that, point out some common
problem areas on the board and answer any questions.
Being able to use new grammar means that
students understand the meaning.
Memorizing one example (or model sentence) wonft help them recognize
that grammar pattern outside the textbook. Itfs important that you teach them
how to use that grammar themselves, so they can apply it to other
When teaching new grammar, you will need to use
some Japanese. Please try to
include lots of English examples as well, and have students make their own
sentences. The following are
examples of activities you can do to practice the grammar of the text:
1) Information Gap Activity for Pair Practice
Students work in pairs (Partners A and B). Each student has a print, but the
prints are different. They can
take turns asking questions and fill in the spaces on their print. Donft put the answers in order. These means the students have to
listen carefully to the question then find out the answer.
activity is based on the target sentence:
gItfs easy for me to read Japaneseh
2) Interview Scramble Activity
Almost any class will enjoy a scramble
activity. You give the students
a task (and a print if needed); they stand up and move about the classroom
asking each other questions. You may need to give
them a goal to aim for, or turn it into a contest. Award extra points if they ask a
member of the opposite sex, or a teacher, etc. Be sure to join in and check that
students are being active.
an example of a scramble activity based on the same grammar point as the
3) Writing Practice
Give the students a worksheet about the new grammar
and vocabulary. Have them start
the sheet in class and complete it for homework. The worksheet should be a review of
what the students studied. You
can collect it in the next class to evaluate whether students understand it
or not. If there are lots of
mistakes, you can spend more time on the problem areas.
instructions: Make a sentence that uses all of
Itfs easy for me
to read Japanese
Make a sentence for each new word (donft use the text!)
4) Foot ___________________________________________________________________
Checking New Words
Q & A Activities
Ask some questions using the new words. By doing this, you are checking that
they can recognize and understand the new words in different
situations. This activity can
be done as group work, then check some of the answers orally. These are example questions using
new words from Unit 2.
What is the largest mountain in Japan?
What famous large ship sank?
Who is your favorite movie monster?
What time did you work on your homework last night?
good group activity is to have students answer questions using the new
words. It will be better if
the students work in groups to think of an answer. Give them some time to make an
answer, then choose one member to speak. For example, write a few words
from Unit 2 on the board:
Priest Buddha Saved Sank
questions like these:
happened to the Titanic?
big statue is in Nara?
did Superman help Lois Lane?
person works at a temple?
Almost all your students enjoy drawing and itfs
easy to make activities where they can combine words with pictures. If they can explain something with a
picture, it shows that they understand. The first activity is to let the
students make a short story using a new word.
You can ask the students to write simple skits
using the new words from the program.
This will make them think about the many uses for each word. In groups, they write a skit (any topic
is okay) and then present it for the class. At first, you will need to give them
lots of help and show an example.
Gradually, they will become good at thinking in English, and of
course their presentations will improve.
A: What are you doing this weekend?
B: Ifm going to visit my grandmother tomorrow.
A: Where does she live?
B: She lives in Nagano, on top of a mountain.
The last time we
saw her, it was fun. One day,
we went skiing.
In most English classes in Japan, students spend a lot of time translating
English into Japanese. As a
result, they become very good at this, but find it very difficult to
produce anything in English.
The emphasis is on einputf (what they can remember) rather than
eoutputf (what they can actually do).
This is not communicative.
Students need practice at expressing themselves
in English, and should be encouraged to be creative. The following are some writing
activities to use in your classes:
A diary is one of the easiest forms of
writing. You write about things
that happen in your everyday life.
Give your students practice at expressing themselves about things
they are interested in. For Unit 2, you can use diary entries talk about
taking trips abroad. Or about
the differences between the Buddha statues of Nara and Leshan.
a) Talk about diaries (who
writes one? When?, Why?)
b) Show them a model diary entry (make an
about the homeroom teacher, a famous person, etc.)
Teach them some structure and give them some
(e.g. What did you eat? Where did you sleep?
you okay? What games do you
d) Advise the students to write about a typical
day in their life.
e) Role play: Write an entry as I they were
a person visiting Leshan.
f) Have some students read their diaries and
discuss the differences
in life style.
When teaching your students to write freely,
you can help them by providing a framework. A good activity is for students to
make a story using the structure of the textbook. <This is similar to Mad Libs, but without clues>
When I was
A teacher said to me,
gI canft!h I said.
3) Theme Writing
Give your students a topic and have them make a
short composition about it.
Make the topic interesting, or something related to their daily
lives. Tell them to use easy English that
they have already learned. Donft let them write in Japanese first or it because
a translation exercise, not creative writing. Collect the compositions, and write
comments rather than a grade.
(You donft need to correct all their mistakes.)
For Unit 2, I
would ask students to write about trips they have taken in the past. First I would guide them with
questions like: Where did you go?
How did you get there (by plane, train, car)? Who went with you? What did you do there? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to go again?h Then some students should present
their compositions, and perhaps draw a picture to illustrate.
There are lots of ways to review material
making skits about the unit (you will need at least a
whole lesson for preparation).
Encourage the groups to give a dramatic presentation using props,
students write their opinions and have a
discussion. (First teach them
key phrases to use when expressing themselves (i.e. gI agree withch))
summarize the story in their own words
draw cartoons to illustrate the story and write some dialogue
write a letter (e.g. to the tourism board of Leshan City)
in groups, prepare a report about some topic related to the program
make a crossword about the contents and new words
have a quiz
There are so many activities that
are easy to do. Please
donft be afraid to try new ideas in class. Remember that it will take some
time before students are good at new things. By teaching interesting and
communicative classes, your studentsf abilities at English will greatly
A., Ito, K., & Kusakabe, T. (Eds.). New Horizon English Course 2.
Revised Edition. Tokyo: Tokyo Shoseki.@
parts also quoted from Communicative English Guide (1995 p.18)
reprinted from Communicative English Guide 1995 p. 21, 24, 27, and 31