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Things for students to explain? 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Post Things for students to explain?
I have some children that have been coming to me for 6 years now. They are doing really well and I've been working with them on explaining things. Recently, we have been working with traffic signs and the students have to explain what they mean, 'This sign means be careful, because there is a curvy road ahead.' 'This sign means you have to stop.' and so on.

I've done some other things with talking about objects, for example animals. 'Horses can run fast. Some horses are white. Some are brown. Some are black. Horses eat grass.' ... However, while it's good practice for them they really like explaing what something means. It also really challenges their language ability.

So, I'm trying to think of some other things for students to explain, similar to the signs. Can anyone help me out with some ideas? I can't seem to come up with anything else.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:00 am
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:34 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Japan
What about if you had the students bring in a few things to class that they really like. Maybe some photos, or cut outs from magazines. They could even make a collage, and each week you can ask them to describe one thing on the collage.

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Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:54 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
Posts: 128
Location: Italy
And household objects? Describe the object without saying the name. Depends on the level, though. The passive and relative clauses are both useful - "It's a thing which is used for..."


Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:33 am
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:35 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
Have some pictures of things they have probably never seen. Objects from other countries, antiques, old technology etc. Get them to describe and then predict what they are used for with an explanation. They could be encouraged to research and bring in some of their own pictures or objects.

Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:25 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Thanks for the ideas and suggestions.

I have had them explain places. I used the second set of places cards from here and they had to explain what you can do at each place and what each place has.

movie theater: "There are many movie theaters, a game center and a food court. You can watch movies, play video games, eat popcorn and drink cola. You can't talk or use your cell phone in the theater."

It just came to me that I could have them explain Japanese emoticons (quite different from English ones.) They could tell me what the picture is supposed to be of and what it means in the conversation.

m(_ _)m :
"This is a person bowing with their hands and head on the floor. It means you are very sorry." More difficult would be explaining when to use them. "When you did something bad, you use this picture."

Then I could show them some English emoticons, have them explain what they think they represent and what it means in the conversation.


"This is a picture of a person laughing with their mouth open. When you think something is very funny, you use this picture."

Anyway, other suggestions for things to explain are still very much welcomed.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:42 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:33 am
Posts: 289
Location: Niigata
Another good idea Mark is having the students explain things that they don't know the name for. Sounds stupid, right? Let me explain...

Today, I was playing ahomestay game in class and one of the scenarios was, "There is a cockroach in my room." Well, the student didn't know the word 'cockroach'. Which was no surprise, but what I didn't expect that she wouldn't know 'bug' or 'insect' either. So our conversation went like this:

Student: "There's a thing in my room. It's black and small. It has many legs."
Me: "Is it a spider?"
Student: "No, it's not a spider."
Me: "Is it a dog?"
Student: "It's not a dog."
Me: "Well then, what is it?"
Student: "It's kowai!"
Me: "I'm sorry, I don't speak Japanese."
Student: "I don't like it! <she gestured horns coming out of her head>"
Me: "Is it a insect?"
Student: "Yes, that's it!!"

I would think if you want they students to explain an item, they don't necessarily have to be part of the same group, but they could also include items that they don't know the English name of.

'Sharing a little, gaining a lot'

Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:24 pm
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