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Designing Curriculum 
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:52 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Yatomi-shi, Japan
Post Designing Curriculum
☆Hello everyone☆

Since I am new to this whole teaching English in Japan, I figure it a smart idea to ask those who have been doing it for a bit for some advice.

My question is simple in nature, but I find it really hard to answer. It is: How do you decide on the curiculum for your classes.

For me, since I am new, I have basically set up a few goals that I want the students to be able to say at the end of the year, but it seems to be pulled from all over the place. I find that I get influenced by looking at other students who are in the English juku's and seeing what they can do wishing that my students could perform at that level. I end up with a very scattered long term lesson plan for my kids. Furthermore, With such a big class size, the difference in ability between students is huge, which is a factor in lesson planning.

Some things to consider:
1. I only see these kids at best once a week, sometimes fewer.
2. I teach an average classroom size of 37 kids.
3. I have only been teaching since April of 2009.
4. I teach in the public school system, which seems to not care about anything relating to English, except that they have English class, regardless of the quality. (complaining)

My Goals that I set up are:

1. Be able to say their name "My name is~"
2. Where they are from "I am from~"
3. Basic commands such as stand up, sit down, raise your hand etc.
4. How are you "I'm ~ mes cards"
5. Do you have~classroom items Yes I do, No I don't
6. Talk about a 3rd person "He is ~ She is from~"

This is as far as I have gotten in my planning for long term, but I am not seeing the results I wanted. So to add to the question, How long do you spend on each topic in terms of classtime?

Any and all advice is much appreciated.

♪Chris♪

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Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:27 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:52 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Yatomi-shi, Japan
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Hey all,

I just spent a good bit of time looking at / listening to Mark's podcast thingy about the curriculum. I think I have a better idea of what to do or at least have a starting place.

Edit: This question goes out to Mark mainly I guess, but others feel free to chime in as well. You mentioned in your podcast thing that you spend about 2-4 weeks on the content sections of your curriculum. Is that JUST doing vocab for 2-4 weeks before you introduce the TL? For example, do you spend 2-4 weeks getting the animals 1 vocab down pat, then move on to "What's this?" or do you do "What's this" right along with the vocab.
Secondly, when do you start having them produce the TL? I know that you introduce it first, but from my experience this first semester, its a bit hard to get the kids to ASK the question, as opposed to respond to it. What are your thoughts?

Still open to any and all advice.

Thanks,
Chris

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Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:24 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Post 
Chris - Sorry, nobody has gotten back to you on this, but at least the podcasts were helpful.

Your situation is very difficult. You have large groups for a very limited time and it sounds like there are no guidelines or expectations at the end. And if I'm not mistaken, you might not be teaching them next year.

I would handle it much like you have proposed. I would decide on a few conversational target structures the students might want to use if they meet a foreigner and want to say something in English.

What's your name?
How old are you?
Where are you from?
Do you like ...?
Do you have ...?
What's your favorite ...?
Are you (hungry, sleepy, ...)?
What's this? (Maybe 'What's that?)
He/She distinction

As well as the answer to those questions.

Then I'd decide what vocabulary would work well with those structures, what might they ask about, and what answers they might get.

So for vocabulary:
numbers, colors, food, vegetables, fruit, feelings, animals, classroom items, countries, people, verbs

I also do a lot of TPR. It's a great way to introduce a great number of verbs, and more.

I'm not sure if you are planning on doing any phonics with them, but i would. Maybe just a letter a day, some words that start with that letter and then how it's read.

All of that is sort of foundation for the next year with those students. It's slightly abreviated from my actual curriculum but gets you a solid base and also some productive language kids can use right away.

If you are going to have them for longer or think that the next teacher will continue the program, I'd say go with the MES curriculum or something like it. It has had very good results for me any way.

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Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:40 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:52 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Yatomi-shi, Japan
Post 
Mark,

Thanks for the reply^.^

I must say that I love the idea of "running content". It is something that should probably be taught to all new ALT's coming to Japan.

I do plan on staying here for awhile so I will probably have these kids again, assuming my school assignment isn't changed, so I will probably, at the start of the new semester, implement more of the MES strategy and let you know how it goes.

Thanks for all you do!

Chris

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Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:49 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:52 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Yatomi-shi, Japan
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Hey Hey!

Mark, just wanted to tell you how awesome my classes went yesterday with the introduction of exercise time. I used it for my 3rd and 4th grade classes and they loved it. Something tells me I about to drop a few pounds lol. I have class in about an hour with 2nd grade and I suspect it will work really well there too.

Thanks for all you do!
Chris

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Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:35 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:11 am
Posts: 13
Location: Vallenar, Chile
Post im in the same boat!
chris- mark´s ideas are great and they work. but ill admit its difficult at times to be going without any set direction. im working in public elementary schools without any curricular support. im using the vocabulary from the curriculum for a good base line and this semester ill start incorporating target language and maybe some common conversational phrases for fun! i have my kiddos about an hour and a half once a week if everything goes as planned so im with you. my kids move along pretty slow since they dont hear or practice english other than the times they are with me.
i love the exercise times with my kids, and they enjoy it as well. we start the class by stretching and doing this. sometimes ill interrupt the class in the middle if they are losing momentum as well. they understand and say the actions and its get them moving and the blood going to their brain! i also do mark´s idea of letters. i try to teach a new letter every class with two words that begin with that letter. then we do numbers and get up and do some fun action with each number. my fourth graders are finally up to twenty! we move into the lesson and practice vocabulary, so some basic games since i also have such large classes (45 or so) and then keep practicing until they have it.

i would love to hear some of your curriculum ideas you come up with! good luck.

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Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:04 am
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