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Kindergarten is tiring, need help! 
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Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:17 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Post Kindergarten is tiring, need help!
Im so glad that summer vacation is coming because im so tired!

Im an english teacher in a private kindergarten in Japan, but its not all fun and games, its a lot of hard work.

Our kindergarten is more like preparation for entrance to the big expensive elementary schools, so everyday the kids study.

Thats where i am having problems. All english sites have games etc, i have no problems with that stuff. But what about regular things.

What are some of the other non-game things you do in your classes that work well?

We have an english contest coming soon, so some of our students have to start preparing for that too.

My classes for 3-6 year olds are 3 hours long!!!

I have classes on monday-friday afternoons, and 2 of them on saturday.
In the mornings, i teach the kindergarten kids for 30mins, which isnt a problem, just 3 hours is too long. I cant keep thinking of new things.

So, im begging...Thanks

Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:32 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Wow! 3 hours is too long. I think I'd ask them to split the class in two ninety minute segments with some other class between. But maybe that's not possible.

Why can't you do games?

I think activities that are fun (call them games if you'd like) work really well for language acquisition. I think some people think you're just goofing off when you say 'game'. If that's the case, start using the appropriate word 'speaking activity' and see how that goes over. If the activity is well thought out, you can practice something repeatedly and get in 4-5 times the practice you'd see via a written approach.

If the administration is worried about accuracy, then follow up with worksheets ( There are some worksheet makers on that site that might suit your groups) or listening exercises that confirm understanding of the material ( - this is still a secret that I'm working on.) Do they provide you with a curriculum? If not, you could stress to them that that is the administrations responsibility. they can't just send you to a class, tell you to 'teach English' and then complain about it or say we don't want you to do that.

Worksheets seem to make everyone happy. People feel like 'real' learning is going on. Worksheets will also give you the teacher a break (3 hours full on is also a lot for you.) It's also a record of sorts that something happened today. Students also feel like they've accomplished something by completing several worksheets.

I'd probably break the class up into several segments that repeat or build
- discussion circle (simple questions and answer)
- listening exercise using the questions we just used

- exercise time (students respond to verbal commands)

- reading time: read them a story or two and point out object and ask questions as you go.

- vocabulary introduction
- small game (activity) to solidify vocabulary

- phonics time - introduce letters or phonics rules

- use the previous vocabulary in some target structure
- small game (activity) to solidify language
- listening/reading or writing activity to verify understing

- return to phonics and read some words or sentences off the board using todays rules
- a matching exercise (read and match to the picture, match upper and lower case ...)

- singing time

- a review of what was covered today: discussion circle questions, new vocab, new target language, and phonics rules

Is that 3 hours?

No matter how you look at it, it's going to be a lot of preparation for you.

There's also:
- puppet shows
- short skits
- role plays at a restaurant, ice cream shop, cooking with mom ...
- coloring by command
- crafts

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:09 pm
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Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:17 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Kyoto, Japan
thanks for the reply!

Id love to chop the class in half, but our headmaster believes thats the selling point of these classes, that no-one else offers them.

When i first started this job(when the previous teacher quit because he couldnt handle it ) i had a box of flashcards and maybe 10 story books. Over time ive made cards, many from this website thanks!

Occasionally the boss goes on holiday and brings back things i dont need or want, but in her head she thinks they are the best tools ever.

Also, i have a big problem with different ages in the same class. Having 3 year olds with 6 year olds is crazy, i often have huge problems with what to do, often i feel we are doing nothing.

Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:18 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Well, for kids classes, I like to have a fixed routine, just like you see above. Children like regularity, they like to know what's next. By setting a flow to your lesson, the students are more aware of what you expect and when you expect it.

Once you decide upon a flow for your lesson, just shuffle in and out what you want to cover as far as vocabulary and review. Choose books that have something to do with todays topic(s) if possible.

As for mixed levels, that's pretty tough, but shoot for the lower middle of your age range. Make sure you go slow enough that the younger students don't get left behind. Have a few simple tasks for the younger students and tweak them for the older students.

You can also pair students together - oldest and youngest. Sometimes the older students like the big brother/big sister role. Then they put up with easier activities and will also help out with the teaching.

Do the younger students repeat the same course again next year with a new group of 3 year olds? Or do the classes continue in their present groups?

That creates a whole new set of problems if the same students come back next year but get put with another fresh group of 3 year olds.

As an aside, there might be a reason that nobody else offers a 3 hour English course to toddlers... But business is business ... sell the people what they want ... whether they need it or not ...

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:34 pm
Profile WWW

Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:17 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Kyoto, Japan
that is the problem, because they have study classes to get into different elementary schools, they usually arent able to choose which english class, its usually the only day they have available (if any).

so next year, there is a strong chance they will be in the same class as this year.

Its a big mess!!!

Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:52 pm

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
3 hours long? that is amazing

and too long!!! they won't get 3 hour lessons in elementary school!

and if that is not enough you have 3 year olds with 6 year olds?

boy, I take my hat off to you

I have never done anything like that

Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:52 pm

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:27 pm
Posts: 191
Location: South Korea
3 hours yikes. I'm tired when my 40 mins is up.

I love my kindies, but I do more prep for the 4 clases I have with them than with all the other classes combined.

I have a similar problem with the age mix. Mine are 4, 5, 6, and 7 and they all stay together; this causes big problems. Next year my 7 year olds will be gone but I'll have new 4 year olds. I need to indroduce the alphabet again, but the other students have already done it, so each year I have to come up with a new curriculim, ideas on presenting the same material.

Anyway best of luck to you.

I agree with Mark about the structure. We usually do different things on different days and tis works best for me.

Dare to dream. Dance through life!

Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:21 pm

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:20 am
Posts: 25
Location: Croatia
I feel sorry for you.... We have 2 lessons per week. And I find that sometimes pretty tiring... It is hard because that young children always ask for new games, songs, activities...they become bored if you only play one type of games :?

Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:12 pm
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