Hello! Well it's only a couple of weeks
since I wrote the last newsletter,
so much new stuff happening that the
issue is coming out early, and packed
of ideas. Thanks to everyone who
CDs this month, the offer of free Worksheets
certainly proved popular! The offer
on, but we're not sure for how long,
your order in now!
You will have probably read in last month's
newsletter about an article in a national
newspaper concerning what we teach in elementary
schools in Japan. Well, I can confirm that
nothing has changed, and the situation is
still that English may be taught as part
of International Understanding Education!
Which is very good and means that if your
Board of Education or school wishes it, then
we can still keep opening our students' eyes
to the wonderful things the World has to
Also, the "final report of the Committee discussing improvements to English-language education" has also been released, you can find it on the net at http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/shotou/houdou/index.htm. It's written in Japanese, so you might need someone to translate it. Or you could try the free, online translator at www.babel.altavista.com/translate.dyn for a rough translation!
Which leads me on into the big new update for this month...
One thing that my teachers wanted to do was
to try and incorporate elements from different
subjects (such as maths or geography) into
my lessons. My 5th year students were studying
about European houses, so I took my video
camera and went around my own house showing
some of the things that Japanese people find
interesting! The seven minute video
was a great success, being lively, fast paced
and the kids loved it! It's also in Japanese
(mind you I'd only been in Japan 10 months
when I filmed it, so it's not too hot, but
it is understandable!!). If you have the
"Realvideo" software installed
on your computer then you can watch
it on the website! Have a look and I'm sure
it'll give you lots of ideas, and show it
to your kids and teachers, I'm sure they'll
I'm looking at maybe redoing the piece and along with other clips from Australia, maybe making them available on VHS video. That way you can use them in your lessons on a normal VCR - great if your Japanese isn't too hot!. Let me know what you think, and if there's anything you'd like to see included on there!
The alphabet dot-to-dots from the free worksheets
pack (http://genkienglish.net/worksheets.htm) proved popular, and gave me the idea for
this "interactive dot-to-dot".
On the computer, the kids connect the letters
from A to Z and a picture will appear!! Best
of all they hear the letters spoken as they
move around the picture! You'll need to have
the "Flash Player" software installed
on your computer. Check it out...
I always get a steady stream of people asking
about games for pre-school kids. I always
intended doing a full article on this, but
haven't had the time! Anyway, when I was
teaching in kindergarten I found most of
the games on the website could be used
successfully. Some of the favourites were:
and the number one favourite game was ........
The ostrich game!
The trick is to just play with the kids, the ones who are interested will stick around, and the others will join when they see what fun it is.
During the Genki English tour we had several kindergarten groups joining the shows and they liked (and did surprisingly well at!), the Left and Right song ( http://genkienglish.net/leftright.htm) and the "What's your name?" song (http://genkienglish.net/namesong.htm). The trick being to not be too fussed about them understanding everything at this stage, as long as they were doing the actions, listening and trying to sing!
Last month I told you about the www.keikaiwa.com
page where Japanese students can learn some
Genki English on their mobile phone. Well,
the main Genki English page is also available
to access via mobile phone, the address is
genkienglish.net/i . There are explanations of the games, articles
and you can even download some pictures of
Aygo and Mr Monkey if you have a "J-Phone"
mobile! So tell your Japanese teachers to
check it out! Stuck in a lesson as to what
to do? Get out your mobile and have a look! If
people are interested I might be able to
upload the English version in mobile phone
format. Let me know!
This is a cool game! Look at the page on
the website, then ask Aygo a question. Choose
one of three cards set out before him. The
cards will then magically reveal the answer,
either yes or no!! It's great to use in Junior
High, or for adding some more life to a primary
You can even use it yourself for those important questions in life, such as "Should I go out tonight?" or "Should I send Richard some Valentine's chocolates?" (which is, of course, the custom in Japan!!). Speaking of which......
Try playing a game such as the ski game (
http://genkienglish.net/Ski.htm ), but instead of the "Finish
line", draw a picture of a cool restaurant
and attach a picture of a famous movie
star, actress, actor etc. (a member of Morning
Musume could be a good idea!!). Then,
instead of a skier or snowboarder, make a
cut out of two people that the kids know.
Good ideas maybe yourself, another teacher
or the head teacher. Play the game, and the
race is to see which person will reach the
restaurant and get the Valentine's date with
the famous star!!!
If you're in Japan, have a look at "kids
com" magazine for a 4 page special interview
with Genki English!! And check out Will's
tour diary for "The Death of the Genkimobile"!
( http://genkienglish.net/tourdiary.htm )Well, I think that's about it for
this month!! Now we're on a break from touring
it's great being able to spend my time actually
realising some of the ideas that I keep getting!
Genki English is going to get better
and better, and we can all look forward
to some great teaching!
Remember to check out the offer of free worksheets!
Till next month,
Richard J. Graham
Primary School English Games, Songs and Activities
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