February/March 2000 Newsletter!

Songs!!!! The web page gets musical! What's the best way to remember things? By having an (annoying?) melody float around in your head all day! But most songs aren't suitable for non-native speakers,having too much (often irrelevant) vocabulary.

So I decided to write songs for my games, using only the vocab from the games, and nothing else to distract them!

I first tried them in my classes the other day and the kids love them!

So this month's new ideas are both musical. They are on the web page and you can
download them now! I put them up as "MP3 format files" - if this sounds tricky then just ask
someone to help you out (you need to "download" them)!

Please remember that the songs are copyrighted though. I put them on here so that anyone can use them in their lessons for free. But please don't make lots of copies, besides being illegal, it also means I won't be able to make any more songs, nor other ideas!

I'm also thinking of making the songs available on CD - if you're interested then give me a mail!

At the moment I'm thinking about giving CD copies out to my kids to take home as "homework". I'll see how this experiment goes and get back to you!

This months Ideas are:

The How are you Song!

A brilliant song, very catchy, and perfect to use with the Gokiburi game!
The lyrics are
"Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you?
I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm cold, I'm sad!
Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you?
I'm happy, I'm great, I'm good,I'm OK!
Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you?"

Any grade (even kindergarten) can easily pick them up, and more importantly remember them!

The second idea is:

The "Where are you from?" game

This game is good for introducing countries names (and culture), as well as the word "Where?".
It's a bit of a big lesson, splitting it over 2 classes is a good idea, but the combination
of colours, music and games really makes the kids get into the English - which is the
main point afterall!

The countries I've chosen (after consulting with Japanese teachers) are the 8 nationalities that Japanese children are most likely to come into contact with (well, at least in my town). Please, please don't be offended if your country is not there (I can only do 8!), and of course change the country names to ones you feel are more suitable for your students. My lessons are actually called "International Understanding" lessons and I use this lesson as a launch pad for more detailed culture lessons later on - making the kids realise we are all the same human beings with admittedly different cultures, but fundamentally the same fears, dreams and feelings is my ultimate aim.

Yearly Lesson Plans

It will soon be time to plan your next year's curriculum (if you're in Japan!). So we're in the process of making a well doody Yearly Planner, complete with loads of different plans depending on if you go to Elementary school everyday, or once a year!!


Movement! When your kids are moving they are learning more easily. The "How are you?" song features movements and is much more effective than without. Sometimes when I am initially teaching words (especially a list of vocab such as transport or school things), then the kids get a touch bored. So I do maybe 4 or 5 words and then do a bit of the "Warm Up Game" (lots of spins and jumps) this livens them up and they are ready to learn the next 5 words before the game at the end!!


Watch kids TV! If you can drop a few cartoon characters names, or "accidentally" have a picture of one, in your picture card pile, then it really livens them up! With adjectives, my card for "cute" is a picture of "Kitty Chan" (a very popular Japanese character) and my card for "big" is a picture of "Godzilla"!! Of course Pokemon seem to be ever popular (using "lucky" is a good way to teach the word, err, "Lucky"!).

I hope I haven't been too patronising in this letter (it seems that way, now that I've re-read it!) but it doesn't harm to be reminded of a few things occasionally, does it? Anyway, there are tons of ideas on there for everyone! It's our job to make our lessons the best we possibly can, to make the kids really WANT to learn English!!

So, that's all for this "Musical" month.

As for next month ??? Ah, you'll have to wait and see!

Sees ya later,

Be genki,


Richard J. Graham
Primary School English Games and Activities

"Hello, how are you. Hello, how are you? ................"

(I can't get that song out of my head!!!!!!!!)


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