8/31 – 3 more days

Today is 8/31, which means you have just 3 more days to submit your ideas to the YAJET survey! Photocredit: http://daynumbers.tumblr.com/ -- a very awesome blog by a very awesome artist

If you’re a Yamagata JET and haven’t already, please fill out the Yamagata AJET survey ==>> Here

When the clock strikes 5:00 pm this Friday (September 2nd) the survey will close and the contest for the ¥2,500 gift certificate will begin. Don’t miss out on the chance to help YAJET by sharing your ideas for projects and events that we can organize in the future.

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Vegas Vegas – What to do for a 50 minute self-intro

"Vegas Vegas" is a fake gambling type game that you can use to lengthen your self-intro and make it memorable and fun. photo credit: tumblr

Updated

Today’s post is about what to do if you are given a whole class period to give a self-introduction. When confronted with this situation, it can be a little intimidating at first. A solid 5-10 minute regular self-introduction, paired with this game I call “Vegas Vegas”, should not only make your self-introduction fun, but also memorable.

Name of the Game: Vegas Vegas

Materials: chalk, chalk board, small stickers or other prizes

Level: I have done this game with middle school students to eikaiwas with students over 60 years old. They all enjoyed it.

Time: 20 minutes to an hour

How to play:

  • Break the class into groups of about 6 for a class of 30 students. If you say “make lunch groups” the students should be able to do this pretty quickly.
  • In this example, however, I am going to use just 3 teams for the sake of simplicity.
  • Draw this table on the black board and tell them they are going to play a fun game:

Star

Heart

Square

$500

$500

$500

  • Give each team a name and write the name in the top row of each column. In this example the teams are Star, Heart and Square. But you can assign any names you like. Also write $500 in each column. This is a betting game and every team starts with that amount of money.
  • Now you need to explain to the students how the game works by giving them an example.
  • Select something about yourself that you haven’t yet told the students. For example,  your dog’s name, your sister’s age, your favorite Japanese food. Write A, B and C on the board and fill in two false answers and one correct answer. If the question is “what is my sister’s age?” and the correct answer is actually 26, I would write these answers on the board:

A. 28

B. 26

C. 35

  • Now, return to the table and show the students what happens next. Go to the table and tell the students that they are going to choose an answer and “bet” some money (from Zero to $500) that their answer is correct, like this:

Star

Heart

Square

$500

$500

$500

A $200

C $400

B $300

  • Show the students that if the correct answer is B, then the teams that got the answer right win money, while the teams that got the answer wrong lose money, so that the table will look like this:

Star

Heart

Square

$500

$500

$500

A $200

C $400

B $300

$300

$100

$800

  • As you can see, Star and Heart teams got the answer wrong, so they lost the money that they bet. Square guessed the correct answer, so they increase their money from $500 to $800.
  • Now that the students understand the concept of the game, it is time to play for real. Erase the previous marks and start with the original board and a new question. You canplay three or more rounds and the team with the most money at the end of the game wins. Each round requires another question with two fake answers and one real answer. If you or your JTE can translate the questions for the students, the sky is the limit as far as questions go. 
  • After you ask a question and write the three answers, give the groups time to choose and answer and a bet. Then go group by group and fill in the table according to each group’s answer and bet. Repeat until you finish 3 rounds or until time’s up. Again, the team that has the most money at the end of the game wins.

That’s it. Enjoy!

Tips to make this game more fun:

  • If a group goes bankrupt give them $50 bonus dollars so that they can still participate. Make the last round worth double or triple the money so that teams trailing in money can still win if they get the answer right.
  • Tell the students to say “LET IT RIDE!” if they bet all of their money. They really enjoy saying this.
  • When you tell the kids the answer to the question, build some tension by crossing off one wrong answer first and then telling them the right answer. If, for example, the right answer is “A” and most students picked “A” or “B”, cross off “C” first and build some drama into the game.
  • Have a prize of some sort for the winning team(s)


Self Introductions — Middle School

No fear. photo credit: tumblr.com

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Yamagata just got a bunch of new JETs for the 2011 JET programme year. It is exciting to have so many new teachers coming from many different diciplines and backgrounds. Seeing how the new school term is starting, which means that many of you will have introduce yourselfs to the students, I thought I would create a quick guide to self-introductions. I work primarily at Junior High School, so I hope some ALTs teaching at high schools or elementary schools could post some tips in the comments section.

A good self introduction is all about preparation. So before you begin make sure to answer these core questions with the help of your JTE:

1. How much time do I have? (Is it 5 minutes or the whole class period?)
2. What is the audience (first, second or third year students?)
3. What do I want to tell them and how do I get that across in the easiest and most interesting way possible?

A later post will cover what to do if you’re given 30 minutes to a full class period to do  your self-introduction. This post will cover what to do with your 5-10 minute self-intro. After you have taken the above questions into consideration, please check out several tips:

Adjust your presentation to the skill level

This tip comes from a Japanese teacher at one of my old schools. He said that a good rule of thumb is to gradually expand your topic area according to the grade level. So:

1st graders – talk about just yourself – likes, dislikes, where you’re from and use lots of pictures for other things

2nd graders – expand it to talk about you and your family with simple vocabulary and pictures.

3rd graders – to talk about yourself, family, hobbies and your home country, always keeping in mind to use simple vocabulary and pictures

TIP: If you want, you can turn the tables on the students. You can say to them, “Now that I’ve introduced myself, I want to meet you.” Tell the students that they should go around and introduce themselves to three friends. The point of the activity is to get the students up and about, possibly introducing themselves to you, so you can keep the dialogue pretty simple. For example:

“Hello, my name is Takamasa. I like baseball. Nice to meet you.”

Tell the students that if they come to talk to you they will get a sticker. Afterward you can let students ask questions.

Have lots of pictures and materials to share

If you talk about your hobbies, draw some pictures on large posters and don’t worry how bad of a artist you are — the kids will love it. Bring in your home flag, money or postcards. The point is to have something to pass around that can make you and your country seem more real and present. The pictures can help students with vocabulary they may not quite remember or have never covered. Remember: a picture is worth 1000 words after all.

Add a small game or a small challenge to keep students Engaged.

One game that works for all levels is a 1 truth and 2 lies quiz. After introducing a little bit about  yourself. Tell the students they have a “QUIZ.” Show them a picture of your cat, for instance. Tell them how old the cat is and how much you love it. Then ask the students what the cat’s name is. Write three answers on the chalk board like this (with one being the right answer, and 2 being lies):

A) Kiki

B) Jiji

C) Tom Cruise

and get the class to guess an answer by a show of hands. To make the game more interesting, draw a scoreboard on the  chalk board and in one column write, S (for students) and in the other T (for teacher), have the teacher guess the answer and depending on if she gets it right or not, award the points accordingly. Repeat the game 2 – 3 more times, depending on time and interest level.

In this case, “Kiki” is my cat’s name so if the teacher and a “majority” of the students guessed this answer they would each get 1 point.

Conclusion

These are just a few ideas and suggestions. The most important tip is to just be engaging, friendly and creative. If you do that, your presentation should go swimmingly. A post about what to do for a longer self-intro will come later this week, so check back or sign up for email updates.

New Free Material

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Sorry for the long hiatus. The summer holidays had me working on some other projects and I didn’t have any time to post. I return with another free material.

Level: 3rd year JHS

Time: 10 to 15 minutes

This material is directed at 3rd year JHS students and is meant to help them remember positional words (like “between,” “next to,” etc.) using some friendly mnemonic devices and a bit of word play. The students really enjoyed this presentation because it not only made it easy to remember some of this difficult words and phrases but introduced them to learning languages using mnemonic devices.

Click here to download the presentation ===>> Between, next to, in front of