Clever Use of the 1-Minute Break

The other day a 2nd grade JHS class got off to a rocky start. The students sat at their desks with confused looks or staring into oblivion as we teachers struggled to get even the slightest response to our questions.

Then suddenly my JTE said to the students, “Okay let’s restart the class. I’ll give you a one minute break. Talk with your friends, stretch — do whatever.  But in one minute we will start the class again and I want you to answer our questions.”

It was like a miracle. The students had their break, and with the tension now gone from the room we were able to have a successful lesson.

I highly recommend this clever technique.

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How to Teach “Directions” with the New Textbook (Free Material!!)

Many of you may be wondering how to teach the unit on “giving directions” to first grade JHS students this year. This was an activity originally targeted for 2nd year students, but it was moved to the first year textbook, posing a challenge for both students and teachers. So I have prepared a new PowerPoint presentation using Totoro from the famous Japanese cartoon as a way to help introduce and teach this unit to first graders. Click here to download the “Help Totoro!” PowerPoint file now!

Use this PowerPoint to teach 1st grade JHS students how to give simple directions. Click on the link below to download the ppt. file.

Use this PowerPoint to teach 1st grade JHS students how to give simple directions. Click on the link above to download the FREE ppt. file.

Title: Help Totoro!

Purpose: Teach how to give simple directions with a fun back story

Level: 1st year junior high school students

Time: 5-10 minute introduction or review activity

Notes: Read the slide notes for a model script on how to use the PowerPoint

*I used to teach 2nd grade students “giving directions” with a PowerPoint and a story about Ichiro Suzuki looking for Yankee Stadium. Follow the link to see the old PowerPoint.

Use this Material to Easily Bring Communication to Your Students

Use Eikaiwa Cards to improve students’ communication skills through model dialogues

What is the fastest way to bring communication activities to your students? Eikaiwa Cards! This is an easy, fully customizable material I designed, which can be used as a warm-up activity or as the basis for an entire communication class.

If you saw my presentation about Eikaiwa Cards at the Murayama Regional Seminar, here are links to the templates for you to start designing your own English conversation cards for your students:

Inside Template

Outside Template

What are Eikaiwa Cards??

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to introduce communication activities to your students and or JTEs, this material is for you!!

Eikaiwa Cards are all about giving students a chance to practice speaking skills and communication through short, customizable dialogues that you create. You can choose any topic and write out a dialogue for students to practice with each other. Eikaiwa Cards have many uses and so here are some ideas for how you can use them at your schools:

1) Use it as a warm-up material

Chose a topic and write up a two person dialog about that topic with spaces for each student to insert their own answers. An example Eikaiwa Card dialogue looks like this:

Each card allows students to practice talking about a wide range of topics in a structured way.

Each card allows students to practice talking about a wide range of topics in a structured way.

Print out enough copies for every student in the class, make pairs, practice the saying the dialogue and then give the students 3-5 minutes to talk using the card. For greater results, encourage students to smile, use eye contact, face each other, use reaction words and to relax.

To extend the activity you can have student make new pairs and add “Challenge” components to the cards (see picture above), which gives students ideas on how they can extend a conversation.

2) Use it outside of class

Make a set of 6-12 Eikaiwa Cards and use them in the hallways during break times and after school to start conversations with students. Students who do an Eikaiwa Card session with you can receive the card as a keepsake. Or you could use the cards in an English Passport or other speaking activity with rewards for both students and teachers.

3) Use it in your Eikaiwa

Get your students talking more smoothly and about a wider range of topics by introducing different speaking models with Eikaiwa Cards.

Want to learn more?

Send me an email or post in the comments section below.