Hi Friends 2 - Lesson 2 - Months and Dates

Lesson Plan
Flash Cards

Since the beginning of the school year, we've been practicing months. Every class I asked "What month is it now?" and then we sang the "Musical Months" song. Now, those concepts expand to include the date, and some useful questions.

Song

Even though I think the students are starting to get sick of Musical Months, I continued to use it to make sure everyone practices and remembers the months of the year now that we're actually using that vocabulary for the lesson. At this point, almost all the students could name ever month. A few students still took a few seconds to remember some of the middle months.

Vocabulary

In addition to months and dates, I'm also using holidays for this lesson. Most of the holidays I taught are givens, such as Christmas, and Halloween, but I tried to include a few other uncommon ones.

I wanted to make sure I had a mix of Japanese and American holidays. All the students should know the Japanese holidays I chose, but they don't really know the English translations. So, I wanted to teach them that. Also, I wanted to chose some American holidays they didn't know, so I could teach a little culture, too.

Also, I asked all of the 6年生 teachers for ideas on holidays, too. That way it included them in the creation of the lessons, and have some more unique holidays.

Flashcards

Near the back of Hi Friends 2, there are small cards for the students to cut out and use with games during class. Using the PDF copy of the book, the vector images create perfect and beautiful flashcards for the months that match with the other imagery in the book. I wrote my own text underneath for the names.

Additionally, for the twelve holidays, I used Google Image Search and tried to find images that best represented the holidays I chose. I made sure to try and find the highest resolution possible, then scaled them down to fit on A4 paper. I included the English name of the holiday at the bottom.

Class 1: Introduce Date Numbers

For review, we played the Row/Column Question Game to continue practicing how to spell their names in English. In the previous lesson all the students practiced how to spell their name, so everyone should know how to do this. Also, everyone has English name tags, so they could just look at their name tag and read the letters. No one had any difficultly with this.

And then we sang Musical Months. This time during the song, I added the month flashcards on the board as a slight visual aid for the students.

To teach the Date Numbers, I asked the students to recite 1 through 31, and I wrote each number on the board. With both the months and numbers on the board, I asked the students, "What happens when you combine the two sets of vocabulary together? You get dates. But, for example, 11 is not January one." Then I proceeded to ask the students, "What is 1 in English?" Some students correctly answered with "first." And we continued from there.

After each number on the board, I added their suffix. For example, 1 gets 1st. 2 gets 2nd. Fifth is the first number that started giving the students some trouble, as its not fiveth. I pointed out that fifteen follows the same rules. The next number students usually guessed wrong is twentieth. I made sure to emphasize that there's a third syllable. Then some students thought they understood the pattern and guessed twenty-oneth as the next number. I corrected them, and pointed out that pattern follows the first row of numbers: twenty-first, twenty-second. Some students still said twenty-fiveth, though.

Anyway, we went through the numbers several times. First they repeated after me. Then we counted together. Then we went a little faster. Then slower. Then I pointed to some random numbers. Basically vocabulary practice.

Then we played Bingo. I made a Bingo sheet that has both rows and columns, and the students filled in the headers with 10 months (of the 12), and the cells with 25 dates (out of 31). For some students, this took a while. I mean, it's not that hard, and I thought I explained it pretty well, but it still took a few students more than 5 minutes to create their Bingo card.

To generate the dates, I used some dice. I bought a few packs of dice to cover what I needed. I used a single D12 for the months, and I used a combination of a D12 and D20 for the dates. Since a D12 and D20 can only create numbers 2 to 32, I simply subtracted 1 from the result. I rolled the dice, and said that date (in English) to the students. And they circled the dates if it lined up on their card. I wrote the dates on the board, too, so we could keep track of what we had.

For each class, we had about 10 minutes left to actually play the bingo game. There are 366 possible outcomes when considering all the possible dates, which is WAY more than the 75 possible numbers for a normal bingo game. 10 minutes is not enough time for someone to get a bingo. Even 20 minutes might not be enough.

None of my students got a bingo (obviously), so I choose the winner by the most amount of circled dates on their sheet. I think the most circles any student got was 6 out of 15 dates.

I think it's still a good exercise for listening, but it needs a bit more time. Also, I could probably take some volunteers from the class to roll numbers and say the outcome to the students.

Class 2: Dates, Holidays, Birthdays

At the beginning, we sang, and practiced the date numbers. I put all the month flashcards on the board with 6 columns 2 rows in the middle of the board. On the right side of the board, I wrote out the date numbers for practice.

The Aim of the lesson actually takes a little bit of time. In the remaining board space on the left side, I wrote out the grammar. First, we have "What month is it now?" I asked the students to translate this to Japanese: 今は 何月ですか. Next, I wrote "What date is it now?" Most student guess 何日, but I explain it's both 何月 and 何日. Next, I add, "What date is ____?" and explain the blank is for a holiday.

Then we go through the holidays that the teachers and I chose for the lesson: New Years Eve, Valentine's Day, Hina Festival, White Day, Buddha's Birthday, Child's Day, Independence Day, Obon, Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and Takayama Festival.

For each holiday I first ask, "What month?", then "What date?" Eventually, I simply ask, "What date?" I don't expect the students to actually learn the English names for these holiday, but we still lightly practice "What date is ___?" anyway.

Then I introduce your birthday to the students, and ask them the difference between "What date is your birthday?" and "When is your birthday?" I also teach them, "My birthday is _____."

After that we play the birthday interview game in Hi Friends 2 on page 9. Students ask each other when their birthdays are, and write the result in the book. Before we begin, we practice the questions and responses together as a group. And students begin practicing their birthdays in English. Some students had some difficulties with that, so we practiced months and dates as a group again.

For the interview, students start by asking their partners for their birthdays, then it's opened up to the class as a whole.

Class 3: Create Posters

We were getting close to the end of the first trimester, so I wanted to make sure the students presented something to the class. My previous attempts with students creating posters and giving a presentation to the class worked amazingly, so I did the same to complete this lesson.

Students created posters that showed off what they liked about their birthday month. Students had to write the name of their birthday month, then draw something to do with the season, or a holiday in their month.

For the presentation, the students had to recite the following script:
My birthday is ______.
(holiday) is in (month).
I like ______.
Thank you.

At the start of class, we reviewed all the months, dates, and grammar. I asked everyone about the dates for the holidays, and then asked about student's birthdays.

Then I introduced the assignment for the students. Here's my example:

So, my presentation would be the following:
My birthday is October 23rd.
Halloween is in October. (or) Takayama Festival is in October.
I like pumpkins. (or) I like festival floats.

Students had the rest of the class to create their posters, and it was assigned as homework if they couldn't finish.

Some months are not good for holidays, like June and November. November does have Thanksgiving, but the students don't care about a holiday their country doesn't celebrate. So, I used the follow website to come up with a bunch of ridiculous obscure holidays they could use:
http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/index.htm

Class 3.5: More Practice, Finish Posters

Some of my classes were a little ahead of others, so I asked the homeroom teacher if they wanted to have an extra class to practice dates, and spend more time on their posters. So we did this lesson for 2 out of my 4 classes.

It was basically just a repeat of the previous lesson. We practiced months, dates, holidays, and grammar. I repeated the presentation script to the students, and then they worked on their posters.

Class 4: Student Presentations

During the previous few classes student spent almost all the time drawing and coloring their posters, rather than actually practicing their scripts. So, we started the class by practicing, and rehearsing.

For the actual presentation, I had the students perform in groups, rather than individually in front of everyone. Some classes had WAY too many students to have them perform individually. I created evaluation forms for the students, so their smile, voice, and eye contact could be evaluated by their peers.

Each group had to determine their best student, and all the best students got to perform in front of the class. All the students in the class then evaluated them.

Even though, we formed groups to save time, 3 out of my 4 classes finished 10 to 15 minutes late. All those classes had students goofing off or not caring, though. I think the best way to conserve time is to have many small groups, rather than few larger groups. Small groups can go through their presentations fast, and determine their best students even faster. Also, I could have better explained how to determine the best student. I think that would've saved time, too.

Results

By the end, all the students could correctly say their birthday without hesitation, and they were all pretty snappy with today's date, too.

For the final presentations, two of my classes really made me angry. These were the two classes that had a full extra period to make their posters, and practice their scripts. Several student's posters look like it took them 5 minutes to make, and then it took them about 5 minutes to actually do their presentation because they didn't practice their script at all.

I mean, I know English is difficult, and these kids are 10 years old, but it's really annoying when the student doesn't even make an attempt to do the work, and as a result slows down the class and takes up everyone's time. Even the students in my other school who hate English made nice looking posters, and could say their presentation with minimal prompts.

For the next class after, I really should have talked with the teacher and then the students in these classes. But.. I let it go. I needed to think positive thoughts. I should really return to the topic when we do our next presentations.

Whatever. Again, the students are quick at answering "What is today's date?" now, so I guess the lesson was a success. Also many students did make some great posters. Take a look below!


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