Intro Lesson - Self Intro and Name Tags

Lesson Plan

Even though all the teachers in the schools moved around and changed positions, I'm still at the same schools, and teaching the same students. All the students already know me, so doing another Self Introduction is really redundant, and doesn't really make sense. I still wanted an introductory lesson, though.

Self Intro Quiz

All these students already know me, and I've told them plenty about myself. I wanted to see just how much they remember. I came up with 10 questions, but really only had time for 5 or 6 in class. I split the class into 3 or 4 groups, depending on class size. I'd ask the kids a question, and let them talk amongst themselves to come up with the answer.

I asked the following:

How many brothers and sisters do I have? / 兄弟は何人? / きょうだいはなんにん
How tall am I? / 身長は何センチ? / しんちょうはなんセンチ
How old am I? / 何歳? / なんさい
What's my favorite animal? / 一番好きな動物は何ですか? / いちばんすきなどぼつ
What's my favorite Japanese food? / 一番好きな日本の食べ物は何ですか? / いちばんすきなにほんのたべもの

Several times, some students would be right, but the majority would overrule them. I didn't award them any points for that, but those kids were certainly smug, and the kids started listening to them after the fact.

Overall, most students didn't really remember the details. Some students remembered correctly, but most team scores were either 1 or 2 correct out of 5. One of my classes remembered really well, and each team had 3 or 4 correct at the end, and wanted to keep playing. :)


For the last year, I was able to memorize all the students names (both first and last) in my Junior High. Sure, I see them all 3 times a week, but what really helped me learn their names was their English name tags. Someone before me printed a bunch of them out, laminated them, and put a safety pin on the back. Passing them out each class, and calling on students by name in each class, was an amazing help.

After 8 months, I knew only a couple of names from my elementary schools. So, one of my goals for this year is to learn as many names as I can. And making name tags should definitely help that.

Also, I wanted to make the name tags myself, so everyone single one was the exact same style, and I could read the name at a glance. If the students made their own name tags, they'd be poorly written, possibly misspelled, and may not even be their complete name. Sure, I would have some control over that, but it would eat into class time.


To create the name tags, I followed a similar process used for those name tags already made in my Junior High. As usual, I used the Century Gothic font because the a's and g's are both written that how they're taught. Plus, I'm pretty sure the text book uses Century Gothic, too.

I fit 6 names on a page, printed all those out on pure white paper, laminated them, cut them out, and then punched two holes in the tops.

All of this step used office supplies, so there was no additional cost from me.

I did spend money for the yarn, though. I didn't see anything at the schools that would work well for string and be in such massive supply. Maybe the Home Ec room would've had something… But, I wanted a bunch of colors, and I knew that the craft store would have it.

I bought 6 colors, and each ball of yarn is about 60m. I figured that each name tag would probably use about half a meter. So thats 120 tags per ball. 6 balls should definitely cover my needs.

Each ball was 350, so the bill was a little more than 2100 after they added tax.

I ended up cutting the string a bit longer than half a meter, but I had plenty to spare.


I spent about $20 on the yarn, but the real cost is time.

Again, I teach at 3 elementary schools. 2 of the schools only have 1 class per grade, and I teach them all. The other school has 2 classes, and I teacher 4th grade and up. Adding things up, I teach 18 unique classes, and needed to create name tags for each of the students. All in all, I created 550 name tags, plus another 20 including all the Homeroom Teachers.

Typing all the names into the computer took quite a while. There was plenty of proofreading, as well as asking teachers for English names for the non-Japanese students.

The laminating machine runs pretty slow, so laminating all those name cards takes a while. I multitasked with the paper cutter, to try and maximize my time.

I did individually cut each card, just to make sure there were no screw-ups. If there's a more precise way of cutting huge piles of papers, that could save a lot of time.

My hole puncher could only handle 6 cards at once, so that was yet another time bottleneck. There could certainly be a more efficient way of doing that, too.

And then cutting all the string, and tying each name tag individually takes time, too.

All in all, it probably took me about 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours to complete name tags for each class. With 18 classes, that's a total of up to 36 hours. It wasn't too bad, though. I didn't do all of this at once, just a little bit each day. I watched a bunch of movies and internet videos while stringing the name tags at home, too.

But! There are exactly what I wanted. :)

"Business Card" Game

This game was introduced by another ALT in Takayama. The basic concept is that students introduce themselves to each other, then they switch identities. In this context, after introducing themselves, the students will switch name tags, and now they'll introduce themselves as whatever name tag they have. I added some difficulty with the 5年生 and 6年生 by also making them say something they liked, and then remembering that when introducing themselves as that person.

Overall, the kids thought this was hilarious, and loved introducing themselves as someone else. The students did have a little difficulty remembering the names and liked things. Some of the younger students have some difficulty reading the name tags.

But, it was fine. Everyone seemed engaged and had fun. :)


Overall, these classes went pretty damn well. It was great to start the year on a high point with everyone communicating with each other, smiling and having fun. All the students were very engaged in both the quiz and the game.

Definitely a success. :)

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