JALT2018 is only a few days away from us and we are looking forward to
seeing many of you at the conference and/or online! The conference
hashtag is #JALT2018 – please get involved! We wish you a memorable
conference experience, full of diverse ideas, productive discussions,
new learnings, inclusive networking, and inspiring moments.

This month’s announcements include eight announcements about JALT2018
and two announcements about JALT Publications:

1. Registration
2. Code of Conduct
3. First-Time Attendees and New Members Orientation
4. Conference App
5. Environmental Levy
6. Livestream Schedule and Recording
7. Best Poster Design Competition Guidelines
8. Twitter Selfie Contest
9. Volunteering for JALT Publications
10. Job Hunting in Japan

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1. Registration

Online registration is available until tomorrow (19 November).
Conference registration link: https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018/registration
Registration onsite will be available for all days of the conference.

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2. Code of Conduct

JALT seeks to provide a safe, hospitable, and productive environment
for all JALT members, staff, volunteers, and event attendees,
regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, disability, physical
appearance, gender, or sexual orientation. JALT prohibits any
intimidating, threatening, or harassing conduct during JALT events and
any socializing related to those events. Please visit this link for
more details:

https://jalt.org/main/jalt-code-conduct, and here is the link to a
video about our Code of Conduct: https://youtu.be/64wwDPq53XI

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3. First-Time Attendees and New Members Orientation

Is this your first time attending the JALT International Conference?
Are you a new JALT member? If so, please consider attending this
orientation, which will be held on Saturday, November 24th, 11:00 AM –
11:25 AM, Practice Room 2 B1.

More information at: https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018/orientation

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4. Conference App

This year we have a conference app available on both the Apple App
Store for iPhones and iPads, and in Google Play for Android devices.
Access via your smartphone or tablet and search for JALT.

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5. Environmental Levy

This year at JALT2018, we are encouraging participants to consider
paying an environmental levy of 500 yen or 1000 yen at registration or
at the GILE (Global Issues in Language Education) SIG table on-site to
help offset the conference’s footprint. After the conference proceeds
will be donated to carbon-offset projects that have been selected by
the Environmental Committee.

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6. Livestream Schedule and Recording at JALT2018

We are planning to live-stream the sessions listed at this link
https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018/virtually-connecting on the
conference Twitter page (@JALTConference) and record them. The
recordings will be available on JALT’s YouTube channel
(http://bit.ly/jaltYTchan) after the conference.

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7. Best Poster Design Competition Guidelines

This year, we will be running a competition for best poster design.
There will be four winners – one winner for each of the four sessions
– 11.00-12.30 on Saturday A (24th), 16.40-18.10 on Saturday B
(24th),12.30-14.00 on Sunday C (25th), 16.35-18.05 on Sunday D (25th).
Winners will be awarded a 5,000 yen Amazon voucher to spend as they

When you attend the JALT poster sessions, please look for a voting
slip and ballot box. Write the name and title of the poster you feel
has the best design. Drop your voting slip in the box. Your number one
pick, just may win! Remember, every vote counts!

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8. Twitter Selfie Contest

Take a selfie at JALT2018, tag it with #JALT2018Selfie, tweet it, and
win free coffee! Winners will be randomly chosen and notified via
direct message on Twitter.

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9. Volunteering for JALT Publications

Interested in volunteering for JALT Publications? We are constantly on
the look out for volunteers to join all of our publications. We offer
full training and support, and the chance to join a group of dedicated
people at the heart of JALT’s services to members. If you’d like more
information, please visit: http://jalt-publications.org/recruiting, or
contact us directly through http://jalt-publications.org/contact.

We will also be holding a poster session at JALT2018 in Shizuoka on
volunteering for JALT Publications. Come and see us there, or drop by
our JALT Publications booth in the main hall.

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10. Job Hunting in Japan

Looking for a teaching position in Japan? Visit our JALT Publications
Career Development Corner:

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Parisa Mehran
Director of Public Relations, JALT

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Hope to see you @ #JALT2018: https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018
Join JALT: http://jalt.org/main/membership
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JALTConference
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JALT2018
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaltconference
LinkedIn Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/99764
LinkedIn Page: https://bit.ly/2BY2y8X
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/people/158472496@N03
YouTube: http://bit.ly/jaltYTchan
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10 Ways to Cultivate good Gut Bacteria & Reduce Depression

We are all born with genes that predispose us to all kinds of things — in my case, most of the psychiatric illnesses listed in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition). And while we have some control over the way our genes express themselves or “turn on” — a new science called epigenetics — we are more or less stuck with our human genome. But we are by no means permanently attached to a diagnosis of Major Depression Disorder (if that is what Mom and Dad kindly handed down).


Read More

Posted in Happiness, Health, Mental Health | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Games’ Scoring Systems

Games’ Scoring Systems


Competition works very well with children (and even adults) over the age of about 4 and it can be a great way to retain attention on an activity and producing the language. Competition must be kept fair, fun and involve the learners as much as possible.

By Sophia McMillan



Aim: Draw a complete person

Preparation: 2 teams. Team names and a space for drawing their person on each side of the whiteboard. Across the top of the whiteboard, Teacher draws 6 body parts and numbers them 1 to 6 (or write the words to practice word recognition).

Resources: Dice

How to play: Learners win points for doing good things. When a team gets 5 points one learner throws the dice and draws the corresponding body part on their picture. If a team already has that body part, the teacher has a choice of what to do: learners draw another body part; get nothing and sit down or throw the dice again.

Adaptations: Destruct – reverse of above; Construct face, monster, house, anything



Aim: Get to the finish

Preparation: 2 teams. Teacher draws a racetrack of squares around the perimeter of the whiteboard. Teacher adds symbols in some of the squares and elicits tasks (rewards or forfeits) for the symbols

Resources: 2 whiteboard magnets, a die

How to play: When learners get points they move around the racetrack, doing the tasks when appropriate

Adaptations: Halftrack; Less or more tasks. Can be done along with individual point games.


Spelling tower

Aim: Reduce the number of floors and thus the number of spelling for homework

Preparation: 1 team. Draw a tower of 10 floors on the whiteboard

Resources: None

How to play: The height of the tower (the number of floors) indicates the number of words learners will get for homework to learn how to spell for next class. Learners reduce the height of the tower throughout the class. Perhaps 5 points translate into the loss of 1 floor. 

NB: Make sure the learners do not get too many or too few.

Adaptations: Have 2 teams each with their own tower. Winners give the other team extra spelling words. Learners constitute 1 team, Teacher the other.


Snakes and Ladders

Aim: To reach the finish

Preparation: Teacher draws the playing board on the whiteboard, adding some snakes and ladders

Resources: 2 whiteboard magnets, a dice

How to play: Similar to the racetrack game. Students get 5 minor points and then throw the dice and move along the snakes and ladders board

Adaptations: Substitute snakes and ladders with recently taught vocabulary



Aim: To get to the top of the mountain

Preparation: Teacher draws a mountain in the middle of the whiteboard, adding climbing pegs on the slopes; the same number on each side. Teacher draws a small house at both lower corners of the whiteboard (at the base of the slopes). 

Resources: 2 whiteboard magnets

How to play: Points translate into a move up the mountain. First team to the top wins.

Adaptations: Add more pegs and penalty pegs – some task to be done before they can continue, e.g. jump 5 times, say target language 20 times, etc. Add geographical features, e.g. a lake, a waterfall, a cave, an angry mountain goat


Take a Card

Aim: To get the most points

Preparation: Teacher draws a points box for each team

Resources: Pack of playing cards

How to play: When learners get a point, 1 learner chooses a card from the pack. They get that number of points for their team. Decide before playing on the value of the cards with no numbers, king, queen, jack for example 11, 12, 13.


Points – 135, 246

Aim: To get the most points

Preparation: Teacher draws a box for team points on the whiteboard

Resources: A die

How to play: When a team gets a point, they get to throw the dice. If they get 1, 3, 5, they get 10 points. If they get 2, 4, 6, they get minus 5 points.

Adaptations: Alter the number of points; Alter the criteria for minus points, e.g. only a 1 or 2 is minus; 3, 4, 5, 6, is plus points; Add a safe option for those that do not want to risk it, e.g. 5 points. Differ the activity. Instead of throwing a dice, play paper, scissors, stone; throw a sticky ball on a target


Block Basketball

Aim: To get the most points

Preparation: Draw a box for points on the whiteboard

Resources: Some foam blocks, a box

How to play: When learners get a point, they stand a decided distance away from the box and try to throw the ball in the box for a point (or 5 points). 


Book Page

Aim: To get the most points

Preparation: Points boxes on the whiteboard and a list of the page numbers of the book.

Resources: A book. The reader (if you use one) is good

How to play: When a team gets 5 minor points, they choose a page number of the book. The teacher reads out the first sentence of that page and elicits from learners the first letter. The letter translates into points A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, etc. 


Adaptations: The last letter of the sentence is the point winner; The number of letters in the word indicates the number of points; The number of words in the sentence indicates the number of points


Os and Xs

Aim: To get the most points

Preparation: Teacher draws a Os and Xs grid on the whiteboard. Teacher draws point boxes for the teams

Resources: Whiteboard & pens

How to play: When a team gets 5 minor points they can have a turn at the Os and Xs. 3 in a row wins a major point for the team. If learners have more turns then places, they can replace already chosen squares

Adaptations: Instead of 3×3 box, use a 5×3 or another format; Use other symbols other than Os and Xs. The same method can be transferred to other games, e.g. Jenga, Connect 4, etc.


Black and Red Cards

Aim: To get the most points.

Preparation: Divide the class into two teams.

Resources: A deck of cards.

How to play: Every so often during drilling, give each learnera card.  They get 10 points for each black card and -5 points for each red card.

Adaptations: Learners can guess black or red for points.  They can also guess higher or lower than the previous card.



Aim: To move the magnets around the bases and score home runs.

Preparation: Draw a baseball diamond on the board.

Resources: Whiteboard, pens, magnets and a die.

How to play: Learners roll the die.  1, 3, 5 they can move their magnet one base.  2, 4, 6, they can move two bases.  They get one point every time they pass home.

Miho Dam Park, next to Miho Dam in Yamakita, Shizuoka


Dice Blackjack

Aim: To get as close to 12 in three rolls without going over.

Preparation: Draw this on the board:  ++=12

Resources: A die.

How to play: The learners have three rolls to get 12 without going over.  They get 10 times the number they roll or 150 for a perfect 12.  So if they roll a 7, they get 70 points.  If they roll bigger than 12, they lose 10 points



Aim: To score the most points.

Preparation: Draw a vertical rectangle that is divided into 4 squares for each team.

Resources: One magnet for each team.

How to Play: Place the magnet in the bottom square of each rectangle. Every time the team gets a point the magnet is moved up one square. Once the magnet gets to the top square one member of the team gets to play a reward game (e.g. throw a sticky ball, paper/scissors/stone). Give the team some points that reflect how well they did at the reward game. 

Adaptations: Suggested reward game: the first time a team’s magnet gets to the top of the rectangle ask them for a word beginning with ‘a’. Give them one point for each letter in the word. The next time ask them for a word beginning with ‘b’. Keep going through the alphabet like this ‘c, d, e…’

Pictured: Yuhi Falls in Minamiashigarashi, Kanagawa



Posted in Games, Teacher Training, Teaching Children | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading for Real: Storybooks in the classroom

There are two ways to view reading in the younger learner classroom: learning to read and reading to learn.

 By Sophia McMillan

Reading to learn involves target language and structures, which form part of the curriculum: for example a dialogue or unscrambling words or sentences. These activities are developing the learners awareness of language form, word order and, where supported by visual materials, context and usage. Reading to learn requires exposure to the target language before the reading activity can take place and so these activities are supported by input, drilling and often listening activities.


Learning to read involves recognition of letter and word shapes (looking at whole words and whole sentences), phonics (relating sounds to individual letters and blends and clusters of letters), and morphemes (e.g. adding ‘ing’ or ‘ed’ to a verb to change the meaning – listen – listening – listened). 


Very often learning to read and reading to learn are combined. Learners are taught to recognise word shapes when being taught colours or they are taught that ‘ing’ indicates a continuous action during a lesson on activities.


Pictured: Next to Miho Dam in Yamakita

However, there is very little reading for pleasure in the classroom and yet this provides rich exposure to word forms and language in an involving and meaningful context supported by pictures and actions, all of which help develop learning to read. 


Consider your own reading experiences as children, probably through the Ladybird series of books or even through ‘classic’ texts such as ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ or ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. Often the language content was not pre-taught rather we picked up the meaning of words through pictures and story development. We were probably read to first with minimal explanation of all the language. Later we would satisfy curiosity by looking at the books ourselves and attempt reading the texts alone. ‘Retelling’ the story would typically follow this. Through exposure to more texts we would develop our lexical awareness and start using some of the language we had read. Above all there was no doubt a great sense of achievement when we had read something.


Why are storybooks a good thing?

 Storybooks stimulate interest and motivate learners. Children progress from initial interest in the colourful pictures, to relating the visual information to the text.
 Language is presented in context and children retain the meanings of new words even though they may not use the language themselves.
 The language in storybooks is natural, authentic language rather than just the presentation of words selected by the teacher and drilled. This language doesn’t need pre-teaching as all the necessary information is presented on the page.
 If being read to the learners develop an awareness of intonation and pronunciation.
 Reading is a social experience – the learners listen and react as a group, follow-up activities are done together and stories show life from other points of view.
 Reading storybooks develops an interest in literature, which will eventually lead the children to make decisions on what to read.
 Using familiar or traditional stories form Japan and other countries will develop a greater cultural awareness in the learner. The more familiar the story (e.g. Momotoru – the peach boy) the greater the interest in and success at reading is likely to be.
 Storybooks create great possibilities for personalisationand extension activities. For example ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’ – 
 Which bear do they like the most and why? 
 Act out scenes from the text.
 Read part of the story – the learners tell you what happens next.
 Draw the characters or locations from the story.
 Learners put (pre-prepared) pictures or words in the correct order and re-tell the story.
 If telling the story for a second or third time the teacher can miss words out for learners to ‘fill in’ by guessing the answers.
 Learners can progress from ‘being read to’ to ‘reading out’ for the class.
 Stories can be adapted (learners can decide on a different ending or setting) and retold (from a different point of view).


If stories are to be effectively exploited in the classroom, there is a need for teachers to plan work with clear language learning and learning goals in mind. 


What does the teacher do? What do the learners do?

 The teacher should speak ‘spontaneously’ and naturally
 Use natural intonation
 Use your body and face to make gestures
 Don’t worry if you make mistakes – the learners will not notice!
 Repeat and rephrase in a natural way
 Stop and show pictures and talk about them
 Talk to learners about aspects of the story
 Learners listen and can repeat certain phrases (e.g. “Who ate my porridge?”)
 Learners can see the text, look at the words and follow the story
 Learners can comment on the story as it develops


How do I do it in the classroom?

 Establish a routine. Though the activity may seem strange at first the learners will soon get used to it
 Storytelling need only be short, regular activities. Telling the story should be followed by something physical (movement / mime) or social (drawing pictures together) and related to the text. Altogether storytelling can be done in 10 minutes
 With some classes/levels read a story over several lessons.Read a page or passage at a time – elicit from learnerswhat happened previously, who the characters are, what they think will happen next – this will develop the learners thinking skills
 Consider the best time for a storytelling activity. As the task is ‘learning to read’ it should come after the usual presentation and practice of any typical ‘target’ language. Possibly after a physical activity to change the pace a little. Remember that storytelling need only be around 10 minutes of the lesson


Writing about the story or characters, drawing pictures to support the story and even writing their own story are fun and useful homework activities. Storytelling can be done with any young learners from 2 year olds (listening passively) to 4-6 year olds (listening and drawing) to 6-9 year olds (reacting to the story; offering ‘opinions’; writing about characters;) to HE (re-telling; writing; re-ordering a story etc.)


What is your favourite story to use in the classroom? What are the best activities?




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Group Activity: Food Discussion

For University, high school, junior high, or English school adults.

1. Group Work:

(Discuss these questions with your group)

What is your favorite food?

What is a food you hate?

What is the strangest thing you have eaten?


Which foods have you tried in different places in Japan? How about abroad?

2. Write about your food discussion-(as a group) Group Work!

What did everyone say?

(Write it as a paragraph- 50-100 words)

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Members of ETJ

A message for members of ETJ

The ETJ Book Service <https://www.etjbookservice.com> is the key to ensuring that ETJ will be able to continue as a free association that supports English teachers around Japan. Anything you can do to help spread the word about the ETJ Book Service would be a great help.

For the first ten years of ETJ, the central administration and primary sponsorship was taken care of by my schools. Since I and my schools went bankrupt in 2010, I have been doing this personally, and have been very happy to do this. But, I am getting older and my ability to provide financial support for ETJ is not on the scale it was when I had schools. It is important now to try and build up a bit more of a structure that can support and sponsor ETJ which others can take over. This plan has some way to go, but I hope I have some way to go, too. Developing the ETJ Book Service is the key to making the plan work.

The ETJ Book Service receives a percentage when books from established publishers are sold through the site, but does not take any commission for materials published by ETJ members who are doing things completely independently. If you are interested in selling your self-developed materials through the site and don’t have a publisher or Japan distributor, please contact me. This is a free service, and I very much hope it will support as many teachers in Japan as possible.

Best wishes,

David Paul


ETJ Website


ETJ Expos


ETJ Regional Groups


ETJ Book Service


ETJ Members’ Materials


ETJ Job Service




TESOL (Young learners) Certificate Programs








To unsubscribe from all Language Teaching Professionals / ETJ

newsletters, reply to this email with ‘unsubscribe’ as the subject

Sent to: kevinsenglishschools@hotmail.com

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JALT2018 is approaching and here at JALT we are so excited and looking
forward to seeing many of you in Shizuoka next month.

This month’s announcements include:

1. JALT2018 Early Bird Registration Deadline: Tomorrow!
2. JALT2018 Full Schedule
3. Virtually Connecting Session at JALT2018
4. Graduate Student Showcase at JALT2018
5. Job Information Center at JALT2018
6. JALT Research Grant Proposal Extended Deadline: October 31st
7. JALT Publications Website Editor

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1. JALT2018 Early Bird Registration Deadline: Tomorrow!

The early bird registration ends on October 23rd(tomorrow). Please
visit this link for details:

If you have any questions about your registration, please contact the
JALT office via the site contact form and if you run into any
technical problems, please use the contact form to contact the website

Contact form: https://jalt.org/contact/form

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2. JALT2018 Full Schedule

JALT2018 Full Schedule is available at:

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3. Virtually Connecting Session at JALT2018

Can’t make it to JALT2018? Join us in a virtual conversation with two
of our plenary speakers Judith B. O’Loughlin (@judyoloughlin) and
Lindsay Clandfield (@lclandfield). Naomi Fujishima, Parisa Mehran
(@ParisaMehran), and Jason Wolfe (@jasondwolfe) will be onsite buddies
with virtual buddies Wendy Taleo (@wentale) and Laurent Carlier

Please check this link for more details:

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4. Graduate Student Showcase at JALT2018

The Graduate Student Showcase (GSS) has been a part of the annual JALT
International Conference since 2006 so 2018 marks its lucky 13th year.
This year more than 50 presenters from 13 institutions will join the
JALT International Conference in Shizuoka.

Read more at: https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018/gss

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5. Job Information Center at JALT2018

The JALT2018 Conference attracts the most qualified EFL teachers from
the finest academic institutions in Japan. Whether you are an educator
seeking to hire or an educator searching for a job, the Job
Information Center is the best place to meet and find common ground.

Read more at: https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018/jic

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6. JALT Research Grant Proposal Extended Deadline: October 31st

Each year, JALT awards up to three grants for a maximum of 100,000 yen
each for research on language teaching in Japan. The goal of the
grants is to support language teachers in their professional
development and to encourage teachers to engage in classroom-based
research. Winners of the grants receive funding before the start of
the following school year during which they conduct their studies,
provide quarterly reports, and receive guidance from the committee.
Following the completion of the research, winners are invited to give
presentations on their projects at the JALT international conference
and to publish a paper in The Language Teacher. Only JALT members who
have no outside funding sources to conduct research are eligible to
apply. The deadline for proposals for projects starting in the 2019
school year has been extended to October 31, 2018.

Link: https://jalt.org/researchgrants

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7. JALT Publications Website Editor

The JALT Publications Board invites applications for the position of
Website Editor. For more information, please visit:

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Parisa Mehran
Director of Public Relations, JALT

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Hope to see you @ #JALT2018: https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018
Join JALT: http://jalt.org/main/membership
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JALTConference
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JALT2018
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaltconference
LinkedIn Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/99764
LinkedIn Page: https://bit.ly/2BY2y8X
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/people/158472496@N03
YouTube: http://bit.ly/jaltYTchan
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Trying to Lose Weight?

Advice of recent research in this fall’s Molecular Metabolism journal shows the appetite suppressing effects of the amino acids lysine and arginine. It was a study done in mice, but even if the effect does not translate fully in humans, it is still worth eating foods high in these amino acids: avocados, whole milk yogurt, lentils and almonds.

Posted in Exercise, Health | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Activities Ideas for Teen Classes


Activities Ideas for Teen Classes

 By Sophia McMillan

Cube Toss: In pairs learners are given a basic die template and asked to write their favourite: sport, movie, singer, food, drink, etc. Once their die has been constructed give each pair a standard die. Learners take it in turns to roll their die to decide the topic of conversation while their partner rolls the standard die to determine the number of questions they have to ask (e.g. if they roll a 3, they ask 3 questions). Learners take turn asking each other questions.


Word Halves: Choose some vocabulary to review. Write it out on bits of paper. Cut up the word into two halves and have learners match the word halves. Alternatively, these can be written on the board, drawn as accompanying pictures, and extended by getting them to make their own word halves.


Anagrams: Choose vocabulary to review and jumble up the letter order and in pairs learners race to spell the words correctly. 


Sentence Order Games: Choose a suitable dialogue. Write each sentence of the dialogue on a separate piece of paper. Have learners put the dialogue in the correct order. Listen to check. Role-play the dialogue etc.


Rub Out & Recall: Transfer a dialogue to the board and drill. Then rub out selected words/sentences systematically and have learners recall it from memory. Teens tend to like memory games and respond well to the challenge.


Happy Graph: Draw a graph on the board with days of the week, yesterday and today along the bottom and on the vertical axis draw three faces. A happy, neutral and sad face.Learners should plot how their week has been so far. Then use the graph as a basis for getting them to talk e.g. On Monday I was happy because I met my friends. I was not happy on Tuesday. I had a test etc.


Role-Plays: Learners are often more comfortable playing a role than themselves. Role-plays can be set up in groups i.e. half the learners are A and half B, then roles changed, then as above rub out and recall ete.


Harry Potter Game: Run and draw adjectives: big, small, pretty, ugly, old, fat and thin. Elicit some of the characters from a book/movie etc e.g. Harry Potter and write them on the left hand side of the board e.g. Hagrid, Hermione, Harry, Dumbledore, Dobby etc. Teach / elicit the following: hat, bird, broomstick, magic wand, glasses, cat, book, dragon etc. Next to each name elicit and board what each character has e.g. Harry has glasses, Hermione has a broomstick, Hagrid has a dragon, Dumbledore has a hat etc. Drill these sentences and then do the disappearing sentence game just leaving character names. Then you could do a ball toss i.e. T to S1 ‘Dumbledore’ S1 ‘Dumbledore has a hat.’ ‘Harry.’ and then S1 throws the ball to another etc. This can be adapted for a variety of characters or language points. 


Extension: Give the sentences on strips of paper and learners read and draw. They could also comment on whether or not they have the above items and perhaps make sentences about their family members, best friend etc.


Making Listening Fun: When doing a longish listening, have learners follow with their fingers as they listen. The teacher, in the manner of musical chairs, pauses the CD suddenly without warning. Learners call out the last word they heard before the CD was stopped. With higher levels they could predict the next word / phrase coming up.


Making Comics: Learners pick characters from Japanese manga/films etc (e.g. Naruto etc). They create profiles for these characters using common language. It is then possible to have them design a basic story involving the characters and make a page from the comic/film etc using only English. In reference to the text, learners can adapt the stories that are on the page i.e. Naruto and Anpanman arrange to go to the cinema to see a movie etc.


Alphabet Letter Removal Game: With two full sets of magnetic letters (or phonics cards) put one set on each side of the board, one per team. Decide on a category for each team and then give a 3 min time limit. Learners remove a letter for every word they can think of that starts with that letter. This can be done as a pair/group task then as a class learners give their answers. Picture dictionaries can be used if required. 


Gap Fills / Stories with Gaps: Generally speaking teens respond well to gap fills. They are controlled and they are familiar with the idea. Stories with gaps can work well as learners have some freedom in making a story their own.


Show & Tell: Learners bring something to talk about, a picture or object. Alternatively they could describe or talk about something they own. Encourage the class to ask follow up questions. This is a great way to get learners interested in using English in a meaningful and memorable way.


10 or 20 Questions: Think of a particular category e.g. animals. Then demo possible questions and answers e.g. Does it have four legs? Yes, it does. You can then show the learners that you were thinking of a particular animal (or had a specific animal flashcard). Once they understand they have to guess the animal or object put them in pairs and award points if they guess within the 10 question limit. It could be if they guess at the first question they get 10 points, and for each question asked they get 1 less point when they guess. 


Picture Dictation: Describe a picture. Learners listen and draw the picture. This works well with prepositions of place and could lend itself to a communicative information gap activity. Once learners have the idea they can describe pictures to each other. 


What are your favourite activities for teen classes?


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16th Autumn Workshop at Doshisha University

The 16th Annual Autumn Workshop for Teaching Oral Communication in Japan, will be held on Saturday, November 10th at Doshisha University in Kyoto.

Alma is proud to sponsor the Autumn Workshop. We are thankful for the support of the Kansai JALT chapters, who kindly helped promote the event. 

During this year’s workshop, we will cover: 

  • The effects of culture on language teaching, from the point of view of class management (Bruno Vannieu, Kobe University) and the pragmatics of conversation (John Campbell-Larsen, Kyoto Women’s University).
  • How to conduct speaking tests for lower-level oral communication classes (Jerry Talandis, University of Toyama; Paul Tanner, Shiga University).
  • How to adapt teaching materials to your teaching context (Cameron Romney, Doshisha University).
  • An alternative for motivated high school students to the “conversations about students’ real lives” strategy: training for various real-world interactions (Harmony Martin, Kyoto Tachibana High School).

In the morning, Bruno Vannieu will talk about the origins of the “Immediate Method” (IM), an innovative, Japan-based approach for managing oral communication classes, especially in large, low-level classes with poorly motivated students. In short, the IM prioritizes:

  • Immediately usable linguistic content so that students can quickly dive into oral practice;
  • A task-based approach to practicing new material in different ways, moving from highly scaffolded output to free conversation;
  • Conducting in-class testing on a regular basis, from the beginning of the course. Tests are a powerful motivator and can have a huge positive washback effect if handled properly.

The workshop program can be viewed here. 
You can register online here.

Best regards,
Kimie Inoue
Alma Publishing
アルマ出版 Alma Publishing
Tel: 075-203-4606 / Fax: 075-320-1721
602-8371 京都市上京区西町24-4 YOKAI SOHO 2
2F YOKAI SOHO 24-4 Nishi-machi, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8371

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