Can-do 評価に基づいた子供のための英語学習コースブック。幼児、小学生対象。

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Lesley Ito's WE CAN!Teaching Tips
Lesley Ito Lesley Ito
Originally from Florida, Lesley Ito has been involved with ELT in Japan for 18 years. She is the owner of BIG BOW English Lab in Nagoya, the author of the WE CAN! Teacher's Guides and has made numerous teacher training presentations all over Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu. She has also written numerous articles on teaching young learners and is active in teaching organizations in Japan. Currently she is the Program Director of JALT Junior and the Program Chair of the TC SIG.
Lesley Ito's WE CAN!Teaching Tips Fun with the WE CAN!
Starter for the Class Who Needs More

【No.4 : for WE CAN! Level 2】

The summer was very hot, wasn’t it? I’m sure everyone is very excited to leave the summer heat behind and move into autumn! Autumn is a wonderful time to teach because the students are already used to the class, the textbook, the teacher and the classroom routines. It is the perfect time to try something more challenging in the classroom, such as learning a tricky grammatical structure or combining vocabulary learned in past lessons to express an idea.

In my work as a teacher trainer, I see many teachers make the same two mistakes: fearing more complicated grammar and teaching vocabulary in separate “bubbles”. Many teachers have the wrong idea that grammar must be taught by giving the students a long winded explanation in the students’ native tongue, often because that’s how they learned a second language. However, that type of approach to teaching grammar to children is not very effective because it completely disregards how children think and learn.

Lesley Ito's WE CAN!Teaching Tips

One grammar rule that is tricky to teach is the difference between countable and non-countable nouns. Not only do you need to understand the difference between these two types of nouns, you also need to correctly match them up with singular and plural forms! I’ve found over the years that the best way to teach this grammar to children is to not over-explain and let them figure out the differences themselves. The everyday objects taught in WE CAN! Level 2, Unit 8 (My Things, page 68) are all countable nouns and students can take the time to practice and master the difference between “What’s this?  It’s a. . .” and “What are these? They’re. . .”

Lesley Ito's WE CAN!Teaching Tips

Then, you can move onto telling the difference between countable and non-countable nouns by going to Starter Unit 32 (Stationery/ pages 74 and 75). Start by having the students turn to the stationery items in Level 2, Unit 8 (My Things, page 66) and see which ones they can also find in the pages of the Starter. Teach the remaining vocabulary words on the Starter pages and then explain that some nouns are easy to count, like pencils and some are hard to count, like glue. On one side of the board, write “1, 2, 3. . .” and on the other side of the board, write an X. Then, write “pencils” under the “1, 2, 3. . .” because they are easy to count and write “glue” under the X because it is hard to count.

Lesley Ito's WE CAN!Teaching Tips

Now, see if the students can guess correctly which nouns on the Starter pages are countable (ruler, crayons, stapler, book, textbook, pen, scissors, pencil, markers, eraser, paintbrush and notebook) and which ones are non-countable (paper, cardboard, tape, paint and glue). Write the words in the correct category on the board as they guess correctly. When writing the words in the countable category, write them in the plural form and later point out that non-countable nouns cannot use the plural form.

Finally, write, “What are these? They’re. . .” over the countable category and “What’s this? It’s a . . .” over the non-countable category. Now that the students can clearly understand which types of nouns are which, have them ask each other, “What’s this?” and “What are those?”           

Teaching one set of vocabulary words and then moving on and teaching another set of vocabulary words may seem like an organized way to conduct lessons, but is the way we actually communicate? In the real world, we combine many different words to express ideas. Lessons where the students can use vocabulary learned in past lessons in a meaningful context is not only a great way to review, but can also foster good communication skills in English! 

Lesley Ito's WE CAN!Teaching Tips

After playing the Fun Time! activity in We Can! Level 2, Unit 5 (Wild Animals, page 39), go back and review the words “beautiful” and “ugly” from page 30; “long”, “short”, “big”, “small”, “quiet”, “noisy”, “weak” and “strong” from page 34; and “cute” from page 38. Then have the students turn to Starter Unit 18 (Pets and Common Animals, pages 42 and 43) and review the names of the animals from 1 – 15 on page 42 (most of these animals are ones the students will have learned in past lessons).

Lesley Ito's WE CAN!Teaching Tips

Then, ask the students, “Where’s the (animal name)? If a student knows the answer, he/she should raise his/her hand and say, “It’s number _____.” (For example, “horse” would be number 9.) Then, the student has to use one of the previously reviewed adjectives to describe that animal. (For example, “It’s big.” or “It’s beautiful.”) Next, that student can choose another animal and ask the students, “Where’s the (animal name)?” Continue until all animals have been asked about. If time permits, continue the game with animals from 16 – 30 on page 43 – be sure to review them before playing the game!

Trying something a bit more challenging from time to time, not only helps your students improve their English skills, but also helps you grow as a teacher!
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