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This page is about making lesson plans and teaching 3-5 year olds.
Teaching preschool from scratch by user Robot Drinking Tea:
(about me)
  • CIR
  • only been teaching kindergarten for 4 months
  • one hour lesson plans made from scratch
  • learning and making mistakes as I go
Some things I learned from my first 4 months:
  • For 5 year olds, it can easily get too difficult. But it can also be way too easy! For example, the kids at all 7 schools I visit can count from 1-10 in English easily, so I deleted numbers from my lesson plans after the first day of teaching!
  • Anything involving actions is a winner
  • Songs are tough but rewarding - and it really helps if there's a Japanese version. Always have actions to songs and keep the kids moving e.g. dancing in a circle holding hands or marching on the spot while doing actions
Teaching elements I've found successful so far
Topics
  • Zoo animals (monkey, giraffe, elephant, tiger, lion) - this is a good mix of words that Japanese kids will have heard (e.g. monkey) and ones they won't know (e.g. giraffe) - plus what kid doesn't love animals?
  • Fruit (apple, banana, orange, peach, grapes, water melon, broccoli, cucumber, mushroom) - I started off with only fruit for this lesson and regretted it - Japanese kids will know 'apple' and 'peach' from products and ads, and many other words are of course written in katakana - but when I made it a bit harder it was a big hit
  • Emotions (happy, grumpy, sleepy, scared, silly) - I was worried about having too many negative emotions in class especially 'sad', but the kids were only too happy to act grumpy on cue!
  • Other topics: my predecessor definitely covered colours and body parts which most of the kids still remember, and that comes in very handy. To be honest, my job description is more 'entertain the kids in English' than actually teaching them anything specific, so I would encourage anyone to take a similar approach with 5 year olds!
Games
(As a CIR, I use a lot of Japanese in my classroom to explain games and word meanings and keep kids from getting overwhelmed, so some things might be harder to do when demonstrating only in English.)
  • Let's Make Cake [or Soup]!
    • I was worried about whether the kids would be interested by make-believe, but they always loved it. We sit in a circle and I get each kid to step forward and say a fruit out loud, then add it to the pot to make a 'cake'. They particularly love miming stirring the big pot of fruit together. I did the same with vegetables, prompting them to say 'I like...' - and then at the end you mime serving it to them and tucking into cake! I'd definitely recommend make-believe games if you're stuck for ideas!
  • Duck Duck Goose
    • 3/4 year olds got a bit confused by the rules, but the 5 year olds caught on - great because the kids can keep the game going without you constantly holding their attention (which is very tiring). I changed the words to different zoo animals (e.g. Monkey Monkey Tiger) and it really got kids talking. Might be a bit hard to explain without Japanese though!
  • Make a Face
    • A game you can make with magnets to practice feelings words - get the kids to pick facial features (eyes, eyebrows, mouths, noses) to form different expressions - the kids loved making silly expressions with the red noses, vampire teeth, blonde eyebrows etc. that I mixed up with more normal face-parts. I drew out simple cartoon facial features and stuck them to sheets of magnets that I cut out (have a rummage through your office's stationary drawers you'll be surprised what you can find!)
Songs
  • If You're Happy and You Know It
    • Has a Japanese version! Which I found out by chance when they were singing it in the classroom next to the one I was teaching that day... what a coincidence! The kids enjoyed knowing the melody already. I did one verse of 'if you're happy and you know it clap your hands' then changed it to 'if you're grumpy and you know it stamp your feet' and so on through the different emotions. The kids held hands and danced in a circle, stopping to do the actions, so they didn't need to be able to sing along to enjoy the song.
Other

Some things to get you started by user boy.pockets (talkmy boom):


Teaching

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