I am a teacher at Dave and Amy’s English School.
I also have my own small business running an after school English Club at a Buddhist temple run kindergarten. The students in my club range from the second year of kindergarten to the third year of elementary school.
Unlike the lessons at Dave and Amy’s schools which have a maximum of six students, my classes have up to twenty students in them. I first decided to use the Dave and Amy materials in my club because I liked how there were so many materials available for the same vocabulary and it was easier to use the same materials in all of my jobs.
However, using Dave and Amy’s texts and games in a larger class requires a different approach to using them in a smaller class and it took me some time to find a way to adapt. Below is a (not as brief as I would have liked!) explanation as to how I use the materials in larger classes.
Unlike the lessons at Dave and Amy’s which are separated by ability, my classes are separated by age group and each class has an assigned text. Four classes as follows.
Kindergarten 2nd year – My English Book and Me 1 (pink)
Kindergarten 3rd year – My English Book and Me 2 (orange)
Elementary 1st year – My English Book and Me: Elementary 1 (yellow)
Elementary 2nd + 3rd year – My English Book and Me: Elementary 1 (yellow) or Elementary 2 (green)
This is the second year that I have used the MEB texts. The K3 and E1 classes moved to the next text while the K2+3 class continue to use the text that they used last year. The students in that class move on to MEB4 when they have completed MEB3.
I wrote my own curriculum which I supplied to the kindergarten and the parents (in Japanese…phew!). It outlines a theme and target language for each month and for K2+3 details which units in the texts we will be covering each week. Each month the club activities focus on the K students remembering and using a particular set of words and phrases, and the E students learning both vocabulary and particular phonics. Although the MEB1+2 texts don’t contain all of the target vocabulary, they are a useful tool for practicing the target phrases and engaging the students in short conversations. I can talk about color, size, likes and dislikes, shapes etc using the pictures in the texts.
I do not assign homework in the texts, however there are other materials available for the students to take home and work on and each month the students make their own picture book featuring the monthly vocabulary so that they can review it at home with their parents if they want to. My curriculum is not based around the texts, instead I used the texts and games to complement the curriculum I already had.
My lessons are broken down into three parts. Basically fifteen minutes of student led activities, fifteen minutes of teacher led activities, and twenty minutes of book work.
Most of the student led activities are Montessori inspired and the students are allowed total freedom to choose which activity they do. They also decide if they would like to work alone or in a pair/group. Each month the activities change to focus on the monthly vocabulary. There are rules as to how they do the activities. They must “use their voices” while they do them and when they have completed them they ask me to check their work and they tell me the words they used while doing the activity.
During this time the students can use Dave and Amy’s “flip and read”, and “read and match” games. Sometimes they organize their own game of Bingo. I also provide various puzzles and for the youngest class play-doh letter and number sheets. Every month I make a colorable picture book of the target vocabulary that the children can color during this time if they wish.
In part 2, we'll cover more of exactly what I do in the lessons.