Lesson Plan: Communication with the ALT Outside of Classroom

Lesson Title: Communication with the ALT Outside of Classroom
Grammar Point(s): Multiple
Example: Children come to you to practice English.
Grade level: Any School Level
Materials: Make yourself some small cards with a distinctive stamp and number them (to prevent students from making their own). They should be a size so you can comfortably carry them with you at all times. Also, create some colorful boxes for each class to turn in their CC Cards that are secure enough that no one can steal cards out of them. (See documents below for sample questions)
Objective: To encourage students to use English and communicate with the ALT outside of class.
Summary: Communication Cards (nicknamed “CC Cards”) are a school-wide project to improve the students’ level of English expression.

The ALT holds special cards with them at all times while he/she is at school. Students can come and ask for a card between classes or after school. In order to get a card, the student must have a conversation with the ALT, including some of the grammar that they are studying in English class. When the ALT is satisfied with the conversation (usually just a few questions/sentences), he/she gives the student a CC Card.

After receiving a CC Card, the student writes his/her name and class number on the back of the card and puts them in a designated box (in front of the teacher’s room, in the language lab, etc.).

If the students are too shy to talk to the ALT directly, he/she can write a letter and place it in a designated mailbox. The ALT returns the letter with a response and a CC Card attached.

Each student can only ask for one CC Card per day. At the end of the semester/year, each class gets to have a prize drawing. The student in each class with the highest number of cards receives first pick of prizes. Then other prizes are drawn at random.

Each student is only allowed to receive one prize. Each student who has turned in a CC Card should receive some sort of prize, even if it is as simple as a sticker, to reward their effort.

Planning and Preparations: First, talk with your JTEs about starting the CC Card Program in your school. If they agree, then make an announcement to hand out to students during class. Also, create some colorful boxes for each class to turn in their CC Cards that are secure enough that no one can steal cards out of them.

Discuss with your JTE and other teachers at your school about when it will be acceptable for you to give out CC Cards. It’s a good idea to establish rules that students cannot get cards if it will make them late for class, miss cleaning, etc.

Make yourself some small cards with a distinctive stamp and number them (to prevent students from making their own). They should be a size so you can comfortably carry them with you at all times.

Implementation: At the beginning of the semester, pass out the explanation in class and show the students what the cards look like. Students will probably be reluctant to participate at first, so you may need to be proactive in approaching students and initiating conversations. Also you may want to show or describe some of the prizes to the students to get them excited about the program.

You might also be able to have your JTEs link the amount of CC Cards a student receives to his/her communication grade.

Budget: You will have to discuss with your JTE(s) about whether or not there is a budget for you to buy prizes for your students. You can also request for support from the BOE or an international association for financial help for the project. Of course, the easiest method is to donate the prizes yourself.
Evaluation: My JTE and I started this program in our school in my second year, and I was amazed at how it changed my experience as an ALT. I found that it was hard to motivate some students, epecially boys, in class, but CC Cards were a motivation for many of them to come and try speaking to me after class. As a result, I was able to learn their names and more about them. And even though many of the students were only interested in the prizes, their conversation ability increased dramatically. As a result, they enjoyed English classes more as well.

Each time I went back to America or another country, I would pick up as many cheap toys, CDs, etc. that I could use as prizes. I paid for these myself, but it was worth it to me to have the CC Card program be successful.

Starting CC Cards at your school will mean a significant change in the amount of free time you have between classes and after school, but the extra work is worth it for the chance to get more involved at school.

I’ve attached the documents explaining the goals of the CC Card program in Japanese (to be passed out to students and JTEs) and a list of sample questions that you can ask.

If you have any questions about the CC Card Program or need advice, feel free to call me (Steve) on the JETline [03-3591-5489]

Best of luck!

Downloads
Submitted by: Steve Woerner (U.S.), CIR/ALT, Tottori Prefecture, Nichinan Town, 2002-2006