Hi! Friends 1: Lesson 5: What do you like? (ABCD)

This lesson continues the Yes/No Question grammar pattern from the previous lesson to its logical next step: Open ended questions. It does so by bringing colors and shapes together and applying those to clothing choices. The old Eigo Note series went all out with complete outfits. This version sticks to just t-shirt designs. And, it ends on a general interview activity that combines the Lesson 4 vocabulary with the open ended question grammar. Lesson 4 and 5 together are some of the strongest in the entire Hi! Friends textbook series. As such, my lesson plans for them center highly around the textbook activities, with one large scale project I made myself.

Lesson 5A, Color and Shape

  • Shapes Karuta
  • Color and Shape Combo Game

Lesson 5B, Spin the Bottle

  • p18~19 Let’s Listen 2
  • Spin the Bottle (With the cards from p45)

Lesson 5C, T-shirt Design

  • p20 Let’s Play
  • T-shirt Design Game

Lesson 5D, Interviews

  • Filling Out Profiles
  • p21 Activity (Interviews)
  • Three Hint Quiz, Friends Version

Lesson 5A, Color and Shape

The goal of this first class in the lesson/unit is to make sure the kids are solid in their understanding of the vocabulary. Most kids know some basic colors and a few loanword shapes. The underclassmen curriculum here actually goes over shapes and colors a few times so I get a little daring.

The shapes that appear in the book are: circle, star, diamond, triangle, and heart. They skip square because squares and rectangles are the same in Japanese and it gets confusing. Screw that! I add square and line to the mix. If you’re working with really high functioning kids, you can even throw in things like pentagon and oval. Only the most basic colors appear in the book: red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green, black, white, pink, and sky blue.

Ugh, sky blue.

Now, sky blue is a bit of a bitch. In Japanese, sky blue and regular blue are totally different colors. And, regular blue is associated with sky kanji and can refer to shades of green, like the green used in traffic lights. Sky blue is actually referred to as mizuiro/water color. There’s a similar lost-in-translation problem with light green being known as kimidori/yellow-green. As such, sometimes I take this opportunity to introduce or review the concept of light and dark colors. In Japanese, an usui/thin color is a lighter color. I point out regular blue as a base, then mention that sky blue is also a lighter version of that same color. It’s LIGHT blue! Draw the comparison to the lights in the room above you. Show there’s the opposite, dark. Adding this to the regular book colors really makes the subsequent design lesson that much more dynamic, and gives them a really useful set of adjectives to use later on.

I typically go for a seven shape, seven card vocab set. These seven have the most bang for their buck.
I typically go for a seven shape, seven card vocab set. These seven have the most bang for their buck.

Shapes Karuta

I run through shapes using hand gestures and make the kids mimic me. Though the idea of kinetic learners has been debunked, making kids do the hand gesture while they say the word gets their attention. Make a square with your hands by doing that camera gesture with both thumbs and forefingers. Two peace signs put together make a nice diamond. Three people making peace signs can render a five pointed star with their hands. Simple stuff.

Then, karuta. Make sure they actually grasp which shape is what by making them grab for that shape! Have the kids make groups and distribute a deck of shapes cards. My typical vocab set for this shapes game usually has only about seven or eight shapes and while that makes for a relatively short karuta game, that’s fine. It’s only the first of two games in the lesson and doesn’t have to break the bank on complexity or time.

Have the kids spread the cards out on the cluster of desks in front of them. Then put their hands on their heads. Say a single shape aloud, and have the kids race to grab that card. The kid with the most cards wins the game. Simple and straight to the point.

Imagine this, but with ten times as many shapes in even more colors.
Imagine this, but with ten times as many shapes in even more colors.

Color and Shape Combo Game

The second game of this lesson puts the more well-known colors together with the just reviewed shapes. As the karuta game is winding down, I start to put papers of different colors cut into various shapes onto the chalkboard. Each shape has a number on the back from one to five. Smaller papers are worth only one point, middling sizes are worth 2 to 4 points, while the largest are worth up to five. I put out a ton of them. The idea is to have a massive field of various shapes in different colors, with many repeats of each color and shape.

I divide the class in half, with each half being a team. I prompt them to make up a team name to drive home that they’re working together. I point out random shapes on the board and ask what they are.

Oh, it’s yellow. It’s a star. It’s a… yellow star! And this? Green… circle. It’s a green circle!

Then, I call for a representative from each group. Player Number One. I motion for them to stand in front of the chalk board.

This is the color and shape combination game! In today’s game, one color, one shape. Please get the papers. Small size, one point. Large size, five points. The starting combination is… Yellow star! Get all the yellow stars!

Each kid races to grab as many of that combo as possible. Then, we tally the scores on the chalkboard. Each round yields around 20 points, typically. I go around 10 rounds and the final total ends up being 100 to 200 points per team. The winning team gets stamps at the end.


Lesson 5B, Spin the Bottle

This class serves as a transition from the color and shape review before it, to the question and answer class after it. If you read the textbook quiz as-is, the characters introduce the idea of a ‘What’ question for you. Then, during the game, kids have to use the previous lesson’s color and shape vocab to get by, but can also use the new ‘What’ question to pull the game along.

What number t-shirt?
What number t-shirt?

p18~19 Let’s Listen 2

This is a grammar introduction disguised as a quiz. I start the day right off with putting the t-shirts from the page 18 and 19 spread up on the board. Sometimes I review colors and shapes, but you don’t always need to. Unlike the book’s written dialogue, I read the quizzes left to right starting with Sakura’s, and start with a question.

Quiz number one, Sakura. Sakura, what t-shirt do you like? Hm. I like the light blue t-shirt. And, I like blue triangles.

Quiz number two, Ai. Ai, what t-shirt do you like? Well, I like the pink t-shirt. I like the black and white hearts.

Quiz number three, Taku. Taku, what t-shirt do you like? I like the black t-shirt. I like soccer.

Quiz number four, last one, Hikaru. Hikaru, what t-shirt do you like? I like the colorful t-shirt. I like green, purple, orange, and blue. One big star is nice.

Seriously every kid knows which t-shirt Taku will pick before you even say it. Taku is such a jock.

Each group gets one bottle, each kid has a copy of the color and shape cards from the back of their textbook.
Each group gets one bottle, each kid has a copy of the color and shape cards from the back of their textbook.

Spin the Bottle (With the cards from p45)

The bulk of this class is a fun game with the goals of Go Fish but with turns decided by the spin of a plastic bottle, hence the title.

Start out by having the kids get out their scissors and turn to page 45. Tell them to cut out the cards on page 45 and, if they press, tell them to write their names on the back of each card. I have the kids do the cutting bit while their desks are still facing forward so they have less incentive to chat while they cut and waste time. Bring extra scissors and a bag to collect trash. Poke the dummy kids who think they just have to cut the page out of the book and try to skip on cutting each of the cards apart from each other.

Once they’ve finished cutting out the cards for the game, I tell them to make groups. Each group must have a minimum of three kids, but the idea is about five or six. I put up three like flashcards on the chalkboard and write beside them that the set of three is worth one point. It might seems silly to do this, but in Japanese games like babanuki/old maid, the cards that form sets are actually discarded into a large pile at the center of the table and we want to avoid that. The goal is to make as many three card sets as possible. The winner of the game is the kid who has amassed the most three card sets when everyone runs out of cards.

Three of a kind, one point.
Three of a kind, one point.

I demo by joining a group and make a show of bringing out the empty plastic bottle. I pretend to win at rock/paper/scissors and spin the bottle at the center of the kids’ assembled desks. The kid it lands on is my target.

Rock… Scissors… Paper… Champion! I’m the champion! The champion is player number one. Player number one, bottle, bottle, bottle….Oh! It’s Ryunosuke! Ryunosuke is player number two. Hm… What card… Purple heart? No… Yellow circle? No… Oh! I like blue. Blue star card, please!

I make grabby hands and repeat the color and shape until that kid forks over the correct card. Then, I make a show of handing that kid the bottle. They spin the bottle, and I push them to ask the next kid for a random card. Then, I cheat and stop the bottle on me again for the next kid. I play act all the way through getting a three card set and then hold those three cards up to the board to show that I’ve earned a point.

With a solid, two minute demo this game goes smooth for the rest of the class. The limits of the game are pretty intuitive, but some kids who don’t pay proper attention will think that they pass the bottle around in a specific order, rather than the bottle determining whose turn it is. Usually have to correct at least one group who has fallen into that. You can’t ask for a card that’s in a completed set or the game would never end. That comes up sometimes. The game is over when you run out of cards.

There are 16 different cards on book page 45, so there are 16 possible points available to a group of 3~5 people. A group of 7 is the most fun, though, because, as each kid starts out with one of each card, a large group will have more than one possible set floating around. A group of five can also end up with two kids each with two of a kind, competing to land the bottle on the kid with the last card needed to complete their sets. Sometimes the kids will lay out their cards on their desks to see what they have. This is best as then you don’t have kids asking for something that their target doesn’t have.


Hi! Friends 1, Lesson 5 Worksheet
Hi! Friends 1, Lesson 5 Worksheet

Lesson 5C, T-shirt Design

One of my favorite activities, this class is a bit light on the language. But, more so than almost any textbook based activity thus far in the Hi! Friends series, this activity gives the kids a chance to use the English language to actually convey and make something. Real application of language!

p20 Let’s Play

This quiz is actually a demonstration. There are two characters asking each other about their favorite colors, shapes, and how many of each they want in their designs. I read the quizzes aloud, sometimes as a dialogue with the homeroom teacher, and check that the students know what the output design would be for each character’s requested colors and shapes. Very direct. Then, I tell them, it’s our chance!

Let's design some fashion!
Let’s design some fashion!

T-shirt Design Game

There are three questions in this activity. I call them the ‘three fashion design points’.

Today’s game is the fashion design game! This is a two player game. First, the teacher pair! Teacher, come here please.

Today’s fashion design has three design points: color, shape, and number. Design point number one: *holds up a pack of markers* Color. Together, please. What? (What?) What color? (What color?) (What color do you like?) Teacher, what color do you like? Blue and red? Ok! *takes out the blue and red marker, setting the rest aside*

Design point number two: shape. Together, please. What shape? (What shape?) What shape do you like? (What shape do you like?) Teacher, what shape do you like? Circles and stars? Ok!

The last design point is the number. Together, please. How many? (How many?) Ten? Ok!

The beauty of this is that if all the kids are capable of is one word answers, the activity works. One red circle makes a pretty neat flag of Japan t-shirt design. But, if the homeroom teacher and the students are up for something a little more complicated, they can add as much information into their answers as they like. Here’s an example of how it can wind up.

What colors do you like? I like red and blue. What shapes do you like? I like circles and stars. How many? 10, please.
What colors do you like? I like red and blue. What shapes do you like? I like circles and stars. How many? 10, please.

I try to go wild in my demo to encourage the kids to get creative with their ‘requests’ and ‘designs’. If they start to ask the limits of the activity I just call them a designer and tell them to please design. As the kids work, I put up a piece of poster paper up on the board and glue my own trimmed designs to it, overlapping. As kids start to finish their designs I point them to the board. I bring a big ol’ bottle of glue for everyone to use to avoid trouble. The finished posters are so cool. Kids can be so imaginative.


What's your name? What color do you like? What animal do you like? What food do you like?
What’s your name? What color do you like? What animal do you like? What food do you like?

Lesson 5D, Interviews

This entire class is one large activity. I love this activity as it’s so contained.

Printable Profile Page
Printable Profile Page

Filling Out Profiles

Start out by getting information. I pass out these slips of paper and tell the kids to open to page 21.

I go through writing their names in English, and then copying their favorite things down onto the slip of paper and book. I say no kanji is allowed, but you can write it in katakana or hiragana if you need to. This is for my benefit as I will be the one reading the answers aloud later. I gather the papers and check that they’ve written down their own likes in both places. It really throws a wrench in this game if someone writes down one thing on the profile paper, but gives a different answer in the interview section.

p21 Activity (Interviews)

There are about half a dozen interview slots on page 21. I run through the previous class’s ‘What do you like?’ question with the class and do a mock interview with a kid or two. Then, set them free to interview their friends. You really don’t need to do a demo for this one but it helps keep the kids from switching over to Japanese if you do review the target language beforehand. Once everyone has filled out the page with answers, I tell them to sit back down.

Three Hint Quiz, Friends Version

Last, we make groups. Each lunch group is a team. I put their group numbers up on the board to keep score. The name of the game is the Three Hint Quiz. The three hints are, of course, three things that some kid likes. I make a show of shuffling through the slips of paper we all filled out at the start of class, pick one, and shield it with my hands.

Ok! Quiz number one, hint number one: I like blue. Hint number two: I like white tigers. Hint number three: I like dragon fruit. What’s my name?

The kids frantically search their friends’ answers on the interview book page, and raise their hands if they know whose slip of paper I’m reading from. A correct name gets your team a point. The team with the most points at the end of the class wins the game.

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3 Comments

  1. Hello! I followed your 4 lessons while teaching this chapter with one of my schools (the other we only get 2 classes per lesson and I don’t get to make lesson plans…) and it was great! I tried the color and shape combo game which took so much time to prepare and I’m sad that a lot of the shapes got destroyed. I think the students really had fun, BUT I’m not sure how I felt about it because it really didn’t involve a lot of English… Just the students yelling/ screaming at their classmates in Japanese. So tips on how to teach that better would be awesome.
    I also did the final interview game and Oh My Gosh it was a blast! At first the students were really confused but once we did a practice round they got it. It was great! But we didn’t have enough time to play the final 3 hint part like I would have wanted. So next time I’ll have to plan my time better. Thanks so much! It was really fun and the students were speaking and listening so I was really happy and proud of them.
    I usually do only small group games every class so I was really going out of my comfort zone with these lessons. Really loved the interview/ 3 hint game. Thanks for all the good ideas. I always look forward to your lesson updates!

  2. Hello! Greetings from Niigata prefecture. Your ideas a great and I’ve used them in the classroom with great success. I couldn’t help but notice your mention of the debunking of kinetic learners. Do you have any articles or a source for that statement? I’d like to learn more about it.

    Thank you,
    Jerome Fernando

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