Hi! Friends 2: Lesson 4: Turn right. (ABC)

This lesson is a pretty focused one. I only take three weeks to complete it. The breakdown for those three weeks is very direct. I devote one class period to the places vocabulary. I devote the next class period to directions. And, in the last of the set puts those two things together. Unfortunately, the text book is pretty limiting for this Lesson. The only content they provide is the same map, done two ways. But, you can fudge the boundaries a bit.

Lesson 4A, Places

  • Introducing the Places vocabulary
  • Photo Quiz
  • Let’s Play, p14~p15 Ohajiki Game

Lesson 4B, Directions

  • Introducing the Directions vocabulary with Simon Says
  • Let’s Listen, p14~15

Lesson 4C, Maps

  • p16-17 Activity ‘The Hidden Path Game’

Lesson 4A, Places

This first bit is all about places. I say places and not buildings because the vocabulary set includes a park. In the expanded flash card sets they even include a bus stop. Not buildings at all!

Introducing the “Places” Vocabulary

There’s no trick here. Just put the flash cards up on the board as they appear in the book and run through what each one is. I like to break up the monotony by polling the class about each sort of place. Ok, this is a park. What park is the best park? Maeda park on the corner by our school, or Midori park by the high school? I have the kids raise their hands to informally vote on each topic. Other poll questions may include: What’s the best family restaurant? Saizeriya or Gusto? What’s the best convenience store? Lawson, Family Mart, or 7-Eleven? Of course, if you don’t know the names of the restaurants, parks, or supermarkets in your area, you’re gonna have a rough time getting this going.

I run through the vocabulary once, to introduce it, in textbook order, with polling. Then, I run through it one more time to drill the vocab.

One photo, covered.
One photo, covered.

Photo Quiz

Time to put those place names to good use! This teacher lead photo quiz is a very simple activity that requires a bit of prep work. You need a few pieces of paper with holes cut in them, some large photographs or print outs of photos of places, and preferably a clipboard to display them.

Cover the first photo, initially, with lots of other papers to obscure any distinguishing features of the photo and show it to the class. What’s this place? Is it a school? A park? The best version of this is when you take photos in the neighborhood where the school is located and then blow up the photos to like A3 size. Famous places work, too. I often use a photo of Kings Cross Station in London because all the kids have seen it in Harry Potter. Sometimes I’ll pepper in a few photos from home. My photo of the grocery store near my parents’ house in the states really gets a reaction.

I show the covered photos to the class and ask them what it is. If the first kid I call on doesn’t get it right on the first try, I remove one of the papers covering/obscuring the photo. Sometimes, if the class is really good, I’ll use those covering papers as a reward guide. Guess the photo when it’s still covered by three layers of cut up construction paper? Three stickers for you! Guess it when it’s down to the last layer, hardly obscured at all? Win one sticker.

Five 'ohajiki' papers per kid.
Five ‘ohajiki’ papers per kid.

Let’s Play, p14~p15 Ohajiki Game

For the uninitiated, an ohajiki is a flat glass marble. I remember getting a bag of them at the RenFest back home when I was a kid. They called them dragon’s tears back then. Actual ohajiki are sold at pretty much every dollar store. You can get like a hundred of them for a buck. Maybe more. But, being glass, they’re kinda heavy. I usually play the ohajiki game with squares of paper instead of actual glass ohajiki.

Cut paper pieces work for game pieces instead of the harder to transport glass ohajiki pieces.
Cut paper pieces work for game pieces instead of the harder to transport glass ohajiki pieces.

There are variations, but the version of this game I play is basically reverse bingo. I pass around some cups full of little squares of paper. I instruct each kid to take five little paper bits for themselves. Then, I point to the book and have them put the five papers on five pictures of their choosing. The object of the game is to remove all the ‘paper ohajikis’ from your game board. You can only remove a paper if or when that picture is called. Just like in bingo. You listen for the words you’ve chosen to be called, but instead of marking them off a bingo sheet, you remove papers from your game board. I call winning this game ‘ohajiki bingo’ to sort of direct the kids towards understanding the method of playing the game resembles bingo.

To give the game a stopping point, I draw seven stars on the chalkboard to denote the ‘Lucky 7’ champs. I erase a star every time a kid gets ‘ohajiki bingo’ and call game over once seven total kids have won. All my classes got though a single round of the Ohajiki game this year. We didn’t have enough time to go again.

Start at the little shoe prints at the train station and move on from there.
Start at the little shoe prints at the train station and move on from there.

Lesson 4B, Directions

Unlike with most vocabulary, the Hi! Friends 2 book does not have a complete set of flashcards for every word or phrase in this Lesson. As a result, I have rendered my own “Directions” flash cards from scratch in Photoshop. These flash cards are meant to resemble American street signs and have served me well these last few years.

Introducing the Directions vocabulary with Simon Says

Right and left are hard so they need to be repeated over and over again. Best way to do that? Simon Says! Except cut out the Simon part. The real Simon says game has roots way back in the battle of wills between the King of England and the Pope. Instead of starting commands with Simon Says, I start them with the must more sensical “Please”.

Please turn right. Please go straight. Please jump. Please stop. Turn left. Oh! You moved! You’re out.

Like many others, this game’s limitations depends on your force of personality. A good way to end it, or limit it’s time, is to mark a handful of stars on the board as “challanges”. I usually do three. Three times in the game I will say a statement without “please”. If you move anyway, you’re out. Sit back down in your chair. If you clear all three “challenges” by successfully not moving when I skip the word “please”, you win. This way everyone in the class can win, rather than most of the class losing as in a traditional Simon Says game. Positive reinforcement, right? Make them repeat after you as you go for added practice. Go by sets, doing a round each of right-left, a round of straight-back, and jump/walk/run/stop.

Let’s Listen, p14~15

Before you can actually do this book quiz, you need to demo how to apply expressions that describe a 3D space to an awkward 2D map. I tell the kids to open their books to page fourteen and fifteen and get out an eraser. This little eraser is the proxy for themselves navigating the town in the picture. Sure, you can follow along with your finger. But, navigating this map requires you be able to figure out relative right and left. By which I mean: You’re describing moving down the street when you say ‘turn right, go straight’ and not moving towards the right side of the book.

I use the chalkboard covered with flashcards as my book/map and the chalkboard eraser as my eraser/pretend car. The teacher’s manual’s dialog will give you a clue on how they expect you to use the vocabulary. Each “Go straight” instruction means for you to progress forward one block in the direction you are facing. Each “Turn right” or “Turn left” instruction means for you to pivot right or left while remaining in place. Saying “Stop” indicates the end; that you’ve arrived at your destination. I run through a few sets of directions with various demonstrations on the board, having the kids follow along with their books and erasers, before I have them get out their pencils and do the quiz.

I do not recommend using the DVD for this activity. Nor do I recommend using the sound clips taken from the DVD. The makers of the book decided to “improve” on the old Eigo Note textbook series version of this activity by changing the starting point of each quiz question. I do away with that nonsense. If you open the book all the way, you’ll notice a pair of shoe prints just to the left of the train station graphic. I start all my demos and quiz questions here.

No matter how consistent you are, some kids just will not get it. They’ll want to blow through the intersection each time you say “Go straight”, rather than just going forward to the next corner. And, they proceed down the road when you say “Turn right”, instead of rotating in place. All you can do is emphasize and go slow. After all, giving directions is a nightmare in real life in any language. I go back over each quiz question before moving onto the next one, rather than running through them all and checking their answers at the end like usual.

Here’s the version of the verbal quiz I read aloud in lieu of the confusing book script.

  1. Go straight. Go straight. Turn right. Go straight. Turn left. Stop. What’s this? (It’s a supermarket.)
  2. Go straight. Go straight. Go straight. Turn left. Go straight. Turn right. (It’s a school.)
  3. Go straight. Go straight. Turn left. Go straight. Go straight. Turn right. (It’s a bookstore.)
  4. Go straight. Go straight. Turn right. Go straight. Go straight. Turn left. (It’s a fire station.)

Lesson 4C, Maps

The book shoots us all in the foot in this last part of Lesson 4. We should have a nice capstone to put together the place names and directions. But, the activity in the book always falls short. There’s too much open interpretation, for one. There’s too much variation. It’s like they didn’t even known what they themselves wanted out of this lesson.

Look at the book. There’s a map with only five sections blank. So, you’re supposed to fill in those blanks in pairs and guide each other to make similar maps, right? Except that the back of the book features cards two sets of cards for all of the possible places, including ones that are already on the page. Students get overwhelmed. There are too many options. Cutting out all the cards just to use five takes too much time. Then the book throws what could have been an interesting open ended group activity into a corner by specifying at the top of the page that this is ‘pair’ work.

I have tried tons of variations on what is supposed to be a Battleship like scenario. This is the best one that I’ve come up with. It turns the simple guiding of a peer to a certain location into a game.

p16-17 Activity ‘The Hidden Path Game’

Make sure the kids are all on the same page metaphorically by reviewing all the previous vocabulary. Then, make your map on the chalkboard.

This map has five missing pieces, just like the book. I make a show of shuffling the missing cards and placing them ‘face down’ on the chalkboard into those places. Then, I ask.

Where is the park?

I start the chalkboard eraser at the train station and direct the kids to raise their hands to guess the path.

Go straight? Ok. Turn left? No, you’re out.

…because, you see. They guessed the wrong path. But, the other ones around them soon realize, only the last part was wrong. So I prompt another kid to raise their hand.

Go straight? Ok. Go straight? Ok. Turn right? No, you’re out.

Eventually a kid gets the entire hidden path correct. They win!

Now, it’s their turn. You can run this a few ways. Either they make groups and play rock paper scissors to determine who plays the quizmaster/teacher part for the first round. Or, you swap out with the kid that got it right and let them do the next round in front of the class.

If you have your heart set on there being pairs, there is a way to make this a competitive two player game. Instead of calling up a new kid each time a previous kid gets the hidden path wrong, play the demo game with the teacher. Each time they make a mistake, they get a check mark against them, and have to start over their guess at the card in question’s location from the beginning/from the train station. Alternatively, they can start with a certain number of stars or lives or whatever and lose one each time they make a mistake trying to follow the hidden path to the correct card.

It all depends on the class’s temperament. Some classes love to communicate in groups of their peers. Some prefer teacher interaction. Some like just chatting with the kid next to them. Some can’t handle that level of personal responsibility without switching into Japanese and just socializing. You gotta make a judgment call.

Game pieces for rendering the Hidden Path Game as a group or pairs game with “lives”.

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