Hi! Friends 2: Lesson 5: Let’s go to Italy. (ABCDE)

Lesson 5 in the Hi! Friends 2 book is a weak lesson. It is an attempt to build upon the Hi! Friends 1 lesson about wanting things. Back in 5th grade, you see, kids are supposed to learn statements about things they like with “I like…” which is then expanded into “Don’t” negations, Yes/No questions, and open ended What based questions. After all this foundation is laid, the book thinks you can just spend a single lesson telling kids to swap out “like” for “want” and they’ll just get it. But, they never do. It doesn’t stick. Then, come this lesson, they’re supposed to attach verbs to “want” and say things they want to do rather than just things in noun form that they want. Because of this lesson weakness, I’ve reworked a lot of the activities from this lesson and its Eigo Note predecessor that just sort of give information to students but don’t demand they produce a lot of complicated language. It works… ok. [STATUS: IN PROGRESS]

Lesson 5A Countries

  • p18~p19 Let’s Play 1 (Countries and Landmarks)
  • p19 Let’s Play 2 (Flag Quiz)
  • Group Flag Quiz

Lesson 5B I want to go.

  • Landmark “Maru/Batsu” Quiz
  • p20 Let’s Play 3 (Where do the book characters want to go?)
  • Where do you want to go? Interview Worksheet

Lesson 5C Eat/See/Play

  • The Verbs See, Eat, and Play
  • Two Hint Karuta
  • p20 Let’s Listen 2 (Kiyoko’s Vacation)

Lesson 5D Dream Vacation

  • p21 Activity (Sakura and Hikaru’s Dream Vacation)
  • “Dream Vacation” Poster Project

Lesson 5E Presentations

  • “Dream Vacation” Group Presentations

Lesson 5A, Countries

The strongest lesson in the group, I spend the entire first period of this unit just going over country names, landmarks, and flags. Much like the lesson earlier in Hi! Friends 2 about birthdays, this opening textbook page spread is just perfect the way it is. Follow along with it and change nothing and you’re gold for 45 minutes.

p18~p19 Let’s Play 1 (Countries and Landmarks)

Using national flag flashcards with the names of each country printed in English on the bottom, I start the lesson by just introducing the names of the countries. First up is Spain, because the kids know it. I tell them to repeat after me. We all practice the word “Spain” and then I spell it out S-P-A-I-N and direct them to get out their pencils and write Spain beneath the Spanish flag in their textbook. It tells them in the book to write the names beneath the flags, but it doesn’t say in what language. I always direct English because of course. But, if your class sucks you can just tell them to write it down and let them interpret that however they will.

Spain is always first because on pages 18 and 19 there is no corresponding landmark photograph for Spain. The same is true for Greece, so Greece is second. G-R-E-E-C-E. Write it down, kids! Then, I start in on the rest of the countries. I usually pick Japan next. Repeat after me. Spell it out. Write it down. Then, I pick up my own copy of the textbook and point to the photos and ask.

Which photo is of Japan?

This is where it can get complicated for new teachers or people who don’t know much Japanese. The photo of the temple in autumn is the Japanese landmark. It’s a photo of Kiyomizudera in Kyoto. It varies WIDELY whether the kids know this super Japanese landmark. About 80% of classes get it right away. A bunch of kids raise their hands, one kid answers and gets a stamp from me, things are gold. But, sometimes you get a group of kids who doesn’t know shit and then you can make fun of them, which I enjoy. Bust out your now very dated, “Why, Japanese people?!” I also ask a follow up question, where is Kiyomizudera? Why, it’s in Kyoto!

I go like this slowly through all the remaining photos and countries. It lists what each place is in the book, but I actually had to google some locations when I first got this lesson years ago, so here’s a cheat sheet in the order I introduce the remaining things and what shit’s called in Japanese:


  • What photo is of Japan? Kiyomizudera.
  • Bonus: Where is Kiyomizudera? Kyoto.


  • What photo is of China? Banri no Chojo/The Great Wall of China.


  • What photo is of America? Jiyu no Megami/Statue of Liberty
  • Bonus: Where is the Statue of Liberty? New York.
  • Bonus: Where is the Statue of Liberty from? France.


  • What photo is of France? Mont Saint Michel.


  • What photo is of Brazil? Iguasu. (Iguasu Falls/Iguasu National Park)


  • What photo is of India? The Taj Mahal.
  • What is the Taj Mahal? A grave/Ohaka.


  • What photo is of Egypt? The Sphinx and The Pyramids.


  • What photo is of Australia? Ayers Rock

Kids who read trivial books or watch travel variety shows know all of these things, but most kids will have it on the tip of their tongue but not quite know or remember. Ayers Rock in Asutralia is often confused for The Grand Canyon by the kids. They also mistake the Iguasu Falls in Brazil for Niagra Falls. They call Mont Saint Michel a Disney castle. And, they are often stumped on the Taj Mahal and call it The White House instead, thinking it is an ancient palace instead of a grave. It’s really quite cute to see them stumble over the answers. I give out lots of stamps/stickers on this day and let this section draw itself out for most of the class. I’ve got all the anecdotes memorized in English and in Japanese so I feel a lot like a game show host doing it. Write down the above names in your book or do some googling before the lesson to make things go more smoothly and you’ll have fun, too.

p19 Let’s Play 2 (Flag Quiz)

After you’ve run through all the flags, countries, and photos, it’s time for the flag quiz listed in the corner of the page. There are five example quizzes in the teacher’s manual. Each one describes the colors and shapes on various flags. I read this aloud before the class and have students raise their hands to guess which flag I mean. To prolong it a bit, I add a few of my own.

China: Two colors, yellow and red. One big star and four small stars.

Australia: Three colors: White, red, and blue. Six stars.

Brazil: Four colors, white, green, blue, and yellow. One circle and one diamond in the center.

Egypt: Four colors, red, white black, and yellow. A bird in the center.

Japan: Two colors, red and white. A circle in the center.

America: Three colors, red, white, and blue. Fifty stars and 13 stripes.

I often get into a discussion with the kids here about why there are so many stars. Some kids don’t quite realize there’s a set number. They just assume it’s a big random cluster of stars. Others know it’s meant to reflect the number of states. There are 13 stripes for the original colonies, 50 stars for the current number of states. I keep a printable poster on my hard drive for the really inquisitive classes that shows all the variations of the flag through US history as new states and new stars were added over the course of about a 150 years.

Group Flag Quiz

For the last 5 to 10 minutes of class, I turn the flag quiz on them. I tell the kids to get in their groups and produce a deck of flag cards for each group. I demonstrate with a group at the front first. We start with jyanken/rock-paper-scissors to chose who quizzes the group first. I cheat at jyanken and “win” for the demo. They laugh. I make a show of shuffling the cards and picking one to quiz the group on. Usually I pick Japan. I repeat the color and shape pattern of the book quiz.

Two colors! Red and white! A circle! What’s this?

…and make a show of picking a kid in the group who raises their hands. They inevtably guess correctly that I’m describing the Japanese flag and I give them the Japanese flag card to show that they’ve wone the point.

Yes! It’s Japan. One card, one point. *hands card to kid* Now, quiz please.

…and then I hand the deck of remaining flag cards to that kid who guessed correctly. This is a pattern of round robin quizzes that I do in all grades a few times a year so they know my M. O. by now. It doesn’t take me long to get this going. To reiterate: The kid who wins jyanken goes first and quizzes their group. The kid who wins that point/card becomes the next person to quiz the group. This continues until they get through all 10 cards. I only have them go once around because it usually fills about 5 minutes of game time, perfect to end the class on. I give a stamp to the group’s grand champion/the kid who won the most flag cards, and we’re done for the day.

Lesson 5B, I want to go.

This transition lesson is one I’ve had to rework many times. The introduction to new verbs and the exceptionally long sentences that the grammar patterns for “want to” require you to speak are just too much for 6th graders past the halfway point in the year. Senioritis begins now! So, herein begins the gentle, low demand activities to nudge them towards understanding.

Landmark “Maru/Batsu” Quiz

Adapted from an activity that has worked for awkward textbook sections in Hi! Friends 1, this activity is deceptively about introducing the new language. I run through the countries with the flag flashards, then draw a line down the center of the chalkboard. I put one flag on the left side, one on the right. Then, I hold up a picture of a popular landmark or tourist destination and speak about it in the pattern the textbook suggests.

This is The Grand Canyon. I want to see The Grand Canyon. I want to go to…. Where? Where do I want to go? America? Australia? Oh, it’s America? Then, stand up! Go to America’s side. It’s Australia? Ok, go to Australia’s side. Stand up! Stand up! Where do I want to go?

I say all this while miming walking to each side of the classroom, then hassle the kids until they stand up and pick a place. A remarkable number of kids still won’t know despite the last class also featuring tons of landmarks, that The Grand Canyon is in America. I give them a countdown from 10 and then reveal.

I want to see The Grand Canyon. I want to go to… America!

…and then I give the kids who guessed correctly a stamps or sticker. I run through several rounds of this. Five or so work. Then, the book quiz.

p20 Let’s Play 3 (Where do the book characters want to go?)

I dislike this quiz because it needlessly frames the quiz about Sakura and Taku as a demonstration for an interview activity. I guess if you use the DVD-ROM in class a lot, it’s pretty convenient. Otherwise, it’s needlessly confusing. I skip using the book part of this interview and instead just run through the kids’ dream vacations. The, in lieu of the book interview I do my own original worksheet!


Where do you want to go? Interview Worksheet

After a year or two of kids failing at understanding or wanting to even attempt to complete the lackluster interview on page 20, I decided to split off the concept into my own worksheet. We run through the same words that were used in the demonstration/tourist landmark quiz at the intro to class and that they heard in the book quiz. The idea on this paper isn’t to get signatures, but to tally up where your friends are interested in going on vacation someday to see what the most popular destinations are.

Where do you want to go? I want to go to… America! Ok. America gets one point.

Demo with a few kids, making a show of marking your paper in red or blue marker so even the kids in the back can see what’s up, and then let them loose for about 5 minutes to poll the room. After they sit back down ask the class as a whole what their top destination was. I do this by holding up each flag and asking if that country was their “Number One” in the interview. Usually America or Australia win, but sometimes France and Brazil are contenders. Sorry India and China. Nobody loves you. Get stronger soccer teams and more cheeseburgers, I guess?

[Last Updated October 18th, 2017. Will finish the write-up and add photos soon!]

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1 Comment

  1. hey, thanks for your lesson ideas ! For the Grade 5, “What ~ (color/ animal/ food) do you like”, I used your worksheet, and the kids got crazy over it !

    For 6th grade lesson 5 on countries, in my first year, I thought exactly the same, and simply did flag country review and games. Other ALT senpais said the same, it was a boring lesson.

    This year, I decided to focus on culture, to get the kids excited. One lesson is a video quiz I made for all countries, compiling photos, videos & music, & adding in some of my own photos. Simple video editing where I strung photos & videos together. Super fun, all my teachers loved it too.

    I make a point of asking, which countries speak a lot of English. & say how useful English is for traveling.

    Next lesson, with those interesting photos I found, I printed them out, and each kid is given one A4 photo, comes up to front of class, and asks, “Which country?” Kids enjoy that.

    Final lesson, “Where do you want to go?” & “Why?” “I want to see/eat/go ..” I think it’s useful and simple enough. hope this helps a little, feel free to clarify anything !

    P.S. What website did you use? Is this wordpress, wix, or none of them? Sleek & lovely website you got here. Thanks !