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Apr. 15 TOKYO Study Group Meeting Report

We had a full house again at our recent Study Group meeting with many active and enthusiastic teachers attending.
We started with the song Did You Ever See a Frog? adapted from the old time favorite, Did You Ever See a Lassie? In this song a frog splashes and swims, and a butterfly flutters and flies. It’s a perfect song for springtime. Everyone enjoyed doing the gestures of frogs and butterflies as we sang the song!


Topic 1: How to teach the past tense
Our main topic was how to teach the past tense. In teaching the past tense, it is best to introduce it naturally, and relate it to the students’ life so that the concept will be easily understood. The participants experienced how to practice with gestures, picture cards and word cards. With the word cards, we showed how to expand the lesson into writing.

We introduced a board game to review and reinforce the Q&A: “Where did you go? I went to ~ yesterday”, using only one marker instead of many. In this way you won’t know who the winner is until the end, which adds to the excitement of the game. We also use a cube with words such as yesterday, last week, etc. so that students could practice other time words.


Topic 2: Classroom English
For the second topic, we showed examples of how to introduce expressions students should know, and learning activities to reinforce it. For example, a timely and appropriate expression to teach at the beginning of a school year is, “What grade are you in? / I’m in the (…) grade”.

Another expression we taught was, “May I borrow ~”. We often find students forgetting to bring their texts and materials to class. Here is an exciting time race activity we did to practice it.

1) Get into teams and have verb cards ready such as: write a letter, swim, cut the paper, etc.
2) First pick up a verb card and make a sentence. “I want to (write a letter).”
3) Think what you will need in order to do that activity. (Oh, I need a pencil!)
4) Go to the “Teacher’s desk” and say, “May I borrow a pencil?”
5) The team that could borrow most things in time is the winner.

<"May I borrow" activity>

Then, the participants got into groups and practiced how to teach Classroom English, and to do role play using IIEEC Expression Cards and Question Cards. Everyone was full of ideas and quite imaginative! We enjoyed watching many fun role plays.


We ended the meeting with Story Telling. The book that was presented was, I Went Walking which is similar to the popular book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, but it is in past tense. With lots of repetition of the key sentences, students can easily learn how to use past tense sentences.

As you can see, we covered lots of things at this meeting. We received wonderful and encouraging comments from the teachers, and we are sure that everyone returned to their own classes and are using the teaching tips and activities they learned!

We hope to see everyone again, and newcomers, too, in July!