ABC Practice for Big and Small

The days are slowly getting longer, and time is getting shorter for Japanese students.  Graduation is less than two months away, and a new crop of first graders start in April.  What better timing for some ABC practice?


Junior High English lessons begin at ABC and slowly ramp up.  Students who can clearly and confidently print the alphabet will be able to proceed quickly to more interesting fare while others are churning through drills.

New elementary school students also benefit from early and frequent alphabet practice.  The sooner children can recognize and write the alphabet the more effective phonics practice becomes.  From there its a small step to basic English reading skills, and then the sky’s the limit!


Here are worksheets for lowercase and uppercase letters.  A double sided print (uppercase on one side, lower on the other) is environmentally friendly and an excellent quiet activity for older students.  Going through the letters slowly and emphasizing proper stroke order is a very good lesson for younger students.  It’s never too early to start and never too late to improve!

ABC alphabet practice writing worksheet esl efl eigo abc alphabet lower case esl efl eigo writing

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! We are back and getting ready for the 3rd and final term of this school year.

Hi Friends 1 and 2 present us with much the same content as Eigo Note did, so we will be doing pretty much the same lessons as we have done in years past.

Hi Friends 1 brings us the “I study Japanese” theme, followed by the “What would you like?” theme.
For the “I study Japanese” theme, I use these sets of cards.
First, Days of the Week

Next, School Subjects

I finish with this up with a group project, planning an original time schedule.

As a group, students assume the role of teachers and decide what subjects to teach and when to teach them.

Once the schedule has been decided, they then complete the time schedule worksheet, taking turns filling in the days and the classes.

Additional rules may be needed to avoid things like six straight hours of P.E.  I limit subjects to at most twice a day, and require that all

subjects are taught at least twice a week.

Weekends are for things like sports practice, homework, piano lessons, shopping and so forth.

Students also need to come up with a name for their school, an English name of course!

When everything is complete, the groups present their original schedules to the class.














Here’s the worksheet, I recommend one B4 size for the group, but smaller individual worksheets could

work better if students prefer not to share.




Let’s make a Christmas Tree!

Just a week until Christmas!  Here’s a fun cutting and coloring activity for elementary students.  Review colors and shapes, give simple instructions in English, and make your very own Christmas tree!  This is a great way to round out the term.  Try it!christmas tree ornaments esl efl eigo christmas tree esl efl eigo

If cut and paste activities aren’t quite what you’re looking for, why not make a Christmas card in English?  Fold in half longways, then fold again to make a book-style Christmas card.  Students can color in the letters, write their names, draw Christmas-y pictures, and write a Christmas greeting in English!

Christmas Card image worksheet eigo note esl efl

Have a great winter break, see you in 2013!

Happy Halloween! Let’s make a Jack o’ Lantern!

Happy Halloween to everyone!  Halloween activities are more or less de rigeur in ESL and EFL classrooms these days, and can take many forms.  Scary monsters, Halloween videos, Trick or Treat,  I’ve tried them all.  This year, I have whipped up a fun Jack o’Lantern project that dovetails neatly with the Shapes flashcard set I posted recently.


This activity requires two prints, the shapes and old Jack.  The shapes are for coloring and cutting, students can mix and match to make their own original Jack o’ Lantern.  Pretty self explanatory, really.  Enjoy!

Make your own Picture Dictionaries!

Sometimes our students have trouble retaining new vocabulary,  especially when the time between lesson is a week or more.  In order to combat this and to give learners something to refer back to,  I have prepared a “Picture Dictionary” worksheet to use in conjunction with our many fine flashcards.

The worksheet consists of eight blank squares with spaces underneath.  Students draw the object on the flashcard in the square, then write the name of that object in the space underneath.  Simple, right?  Double checked for spelling, the worksheet becomes a resource for future lessons, especially those involving writing.

I have been using this worksheet along with the Shapes Flashcards from the previous post to good effect in my elementary school classrooms.  It’s especially nice for classes that don’t do well with more energetic activities.  Give it a try!


Hi Friends ESL English eigo picture dictionary

I like… and I don’t like… worksheets for Hi Friends 1

Hi Friends 1 covers a lot of grammatical ground in two or three pages in chapter 4.
You could blow through it all in a lesson or two, but really it is an excellent opportunity to do a little writing and speaking.  I like to use this worksheet for practice.  Students write their likes and dislikes (in English, of course) then present their lists to the class.  It makes for a good confidence builder and a fine opportunity for more advanced learners to show off their chops a little.

The completed list also lends itself well to interview type games and activities, and can be illustrated and embellished if desired.

Likes and dislikes I like esl efl eigo hi friends worksheet english

How are you? Feelings Flashcards

An excellent way to start your English lesson is with the simple task of asking “How are you?”. Not only is it an easy icebreaker, it helps to emphasize that “English Time Starts Now”.

I like to run through these flashcards once or twice, and then have the students ask each other “How are you?”. It can be done as a janken (rock paper scissors) game or as a “Chain Reaction” where one student is asked “How are you?” and must then reply and ask the student immediately behind or in front of them. This continues in order until everyone has asked and responded. Be sure to include the teacher as well!

“How are you?” is also one of the first things I teach the new first grade students. It is a good way to introduce your method of using flashcards and offers many possibilities for simple, interactive and fun classroom activities.

Needless to say, by the time “How are you?” shows up in the Hi Friends 1 textbook, students are generally very good at asking and responding. To add an element of interest and challenge, I use this worksheet in conjunction with these flashcards for a fun writing activity.

Hi Friends 1 Counting Puzzle Worksheet

Lesson 3 in the Hi Friends 1 textbook is titled “How Many?” and focuses, as one might suspect, on counting. The first page of the unit deals with janken from around the world and how to count to ten in various languages. Eigo Note had a similar unit which was fun to teach. I especially enjoyed going over the similarities in the Asian numbers and in the European numbers and discussing their roots (Chinese and Latin, respectively).

From there the text moves to counting puzzles similar to the animal counting “game” from Hi Friends 2 Lesson 1. Using a worksheet gives the counting exercise a bit more focus, as well as adding a little reading practice. I like to have the students do these exercises in groups, and then check our answers as a class. The Hi Friends Digital textbook works well for checking also.

The real weak link in this unit is the apple basket activity on page 13. Watch the example video in the Digital textbook and you’ll see what I mean. I plan to use the illustration as the basis for playing the Pyramid janken game from Eigo Note 1. I don’t understand why that didn’t get included in Hi Friends.

Here is the worksheet.How Many Hi Friends English worksheet

How Are You? for Hi Friends 1

The second unit in Hi Friends 1 is all about asking “How are you?”.   I usually start teaching this in the first grade, so my students already have it down.  Trying to get a full class out of something they already know can be difficult, so I made an interview sheet to turn this unit into a writing lesson.  Using the international greetings from Unit 1, students greet each other and write the names and responses of their classmates.  It’s fun, not too hard, and gives some needed practice reading and writing.  Try it out!

How Are You? worksheet Hi Friends 1 eigo note

Prints to A4 size, cut in half for two A5 size worksheets!

What Did You Get?

As much as I like to downplay the more commercial aspects of the holiday season, the fact remains that kids love to talk about the things they got for Christmas. Here is a worksheet for having that discussion in English.

I teach the question, and give several example answers, and ask for a few volunteers to practice in front of the class. Then I hand out the worksheets and have the kids write their names in English and draw a picture of a holiday gift they received in the provided space. Then we write the English name of the gift, and they proceed to interview each other about the gifts they got. Its a fun and effective way to get students back into English mode after the long winter vacation.

Its especially useful for those of us teaching in Japanese elementary schools using the Eigo Note 1 (5th grade) textbook. The last third of the book is kind of thin, content wise, and this worksheet provides an opportunity to step away from the text and still have a good lesson. Enjoy!What did you get eigo note esl worksheet