• Conversation Turn-Taking Practice

    Caveat: This article is just me thinking out loud. It may not read well. But I'm wondering about how we subtly interrupt to indicate we want to say something - can you practice it? Or more appropriately, can you create a structure that allows your students to practice it?

  • Easy Activities to Practice English Dialogue in Elementary

    Here is a list of activities useful for practicing various dialogues when you can't think of a game that imitates the real life use of that target language.

  • Games to Play with Vocab Cards

    Whether you have made your own sets of vocabulary cards or another ALT (or Japanese teacher) has, generally a lot of effort goes into making them. If you want to put them to use, here are a few different ideas of how to use those big sets of English vocab cards.

  • Games to Practice Vocabulary

    The first step in learning new vocabulary is listening and repeating. Before complete understanding and being able to use it, students should be able to recognize the sound of the word and be able to say it.

    Here are some quick games for elementary school students to make listening and repeating a more exciting learning process.

  • Hi Friends Hacking

    The Hi Friends! books aren't great.

    The language introduced isn't always useful, the methods to introduce the language aren't always effective, and calling some of the activities inside "fun" is an insult to the word.

    Unfortunately, if you teach at Elementary Schools as an ALT in Japan, you are going to have to use those books whether you like it or not.

  • How to Transfer Money from Japan

    Whether you've got a student loan to pay, parents to reimburse, or savings to deposit in your home bank account, here's a few ways you can transfer money out of Japan and into your home country's bank account.

  • How to Use a Japanese Squat Toilet

    If you haven't been to any Asian countries yet, you may not have come across a squatty potty, but if you have been in Japan then you probably have. Here's a quick how to on squatty potties.

  • Icebreakers

    I was looking for ideas to break past that tension and self-consciousness a group of students has the first time they have an English class and I found a page for English speaking kindergarten icebreakers.

    I think some of these would translate well to elementary or junior high level English lessons in Japanese schools. I haven't read them all, I got as far as #4 (Name Puzzles) and that suited me fine.

  • Japanese Music Rocks

    Up until recently I haven't really seen much of Japanese music, apart from the stuff we are blasted with in our daily lives. Up until recently, that is.

  • Junior High Anytime Warm-Ups

    Here are a few warm-up activities you can use to help your junior high students transition from the normal class mindstate to a state where they are ready to study and use their foreign language. These "any-time" warm-ups require no prep. They are perfect for those times the JTE suddenly asks you to do a warm-up for the class you're walking to right now.

  • Kancho or Seku-Hara

    In the last few years I've either developed a very stern demeanor that warns kids away from wanting to attempt to kancho me, or it's fallen out of popularity but the other day I saw the kancho come back in a very inappropriate way.

  • Kanji Damage - My Experience

    My main online study tool up till recently has been readthekanji.com and I have written a little about my experience with RTK. However, I have recently started using another website too, by the name of KanjiDamage.com.

  • Read the Kanji - My Experience

    I am studying Japanese and have recently taken the N4 JLPT test. One of the tools I have used to help me feel confident enough to try the N4 is a website called Read the Kanji - readthekanji.com.

  • Renew Japanese Residence Card

    If you're in Japan teaching English, you will have been provided with a visa from the Japanese government to work for a specified length of time. You may decide to stay and will need to extend your stay. Here are a few helpful links and a short guide on how to renew your residence card.

  • Things You Should Bring to Japan

    If you have accepted a job teaching English in Japan, and are about to start packing your bags for a year's adventure abroad, here is a list of a few things you might need while over there.

  • What is Janken?

    Janken is the Japanese version of "paper, scissors, rock". Want to know how it's played and what you say? Read on!