Sunday, August 21, 2011

WS: Eigo Noto 2: I Can 3

Three sessions may seem like a long time on one grammar point, but "I can" is so important, and has so many uses that it's well worth it.

After learning "can (+verb)" you can introduce more complex things.
I can play, I can play the, I can cook, I can make, I can eat etc.
By keeping the main grammar point constant ("I can" and "can you?") the introduction of these new verbs isn't as conceptually difficult as it may seem.

Greeting Good morning etc.

Chant Using the flash cards from previous weeks, with vocabulary the students already know. I have them chant I can/I can't. Strangely I always find that students can remember how to say "I can" but have trouble remembering "I can't".

New Vocabulary Next I introduce some new verbs. This week we studied; cook, make, ride and eat. We made example sentences and the students repeated them after me. I got them to suggest their own sentences, such as "I can't ride a dog" etc to make it more entertaining.

Activity Eigo Noto 2, page 27, has a space for students to draw pictures of things they can and can't do. Of course you can use a worksheet or even some scrap paper.
I had the students draw 3 things they can do, and 3 they can't.
I asked them to be as creative as possible giving them examples such as, "I can ride an elephant" and "I can't eat a monkey".
I made it clear that the students did not have to know the sentence in English, and could ask me for help. My students were great and came up with some very interesting ideas!
N.B. At this point I asked the students to draw their pictures secretly and not show anyone.

Speech In groups of 4 or 5 (they may already have groups or you might have to make them) I had the students made speeches using their pictures.
Hello, my name is ____________________
I can ____________________________________ x3
I can't __________________________________ x3
Thank you very much.

Activity 2 At this point I got students to collect the textbooks/worksheets in and bring them to me. (Tip: if using textbooks have them leave them stacked open on the correct page!).
I then chose a book at random (Tip: hide the name on the book!).
I then gave hints, I can__________ I can't____________________.
After giving the hints the students should guess whose book it is.
The students whose book it is should not raise their hand.

Problems you might face with this game:
1. Not being able to understand the pictures.
Whilst students are drawing at the begging of the lesson walk around and ask the students what their picture means.  There will be some you don't understand, but my students found it hilarious when I ended up with a pile of 10 books with pictures I couldn't decipher!
2. The students may very well all have the same ideas. I can play soccer, I can't play kendama.
When giving your examples make them as exciting as possible. the students will get a laugh out of it and it will hopefully encourage them to have a go at creating some funny sentences in English. If you are lucky you might get some ideas as interesting as these;

A few of my favorites
I can't ride a dinosaur.
I can't bungee jump from this school.
I can't sleep for 24 hours.
I can't put a car on my head.
I can eat monkey, and cheese and everything is delicious.
I can sew a wedding dress.
I can eat ume boshi on Wednesday.


  1. "I can eat monkey, and cheese and everything is delicious."


  2. haha! Actually kids (especially elementary) respond very well to funny lines like "Can you eat a monkey sandwich?"

    I've been enjoying your comments, Yuri. Do you have any connection to English teaching?