Saturday, September 03, 2011

WS: Eigo Noto: Spelling

You may find that many Japanese children (and adults) have trouble with spelling. I have friends who still are not quite sure of the correct way to spell their names.

In the 3rd grade elementary, students are taught to convert Japanese to English script. However for some bizarre reason they are not taught the same system as they will be taught a few years later in Junior High School; such as つ being taught as tu and not tsu, ち ci and not chi and し si and not shi.

Todays plan aims to introduce this to students through some fun games, aiming to have them remember these formations in romaji.

Greeting Good morning, how are you, small conversation about summer vacation etc.

Warm up We used the CD accompanying Eigo Noto1 to sing the 20 steps song (the 10 steps version is also on this CD).
The 20 and 10 steps songs are popular songs within Japanese elementary schools teaching number 1-20.
We sing it once with all the numbers, and then again with one number replaced with a clap, again with second number replaced with a jump, and then a spin, etc etc replacing numbers with moves until your students are collapsed on the floor in a heap...

After handing out a worksheet with a katakana to romaji chart on I wrote "Suzuki Ichiro and Oshima Yuko" on the board and asked students to read it.
We talked about using capital letters at the start and the "chi" in Ichiro and "shi" in the names.

Writing Although the powers-that-be have said that we are not supposed to teach or encourage the children to write in elementary school.... but I could't resist this perfect opportunity to have the students write their name. I checked it for mistakes and then we moved quickly on.

Activity The students made groups of 4 - 6 students.
We used the karuta cards from the back of Eigo Noto2 which all students should have.
Each group took 3 sets and spread them out on the floor or desk.

I then read some 'English words' i.e. Japanese words used in English (sushi, origami etc), although it took students a while to realise this. Students then tried to make the words using the karuta cards.
The first team to raise their hands get 5 points, then 4, then 3, then 0 (you can give more points but I am mean!).

Below is a list of words I used

Extras As a little extra I asked students to spell my name, Laura. Laura is especially difficult to spell as in Katakana it is written ローラ and translated using their romaji chart this becomes ro ra. And they also don't know how to translate the Katakana prolonged sound mark (ー).
If students do manage to spell it, usually after me writing L _ _ _ _ on the board, I give them plus 10.

This, however, is a great starting place to talk about how easy it is to write Japanese words in English, but how difficult to write English in Japanese and then to translate them back.

Well, that's about it for this week. If you have anything to add, please comment below.

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