Page in Japanese

Japanese Ministry of Education
"Hi Friends"
Extra Ideas and Activities

UPDATE: MEXT have now cancelled the Eigo Note materials and have now distributed "Hi Friends" books and materials to all schools. I'll have a full guide up soon, and for the time being there's a discussion thread about it on the VIP forum or you can of course use any of the Eigo Note ideas below!


If you don't have to use the Hi Friends yet, or have freedom to chose your own materials then I'd recommend my normal elementary school curriculum.

Book 1

Lesson 1 世界の「こんにちは」を知ろう - Greetings of the world

使用表現(target English):What's your name? My name is Ken. Nice to meet you.

First hour: Learn that there are different greetings in the world.
Second Hour: Learn manners of greetings, to do greetings with a positive attitude and be able to say your own name.
  What's your name?』 Song & Lesson plan
Third hour: Greet your friends. Name card exchange game.
  Name care Game

 ※Apart from the rather large amount of time they recommend for this the biggest problem is having to discriminate between "Japanese" kids who should use their surname first, and "non-Japanese" kids who should do it the other way round. I find this very uncomfortable so I'd recommend just using the first name for everyone.

It might seem strange having different world greetings in the first lesson (it's a bit like learning Japanese and saying "OK kids, everyone "Bonjour"). But I guess it shows the emphasis is still on "international Understanding" rather than English.

Lesson 2 ジェスチャーをしよう Gestures

使用表現( target phrases):How are you? I'm happy.

First Hour: Learn about feelings and gestures
   How are you? Lesson Plan
   How are you? Picture Book
Second Hour: Learn that gestures are important. Communicate using gestures.
  Feelings Frenzy Game
Third Hour: Using gestures communicate with partners.
   Gokiburi Game
Fourth Hour: Using gestures to communicate feelings. (I'm not sure what the difference between these lessons is)

Lesson 3 数で遊ぼう - playing with numbers

使用表現(target phrases):How many? Five.

First Hour: Learn that there are several ways of counting in the world. Numbers from 0 to 10.
  Numbers Song
  Rock, Paper, Scissors song (huge hit with the kids!)
  Heads, Shoulders, Knees, Toes - Genki English Dance Version!
  How old are you? Lesson plan"How many?" Song
  Timebomb Game
  How old are you? Picture Book
Second Hour: Understand different ways of counting from around the world. Say numbers 0 to 20.
  13~20 Song
  Snakes & Ladders Game
Third hour: Asking "how many?"
  "How many?" Song
Fourth Hour: Game using numbers.
  Secret Code Game

※They recommend teaching numbers 1 to 10 here. I'd still stick to 1 to 12, but as they do 1 to 20 straight afterwards it's not such of a big problem.

Lesson 4 自己紹介をしよう - Self introductions

使用表現(target phrases):Do you like apples? Yes, I do./No, I don't. I like bananas. Thank you.

First Hour: Listen to what people like or dislike
   Do you like...? Lesson Plan。
   Japanese kids know half the New York Times!
   Do you like..? Picture Book
Second Hour: Tell a partner what you like and dislike.
   I like everything Game
Third Hour:: Check what things your friends like and dislike.
   What do you like bingo? Game
Fourth Hour: Introduce yourself including things you like and dislike.
   I like pink fish Game

※Again they are recommending four lessons for this. They are also using fruits as an example for 5th graders. I think we'd be better using famous sports stars or video games, but if you have to stick to the content then the Genki English song livens it up a lot.

Lesson 5 いろいろな国の衣装を知ろう Clothes from different countries

使用表現(target phrase):I don't like blue.

Hour One: Learn that there are different clothes around the world. Learn how to say them in English.
  "Baby Monkey's Winter Clothes" or Summer Clothes
  Shapes "Your blue skirt with hearts is very cute.  I like that yellow star." 
  Winter Clothes Picture Book
Hour Two: Notice that it is important to express our opinion. Learn expressions for buying clothes. 
  How much?Bigger, please Lessons
  What do you think of? or Colours Song
Hour Three: Clearly express what you like. Help people to shop.
Hour Four: Correctly express what you have bought.

※Again I'm uncomfortable with the whole "this country's people wear this" type of lesson, so personally I try and keep it as neutral as possible. One good idea here is to do an exchange project with kids in other countries. The kids love it, although the teachers may be a little upset about how many people wear T-shirts and jeans!

Lesson 6 外来語を知ろう - Loan words

使用表現(target phrase):What do you want? Melon, please.
Hour one: Understand the difference between "gairigo" (loan words) and English pronunciation.
  Do you like? Theme
  What's your favourite food? Picture Book
Hour Two: When asked express what you would like.
  What would you like for breakfast?Bad Fruits Game
Hour Three: Order what you would like and make your own fruit parfait
  Fruit Market Song
Hour Four: Present your fruit parfait to the class

※I'm not too sure about their target phrases here. You can however use these as a great confidence booster for the kids, see "Curing the wakaranai problem"

Lesson 7 クイズ大会をしよう - Big Quiz

使用表現(target phrase):What's this? It's a pencil.

Hour One: Notice how interesting it is that the same thing has a different name in English and Japanese (written in kanji)
第二時:"What's this?"の質問に対して、何について尋ねられているか理解し、答える。
Hour Two: Understand "What's this?" and answer.
   Fruit Market& Creepy Crawlies have the "What's this?" question
Hour Three: Learn names of animals in English
   Do you like animals?
   Do you have any pets?
Hour four: Enjoy a "big quiz" with your friends

   Jeopardy Game
   Around the world Game

Lesson 8 時間割を作ろう - Make a timetable

使用表現:I study Japanese.

Hour One: Learn what kids in foreign countries learn in school. Learn names of subjects in English.
  School Subjects
Hour Two: With a positive attitude play a game using days of the week and subject names.
  Days of the Week
Hour Three: Tell your friends about your original timetable that you have made.
Hour Four: Review quiz. Present your thinking to the class. ( I don't know what that means either)

※ This could be quite a good lesson for 5th graders. They also show the Chinese versions of characters for subjects, and they compare timetables in China, Australia and Japan which is cool. The only problem I have here is the phrase "I study..." which may sound OK for Japanese or English, but kids in grade school can't say "I study PE." I just go with the international phrase which is "I have Japanese/English/PE etc," although you might need a little tact when suggesting there is a mistake in the book!

Lesson 9 ランチメニューを作ろう
Make a lunch menu

使用表現(target phrases):What would you like? I'd like fruits.

Hour One: Learn that foreign countries' breakfasts are different to Japan. (Yes, that is what it says! And here was me thinking that some people in Japan eat cereal or toast...)
   What would you like for breakfast? & School Lunch Exchange
Hour Two: Learn food and cooking phrases. (Not only English judging by the picture cards)
   Mr. Monkey's Cooking Corner
Hour Three: Using polite language ask for things you'd like.
   What would you like for breakfast?
Hour Four: Ask your friends what they like and make a "special lunch"

※ Is it just me or does "I'd like fruits" sound strange? I'm not too keen on this "let's learn how different Japan is" attitude in this theme but it's a good excuse to make foods, and the breakfast videos make it really international.

Book 2

Here's my article about teaching 6th graders.

Lesson 1 アルファベットで遊ぼう - Let's play with the alphabet
使用表現:That's right.Good job!A~Z
Hour One: Learn the "reading" of the alphabet letters
Hour Two: Listen to the reading of a character and choose the right capital letter.
Hour Three: Read the capital letters.
Alphabet Flashcards are here.

※ I don't really understand what they want to do here. Although it's good that they are introducing the alphabet after some speaking, it's a shame that they are doing it the Japanese way round (i.e. in Japan romaji is mainly used for computer keyboards hence capital letters first). Usually when teaching English you introduce lower case letters first, because there are so many of them on a page. Also I'm trying to find out what they mean by "yomikata" it could mean the sound of the letters (i.e. phonics) or many teachers could take it as learning the names of letters in Japanese i.e. ay, bee, she etc. In any case as there is lots of time I'd go for phonics, it has been proven to really improve students' scores.

Lesson 2 いろいろな文字があることを知ろう - Learn that there are lots of characters

使用表現(target phrase):What's this?

Hour One: Have an interest in the different characters of the world. Learn that the alphabet also has lower case letters (does this assume the kids didn't know that until now?). Learn numbers above 20.
Hour Two: Be interested in lower case letters. Learn how to read them.
 Online phonics gamesphonics/alphabet worksheetsは役に立ちます。
Hour Three: Read the lower case letters.
Hour Four: Be interested in the Roman letters you see around. Copy lower case and upper case letters.

※ With "What's this?" in this lesson, it sounds like they've just directly translated the Japanese "Kore wa nani?" without thinking about the English. How do you answer it? "It's the letter a?". I'm not sure.

Lesson 3 カレンダーを作ろう Make a calendar

使用表現(target phrases): When is your birthday? My birthday is March third.

Hour One: Review Japanese monthly events & characteristics. Learn the month that each event is in.
Hour Two: Say your own birthday
   When is your birthday? Lesson Plan
Hour three: Ask and reply about dates & months. Make your own birthday calendar
Hour Four: Using your calendar, introduce the month you were born.

※I always find this strange that you are learning about English months, but using Japanese festivals to illustrate them. Imagine a school in the US saying "Let's learn the months of the year in Japanese! Right, everybody say "in July we have Independence Day". Surely if you're learning Japanese you learn about Japanese events? If you're learning English you learn about English speaking countries events?

Lesson 4 できることを紹介しよう - Introduce things you can do.

使用表現(target phrases):Can you swim? Yes, I can./No, I can't. I can swim. I can't swim.

Hour One: With a positive attitude ask and understand what your friends can and can't do.
Superhero, I can ... & Can you speak...?
I can do it? & Can I play? Lesson Plan

  Can you do it? Picture Book
  What can you see? Theme
Hour Two: Answer the question with what you can and can't do.
Hour Three: Ask and answer what you can and can't do with friends.
Hour Four: Present what you can and can't do. Understand what your friends present.

※ This is a really important theme! They use birds here to illustrate the point. eg. a penguin can't fly but it can swim. Nice idea and it fits in very well with the new Superhero, I can .... song to make it a bit more interesting for the kids.

Lesson 5 道案内をしよう - Street Directions

使用表現(target English):Where is the flower shop? Go straight. Turn right/left. Stop.

Hour One: Learn and understand names of buildings in town
   Where are you going? and Where do you live?
  How do you say .... in English?
Hour Two: Listen and understand directions.
   Left & Right Lesson
   Tron Game
Hour Three: Using direction phrases tell people how to get to a destination.
  Mr Bump Game & Star Wars Game
Hour Four: Do real life practice of giving and receiving street directions.

※I really don't like this theme! Again it's one of those themes where an adult has thought "Oh, what language did I use on holiday?" If any adult asks a kid they don't know directions in the street, that kid should run a mile, not stand there and give directions! Even if kids are just asking each other, "over there!" is the most common answer, rather than "go straight, turn left" etc.

Lesson 6 行ってみたい国を紹介しよう - Introduce which country you wish to go to

使用表現(target phrase):I want to go to Italy. Let's go.

Hour One: Learn that English is spoken differently in different places.
  Where are you from? Theme
Hour Two: Listen to which country (someone) wants to go to and roughly understand the reason.
  Create a country Game
  Shapes BRAZIL Green, yellow, blue and white. A circle and a diamond in the center. This is Brazil.  CHINA Red and yellow. One big star and four small stars. This is China.

  Around the world trip
Hour three: Ask and answer which country you would like to go to.
Hour Four: Say what country you want to go to and why. Understand when a partner does the same.

※ This has to be the trickiest lesson to do. It's difficult to get the kids to choose and it's difficult to give reasons without creating too many stereotypes. In the example they use they say "I want to go to Italy" and have picture of pizza and football. Maybe asking around the embassies will help with materials for this class or if you have any ideas then please add them at the end of this page!

Lesson 7 自分の一日を紹介しよう Introduce your day

使用表現(target phrase):What time do you get up? At 7:00. I go to bed at 9:00.

Hour One: Learn that there are time differences in the world. Learn phrases about time.
   What time is it?What time is it? Part2
Hour Two: Understand as the teacher talks about their day.
Hour Three: Make a "table" of the things you do each day.
Hour Four: Using the list introduce your day (to the class.)

※Although many of the previous themes seem to take too much time over too simple English, I think in this case it might be the other way round.

Lesson 8 オリジナルの劇を創ろう Make an original drama
使用表現(target English):Please help me. What's the matter?
Hour One: Learn that there are different folktales around the world. Try to listen with interest (that's what it says!).
Hour Two: Learn how interesting the story of the "Big Turnip" is. Change the characters who appear in the story and make your own "Big Turnip" story.
Hour Three: In groups make a play out of your original story
Hour Four: Present your story, understand other groups' stories.

※ Just make sure the teachers choose a good English version of the "Big Turnip" story, some of the ones on sale in Japan look like they were translated using google's automatic translation tool!

Lesson 9 将来の夢を紹介しよう - Introduce your future dreams

使用表現(target phrase):What do you want to be? I want to be a cook.

Hour One: Learn different job names.
 What do you want to be?
 What do you do?

Hour Two: Understand when people talk about what they want to be.

Hour Three: Ask and reply to what you want to be when you grow up.

Hour Four. Using a "speech memo" ( I don't know what that is) introduce what you want to be and why.

※Always a good topic this, and much needed in Japan! Think big dreams. I'm not sure about all the English we'll need to teach the reasons for wanting to do a particular job. Maybe we could be super authentic and teach the kids to just say "because". or "whatever"? (just joking!)

Any feedback or extra information you have, please add it in the comments section below!

Be genki,


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