First lesson of the year, if you speak …

To be a bit more constructive today I’m going to start a series of three posts on what to do in the first lesson of the year. ( Quite a few countries start their school year this week). The first one today will be the number one super best lesson lesson I have, but you need to be able to speak the kids’ language to make it work. Tomorrow will be some ideas for if you don’t speak the kids native language and then I’ll have some ideas and things for Junior High School.

First Lesson of the YearSo, what’s my super number one lesson for new teachers?

Well… first off you do theΒ Warm Up gameΒ to get the gets nice and genki.

(And the Disco Warm Up Song if you are lucky enough to have invested in theΒ Β Teacher’s Set.)

Then if you look at the curriculum you’ll see I have Rock, Paper, Scissors and What’s your name?Β as the next lessons.

But what if you don’t have the Genki English Teacher’s Set yet?

In that case, without a doubt the best lesson is the How are you? Feelings song followed by the How are you Monster game. ( That’s the reason I chose this as the freebie song for free Ninja Tips Email Course.)

It works amazingly well, the kids get some really useful language and they continue the game for the rest of the day. The only drawback is you need some Korean / Chinese / Spanish etc. to be able to explain the rules of the game to the kids.

Ninja Tip: If you are teaching in Japan though, print out the Japanese version of the game and the class teacher can explain it.

Once you’ve had a bit of practice ( say teaching it to 4 or 5 classes) you can finish it in 25 minutes or so and in that case I’d really recommend the Rock, Paper, Scissors song between the Warm Up and How are you? This way you can set down all the rules of the classroom e.g. losing means “try again”, “I can do it” and general classroom management. I put up a video in the VIP owners Club to see how I do this.

But for now, if you’re still not sure if you want to make the full jump into Genki English, Β  just stick with the freeΒ How are you? and the Monster game and the kids will love English for the rest of the year!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

13 Responses to “First lesson of the year, if you speak …”

  1. Natalie

    “the kids get some really useful language and they continue the game for the rest of the day” – that’s true and that’s really awesome! I always finish the lesson with small revision of what we did at the lesson. e.g. I ask Ss some simple questions they are sure to answer. We usually do it quite fast. And they answer all together. It’s important to let them leave the classroom happy and absolutely positive “Yeah!!!I can speak English!”

  2. Natalie

    how can I put my photo near my name in the title? (sorry for putting this question in the comments)

  3. Luis

    Thank’s a lot for your resources, they really work!
    (Teaching fifth graders in Mexico’s rural schools)

  4. Stephen

    Hi everyone !!!
    I will be having my first lesson on Tuesday.
    Thanks for your advises. Hope they will really help.

  5. Elvira

    Thank you for the idea how to start a number one lesson. It’s great.What can you advise for “old timers”?

  6. richard

    Hi Elvira,

    Let me share a story form one of my workshops in Nagasaki, Japan …

    After I presented these warm ups one lady in her 40s said to me “But …. if I had to do this everyday it will kill me!”
    To which an older lady, at least in her 70s, replied “No my dear, if you *don’t* do this everyday it will kill you!”

  7. Karolina

    I totally agree with the story above, Richard. πŸ™‚ How come I didn’t find your website earlier? Your tips and positive attitude makes me smile while watching the videos and it makes me also positive about the beginning school year. Thank you!

  8. Ali

    Hi,thank you for your lessons .

  9. Elvira

    O yes!Thanks.The first lesson is surely thrilling and fun!But what can you say about 30-min lesson? How can I organise it for 5-6 year olds having only this small ammount of time?( They are absolutely new to English and of course to GE :))

  10. Richard

    Hi Elvira,

    5 – 6 year olds are usually a lot faster than the slightly older kids, so you should be fine with 30 minute lessons. Just do the regular lesson plan ( ) and just speed things up a little, maybe cutting the game a touch shorter. There is very little downtime with 30 minutes, but it is possible to get lots done!

  11. Lyudmila

    Hi Richard!
    Thanks a lot for your lessons, your work and sharing ideas! I want to get my first Teacher’s Set. Could you plz tell me about shipment ways. And whether you can send some link to downlod the material.

    Thanks again,

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