Lesson of the Week: How do you say … in English?

Along with “What do you think of …?“,  “How do you say …. in English?” is one of the most requested phrases amongst kids.   Sadly it’s also not included in many teachers’ curricula, so let’s try and change that because it is so useful!

In the Teacher’s Set we have a very cool interactive version of the lesson which makes it a lot easier to teach.  You can see a quick demo on the lesson plan page, but the idea is that everyone sings “How do you say …”  then the computer flashes up a random flashcard which the kids say in their own language and  everyone finishes with “in English?”  before saying the actual word in English.   It’s a lot easier than it sounds, but using the music in this way really gets the kids excited and concentrating, computers just seem to do that don’t they!

Games

If there is a foreign teacher in class (maybe yourself!) I have two really cool games, depending on your level of ability in the kids’ native language.  If you are just starting then this first one is for you ….

1. Put the kids in groups.

2. One kid from the first group asks you “How do you say” + a simple word in their language + “in English?”

3. If you can correctly translate and say it in English they get a point!

4. Repeat from step 2 with the next group

5. Keep going to see which team has the most points!

The cool thing here is developing the skill of figuring out what level of language your conversation partner understands.  They quickly figure out what level to pitch things at.  Plus you also get major brownie points if they’ never heard you speak their language before.

Or if you think you are pretty hot in the kids’ own language, try this version ….

1. Put the kids in groups.

2. One kid from the first group asks you “How do you say” + a HARD word in their language + “in English?”

3. This time if you CANNOT correctly translate and say it in English they get a point!

4. Repeat from step 2 with the next group

5. Keep going to see which team has the most points!

This one is really fun, for the teacher and the kids, as the kids try to come up with really complicated stuff like 安全保障理事会!  Of course if you do happen to know it the kids get blown away with lots of “Woooooo!”s and don’t mind losing the point!

Anyway, if you haven’t tried this lesson yet, have a look through the lesson plan page and give it a go.  You’ll be thanking yourself when you can just ask the kids “How do you …. ” when you’ve forgotten a word yourself!

Any comments or feedback or things that have worked with this lesson in your class then please do share them in the comments!

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...

2 Responses to “Lesson of the Week: How do you say … in English?”

  1. julian k

    This is by far my favourite game to play in Junior High school. I always give the kids dictionaries and the option to ask ‘… [English word] in Japanese?’ too. The kids always win though – but that’s a great confidence boost for them!

  2. Senio Antonella

    This sounds great! I’ve got to try it!
    Thanks!

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