Ninja Tips to Curriculum Writing & Lesson Planning for Elementary, High School, Adults & Babies

warm up bear

From all the emails I’ve had I know quite a few of you are busy at work writing your next year’s curriculum.

To give you some inspiration, some ideas and hopefully a lot less stress,  I’ve just pulled up some of my top curriculum posts for you.

These all focus on the first 50 to 100 lessons where the focus is on confidence, speaking and listening:

1. How to make an ESL curriculum

My original article wth where to start, linking to other subjects & “curriculum yoga”

2. Ninja Tips for Setting Goals and Designing your curriculum

To take things to the next level,  how to set your goals and fit the lessons in.

3.  Curriculum:  You or me?

A quick post on which grammar points and which sentence structures to focus on in your curriculum.


What if you have a textbook?

If you have to fit to a prescribed curriculum or textbook by your school,  then….

1. Write a long list of all the topics covered in each chapter.

2. Then simply match up the nearest Genki English lesson to go with each lesson.

e.g. Baseline Lesson  1 –What’s your name?
Baseline Lesson 2 – Genki Disco Warm Up
Baseline Lesson 3 – Where are you from?
Baseline Lesson 3 – How old are you?
Baseline Lesson 4 – I, you, he, she, we

Ninja Tip:  Use this page to see all the GE themes.


3.  Teach each lesson with the Genki English lesson and then with the textbook.

From the first lesson it will be pretty easy to see which works the best, both academically and motivation wise,  and that gives you more leverage to change things in the coming years.  Plus of course you will be covering everything you “have to” cover to keep all the high ups happy! 🙂

You can see how I’ve done this with the Tanzania Baseline curriculum & the  Japan 5th/6th grade curriculum  which might give you some ideas.


For babies, adults or junior high school?

These pages are for you:

Teaching Adults

Junior High Zombies*

Babies & 2/3 yrs old

*Ninja Tip: If you are in junior high school and your kids are being forced to learn the alphabet first,  definitely, 100% use your class time to do Genki Phonics with them ASAP.  Do it as fast as you can go (go quickly on the sounds that are easy for them i.e. the ones that are the same in their native language, and slow down on the blending and phonemes that are different from their language.)   You co-teachers will be *blown away*  by how effective doing phonics like this is compared with the old ABC type things and it will give the kids a huge head start on the year!

Or be a Samurai ( if you want an easy life  … )

If you’re tired and stressed there really is no point re-inventing the wheel.

I’ve been working on the Genki English curriculum for over 15 years with the help of hundreds of teachers and thousands of students throughout the world.  It’s still not perfect, but it’s as good as it gets.

You could make your own curriculum, but if you don’t have 15 years, be a  Samurai & just use what we’ve done, it’s free for you on the website. 🙂

Remember, saving you stress and freeing your time to use in the classroom is what we’re all about at Genki English.  Enjoy!

Genki English Curriculum.

Be genki,


P.S.  If any of you want me to go through any of this in the Fukuoka workshop next week do let me know.  We’ve got teachers flying in from as far as Nagoya & Okinawa so it should be pretty cool!





Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. 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. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

3 Responses to “Ninja Tips to Curriculum Writing & Lesson Planning for Elementary, High School, Adults & Babies”

  1. Martin

    Amen. I’m feeling really constricted and un-Genki in this new book I have to teach. No room for flexibility…especially in getting the kids more work if needed! I mentioned earlier how the intro phonics book is focused on A to Z and just focusing on letter sounds…no combining to make words and read. I want to teach in genki order so the kids can start reading right away!

  2. Miss Keesa

    Ninja Tip: if you do the Genki English lessons “out of order,” be sure to have a checklist of the full GE curriculum somewhere so that you can mark off lessons as you teach them! This helps keep you from 1) accidentally teaching lessons twice (Miss! We already know this one!) or, worse still, 2) accidentally forgetting some of the lessons. (Yes, I’ve done this.)

    Also, having all the lessons printed off in order on a single sheet of paper makes it MUCH easier to see what lessons are available and figure out how to incorporate them into what you *have* to teach!

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