Successful Lesson


Last week I taught one of my most successful lessons of the year.  Here’s how the main activity went down:

Missing Lyrics

For this lesson I borrowed an idea from another ALT who presented at our midyear seminar in Aomori City.  During the seminar we were required to share our “best lesson” at one of our small group sessions.  This is the one she picked, and after teaching it a few times, I can see why she did.

First I arranged the students into groups of four.  I then distributed a worksheet that had the lyrics to the Beatles song “Good Day Sunshine”  with missing and incomplete phrases.  Next I played the song once and had the students follow along on their worksheets.   The aim here was just to get them familiar with the song and read English at a faster rate than usual.

During the previous activity I had secretly taped the missing phrases (there were eight total) on the walls around the room.  The students took turns leaving the group temporarily to find the slips on the wall, leaving their pencils and paper back at their desks.  Once they found a slip with a phrase, they had to read it to themselves a few times, remember it to the best of their ability, and then run back to their group and say it out loud for the others to record on a piece of paper.  It was  sort of like a game of telephone with Beatles lyrics.

I purposely typed the lyrics in a small font to prevent them from reading from their desks.  They were also not allowed to yell across the room.

After I’d given them enough time to find all the slips, we checked to make sure all the groups had the correct phrases on their pieces of paper.  We did this together so the students could practice pronouncing the words and phrases.


After this we finally listened to the song again and the students tried to find where the missing words and phrases were supposed to go.  I played it two or three times depending on how much time we had left in class.  I then checked for comprehension by going over the completed lyrics  sheet (and making them practice pronunciation some more).  To close the lesson we listened to the song one more time and sang along.

I love this lesson because the kids had fun, every student participated, it was challenging, and they each had to practice listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Why “Good Day Sunshine?”

I selected “Good Day Sunshine” for its simple lyrics, clear pronunciation, concise length, and catchy melody.  Also, to be honest, it was a song that I didn’t mind listening to twenty times throughout the week.

Looking Ahead

Next week my English teachers want me to prepare a Christmas lesson.  I’m planning on doing the same activity with “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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4 Responses to “Successful Lesson”

  1. Barb Bryson Says:

    Hey Taylor and Julie! I’m so impressed with the great job you are doing on your blog. What a treasure! It will be easy for you to use it to create a photo album of your journey at some point if you choose to.

    It sounds like you both are having an amazing time. Good for you!

    I got your address from Teresa and Steve. Expect a Christmas card in the near future.

    We had so much fun visiting Katie in Saint Michael for Thanksgiving. Looking forward to seeing her at Christmas. Big hugs coming your way. Barb

  2. Jamie Says:

    Perhaps your predecessor threw it away, but I left behind my consistently best lesson, which was to show the students an episode of “Pimp My Ride” where some kid got his Daihatsu Hi-Jet “pimped” by Xzibit. This was followed up by a quiz about what they just watched, and a worksheet where the students had to describe how they would pimp their ride… if they had one.

  3. Recent Teaching Experiments « Pacificloons Says:

    […] three, the Kurosawa lesson was far and away my favorite.  In fact it was my best lesson since the “Good Day Sunshine” activity I did a few months […]

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