Machigae Alphabet

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
elementary school to junior high school first year Review alphabet, teach, "Thank you", and "You're welcome". ABCs; "Thanks", "You're welcome" 20 mins Chalk and Blackboard

First, explain "Thank you" and "You're welcome", and have the students practice in chorus ("Thank you" = "Arigato", "You're welcome" = Doitashimashite"). Then write the alphabet on the board, making lots of mistakes (e.g., 30 - 40 % of letters written backwards). Before you finish writing, the students will be trying to tell you that something is wrong. Explain the question, "Is this OK?" (Kore wa ii desu ka?) and have them answer, "Yes, OK, or No" in response. Select individual students to fix one letter, and afterwards shake their hand while you say, "Thank you". They must respond with, "You are welcome!".

Use either upper or lower case letters, but not both. In most cases (check with the JTE) use upper case letters, or you will confuse the students. Try and keep your writing as close as possible to the style they have learnt, otherwise they will perceive a letter you wrote correctly as incorrect. While minor deviations or flourishes do nothing to the meaning of a symbol in 'Romaji', they can in Kanji and the students are quite aware of this.

Write the alphabet at the top of the board where it is most clearly visible, and draw a large square at the bottom of the board for the students to write the corrected letter in. Then, following their template, erase your error and write the correct form in its place among the other letters. Having written it, ask the class again, "Is this OK?", and have them respond before moving on to the next letter. Keeping the pace lively ensures the students get maximum enjoyment and instruction from this activity.

Teaching Tip

Use gestures at every conceivable opportunity, especially those for: "Hello" (wave if far away ("Toi"), handshake if close ("Chikai"), "Good work/job/try/question/answer/..." (1 thumb up), "OK" (circled thumb and index finger), and "Great" (2 thumbs up). When you greet your students at the beginning of each class, wave (using both arms if you feel confident enough) and say (sing?) "Good morning/afternoon". Insist that they respond in kind.

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