Our teachers have come up with three improvements to the current Level Two lessons (Textbook 2A). We will be adding these to the textbooks from 2023, but they will be in the updated Textbook 2B materials (lesson slides and downloads) available on this site from September.
The first improvement is to add a dictation activity. There were two reasons we decided to introduce this: 1) we found we were getting through lessons quite quickly and often had around 5 minutes left over at the end of class, and 2) the dictation activity for Level One was going so well that doing it in Level Two as well seemed like a no-brainer.
The Level One dictations are sentences, so we decided Level Two dictations should be short paragraphs. And if we are doing to do a dictation, it might as well be the same topic as that month’s writing, giving students even more chances to engage with the topic and think about what they want to write.
Here is an example from Unit 15 of Textbook 1A (hometown topic):
“I live in Tokyo. It’s a very big city. There are many shops in Tokyo. My favorite place to visit is Shinjuku. It’s very exciting.”
For the dictation activity the teacher will read the paragraph a couple of times at natural speed, and students will try to write it in English. After a couple of minutes we show the text on the slide and students can check their work.
We will add the suggested dictations to the lesson slides for Textbook 2B.
The other two upgrades are to the writing activity. We found that students had trouble transitioning from the brainstorming to writing a short essay.
One of our teaching assistants suggested using questions to smooth the transition, and we are now trying that out.
So in week 2 instead of jumping straight into essay writing, we give students a list of questions to answer instead. The questions are based on the month’s topic. Students can then use their answers to help them write in week 3.
We will add the questions to the lesson slides for Textbook 2B.
The final upgrade is to week 3 of the writing activity. Currently week 3 involves reading the model essay as a class, and/or in pairs or individually.
What we have started doing this semester is having students write in week 3, after reading the model. We have students close their books and write on a separate piece of paper, which we then collect and correct before the next class.
In week 4 students can use the model, their own writing, and the questions from week 2 to write their final version.
You can easily implement this by giving students a loose leaf piece of paper to write on.
As always, we’d love to hear how you are getting on with the course, as well as any issues you run into or suggestions you might have for future upgrades.