Review ~ Genki English Download PackAn overwhelming selection of fun materials for young and very young learners, all together in one downloadable pack to print etc at your leisure
There are so many ESL textbooks available out there for young learners. Many of the books are good, but students and teachers alike can become bored as the format contained in them is always the same and very repetitive. I am always changing my materials with my younger students in order to keep them interested and as I was sick of textbooks I jumped at the chance to try the Genki English Download Pack, a package which also gives you access to the VIP Owners Club. I must admit that I was a little overwhelmed when I first accessed it as there were so many materials available and I was wondering which one I was going to try first and how.
I began by looking at the overview of materials available on the website and I recommend looking at the lesson plan book before you start. One thing I liked about the lesson plan books is that you can download them in English, Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, Spanish and Thai. There is a detailed Index with page numbers so you can jump around the pdf easily. Richard Graham (the well-known owner of the site) gives suggestions on how to structure a 45 minute lesson, which is perfect if you have a kindergarten or primary school class. He then goes on to explain the songs, gestures and games, which is great if you have run out of fresh ideas. The games are easy enough that you can also adapt them to suit your own style and students. He gives the song lyrics and tells you which CD the song is on.
If you use the lesson plan format alone, it may become a little monotonous. I know young learners need routine, but we don’t want them to go to sleep, so I recommend making use of the different activities available in the pack. There are Picture Books, printable stickers, spaghetti worksheets, Snakes and Ladders games with different themes, ready to make dice, Islands games, printable calendars, phonics posters, and Mini Cards (colour or B & W). My students liked the Imagination worksheets, where only part of a picture was drawn and they had to complete it themselves. There is also a 103 page Christmas e-book and a 49 page Halloween one. We are using the Halloween one at the moment and it is extremely useful as it contains everything in one file. There are A4 size printable flashcards, mini cards, song lyrics, activity sheets (including dominoes), dice, spaghetti worksheets, games, puzzles, and masks. If you are stuck for ideas or unsure how to present an activity, there are video clips available on the Genki English website showing you how to do some of the activities and songs. I only used these about half of the time as I like to make up gestures for songs together with my students. The website has a lot of information and ideas available, but I found it very time consuming to navigate through everything as it is quite text heavy at times.
There are many great activities and useful materials in the Download Pack but I found that many of the games worked better in bigger classes rather than smaller ones, although it is possible to adapt them if you have fewer students. The main issue I had in my classes was that the older students (grade 5 and 6) didn’t really like the flashcards and felt that they were more suitable for younger students. However, the games and activities were well received by all ages.
While downloading materials is convenient and fast, I would have to say that I would prefer to purchase a pack that comes with everything already printed out. It can be very time-consuming and expensive to print out materials ourselves, especially if our employers will not pay for it. I don’t have access to a projector in my children’s classes and so I do need to print the cards off myself to have things already prepared. Therefore, a book with everything included that I could take everywhere in my bag would be more appealing. However, if this is not an issue for you then I do recommend this Download Pack.
October 2010 | Filed under Young Learners
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