What’s the difference?
Unit four of the eighth grade textbook starts out with the example of a home-stay experience to introduce the grammar points “have to” and “don’t have to.” What better time to add a little cultural relevance from your home country into the lesson? Students are generally interested in you and your life, so getting to discuss some differences between Japanese schools and your schools back home will hopefully be more interesting than a typical worksheet. I am from America, so the specifics of this example relate to American public schools. Adjust to your country as necessary.
Purpose: to reinforce the grammar point “have to” in a relevant context to engage students
Secondary purpose: practice writing, speaking, and listening
Important note: Use this activity after you have read the textbook script about home-stays, covered the new vocabulary, and have explained using “have to” with present tense verbs. I got through this whole exercise and wondered why one of my classes had such a problem with it, only to have the teacher afterwards ask the kids to open their textbooks and read the “new words”: have to! Why she thought they would understand a grammar point never before explained to them was beyond me, so make sure you communicate with the JTE to find out when to properly incorporate this activity.
Prep: print out ample copies of the worksheet, and use a hole-puncher so they can file it in their folders
Execution: Give each student a worksheet and then write the following verbs on the chalkboard like this: (don’t) have to + study, walk, wear, eat, clean, change, bow, sing, greet, play, learn, read, speak, bring, go, practice, stand up, join, write, swim
Write these verbs to one side of the chalkboard so you can use the other side for examples or to spell out words students ask about.
Explain the activity using the example on the page, and if they still don’t understand, write an example on the open side of the board about your school:
-In America, we have to bring our lunch. We don’t have to wear uniforms.
Have the students try to generate two original sentences, one “have to” and one “don’t have to.” This will be more difficult than you would expect. Then let them get in groups of four, either to generate the next six sentences together (if they are very smart) or to share and copy the other six sentences from the group members. Walk around often to check progress, correct mistakes, and offer ideas. It probably wouldn’t hurt to review the verb meanings after you write them on the board. Once they’re done, individually students must write one question for the ALT about school in their country.
For example, “In America, do you have to practice kanji?” Return all the desks to facing forward and erase the board. Ask the students to read their questions and then write all the answers on the board:
we don’t have to join clubs.
we have to study math.
Skip the questions that are the same ( a lot of them will ask if you have to study Japanese). Have the students use the backside of the worksheet to write down all these sentences. If you are short on time, skip this last bit and just have the students come up individually and ask you their question. Then they can write “Yes, we do” or “No, we don’t” and turn in their papers. Make sure to correct these to check for errors and have some laughs, like when the students write “In Japan, we have to study English. We don’t have to speak English.”
Here are some examples of sentences and questions the students can write during this activity:
In Japan, we have to… study English, eat school lunch, join clubs, bow to the principle, stand up in class, swim in the summer, clean the classroom, etc
We don’t have to… play football, practice tennis every day, clean the bathroom every day, bring our lunch, etc
In America, do you have to… wear uniforms, eat school lunch, play a sport, study science, sing the school song, learn to dance, speak English, study at night, go to school on Saturday, change your shoes, stand up in class, go to high school, bow to the principle, clean the school, greet your teachers, study world history, bring your lunch, play music, join clubs?
A final thought: Have some of these questions prepared in case your whole class decided to copy off each other for the final “Do you have to” component. That way you can write extra sentences on the board if needed. Make sure to have fun and throw in some humorous examples, like “In America, we don’t have to eat natto!”