Michael's example syllabus

Reasons a syllabus might be needed

  • No continuity from grade to grade, or from ALT to ALT. Students getting the same recycled games and material grade after grade.
  • No goals or milestones. Teachers had no idea what to do, how to plan, and left everything to the ALT.
  • Students were at a loss as much as everyone else.

Things to consider

  • There should be obvious progression from grade to grade (making necessary roughly 60 topics to teach).
  • Questions should be introduced as much as possible so students can learn from asking. The curious bunch.
  • Group topics in a way that encourages synthesis of ideas (for example: teaching foods, and than shopping, or teaching counting and then time). The students love reusing what they learned.
  • This syllabus is based on four lessons a topic, but is flexible. If classes are canceled in one school and not another, I can keep the same lessons at each school for the same week.
  • Teachers love having something to look at when talking about English classes in the future and you want them to make something or make a game.



  • Each month for each grade has a separate page I keep in a binder and make copies for the relevant teachers I am working with. Teachers love this. And they always freak out if I don't fill out a greeting which I do on purpose because I am not sure if students understand a new question enough to include in my greeting. Also teachers and I can add our ideas for each lesson and we try to have a 5 minute conversation each week about the following weeks lesson.
  • I tried to keep this simple enough so that I or a new ALT can keep making this better, more linear in progression, and more synthesized. I keep having new revelations of how to integrate three lessons together for a review or level up lesson.
  • I was told by my JTE not to teach writing because it is so important that when they first start they don't learn any bad habits. Since my handwriting is horrible, I printed letters and let them spell with those.
  • One school combines two grade levels (1&2, 3&4, 5&6) so they alternate between lessons every year so students don't have to repeat a lesson. It makes it harder to bring up older lessons, but the older kids love helping the younger kids.
  • To make more free time to use at the Junior High, I am having Elementary Teachers take over more and more of each lesson. Either making supplies, or helping me make rules for games or worksheets I make. The more structure I give them to work with in, the more confident they are. Baby steps.
  • I repeat some topics if I can level them up. For example, opposites turned into adjectives.

See also