Wishes and Shiny Toothpaste


I had a few good lessons today.

Where do you wish you were from?

I taught my ichi-nensei (15-16 year-olds) a lesson based around the questions “Where are you from?” and “What’s it like there?”

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I first presented a warm-up centering around Halloween.  This included me reprising my role as Bob Dylan (showing that not all costumes are scary and that I can play the guitar and harmonica simultaneously), trick-or-treating, and photos of costumes and jack-o-lanterns.  After this I outlined the following conversational structure:

Where are you from?

I am from _____________.

What’s it like there?

It’s a ________________ town/city.

I then gave each student a piece of paper with a location.  Some of these places were located in Aomori-ken (Noheji, Aomori City, etc) and others weren’t (Canada, Tokyo, Osaka, etc).  Next I distributed “Bingo” sheets and the students walked around introducing themselves to each other, asking where they were from, and marking off locations until they wiped out the board completely.  The first three students to finish were rewarded with candy.

Next I had the students fill out a worksheet entitled “Where do you wish you were from?”  After answering the question they also had to answer what it’s like there and draw a picture.  I collected the worksheets at the end of class.

20 students, half the class, wanted to be from Tokyo.  They claimed it is “exciting,” “big,” and a “famous” city.  A few other people wanted to be from Sapporo, Osaka, Sendai, or Okanawa.  Two students wanted to be from Noheji (where they already go to school) and one student wished he lived on the moon (What’s it like there?  “It is a small city.”).

It was a successful lesson.  Since this is my most challenging class, it made the day even better.  Even the person I co-teach with said the class is gradually getting better.  All in all an encouraging morning.

Shiny Toothpaste

Just before lunch I conducted a lesson for an advanced ni-nensei (16-17 year-olds) class on advertisements.  Before I continue, I feel the need to give credit to my predecessor for this one.  He gave me permission to rummage through his cache of lessons and this one caught my eye.  Thanks, predecessor.

I started by dividing the class into groups of four.  Each group then had five minutes to pick a product and twenty minutes to write four sentences to help sell it.  You may think twenty minutes is a bit excessive, but it was perfect.  This was a tough task for the students to undertake, even for an advanced class.

After twenty minutes had elapsed we spent another twenty minutes watching the skits.  I then graded the commercials with my co-teacher, tallied up the scores, and revealed the winner in a ceremonious fashion.  A wonderful lesson for everyone involved.

Subject + verb + how + subject +zzzzzz…

Not all my lessons were successful today.  I gave one on the sentence diagram above and it fell a little flat.  It’s my fault.  But I’ll retool it and try it again next time.



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