Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FRIENDS in Class

Today at school, as well as last week as a matter of fact, we watched FRIENDS. 
And it was fabulous. 

If you're interested  here is how this lesson came to be. I walked into work one morning last week and gave my usual, Ohayyoo Gozaimasu to everyone. My fellow co-worker and buddy, Namiko turned to me with a sneaky look on her face. 
"I want to do something fun for the 3rd graders but I'm not sure what. 
I want them to practice listening, and maybe speaking." 
She just smiled her trouble maker smile at me. 
I chuckled, "I'll start thinking."

If it was up to me, English class would consist solely of crafts, English movies and TV shows. I try to incorporate those things into the classroom whenever appropriate, which is really only around the holidays, or after a big test. Turns out, I was in luck. The students had just finished their mid-terms so we were all looking for a bit of a break. I suggested the idea of TV in class to Namiko, who was more than supportive. We went over the logistics of the activity, and decided that we could spin it to be a listening and discussion activity. I told her I would find a clip on youtube.
A task that turned out to be much more complex than I had originally thought. 

I wanted a short scene that had simple English, needed no back story, was physical (in the sense that they weren't just sitting and talking, something that even silently could be funny), minimal sarcasm, no curse words, and obviously age appropriate. After sifting through sarcastic clip after sarcastic clip, and discovering that in English we speak more using innuendos than we do just saying what we mean, I found a few I thought would work. 

Namiko cleared the clips first before we took them to the classroom, though confessed the English was really fast. I had already planned to type up the dialogue, leaving a few blanks for the kids to fill in missing words, which helped everyone quite a bit. We watched the video over and over in class.
 With each run of the video, I could see the kids really starting to get it, a few genuinely laughed in all the right places, and most got all 5 missing words. I was impressed. As for Namiko, she laughed harder and harder each time the clip was shown. She laughed in anticipation of the funny lines, and right along with the laugh track. I laughed at the show I've seen a million times, but mostly I smiled watching all these Japanese middle schoolers understand something that was so very American, in fluent, very quick English.
Well done kiddos.


[The Latest]
Click here to watch the clip we used. 
Time: 4:22-5:55

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