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Halloween lesson in Japan

CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
edited October 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I've been asked to design a Halloween ESL lesson for 3rd and 4th graders at a some local Japanese elementary schools. The classes will be about 50 minutes long and each class will have about 100 students. Being 3rd and 4th graders (most) of the students don't speak any English, but I can speak Japanese to them.

Any ideas what kind of activities I can do with such a large group of small kids?
Some things I thought of:

1) "Color by numbers" Halloween picture using English.

2) Some kind of very controlled trick or treat.

3) Showing the Charlie Brown Halloween TV special. The problem is no Japanese version of this exists so I'd have to subtitle it myself and I'm not so confident that 3rd and 4th graders can read fast enough to keep up.

Any good ideas?

CygnusZ on

Posts

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Bowls of peeled eyeballs and cold cooked noodles to gross them out?
    Or might that be too much excitement...

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  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Scooby Doo marathon.

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  • JustPlainPavekJustPlainPavek Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Ouch, 100 students in a class? You have my condolences. Have you taught them the feelings and how are you? If not teach them happy, sad, angry, sleepy, etc, (DO NOT TEACH THEM "I'M FINE, THANK YOU") and then have them draw pumpkin faces. Ask them how they are and have them answer for their pumpkin. Have them ask each other, trade pumpkins, etc.

  • metaghostmetaghost Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Maybe do a "What's in a Haunted House?" lesson?

    Compare Japanese and Western folk-monsters. (i.e. "If Americans aren't scared of Kappa, what are they scared of?")

  • Dropping LoadsDropping Loads Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Just to get some more background info: Have you done something like this before? Have you worked with this age group? Will there be other assistants, or just you and 100 kids?

    I used to do a fair amount of elementary school outreach and while the culture is different, it'll be really hard to do a lot of things in a class that size without motivated assistants.

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  • RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    metaghost wrote: »
    Maybe do a "What's in a Haunted House?" lesson?

    Compare Japanese and Western folk-monsters. (i.e. "If Americans aren't scared of Kappa, what are they scared of?")


    I like this idea. There's a lot of Western folklore that kids that age probably haven't been exposed to, and a lot of it is intended to be...well...spooky. Plus, everyone likes a good ghost story. They may not learn a whole hell of a lot, but it'll be fun.

  • descoladadescolada Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    3rd and 4th grade probably have done "head shoulders knees and toes," so they probably know some body parts vocab. Regardless, review with the song. They're young enough to still dance, and it's an easy way to engage all students simultaneously. You can also transition into a Simon Says activity for further reinforcement if you like.

    Talk about how Halloween is a SCARY time where all sorts of monsters come out, and describe a monster you saw on Halloween... thus leading into a "draw a scary monster" activity, where you describe a monster with one eye, three legs, seven arms, etc. You can incorporate all sorts of simple vocab into this activity, but your base should be numbers/colors/body parts.

    I realize this isn't terribly Halloween themed, but I'm assuming your main goal is still English learning and reinforcement. If the school is more interested in a pure culture lesson, though, that might change things.

    Check the policy regarding sweets at school before you consider any trick or treating activities as well. Many schools won't permit candy for any reason.

  • FalxFalx Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Maybe some basic crosswords? With the answers being "scary" basic english words like: Monster, Ghost, Witch, Scared, Spooky, Mummy, Wolfman etc

    Alternatively, read a story that has classic western monsters, in Japanese, but with the names in English, then have them write a short little report on one of the monsters and what they understand it to be. Extra points for spelling it correctly.

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  • RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Falx wrote: »
    Maybe some basic crosswords? With the answers being "scary" basic english words like: Monster, Ghost, Witch, Scared, Spooky, Mummy, Wolfman etc

    You forgot 'Barbara Streisand'.

  • descoladadescolada Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    3rd and 4th grade won't be able to read an English crossword in many cases. I'm assuming OP knows the students' level though, and whether they can handle that.

  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Thank you for all your input.

    The Department of Education is mandating elementary school education in English for grades 5 and 6 starting next year. Therefore, very few public schools have English programs for students in grades 1-4. There are some kids who take private lessons and have some basic English knowledge, but I think it would be inappropriate assumption given the situation. Therefore, I'm aiming to do strictly a culture class. I realize the situation is different in many private schools and can vary between prefectures. For some schools this will be the first and only time I have a class with the third graders.

    After thinking over potential lesson plans and going over some of the suggestions here with teachers, here's what we decided to do:

    1) Order pumpkins from Hokkaido and show how a jack o' lantern in made.
    2) Have students make their own paper jack o 'lanterns based on an emotion theme. For example, Aya might be an "angry" pumpkin while Kenta has a "Hungry" pumpkin. The students will hang up the pumpkins in the classroom as a decoration.
    3) Teach the kids HOW to trick or treat. Whether or not a particular class will do trick or treating depends on the homeroom teacher. I'm going to use the segment of Charlie Brown's Halloween special and have the kids imitate it.
    4) If there's time left over, introduce some monsters using Dragon Quest artwork (90% of the students are familiar with it) and show Michael Jackson's Thriller (still hot in Japan among elementary students thanks to his kicking the bucket).

    Some of the teachers liked the idea of passing around slimy food and saying that it was the body part of an old witch who used to live in the school (for example, spaghetti = intestines, olives = eyeballs etc) It just might scare some of the really sensitive kids and isn't practical for a group of 100 kids.

    If you guys have any other ideas, I'd love to hear them and maybe I can still switch up the lesson plan a bit.

  • descoladadescolada Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    You have a budget for pumpkins?! Or is that coming out of your own cash?

    I wasn't sure if crafts work was really an option but, since it seems to be, another option is making ghosts. Inflate a white balloon, draw a face on it with a marker, and tape/glue tissue paper to it. I've actually done this before at a halloween party for shougakusei and it went over pretty well.

  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    descolada wrote: »
    You have a budget for pumpkins?! Or is that coming out of your own cash?

    I wasn't sure if crafts work was really an option but, since it seems to be, another option is making ghosts. Inflate a white balloon, draw a face on it with a marker, and tape/glue tissue paper to it. I've actually done this before at a halloween party for shougakusei and it went over pretty well.

    It's only one pumpkin per gakunen and the price is about 2,500 yen. I haven't talked to all the schools yet, but the one I've discussed it with was ok with splitting the price between myself and the other HR teachers (so like, we each pay 500 yen). The other place I discussed it with sounded like they were fine with using school money on it.

    The ghost is a good idea, I'll give it a shot!

  • ReitenReiten Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Do a pumpkin if you can.

    I always had the school provide a sheet of paper per student and then had them make Halloween masks for themselves (tell the teachers they should bring their coloring instruments and probably scissors). This is similar to your color/make your own pumpkin idea (in this case, you might want to make blank pumpkin outlines to help them along). Since you said you can speak Japanese, give them a short explanation of Halloween (i.e., trick or treating). Have them repeat a few related English words. It isn't really teaching them English, but it will make the whole process fun for them (they'll feel like they're learning English and probably enjoy it). Ideally, this will make them more enthusiastic about learning English for real when those classes start. I always figured this was the best thing I could do.

  • FalxFalx Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    descolada wrote: »
    3rd and 4th grade won't be able to read an English crossword in many cases. I'm assuming OP knows the students' level though, and whether they can handle that.

    Well obviously the clues would be in Japanese.

    Hisao? What's the word for when it feels in your heart that everything in the world is alright?
    .

    STEAM
  • AkeeAkee Registered User
    edited October 2010
    There are a few really good halloween songs you can do with that age group. Spooky Loo, Orange Pumpkins, Dem Bones all are in English and cover Halloween vocab, and include body movements that are easy to learn. I just got done teaching English to Japanese students at a private lessons school. We are doing a whole set of halloween songs and it was easy to teach them the body movements and get them excited about dancing. A couple of the boys didn't sing during the dancing but I caught them singing the words later in the lesson.

    Good Luck!

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