By Tori Sharpe
Edited by Ivonne Diaz
For this special valentine’s day issue we got Mrs. Tori Sharpe to give us some pointers on bringing a little Valentine’s Day to our classrooms. Here are a few questions we asked based off 2 lesson plans; Valentine’s Day Bingo and Valentine’s Day Letter Writing.
In how many classes have you used your Valentine Bingo and letter writing activities? How did the students react to the lessons? Do you have any pointers to have it go smoothly?
I’ve used the letter writing activity in 15 different classes this year, and about the same last year. As for the bingo I used it last year for about 10 classes. The students’ reaction was awesome.
For both, be TIMELY but FLEXIBLE.
-Stay on time; you will need to time each section and stop the students before they are finished in the first warm-up for the letter writing. Otherwise you won’t have time to write cards.
-Be really goofy about the compliments and use the JTE for examples. Be really clear about what each thing means.
-Be sure to SIGN your name as well as write your name in romaji at the end of your letter. The kids really like seeing signatures and trying their own; it’s very Western.
-Usually the students only have time to write about 4 things, and that’s OK!
-Even with really low level classes, you don’t need to tell them any Japanese. Even for things like ‘appearance’ just use your examples as a way to have them guess what it means.
-Make sure that if it’s a mixed class that they talk to 12 boys and 12 girls.
What are examples of good Valentine’s Day prizes?
Chocolates. They like them. I also gave out actual Valentines that I got from Misawa with a chocolate attached to them. They were great.
Nope, you just need to make them do it. And the fact for the letters they get a random person, you just need to make sure you tell them they NEED to write nice things, then walk around with the JTE and make sure they are doing it. With BINGO, you might have to physically push them to the other side to talk to them. It’s funny.
Do you often get to make such large contributions to lesson planning?
Yes. My first year I didn’t, but I just kept pushing and pushing and giving teachers ‘lesson plans’ with the full plans like this all the time. I expressed my interest and want to do this, and finally got it my second year. I always plan the entire lesson and if the JTE likes it, they’ll tell me. They specifically want only a small roll in class, but during that time I try to include them as much as possible.
What are your favorite Valentine’s Day tunes to play for your students?
Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole. Usually I play Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E.
How have you been rocking socks off in the classroom? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org