Japanese-Style Show and Tell
Bryan Esenberg

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
senior high school first year culture what, where, when... Eternity worksheet

What you are now holding is the first in a long series of speech-writing exercises... the Genesis of Speech, if you will.

While you can limit this suggestion to a one-day affair, you will be robbing yourself of the easy transition between today's and next year's speech contest winners. This exercise has a clearly defined nucleus of importance that is so easily wafted by your students, getting them to do the work will be as easy as "How are you?", thus regurgitating the oh-so expected, "Fine. Thankyou."

It is important to focus on the simplicity of a speech. As far, as I know, in all of the Western world, it is recognized that you must answer five questions. So remember this as the transitional part of your exercise, connecting all that shall follow. Today we begin with who/what? While the difficulty of first explaining this may be out of your grasp, just refer to the nice neat Show and Tell sheet. Section one answers who and what, for you and the students. If your students don't understand after completing this section and maybe a few mind-numbing examples on your behalf, then choose a different exercise, you're holding us back.

Following you who/what, slowly explain the next set of questions, where/when. Where can I buy this thing? When can I see this thing? Use Japanesey things, like cherry blossoms or tatami, for an example. Cherry blossoms can be seen in the spring, on trees. I have tatami in my house, you can see it when you come over.

The oh-so important why? Why is it important? Why do I have to know about it? This one is a bit difficult, but stretch the answers as far as possible. Tatami is warmer in the winter than wood floors, as told to me by my students. (I, myself, would prefer carpet. Yeah, too humid, I heard it... but it's humid in Florida too, and they have carpet.) You may have to resort to, "It is Japanese tradition," for some of my other examples.

Last, and most difficult is, opinion? What do you think? Do you like it? If you can get this answer, I commend you on celebrating creativity in your classroom. Good luck, and try for something a little more expressive than, "I like it." Settling possibly for, "I like it because it tastes good."

So now pass out one little card on the list of Japanesey things to each person and have your students go at it, concentrating not so much time on drawing the picture, but actually writing. Five sentences is all that is necessary to check their comprehension. In order to make this work as a speech, they should also present it, hence the title, "Show and Tell. Make them hold up the picture and then speak. If this is a one day affair, pick a select few to speak today.

If you would like to ride this one out, then have most, if not all, speak next week. Expand next week's assignment to ten sentences and begin explaining paragraphs. After paragraphs comes the more difficult, rules of a speech. Slow, clear, loud and plenty of eye contact. I have spread out this series of assignments so as to include dramatic acting and it will eventually culminate into original oratorical dialogue... conversation, it you will. So if you need help or want the previously mentioned continuing lesson plans, give me a call. While it is easy for us to be tape recorders and mind-dumbing assistants with our one-day itineraries, I suggest for your own sanity and a heightened experience as a teacher, expand the plans and focus on the You should be able to justify your every exercise and how it will help the students move towards your long-term goals. Or you can just slide through, wasting the potential that got you here, your choice.

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Show and Tell
Japanese Style

1) Describing Japanese Things.

    I don't know the answers. Please help me. Match the things on the left with the descriptions on the right.
A. Manekineko A thing many people carry during festivals. It is very beautiful.
B. Mikoshi This is a traditioal Japanese musical instrument. It is made of cat skin. 
C. Seijin no hi It is a thing you sleep on, a kind of cushion.
D. Geta It is an electric machine used to cook rice.
E. Yobiko A place where students study to get into university. 
F. Futon A holiday when Japanese become adults at age 20.
G. Suihanki A cat usually made of ceramic. It brings good luck.
H. Shamisen A kind of traditional shoe, usually made of wood.


2) In the box, draw the item you chose to show and tell.


3) Tell me about your picture. Write necessary kanji and hiragana, but explain in English.


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