Valentine's Day Cards
Rob Jones

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
junior high school and above cultural exchange, an excuse for you to write raunchy things to your JTE various entire period lots of A4 paper, color markers
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If you've been reading through my activities, you may have come to the conclusion that many of them involved the kids running around, while the ALT and JTE do nothing. You might come upon the further conclusion that Rob is just a lazy mofo. Lies, I tell you. All lies!

This is just another activity in the Lazy Gaijin series. The kids write VD (Valentine's Day, not Veneral Disease) cards to each other, all the while believing that you're actually teaching them something! Pretty cool, ne?

Here's what you do. You get a copy of that class roll sheet (in Japanese: shusseki meibo oȖ) before class and cut the names into strips, keeping a separate girls pile and boys pile. Once you get into class, you ramble on about how you used to do this as a kid every year and how much fun it was. Then, you grap the boys pile while the JTE grabs the other, and you guys let each student draw a name. The ALT lets girls grab from the boys pile, while the JTE lets boys pick from the girls pile. (I do it this way 'cause I like my girls better than my boys). This is their "secret boy/girlfriend" that they must write a hot and steamy (this is up to you) VD card to.

Next, you get them to work on their cards. Let them work in whatever groups they want to. Each student gets an A4 paper, but bring extras in case some kids mess up. They take their A4 paper and fold in in half (top to bottom), and then fold it again (left to right). This makes a little two-ply card that is the size of one-fourth an A4 sheet. This paper-folding step is extremely difficult for kids to do (despite Japan having invented origami) as some students will, without fail, botch it up. It doesn't matter if you demonstrate it or not.

Write some messages on the board that they might want to include in their cards (Happy Valentine's Day, Be Mine, I dream about you every night, Meet me in the bike lot today at 4PM, etc.). I generally let them make it how they want to, but I tell them that they should have at least two messages and two pictures they draw on the card. Finally, a few minutes before the chime, they hand it to their secret person and say, "Please be my Valentine" (or something equally hokey).

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