Rokunin no Tomodachi: Series 1 These supplementary Japanese readers for students in Year 7 or 8, their first year of learning Japanese, are designed to provide enrichment material that appeals to students in this age group.
Rokunin noTomodachi Liam is in Japan for 6 months on a scholarship. He is 15 and wants to become a Ninja. We follow Liam’s adventures with his 5 friends: Riki, Kenta, Emi, Anna and Kazuki (going from left to right)
The class mascots and the class mascots Sa-chan and Ta-chan, who speak English.
Teacher Notes Each story is approximately 500 words in length and is preceded by Teacher Notes.
Reading Comprehension At the end of each story you will find comprehension exercises, a creative task and
Kazuki’s fall Illustrated in manga style the books are visually appealing. The picture support allows the stories to be developed beyond the boundaries imposed by limited linguistic ability.
Steep track The aim is to encourage students to deduce meaning from the text with minimal reliance on translation.
Liam’s diary Liam’s diary entries also assist comprehension, without giving an exact translation of the text.
Detailed explanations for the next 4 slides are available on my blog. Slide 13: trishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readerstrishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readers Slide 14: trishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readers: 2trishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readers: 2 Slide 15: trishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readers:3. Book 1 'Nihon wa hajimete desutrishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readers:3. Book 1 'Nihon wa hajimete desu Slide 16: trishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readers: 4. Book 1 'Nihon wa hajimete desu' (continued)trishtakahashi.wordpress.com - Using the 'Rokunin no Tomodachi' readers: 4. Book 1 'Nihon wa hajimete desu' (continued) IDEAS FOR USING ROKUNIN NO TOMODACHI IN THE JAPANESE CLASSROOM
As extension material In the multi-level classroom, as reading material for the more able students to read while waiting for the rest of the class to catch up. In this case, as the students complete set tasks, they would go on to work with the readers Alternatively, you could set aside 1 or 2 lessons per fortnight, for ‘extension’ students to work with the readers These students could work individually or in pairs to read the books and complete the comprehension exercises.
As a whole class activity 1.Students, working individually or in pairs, go through the book from P5 to P29, looking only at the pictures. They then write out a possible story-line, in English. 2.Divide the story into sections (1 or 2 pages). Students work in pairs, reading their section of the story out loud. They discuss the meaning of the language, drawing on prior knowledge, using the clues in the pictures, guessing the meaning where necessary, and then write out their version of their section in English, without consulting the word list.
As a whole class activity (contd.) 3.Give students section of script with lines jumbled for them to reassemble without consulting the book 4.Dramatic interpretation of the story 5.Get students to research any features of Japanese culture that come up in the story 6.Get students to research the food featured in a particular story 7.Students collaborate in groups to bring samples of food to taste. You could even plan a meal for the whole class 8.Taste-testing activity of Japanese snacks, vegetables, dishes.
Book 1: Nihon wa hajimete desu Suggested lesson sequence (8x1 hour lessons) 1.Read the story 2.Cultural research. Japanese family life: slippers and the Japanese bath 3.Dramatic interpretation of the story 4.Dramatic interpretation of the story (contd.) 5.Preparation for taste-testing of Japanese snacks 6.Taste-testing activity—Japanese snacks 7.Research—typical Japanese family meal 8.Class activity—a Japanese meal
Reading the story 1.Students work in pairs. Get the students to go through the book from page 5 to page 29, looking at the illustrations, but not trying to read the Hiragana at this stage. They should discuss the pictures and read the diary entries to get an outline of the story. I would get 2 or 3 pairs to share their ideas with the class. (Allow 10 minutes max. for this activity.) 2.Explain about the Katakana words and the Romaji guide to pronunciation. Go through all the Katakana words with the class and teach them how to pronounce them and how to work out the English meaning from that pronunciation. I would probably also look at the type of language on pages 18–21 (introductions and present-giving and –receiving) and page 24 (asking Liam about his age and leisure activities). You may like to get the students to guess what Kenta is doing on page 18 (practising Ninjutsu) and Kazuki on page 19 (practising skiing). (About 10 minutes).
Reading the story (contd.) 3.Students work in pairs. Give each pair a section of the story and get them to sound out the Japanese and work out the meaning of their section. Give each pair a sheet of A4 paper for their English version. I would probably divide the story up as follows: Pages 5–7 (13 lines)Page 8 (15 lines) Page 9 (13 lines)Pages 10 & 11 (7 lines) Page 14 (5 lines)Pages 16 & 17 (6 lines) Page 18 (11 lines)Page 19 (9 lines) Page 20 (10 lines)Page 21 (10 lines) Pages 22 & 23 (11 lines)Page 24 (8 lines) Pages 25–28 (10 lines) I would give the longer sections to the more able students and the shorter sections to those who need more time. Each pair should work out the meaning of the language in their scene(s), drawing on prior knowledge and, if necessary, ‘guessing’ the meaning of the text, using clues provided in the illustrations, diary entries and back cover blurb. They then write out an English version of the story, in their own words, without consulting the Word List. (Allow 15 minutes max. for this activity) 4.Each pair reports to the class. They read out their section in Japanese and then they read out their English version. The teacher only needs to query any glaring errors. Collect the sheets with the English versions and put on the class noticeboard. I estimate that this step could take up to 25 minutes or even more with some classes. I think it is important to modify the times you allow for each step so that you complete to the end of Step 4 by the end of Lesson 1.
Lesson 2: Cultural research Japanese family life 1: slippers and the Japanese bath Worksheet 1—available on my blog
Lesson 3 Dramatic interpretation of the story: 1 1Divide the class into 7 groups. Each group will work on one scene from the story. Group 1, 3 members. This group will work on a scene based on page 5 of the story. The characters are Liam and the official, who presents the scholarship plus Liam’s mother, who is in the audience. They act out the scene as it is shown and further suggested on page 5. Group 2, 2 members.This pair acts out a scene based on page 7 of the story. The characters involved are Liam and Riki. Group 3, 5 members.This group acts out a scene based on pages 10 & 11 of the story. The characters are Riki, his parents, Ai and Liam. Group 4, 2 membersThe characters are Liam and Riki. They act out a scene based on pages 12, 13 & 14 of the story. Group 5, 6 members.The characters are Liam, Riki, Kenta, Kazuki, Emi and Anna. They act out a scene based on pages 18–21 of the story. Group 6, 5 members.The characters are Liam, Riki, Yamamoto Sensei, Sa-chan and Ta-chan. They act out a scene based on pages 22 & 23 of the story. Group 7, 7 members.The characters are Liam, Riki, Kenta, Kazuki, Emi, Anna and Yamamoto Sensei. They act out a scene based on page 24 of the story.
Lesson 3 (continued) 2In groups students discuss how they will act out their scene and who will play which role. As a group, they should analyse how each of the characters in the scene is feeling at that particular time—taking into consideration each character’s particular circumstances. For example: it is Liam’s second day in Japan—he doesn’t speak much Japanese and everything is strange. He may feel homesick and stressed by this, or he may be fascinated and excited to be in this new, exotic environment. The students then learn their parts, in Japanese, ready to perform in front of the class. They must also prepare a tableau vivant depicting their particular scene. They will form this tableau vivant when they have finished their role-play. They must also be prepared to answer questions about how their character is feeling, what thoughts are going through his or her head at various times during the role-play or after the formation of the tableau. I would allow the students the full lesson for this preparation phase. You want each one to ‘step into the shoes’ of the character s/he is portraying; to put her/himself into that character’s situation, in order to gain some understanding of another point of view. Students also need time to practise their lines in Japanese, to gain confidence with the language and so they feel more comfortable performing in front of the class.
Lesson 4 Dramatic interpretation of the story: 2 1Starting with Group1 and proceeding through the story in order, the students perform their role-plays, each group ending in their tableau vivant. The teacher asks questions of each character in the tableau, such as: ‘How are you feeling right now?’ ‘What did you think/feel when X said/did/asked you Y?’ (What you choose for X and Y will depend on the content of the scene). 2.Get students to write a brief reflection on their experience. This should be written in their Japanese exercise book, and for their eyes only.
Lesson 5 Preparation for the taste-testing activity In this lesson each student will reflect on his/her cultural background by considering what part of the world their family has come from and what language(s) their forbears originally spoke. Each student will then consider the current culture of his/her family in terms of food—snack foods, typical family meals and customs observed in relation to eating. The information from individual students will then be collated to show the variety of cultural and linguistic identities represented in the class. 1Get the students to copy the heading ‘My Cultural Background’ into their books. Under sub-headings ‘Grandparents’, ‘Parents’ and ‘Me’, get them to write where the person was born and what languages the person spoke/speaks. Places that students’ families have come from could be marked with pins on a map of the world, or with texta on a blank world map. Cultural and linguistic backgrounds could be collated on the SmartBoard or butchers’ paper. Students could then list these in their notebooks under the heading ‘Cultural Backgrounds of other Students in the class’. 2Each student writes what s/he eats for recess at school and for afternoon tea at home. 3Class discussion about snack foods. These foods could also be collated on the butchers’ paper or SmartBoard. 4Each student describes a typical family meal in his/her family. These meals should be added to the growing list of information about the class. 5Class discussion about the snacks and meals. Ask the students about any meal-related customs in their family. Questions such as: ‘Does the whole family eat all meals together?’ then continue to draw out further information along those lines. ‘How is the food served?’ (Everyone helps themselves from large bowls of food or each individual is served by the person who cooked the meal, etc). 6Students write about 100 words under the heading ‘Food- and meal-related customs in my family’.
Lesson 6 Taste-testing activity Worksheet 2—available on my blog Choose about 6–8 different types of せんべい. When I do this activity, I have the students sitting in groups of 4, and use small paper plates for the tasting samples. Number the plates from 1 to 6 (or 8) and put a sufficient quantity of each type of rice cracker for 4 students to taste, on to the appropriately numbered plate. If you have easy access to other types of Japanese snack foods such as こんぶ or うめぼし, you could include them as well. The students fill out Worksheet 2 as they taste the せんべい. Conclude the lesson with a class discussion of the experience.
Lesson 7: Cultural research Japanese family life 2: typical Japanese meal Students research a typical Japanese family meal, either breakfast or the evening meal, and present their results as a poster or PowerPoint presentation. Their research should cover the following points: What dishes are served for the meal (menu for the meal) Japanese names for the dishes if possible What sort of plates, bowls etc. are used Etiquette for eating the meal, including greetings before and after the meal Recipes for the dishes that make up the meal
Lesson 8 Class activity—a Japanese meal I always find eating works well with students of any age. Depending on the situation at your school, its geographic location and the size of your Japanese class, the way you organise the Japanese meal will vary. At one school where I taught we had a large number of native speaker students. By that I mean about 50 students across Years 7–12. The Japanese mothers were very keen to help in any way, so I asked if they would be prepared to cook with the students one Japanese dish per class in Years 7–10. They were excited to be able to do this and organised a roster. We prepared dishes such as Oknomiyaki, Yakisoba, Onigiri, Makizushi. The mothers brought all the ingredients and anything necessary for cooking the dish. I collected money from the students to cover the cost. The mothers gave me the recipe, which I gave to the students at the cooking lesson. The Japanese mothers demonstrated each step so the students did not need to translate. Of course, this activity worked at different levels for the different students, but I found that every student gained considerably from the experience. At other schools, where there were no native speakers, I have organised a Japanese breakfast with a class that was on Period 1. The breakfast was very simple, but included ごはん、みそしる、つけもの、 and some おか ず. You might be able to organise a class lunch at a local Japanese restaurant. Or you could get the students to plan their own typical Japanese meal and spend another lesson working out the logistics of the meal. As long as the students get to eat Japanese food, it is good!
Other titles in the series Lesson sequences and plans for other titles in the series are available on my blog, which can be accessed from the website
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