View Full Version : Momotaro - We Are Good Friends (Hi Friends 2)

January 18th, 2015, 21:39
First year ALT about to pull my damn hair out. I'm just smart enough to decide I don't want to watch the kids sleep while I play the story 8 times, but too dull to figure out what's best to do instead. This lesson is infamous with ALTS, but I haven't heard anyone share their alternatives yet.

I was spinning around the ideas of having them try and write out a version of one of the mukashibanashi featured, or maybe an original, but I'm not quite sure the best way to go about it. Obviously this would require some translation on my part...and it'd likely end up in katakana, anyway.

Veterans, any insight?

January 19th, 2015, 07:32
Talk it over with the HRT as they will have a better idea of the attitude and level of the students.

how many lessons are you going to spend on it?

Options include:
Talk to the HRT about whether they even want to do a play. If they dont then just spend 1 or 2 lessons on traditional folk tales from both japan and your country then move on to something else.
If they want to do a play then ask if they want to do momotaro, something else or an original one.
If the kids are shy then they could make a kamishibai (telling a story while holding up picture cards) instead of a play.
How big is the class? will everyone do one play? will it be in groups? If its in groups are they all doing the same play or different ones?
If they are doing traditional plays then its probably best if you write the scripts yourself as the one in the book is crap.
If you are doing an original one then what pattern will it follow? If you only have 5-7 lessons to write it, practice it and perform it then you cant really spend 4 weeks of the kids trying to think of something. Give them something structured they can modify. You could draw out a simple version of momotaro in story board form in 8 boxes. something simple like 1. grandparents see something in river 2. its a peach. 3. Momotaro appears. 4. ogres appear and make demands 5. momotaro responds. 6. momotaro and ogres fight. 7. ogres are defeated. 8. Momotaro and Grandparents celebrate. Then you can make an "original" version as an example so change the peach to a pokeball/momotaro to pikachu/ogres to team rocket/ instead of fighting they play a card game blah blah blah. Then give each group a blank set of storyboards for the kids to make their own following the basic pattern.
If they are doing original plays then make sure the kids know that they will be saying it English so dont let them write out massively complicated things in Japanese because once you translate it the English will be too complicated for them. Same thing goes for you if you decide to do a traditional version of momotaro and you are writing the script. Get them to try and stick to stuff they have already studied (Whats this?/Its a_/I'm_/Lets [verb]!/I can_/ You cant'_ etc)
Once you have finished the play what are you going to do with it? Just perform it in class? Do it in front of the younger grades? Video it?

I think its a bit of a waste of time to be honest but unfortunately lots of HRTs like doing it because it "sounds fun". Its only until they are 4 weeks into it that they realise its a load of old tosh

January 19th, 2015, 07:34
Make them present it like a play. If you're at Momotaro already, you've got 4-5 weeks to go through it and make the kids practice and present it as a simply play.

Split the class into two groups. Split the story into 2-3 chunks and make sure each kid gets a speaking role. Play the story once, read through it with the kids once for them to phonetically write down their lines, and then make them practice. Then make them get up in front of the other group and present it.

EDIT: This probably won't work unless your HRT is really on board and willing to pressure the kids. No amount of 'genki' can make them do it if they don't care.

January 19th, 2015, 22:07
This is what I've done at my schools so far. Note that this only took about 2-3 lessons since I don't visit every week. The HRTs supposedly reviewed Momotaro for the lessons I wasn't there. Adjust content for time as necessary.

First, I did the famous fairytale page where they find the fairytales on the page and circle them. I usually gave them some time to work alone, then in pairs. Then I asked the whole class "What story?" as I went through each hint (as written in the teacher's book) and let kids guess. I found that attitude is everything for this particular lesson so although I'm not into class-clown stuff, for this one I really hammed it up.

Example: "Hint! I'm a woman." *acting mode activate* "Oh! It's 12 o'clock!" *start to fake-run and lose a slipper*

Usually kids hands would shoot up and I would call on a kid to answer. We had a big TV to function as a digital blackboard so they'd come up front and show the class where the fairytale was hidden. I gave more hints, gradually increasing in difficulty, until everything was circled. I included the HRT (especially whenever the hint suggested two people) and they helped me pick kids if there was a shortage of volunteers. I recommend brushing up on the names of the fairytales in Japanese before you teach it.

Next is the Momotaro story itself. I encouraged kids to be active listeners by telling them to listen to as much English as they could. After the story was finished, I called on them to say any words they recognized. Again, attitude is important so I did my best to perform a genki rendition of Momotaro. Trust me, anything is better than the official recording. Bonus points if you can get an HRT to do it with you. After the story is finished, I had kids raise their hands and repeat any word they heard and gave them a tally-mark on the board for each one they could say. It was a unofficial competition to see if they could say more than the other classes in their grade. When they ran out of words, we counted them as a class and congratulated ourselves for being good listeners (and possibly kicking the ass of another class).

Next, I usually just did a simple pointing game using the pages of the Momotaro book. Y'know, the one where the kids make pairs, put one book in the middle of their desks, and then try to touch the thing the ALT says the fastest. I would throw in a few non-English words for fun like "Momotaro" and "blue oni", but I mostly just used things they learned like "peach", "house", "bear", and "grandma". Every few turns we flipped to the next page until we reached the end of the story.

Last is the main event: the roleplay. I lead into the roleplay by introducing the chant. The chant is pretty dumb, like all of the chants in the textbook, but it provides a nice structure that I found works great for a mini-skit. I'm going off of memory, but I believe it goes like this:

I am Momotaro. Strong and brave!
I am Dog. Strong and brave!
I am Monkey. Strong and brave!
I am Bird. Strong and brave!
We are strong and brave. We are good friends.
Let's go to... Onigashima!

I made hand-drawn flash cards that match the characters of Momotaro and one for the location (i.e. Onigashima) and I printed flash cards for the key vocab (I am, We are, Let's go to) with the Japanese meaning/reading included. I had the kids listen to the chant once without any help first, and asked them questions as I gradually introduced the format. (Who's first? Yes, Momotaro. "I am Momotaro." *puts card on the blackboard* What does "I am" mean? etc.) After running through the chant once with just the cards, we tried again with the slow chant from the DVD. Then we did it one more time using the fast version.

After they were pretty comfortable with the format, I finally introduced the goal: making a skit. They were told that they could substitute all of the characters in the Momotaro gang and the location with anything they wanted. In groups of four (ideally, although it's not a big deal if it's not exact) they each got one piece of paper to draw a simple picture of their adventurer. As a group they decided the location and drew a picture for that too. I made a point of using non-colored, quickly hand-drawn cards for my own example so the activity would seem less intimidating.

Once they all understood the goal, I gave them time to discuss and draw. I gave them a very strict time deadline, however, so they would (hopefully) draw quickly so we could present before class finished. Surprisingly I only had one class that didn't finish presenting in time and the HRT said they'd do the rest of the performances the next time. With the HRT's support I walked around, answered questions, and gave encouragement. Some of the things the kids cam up with were random, some groups had themes, and some were actually really clever (like the reverse-Momotaro group made up of Oni "heroes").

Anyway, when at least one group seemed ready, I told them time was up and it was time to present. The first group stood in front of the class and we went over the skit format one more time. ("I am [original character]. Strong and brave. etc." It helps if the kids can see the cards so they aren't always turning around. You can relocate the cards to the back of the class or have the kids stand on the opposite side of the room.) For each group, I had the students say their lines one by one in order. But they said "We are strong and brave. We are good friends. Let's go to __!" in tandem as a group. Everyone clapped and we moved on to the next group until they finished.

This format has been successful for me, but your mileage may vary.

January 21st, 2015, 08:15
My HRT got some random version offline, had 4th and 5th grade memorize the sht out of it for weeks. My kids now know what a cheeky runt is.

January 27th, 2015, 14:06
Phew, thank you for the thorough replies, guys. Sorry for flaking out on replying in good time, I've been a bit busy and had SDC in the middle of it all.

We ended up dividing the class into 4 sessions:
1. Fairytales/listen to momotaro/translate meaning
From there I decided with Ini's suggestion to try storyboards.
2. Make groups. Decide on a story they'd like to present. Write down simple English or Japanese phrases and begin to draw boards. Each group had about 2 sheets of paper per child.
3. Finish drawing/coloring and look up English words with dictionary while JTE and I go around and help them get some English phrases down in good ol' katakana.
4. We haven't done this yet, but present.

I'm a bit unhappy about the katakana, but I feel like this has become a pretty good review for them. I was really surprised with what they were able to pull from the dictionary, and I ultimately hope that a few of them will remember some of the words they learned.

I don't think this method is the most creative or exciting of methods. I decided on it about 2 minutes after posting here...but I think it'll go over well. I also ended up with some katakana writing time during my break/lunch period, but now I'm a katakana fiend.

January 28th, 2015, 07:12
Hard to crack down on the katakana writers when they haven't officially learned to read or write... Even if they've already learned the alphabet in 3rd year Japanese class.

HRTs decided to 'spice up' the normal 3 week presentation flow - by making the students memorize the original script as well as adding phrases they've studied before. Which is more like adding random crap in Japanese and then asking me to translate it. HRT is doing the heavy lifting outside of class so it doesn't matter too much.

January 30th, 2015, 13:57
I am very lucky in that all of my JTEs looked at this lesson, heard me out and were like "yeah, let's just skip this completely, it's shit." If you stick around for next year and are dreading this lesson again, maybe ask them to skip it and offer an alternative (like having the time leftover at the end of the year to do fun review games)

January 30th, 2015, 14:04
You have multiple JTE's at ES?

January 30th, 2015, 14:41
You have multiple JTE's at ES?
yeah. i have 5 at one ES and 4 at my other one.

January 30th, 2015, 14:51
wow! It must be a massive ES if they can justify having 5 JTEs???

January 30th, 2015, 14:56
wow! It must be a massive ES if they can justify having 5 JTEs???
it's actually quite small. i'm guessing we are using the same term to me two different things. i am using it in the sense that every 5th/6th grade teacher i teach english with is a japenese teacher of english, even if by circumstance. i don't know if that is standard throughout other areas of japan, but it's how it's used over here i guess.

January 30th, 2015, 15:00
Can they actually speak English? I've heard that's pretty rare for ES teachers. いいなー!

January 30th, 2015, 15:03
Can they actually speak English? I've heard that's pretty rare for ES teachers. いいなー!
meh.. they're alright. greatly depends on the teacher, but 8/9 of them are definitely down to use every bit of little english they have and aren't really embarrassed. we generally use a mix of japanese/english when communicating and it seems to work out fine :D

January 30th, 2015, 15:04
Can they actually speak English?

We all know that isn't a requirement for JTEs.

January 30th, 2015, 15:05
A 5th or 6th grade teacher is normally referred to as a home room teacher (HRT). A JTE is normally a teacher with a license to teach English at either JHS or SHS. Some areas have these teachers run the foreign language program at ES so you will have a JTE working in a ES but to justify having 5 of them in one school you would need to have around 50 classes in each grade.....

January 30th, 2015, 15:18
A 5th or 6th grade teacher is normally referred to as a home room teacher (HRT). A JTE is normally a teacher with a license to teach English at either JHS or SHS. Some areas have these teachers run the foreign language program at ES so you will have a JTE working in a ES but to justify having 5 of them in one school you would need to have around 50 classes in each grade.....
ah ok, that is more precise. everyone just uses the same term here, but i can see the benefit of having two separate terms.

January 30th, 2015, 16:25
The HRTs are pretty cool with this lesson.
Last year, we did the activity on the first two pages of Lesson 7 - I read the sentences from the teacher's book and kids identified the picture.
Then we learned the words peach, grandpa, grandma, etc. Read the story once and we were done with it. :D

This year, HRT divided the class into two groups and kids had to say any English word they know from the first two pages. We spent the whole class as neither side wanted to give up.

Next week, we'll be doing some writing using a vocabulary worksheet I made. They just need to trace a few words.
Then we'll be reading the English version of Momotaro, which is slightly different from the textbook.
Time permitting, they'll have the choice to listen to another story in English or watch Wolf & Seven Little Goats on Youtube.