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Thread: Children Soldiers - the lesson plan

  1. #1
    Senior Member vertigo_stick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Inaka Paradise

    Default Children Soldiers - the lesson plan

    So in case anyone is interested in trying this out, here's the lesson we just did in my 3rd year class. There was time enough at the beginning for a warm-up so you can put in your preferred kind, or leave it out to give them more time at the end to finish writing.

    1. Show a picture of a child soldier.
    Our picture was a boy holding a gun. The picture was folded so they students couldn't see anything but his face. We passed out a paper with spaces for 3 answers and their essays.

    2. Ask the following questions:

    1. Where is he from?
    2. How old is he?
    3. What is he holding?

    Then gave the students some time to think and write their answers. (JTE emphasized that it's ok for them not to put the correct answer, they just need to put their guess.)

    3. Review the answers the answers and write on the board:

    1. He is from Sierra Leone
    2. He is 11 years old.
    3. He is holding a gun. (before you say/write this, unfold the picture. This is the money shot of the lesson. Kids gasp! OMG it's a gun!)

    Before saying and writing the answers, ask the kids for some of their guesses. A popular answer for #3 was 'a baby'...

    4. Short explanation of children soldiers.

    I made the attached worksheet. It uses fairly basic English and I tried to use words that had been in the New Horizon textbook. (Which results in some things sounding a little dumbed down) We passed out the sheet before I started talking so they could understand a little better. After printing, I hand-wrote Japanese under some of the words that were new or difficult. When I presented it, I didn't read what was written exactly, but repeated important points I wanted to say more than once, pointed out Sierra Leone on the map, etc.

    5. JTE's explanation in Japanese (She shouldn't say the same thing you said, but talk about it in her own way. My JTE mentioned that they had talked about it in their human rights classes a little, showed them some books from the library and pictures from the books, and even said some stuff in response to what I had said. "I was surprised to hear that many girls are children soldiers." etc.)

    6. Have the students write their impressions for the remaining time.

    It's good to give the kids some hints, like suggest they write 'I think~' 'I feel~' etc. Access to dictionaries and walking around helping them write stuff is important of course. We had prepped them somewhat by having them do an 'opinions' writing prompt the day before. JTE emphasized in Japanese that they should write what they feel and express their opinions, and worry less about perfect English. There was no 'required' length.

    The end.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Children Soldiers - the lesson plan

    As I was reading this lesson idea I thought I'd share a video that's relevant to the subject: Emmanuel Jal: The music of a war child | Video on

    This video is a talk by Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier in Darfur, who became a musician. He talks about his experiences, and in the end he sings a song dedicated to the rescue worker who saved him.

    It doesn't have subtitles in Japanese (only English), so it would be difficult for JHS classes. If you watch it though, and like it, you can tell your students Emmanuel's story from the video, and then show them the song in the end.

    If you really like this video, keep checking the website, or even ask any of your JTEs if they are interested in contributing a translation. The subtitles on this website are updated frequently.

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