Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Old School TV Show For New Age Elementary Kids

It's mid-July and in Japan that doesn't mean midway through summer vacation. Summer vacation starts about the third week of July and ends the third week of August, roughly a month to a month and a half. As it is the last lesson I will teach this term I decided to take a break from the book, the worksheets, and give kids a rest with an audio-visual.

I choose last week to show the animated film "The Iron Giant" to my junior high students. The film is 90 minutes or so and fits comfortably in a 2 lesson block. That left me with what to do with my elementary kids. I thought I could show them the same film but their lessons are 45 minutes and with greetings, roll call and so on that gives us about 35-40 minutes of useful time to watch something.

So I scoured the web and found a good youtube video of the series from ALF. If you are unfamiliar, ALF is a 1980s sitcom about an alien life form ALF that crashes on the roof of a garage of a family. The family then take the ALF in and he becomes part of their home. I got very lucky and was able to find the pilot episode and some English subtitles to match. I looked everywhere for Japanese subtitles but couldn't find anything. It would help kids to understand the plot better.

But after showing the program and hearing all the laughter, watching kids sit fixated for the full 22-minutes I was pleased and impressed. Kids really enjoyed this throwback from the 80s and many said they would try to find a rental or youtube video in Japanese to watch at home. After the film I asked many questions and kids that answered first and correctly got a sticker. It was a great break from the humdrum of studying and I think kids genuinely liked ALF. I'm glad I got to share a part of my childhood with them.

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