First ‘Survival Japanese’ Lessons

Today was our first ‘Survival Japanese’ class. We conducted the class via a video conference link. The classes are set up in the Skoolaborate online units area of the members only website. The Kyoto class uploaded a PowerPoint of the Hiragana they were going to teach the Modesto students. We had this up on a big screen to the side of the HD monitor used for the video conference link.

Each Kyoto student had several pages of Hiragana characters, a sample of a Japanese word that incorporated each character, and a translation. The Kyoto student would hold up their page so we could synch the PowerPoint to the video.  They would then pronounce the character. The Modesto students would repeat the pronunciation, and then repeat several times with the Kyoto student. The Kyoto student would pronounce the Japanese word, sounding out each part with the Modesto students following along. Finally, the Kyoto student would pronounce the English translation of the Japanese word.

At one point, the English translation was ‘Fuzzy Caterpillar”. That got some laughs and comments about how we hopefully would not need any of those on our trip. The students went through their lessons several times to learn the characters. Next the Kyoto students held up cards without the supporting text to test the Modesto students to see if they could recognize the characters.

This was a great first lesson. By the end we were all recognizing some of the characters and it was great to hear a native Japanese speaker pronouncing the characters and words for us. We have two students that have been to Japan and are fairly proficient with Hiragana. One of these students was helping us with the characters we were not recognizing. There were many laughs today between the students, especially when we were practicing ‘MU’.

Imagine two groups of students echoing MU’s back and forth to each other in a video conference. It wasn’t long before there were some laughs and Moo’s from both sides. The students are getting more comfortable and confident with each other with each of these joint events. Today I had one student come up after the class asking if he could request a specific student from the video conference for his host family.

Next week we will be doing greetings and introductions. I am very eager to see just how much of this we all remember when we are on our exchange trip to Kyoto.   さようなら 

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