Sunday, 28 March 2010

Blogs for learning about all things Japanese

Part of my presentation to Japanese teachers this week was aimed at providing teachers with some authentic, real-time Japanese resources - for the language and the culture. For me, these are the blogs and sites that I turn to when looking for images or short, reflective pieces on Japanese festivals, food, music, language and so on. These are my favourite J-Bloggers. People who live in Japan or have lived in Japan and blog about Japan and their experiences there.

The best thing about these posts is not only the quality of the images but also the real-time nature of the blog posts. Posts and images on Children’s Day or Hinamatsuri can be found around those days. 

Previously, I have posted on finding images for teaching culture. This new list contains some of those same sites and some added extras that I have found since. It also contains some sites that focus a little more on the language, as well as the culture.

If these don’t satisfy, the best thing to do is to look at the “Blogroll” (usually found in the side pane of the blog) on these blogs.

Muza-chan's Gate to Japan  - Great images and explanations of what's happening in Japan

Kimonobox - From Hinamatsuri to decorations to quirky Japanese products (and great images)

Shibuya246 - Awesome images and easy to read explanations

Japan: Life and Religion - Reflections on Japanese life, culture and Buddhism

A Rinkya Blog - A place to find Japanese gadgets and quirky collectibles.

Caught Red-handed  - A variety of articles on Japan and the language that contains the occasional gem

Rainbowhill Language Lab - Language and culture, including lots of tips for learning Japanese

 Tofugu - Lots of tips and resources for learning Japanese

Hungry for Words: Mostly Japanese - Reflections on the Japanese language and customs

...and keep an eye out for the Japan Blog Matsuri. The recent matsuri on Famous Japanese People was pretty useful.

What are your favourites? Please add any I've missed in the comments section.



Posted via web from Js Nihongo

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Japanese Adjectives - The Movie

Something designed to help think about the difference between i-adjectives and na-adjectives. Designed for my Year 9 class.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Yr8 Profiles and MapSkip

A while ago now I wrote about the potential that MapSkip seemed to have as a place for students to create profiles with images and sound. Well, finally we have tried it out in the classroom and were really happy with how the students were engaged in the activity and working together, reading other student's profiles and commenting on them.

This activity came after a couple of weeks of lessons that taught students how to indicate name, age, place they live, nationality and phone number. The idea was for the students to use this knowledge to create a character in the target language (Japanese), create an image for their avatar and then upload these to a map that was accessible by all. Students could then read each others character profiles and hopefully learn from each other. There was also the option for students to record themselves reading the profile and then uploading that to the map. It took about 3 lessons and went something like this...
  1. Students created their character, giving information about name, age ,where in Japan they live and their nationality. All of this was fictional and the language was checked before moving to the next step.
  2. Students created an avatar using one of the sites in this post from Danny Nicholson. We are a 1:1 laptop school so students saved the image to their computer, either using the Print Screen function or the Windows+S buttons (which saves a clipping straight into OneNote). They then edited in Paint.
  3. Students were given a password and username to login to MapSkip; the site allows teachers to easily create and monitor student accounts.
  4. Once in MapSkip, students located the town their character came from in Japan and added a marker to the map. The then added their "story" and avatar image to the map.
  5. Students recorded themselves reading the profile and then uploaded that to their MapSkip "story". Note: You will need to save your recording as an mp3 file before you can upload. Not all students reached this stage.
  6. Students were set homework to read other students' profiles and make a comment. Some wrote comments in Japanese, some in English. I gave feedback via the comment option.
All in all the lessons went really well and the level of student engagement was fantastic. The only problem we did encounter was that some students had trouble adding a marker to the map. It either didn't allow it or it placed the marker a long way from its intended spot. One student's character now resides in the Pacific Ocean several hundred kilometres to the east of Japan.

MapSkip, despite the minor setbacks mentioned above, was simple to use for the students and the ability to create and monitor student accounts is really useful. It also allows you to filter out all stories on the map so that only your students' stories are visible.