Comparisons Learning Snapshots

Visiting A Japanese Home
Yoshiko Elmer, El Paso ISD, Burges High School
Japanese, Course Level II, Novice

The purpose of this activity is for students to understand appropriate cultural practices for visiting a Japanese home and compare these practices with those of their own homes. First, students list what they already know about the topic and then they discuss their lists in small groups. The teacher shows and discusses authentic Japanese items such as the zabuton (mats to sit on) and furoshiki (gift-wrapping cloth). They watch a video that compares and contrasts Japanese and American visiting customs. After class discussion about the video, students prepare and perform skits about visiting a Japanese home, using authentic cultural items as props.

Mary El-Beheri, North East ISD, MacArthur High School
German, Course Level I, Novice

Students translate lists of German words (selected by the teacher because they are cognates ) into English. Then they make two sets of flashcards, one with the German words and the other with the English word. They may then use these cards for matching, memory, and “go fish” games. Beginning students enjoy the activity because it gives them confidence in the language, making them feel they know some German “right off the bat.”

Universal Themes in French Movies
Beth Llewellyn, Fort Worth ISD, Southwest High School
French, Course Level III, Intermediate/Advanced

Students view two films, La Gloire de Mon Père, and Le Château de Ma Mère, that depict family life in France in the first half of the twentieth century. They keep a daily viewing journal of reactions to the films that assist them in later writing three essays in French about good family memories, the loss of innocence and disappointment, and their description of family life. This activity elicits thoughtful, insightful work from students and allows them to analyze their own lives by contrasting it with those of the people in the films. It underscores universal human values of love and family across cultures.

Preamble Derivatives
Randy Thompson, North East ISD, Churchill High School
Latin, Course Level I, Novice

Students have copies of the Preamble of the United States Constitution. Using a dictionary, they identify and highlight all the words in the Preamble which are derived from Latin. Next, students try to rewrite the Preamble without any words in English that are derived from Latin.