Reflecting on a Sunday morning

This week I re-introduced a great YouTube video series called Children: Full of Life

It is an award-winning, five-part series documenting the philosophy of a Japanese elementary school teacher and stories from the lives of his students. It is realistic, heartwarming, challenging, sad, and inspiring. I’ve shown it to about 10 different classes now and many of the same comments come up:

  • “I wish I had him as a teacher in my elementary school days.”
  • “I can’t believe how mature his students are”
  • “The student really know how to express themselves”
  • “Are they really only 10 years old?
  • “I wanna marry Yo san (the boy who speaks out in the rafting episode)”

There are 5 clips (about 9 minutes each). I have the students watch 2 or 3 clips together with pen & paper in hand. I encourage them to watch and jot down some notes to be able to report what happened later. At the end of each clip, they go back and forth explaining what happened in the story. They also express their opinions about what impressed them.

For homework, I ask them to watch the remaining clips and prepare to talk about them in class. Following this discussion, they must write a 250 word short essay addressing one theme within the video series. There are too many things going on in the whole series to try to address it all in one essay.

I hope to post one or two pieces written by my students next week.

Has anyone ever used this in class? I’d love to compare notes.

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