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Home: Fall 2021 Edutainment Lesson Plans

Fall 2021 Edutainment Lesson Plans
(Let's have fun learning English!)

Lessons on this page are optional and not part of your grade, but if you take the time to do them, they will not only improve your overall English communication skills, but will also broaden your cultural horizons to help you become a more successful international citizen in today's global society! smiley Bonus points will be offered on some assignments.

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Thanks for all your hard work this semester! I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you in person one of these days. Best wishes to you always...

Cheers,
Gary



Week 14:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - At the 8:56 mark in this video is a story about ​an exciting new car that can change colors by using electronic ink. Wow. For bonus points, write down both the make and model name of this car. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 29 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 14 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Dough

Interesting Japan news - I
n this interesting article you can read about some amazing cat-friendly homes. For bonus points, write down how many different floor plans you can choose from if you decide to buy one of these homes especially designed for cats.

We are the World! - Target bird golf (ターゲットバードゴルフ) is an interesting game that seems to be very popular among older Japanese people. For bonus points, write down what they use for their "golf ball."

Humorous images - For his Y2K Year 2000 nengajo (年賀状, New Year's post card), this crazy gaijin thought it would be funny & cool to dress up like a Geisha Girl. In fact, perhaps you have seen this guy before. If not, click here to solve the mystery. For bonus points, write down this gaijin's name. laughing icon




Week 13:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - At the 7:50 mark in this video is a story about ​19-year-old Zara Rutherford from Belgium who is trying to become the youngest woman ever to fly solo around the world. For bonus points, write down when she is scheduled to be back home. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 28 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 13 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Fan the Flames

Interesting Japan news - Lucky folks up in Hokkaido are being treated to a special illumination event
this Xmas season created with colorful drones, as you can see in this video (removed by NHK). For bonus points, write down the name of the town where you can see these amazing illuminations.

We are the World! - Are you addicted (病みつき) to your smartphone? Check out this shocking, eye-opening video to see what can happen to your relations with other people if you use your phone inappropriately. Wow.

Humorous image - Speaking of using your phone too much...
At last! The solution. (click link to see funny picture) smiley



Week 12:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - This interesting story at the 4:55 mark in this video shows a very realistic humanoid robot. For bonus points, write down the robot's name and how much money the robot's designer spent to develop it. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 27 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 12 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty

Interesting Japan news - This article shows how the dangers of 'smartphone-walking' (歩きスマホ) in Japan is getting more severe. This past July, a 31-year-old woman who was looking at her smartphone walked out onto a railroad crossing in Tokyo and stopped, thinking she had already crossed the safety barriers.

Unfortunately, she was so focused on her smartphone screen, she didn't realize she was still INSIDE the safety barriers and didn't hear the siren announcing an oncoming train, and sadly was struck and killed by the train.

For bonus points, write down the number of times ambulances were called in Tokyo between 2016 and 2020 for accidents involving people walking or cycling while looking at their smartphones, according to the Tokyo Fire Department.

We are the World! - Several years ago when I lived in Chiba, while out on my mountain bike one day, by chance I passed by an elderly lady's home decorated by an uncountable number of handmade windmills (風車). As you can see, most of these windmills are made from aluminum drink cans and PET bottles. According to the nice lady, making these amazing windmills is her son's hobby. Here's the video. [For bonus points, count the number of windmills. JUST KIDDING, ha ha!]  laughing icon

Humorous image -
Have you ever built your own PC? Or have you have ever taken it apart to see what's inside? Ever wondered how all the inside moving parts make your PC work? If not, no problem. Just click this link to see inside your PC to see how it all really works. WOW! smiley



Week 11:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - At the 7:33 mark in this video is an interesting story about a high-tech smart dog who knows how to use a smartphone. For bonus points, write down the name of this beautiful Labrador Retriever. Wow! [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 26 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 11 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: ​​​Keep Me in the Loop

Interesting Japan news - This video
(removed by NHK) says a Japanese startup is now accepting orders for its new “hoverbike” protoype. For bonus points, write down the price tag.

We are the World! - This video shows the AMAZING Batman Roller Coaster ride at the Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park. For bonus points, write down how many passengers ride in each car and which city in Texas this park is located in (hint: it's not Houston!). smiley

Humorous image -
So when you go to bed at night, do you "shut down" your PC or just put it in the "sleep" mode? Either way, do you REALLY know what happens after you go to sleep? Check out this video to see the silly stuff that ACTUALLY happens on your PC while you sleep! smiley



Week 10:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - In the news story at the 7:47 mark in this video, for bonus points write down the age of the woman who set a new world record recently in the 100-meter dash at the Louisiana Senior Games. Wow! [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 25 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 10 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: ​​​Get Out of Town

Interesting Japan news - The main goal of the Shibuya Crossing renovation project is the construction of an 800-meter aerial pedestrian deck which will connect the Shibuya Hikarie building, Shibuya Scramble Square, and Shibuya Mark City, allowing people to easily walk aboveground to connect to Shibuya Station's MANY train lines. For bonus points, write down the name of the lady with the Tokyu rail company who is interviewed in this news story.

We are the World! - In this short video clip of a Nippon TV Fukaii Hanashi (深イイ話) show, a thief gets arrested by 2 handsome cops. If you know him, for bonus points write down the name of the famous American actor police officer on the left.

Humorous video - The most expensive TV commercials you will ever see on American TV is
in early February during the American football NFL Super Bowl championship game. This year advertisers had to pay more than $5,000,000 for just a 30-second ad. WOW! Here's a funny Super Bowl TV commercial from several years ago that takes place in a Japanese sushi shop. Ha ha! smiley



Week 9:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - The news story at the 7:11 mark in this video introduces a new AI-powered cooking robot. For bonus points, write down the name of this amazing robot. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 24 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 9 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: ​​​Rain On Someone's Parade

Interesting Japan news - This video
(removed by NHK) reports that the East Japan Railway Company is retiring the remaining E4 double-decker trains on its Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train line. For bonus points, write down the number of passengers carried by this 16-car train.

We are the World! - In this amazing video, Italian daredevil wingsuit pilot Uli Emanuele filmed his scary flight through a 2-meter-wide rock opening in the beautiful Swiss Alps. WOW!

Humorous photos - If you love photography as much as me, you may be amused by these funny "pictures taken at just the right angle." Hopefully they will bring a smile to your face today! 
smiley



Week 8:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - One of the biggest enviromental problems for Planet Earth is disposable plastic waste. At the 3:13 mark in this video is an interesting story about a company that hopes its products made with seaweed will help replace the use of plastic. For bonus points, write down the name of the gentleman interviewed in the story. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 23 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 8 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: ​​​Fight Tooth and Nail

Interesting Japan news - One of my former English students who is now a famous architect in London recently shared with me a project that his firm is designing for the Mori Building Company in the Toranomon-Azabudai district in central Tokyo. In this article you will see many photos of this exciting new project which includes plans for Japan‘s tallest skyscraper. For bonus points, write down how tall this new building will be.


We are the World! - If you've never seen a singing and dancing bird, you will LOVE this precious cockatoo bird named Snowball who loves the Back Street Boys. CUTE! Here's the video.

Humorous video - Some people who drink too much alcohol do crazy things and get in trouble. For a good laugh, check out this funny video of a guy who drank too much. To understand the humor, root beer is not really an alcoholic "beer", but is a soft drink which tastes kind of like Dr. Pepper.
laughing icon



Week 7:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - This week's story teaches us that we're never too old to attend college or to pursue our dreams! At the 4:33 mark in this video, you'll learn about an amazing student-athlete at Reinhardt University in Georgia, USA. For bonus points, write down her age. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 22 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 7 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: ​​​In a Nutshell

Interesting Japan news - Sendai's weird new hotel has a very unusual check-in procedure, as can be seen i
n this video (removed by NHK). For bonus points, write down the name of the hotel "staff" who greets you at the front desk. Wow!

We are the World! - If you've never seen a downhill bicycle race on a glacier (氷河), you won't believe this crazy race at the Alpe d'Huez ski resort in the French Alps where you will see SO many cyclists crashing into each other! OMG! Here's the video.

Humorous video - Many of you may be too young to be familiar with the famous manga series called Saint Seiya (聖闘士星矢, セイントセイヤ), which was also an anime TV series. So if you're already familiar with the
Saint Seiya theme song, you'll probably get a good laugh seeing this young French guy singing the song in a singing contest. Here's the video. For bonus points, please share your opinion by grading his Japanese language skills on a scale from 1 (not so good) to 10 (G-r-r-reat!). WOW. laughing icon



Week 6:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - At the 7:01 mark in this video, you'll see an interesting story about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. For bonus points, write down how many people attended this 9-day event. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 21 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 6 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: ​​​Small Potatoes

Interesting Japan news - In this video, the 81-year-old Japanese skateboarder states that "anything short of death is just a scratch." smiley For bonus points, write down how much he paid for his first skateboard.

We are the World! - Last week I shared a video of the College of Engineering where I studied civil engineering (土木工学) at The University of Texas at Austin. This week I'd like to show you the on-campus dormitory where I lived called Jester Center. More than 3000 students live there, WOW! Here's the video.

Humorous video - This video shows the most amazing tropical fish you've ever seen. They can even do TRICKS, wow! laughing icon




Week 5:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - For this week's English comprehension challenge, at the 7:45 mark in this video check out this news story of a beached whale in Argentina. For bonus points, write down the whale's length. As usual, host Carl Azuz finishes the story with his usual oyaji gyagu (おやじギャグ), ha ha. smiley [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 20 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 5 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Gut Feeling

Interesting Japan news - Honda is developing an electric vertical take-off and landing, or eVTOL, aircraft. The key vocabulary word in this news story (removed by NHK) is "range," meaning the distance that a vehicle can travel. For bonus points, write down the range for this new flying car that Honda is hoping to achieve.

We are the World! - It was a VERY long time ago when I was your age as a university student, but even today, many years later I still remain very proud of my alma mater. You might enjoy seeing this promo video for the College of Engineering where I studied civil engineering (土木工学) at The University of Texas at Austin. For bonus points, write down the average annual starting salary for engineering graduates from my university.

Humorous image - ​To read a very popular ancient Japanese proverb (古代日本のことわざ), visit this page. smiley




Week 4:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - For bonus points, what is the name of the dog, a Russell Terrier, that recently set a world record for running around a baseball diamond in 21.06 seconds? Cue over to the 8:33 mark in this video. That is a FAST dog! Can you run that fast? smiley [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle size.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 19 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 4 instead.]

English in a Minute - If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Tone Deaf

Interesting Japan news - If you have time, please check out the ADORABLE baby cheetah in this 31-sec. video
(removed by NHK). For bonus points, write down where he was born.

We are the World! - To broaden your global horizons, check out Spanish acrobatic paraglider pilot Horacio Llorens take a breathtaking nighttime flight through the Aurora Borealis (北極光) near Trømso, Norway in this 3 min. video.

Humorous video - ​Before you have your next barbeque, if you're not sure if your beef is safe to eat, here's how to identify if your cow has mad cow disease (狂牛病): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6ag1bIabg0 smiley




Week 3:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - This week, if you have time, have a look at the story at the 2:21 mark in this video to see a very interesting centuries-old fishing tradition in an Asian nation. For bonus points, write down the name of the fish they catch. You might also like the short story at the 8:05 mark showing some highlights of a recent robotics conference in China. [Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. Click on the settings (gear) icon if you need to change the subtitle settings.]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 18 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 3 instead.]

English in a Minute - a short video explaining a popular idiom used in everyday American English conversation. If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Talk is Cheap

We are the World! - In my college days, one of my favorite bands was The Doobie Brothers. And one of my all-time favorite musicians in those days was a friend I had the pleasure of often hearing him sing and play his guitar. And now, decades later, he still sings and plays the guitar very well. If you have time, please listen to his band in Austin, Texas playing The Doobie Brothers' tune, "Jesus is Just Alright" in this video starting at the 12:04 mark (he's the lead singer and guitarist). For bonus points, let me know what YOU think about his band! smiley

Humorous video - ​Back in the mid-90s, I had the pleasure of singing and dancing in a children’s English education stage show​ (子供の英語教育のショー)​ conducted in public halls all over Japan. One of my fellow entertainers was a funny guy from Australia who was also a comedian. Here’s the music video for a funny song named "Kinjo no Gaijin" (近所の外人) he recorded which became so popular, it was even played for a while on the Tokyo radio station InterFM897. Hilarious! [his pet vacuum cleaner's name is Erik, ha ha...] smiley




Week 2:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - At the 8:02 mark in this video, you can see plans for a sightseeing space balloon in 2024 which will carry as many as 8 passengers to an altitude of 100,000 feet. WOW! For bonus points, at the bottom of your homework form, write down the cost of a ticket and how many hours the flight will last. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles].

Let's Learn English, Lesson 17 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [If you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 2 instead.]

English in a Minute - a short video explaining a popular idiom used in everyday American English conversation. If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Wishy-washy

We are the World! - On Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, skydivers broke a world record for the largest sequential formation of all time, as you can see in this video. WOW! For bonus points, how many skydivers were there?

Humorous video - This funny video shows 8 different types of people shopping at the supermarket. For bonus points, write down which kind of shopper YOU are, ha ha. smiley
[Click on the "CC" button for English subtitles. If you cannot read them, click on the settings (gear) icon, then click on "Subtitles," then "English," then click on "Options," and where it says "Font size," select "100%."]



Week 1:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - Formerly called "CNN Student News," this short commerical-free broadcast highlights news stories of interest to American students. Watch the news story starting at the 7:25 min. mark in this video and write down the name and length (in meters) of Australia's largest dinosaur. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles] For bonus points, write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of your Week 1 quiz form.

Let's Learn English, Lesson 16 - an online lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short quiz to check your comprehension. [Intermediate learners may find some of these lessons a little easy, but with language learning, sometimes a quick review of the English expressions you already know is vital for long-term retention of your language skills! On the other hand, if you find this lesson too hard, you might want to challenge Lesson 1 instead.]

English in a Minute - a short video explaining a popular idiom used in everyday American English conversation. If you can imagine living in an English-speaking country, think of a situation where you could use this week's American idiom: Lost Cause

We are the World! - pictures or videos of interesting things happening in Japan and other parts of the world. For the first week, check out Scotland-native Danny MacAskill, a professional cyclist who gets paid BIG money to do tricks and stunts on his mountain bike. You won't believe this amazing video where Danny takes a dangerous, death-defying bike ride across rooftops in the Canary Islands, off the Atlantic coast of Northwest Africa. For bonus points, write down which language they speak in the Canary Islands. This video has been viewed over 110,000,000 times. WOW!

Humorous video - What's your favorite brand of soy sauce? Watch this video to find out the teacher's favorite brand! smiley

Homework Assignments: 

In general, you will have one week to turn in homework assignments from the day they are assigned. Homework assignments more than one week late will receive an automatic 20% deduction. Assignments more than 2 weeks late will not be accepted and will receive a ZERO on the assignment.


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