Search this site:             
Home: Spring 2021 Edutainment Lesson Plans

Spring 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.



Week 10, beginning June 17, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz- To watch an interesting story about spacewalks, cue over to the 4:06 min. mark in the video at the top of this page. For bonus points, write down how many spacewalks have been completed so far. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 10 - Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short listening quiz at the bottom to check your comprehension.

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 popular American idiom: Puppy love

We are the World! -
Several years ago I was introduced to this amazing TV commercial. Even today it's still one of my favorite TV commercials... ever. Watch this exciting video and for bonus points, write down the name of the product being advertised.

Classic American cartoons - Felix the Cat (フィリックス・ザ・キャット) is probably most popularly known in Japan for Felix Gum (フィリックスガム), made by Marukawa Confectionery (丸川製菓) and often sold at dagashi sweet shops (駄菓子屋).
 
Felix gum
Felix gum in Japan
(photo credit: toy-chida.com)

As a youngster, I don't remember ever seeing Felix gum, but I used to LOVE watching Felix the Cat as a funny cartoon character originally created during the silent film era. As a cute black cat with white eyes, a black body, and a giant grin, Felix is one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. Here is a short video clip showing the intro to one of his old shows. And I sometimes still sing the very memorable
Felix the Cat theme song. smiley [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat
(photo credit: tvtropes.org)

Teacher humor - Download the entire internet onto your hard disk here.

[Warning: Be sure to check your local Drive C to make sure you have enough storage space!]

laughing icon laughing icon laughing icon laughing icon



Week 9, beginning June 10, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz- The total lunar eclipse that occurred Wed. 5/26, also called a "super flower blood moon," is the only one which will happen in 2021. For bonus points, cue over to the 2:38 min. mark in this video to find out how many minutes it lasted. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 9 - Watch the short video, try out a few of the other exercises on the page, and then take the short listening quiz at the bottom to check your comprehension.

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 popular American idiom: To take a stab at something

We are the World! - Several years ago a famous American actor living in Tokyo was in an Orix credit card TV commercial (オリックス・クレジット・カード TVCM) with the beautiful Japanese actress Ryoko Shinohara (篠原涼子). Watch this video and for bonus points, write down the name of this famous American actor.


Classic American cartoons - Growing up as a kid, I always used to love watching Road Runner (ロード・ランナー) cartoons. He's named after a real, very fast-running bird that lives in the desert... which we can often see along highways in west Texas. In each cartoon episode, the cunning, devious, and constantly hungry Wile E. Coyote (ワイリー・コヨーテ) repeatedly attempts to catch the Road Runner, but is successful only on extremely rare occasions. Check out this funny video where the coyote "thinks" he caught the Road Runner! smiley


Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote
Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote
(photo credit: apple.com)

Teacher humor - Last week I mentioned a very funny Japanese friend of mine, almost like a comedian.

Well, one night he introduced me to his favorite Chinese restaurant. As we were looking over the menu, our conversation went like this:

Gary: I think I’ll order the Peking Duck.
Friend: Good choice, but I recommend the Mābō-dōfu.
Gary: Thanks, but I’m in the mood for duck tonight.

After our dishes arrived, I thought my friend said: "Itadakimasu!"

But what he actually said was "Eat a duck if you must." smiley

[Get it? If not, please say "Itadakimasu," then "Eat a duck if you must," over and over again. It’s another old man’s gag joke (おやじギャグ), ha ha!] laughing icon



Week 8, beginning June 3, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - New Zealand adventurer Rob McCallum recently traveled to the deepest point of the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean. For bonus points, at the very beginning of this video, find out the 2-word title for this location. What is the average length and width of this trench in miles? [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 8 - 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.

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 popular American idiom: Sharp Cookie

We are the World! - Lars Andersen from Denmark is the world's fastest and most famous archer. He has set many speed shooting records, including even being able to shoot 3 arrows in only 1.5 seconds. This amazing video has been viewed over 58 million times!
[click on the "CC" button for English subtitles] Mr. Andersen is also a Danish painter and writer.

Classic American cartoons - One of my favorite cartoons growing up was Woody Woodpecker. He's most famous for his very unique laugh (click here to hear it). And this short video shows a funny episode of Woody giving his girlfriend Winnie a scary airplane ride for her birthday. Exciting!
[click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Woody Woodpecker
Woody Woodpecker
(photo credit: youtube.com)

Teacher humor - I once had a funny Japanese friend who wore a mustache (口ひげ). Several years ago he gave me a nice birthday present.

I told him, "Arigatou!"
(Because he's Japanese, I expected him to say "Dou itashimashite."
But being the funny guy he is, instead he replied, "Don’t touch my mustache." smiley

[Get it? If not, please say "Dou itashimashite," then "Don’t touch my mustache," over and over again. It’s an old man’s gag joke (おやじギャグ), ha ha!] laughing icon



Week 7, beginning May 27, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - For this week's bonus points, in this video cue over to the 8:45 min. mark to find out the name of the famous Italian carmaker that is making the switch over to only plug-in hybrids. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 7 - 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.

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 popular American idiom: Burn the Candle at Both Ends

We are the World! - One of the most impressive performances of percussion instruments I've ever seen is shown in this video. It's called "Animusic HD - Pipe Dreams." I hope you enjoy it as much as I have thru the years.


Classic American cartoons - The Jetsons was an American animated
TV series where the Jetsons family lived in a comical version of a futuristic society, featuring flying cars, elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions. Watch this short 2-min. video clip to see the opening and closing credits and theme song from Season 1 of The Jetsons.

The Jetsons
The Jetsons animated TV show
(photo credit: alphacoders.com)

Teacher humor - A recent conversation between Gary and one of his gaijin friends:

Gary: Say, do you like kimchi (キムチ)? You know, that spicy Korean dish made from fermented, pickled cabbage with red chili paste?
His friend: Oh, yeah, definitely! I LOVE that stuff! Kimchi not only tastes good, but it also gives you a nice warm feeling inside.
Gary: Yeah, I know. Kimuchi ga ii!
laughing icon



Week 6, beginning May 20, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - Watch the short news story starting at the 8:17 min. mark in this video to learn more about the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge which just opened recently. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles] Write down the length of the bridge and which country it's in at the bottom of your homework form for bonus points.

Let's Learn English, Lesson 6 - 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.

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 popular American idiom: Knock on Wood

We are the World! - Watch this 2.5-min. video to see a VERY interesting method of bass fishing in the U.S. southern state of Alabama. WOW!
[click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Classic American cartoons- One of my favorite TV shows as a kid was "The Flintstones," an animated series that took place in a comical version of the Stone Age, featuring the title family, the Flintstones, their next-door neighbors, the Rubbles, dinosaurs, and other cavemen. The show was set in the Stone Age town of Bedrock (pop. 2,500), and The Flintstones was so popular that it was the most financially successful and longest-running network animated television series for 3 decades. Wow! Here are a couple of short videos showing the theme song and the opening/closing credits: Video 1  Video 2


Flintstones TV show
The Flintstones animated TV show
(photo credit: neatorama.com)

Teacher humor - People from Australia are also known as Aussies. Many of them pronounce words spelled with an ‘A’ with an ‘I’ sound, e.g. in words like day (sounds like dye), pay (sounds like pie), mate (sounds like might), may (sounds like my), fate (sounds like fight), raise (sounds like rise), etc. And one of their most common everyday expressions is G’ Day, meaning Good day (sounds like Good dye). Thru the years in Japan, I've been lucky to have a number of wonderful Aussie friends. One day I had this conversation with one of them: 

Gary: What’s new?
Aussie friend: Recently I haven’t been feeling well, so I’m going to the hospital today.
Gary: WHAT?! You’re gonna DIE?! OMG!

[Get it? To me, it sounded like he said, "I'm going to the hospital to die."]
laughing icon


Week 5, beginning May 13, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - Recently a certain animal caused an internet outage in part of Canada. Watch the news story starting at the 7:49 min. mark in this video to learn more. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles] Write down the name of the animal and the city in Canada at the bottom of your homework form for bonus points.

Let's Learn English, Lesson 5 - 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.

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 popular American idiom: Loose Cannon

We are the World! - Many students were very curious about my Japan mountain climbing adventures. A few years ago I was invited to give a presentation to an English speaking club about the highest mountains in Japan. So I prepared this video as part of my talk: Fond Memories of My Favorite Japanese Peaks [click on small square in lower right corner to view video full screen] For bonus points, write down the name of your favorite Japanese peak in this video (in romaji, of course!). For even more bonus points, answer the question asked at the very end of the video. smiley

Classic American cartoons - This week I’d like to introduce Smokey Bear, who for the past 77 years has been the official mascot of the forest fire prevention campaign by the United States Forest Service, the longest-running public service announcement (PSA) campaign in United States history. Smokey has many tips on what you can do to keep forest fires from starting. Click here to see one of those 30-second TV ads.
[click on the "CC" button for English subtitles] And remember, "Only YOU can prevent forest fires!" smiley

Smokey Bear - Only You
Smokey Bear
"Only YOU can prevent forest fires!"

[A few years ago I had the pleasure of actually visiting Smokey's historical park museum in Capitan, New Mexico. You can view the inside of Smokey's museum at the very beginning of my 2016 road trip vacation video.]


Teacher humor - When I first moved to Japan, I lived in an apartment building near Nogata Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line that was owned by the English conversation school (英会話) I worked for. All the other residents were English teachers like myself working for the same school. Our school was in Shibuya, and since most of our classes were there at the school, we passed through Takadanobaba Station nearly every day. Well, one evening a few of us teachers were hanging around, enjoying some adult beverages, and one of the young teachers from Rhode Island, fresh out of college, said “You know, every time we approach Takadanobaba Station, I hear the train conductor say 'まもなく、 たかだのばば えき です.' (We will soon arrive at Takadanobaba Station.) Now, I KNOW what he is actually saying, but to me it sounds like he's saying 'Talking about my baby'." Ha ha ha!
[Get it? If not, please say "Takadanobaba," then "Talking about my baby," over and over again. It’s an old man’s gag joke (おやじギャグ), ha ha!]
laughing icon



Week 4, beginning May 6, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - Researchers have developed wearable technology that can be fastened to the skin. Watch the news story starting at the 1:58 min. mark in this video to learn more. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles] Write down the name of the professor and his university at the bottom of your homework form for bonus points.

Let's Learn English, Lesson 4 - 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.

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 popular American idiom: Throw cold water on something

We are the World!- Several years ago a good friend in Scotland introduced me to 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 ride HIGH up in the gorgeous, breathtaking mountains on the Isle of Skye in his native Scotland. This video has been viewed over 75,000,000 times. WOW!

Classic American cartoons - As a child, I had the good fortune of growing up in the "golden age of American animation," when TV cartoons became increasingly popular, providing loads of wonderful entertainment for young American children. This week I’d like to continue sharing some of my favorite, most beloved cartoons from my childhood days. You all already know how much I love Tony the Tiger, but this week, for the benefit of any of you who do not know him yet, I’d like to introduce Popeye the Sailor. His most famous trait is that whenever he eats spinach (ほうれん草), he gains superhuman strength to beat up bad guys like Bluto who is always trying to steal away Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Here's a short video clip to help you get to know Popeye.

Popeye the Sailor
In case you were wondering how popular Popeye is in Japan, I took this photo on Sun. 21/5/2 at the entrance to the men's toilet at a Yokohama cinema!
No joke. smiley

Teacher humor - Back in July 2000, the G-8 economic summit was held down in Okinawa. The Japanese Prime Minister at the time, Yoshirō Mori, was worried about his poor English when introducing himself to President Bill Clinton.
So he was given a quick English lesson from one of his assistants. The staff member told Mori that when he shook hands with President Clinton, he should say "How are you?" Then President Clinton will say "I am fine, and you?" And then Mori should say "Me too."
Very easy…. Mori only had to say 2 expressions, like this:
**************
Mori: How are you?
Clinton: I am fine, and you?
Mori: Me too.
**************
Well, the big day finally came, but there was just one problem.
When Mori met Clinton, he didn't say "How are you?" as he was instructed, but mistakenly said "Who Are You?"
Mr. Clinton chuckled, 'cause he thought it was a joke, so he said: "Well, I am Hillary's husband, ha ha."
Then Mori replied confidently "Me too, ha ha." 
laughing icon



Week 3, beginning April 22, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - Watch the news story starting at the 2:19 min. mark in this video and name the location in Egypt where archaeologists have discovered a 3,000-year-old ancient city. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]. Write your answer at the bottom of your homework form for bonus points.

Let's Learn English, Lesson 3 - 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.

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 popular American idiom: If You Play with Fire, You Might Get Burned

We are the World! - Ever heard of free soloing? It's a very exciting (dangerous) kind of rock climbing without ropes, nets, or any safety equipment. Meet Alex Honnold, one of the world's best free solo rock climbers. Wow, check out this scary video of him scaling Half Dome, in California's Yosemite National Park.
[click on the "CC" button for English subtitles].

Teacher humor - I once knew a Japanese dentist here in Tokyo who asked me
one day if I knew there were NO dentists in Hawaii, America's 50th state.
I said, "No, surely you must be joking. Are you sure?"
He said, "Yes, it's true. Do you know WHY?"
I said, "No, please tell me." 
So he then said, "There are no dentists in Hawaii because in Hawaii, Ha (は)… wa (は)… ii (いい)…" (pointing to his teeth) laughing icon



Week 2, beginning April 15, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - Watch the news story starting at the 6:36 min. mark in this video and name the city and country where a new record-breaking roller coaster is being built [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]. Write your answer at the bottom of your homework form for bonus points.

Let's Learn English, Lesson 2 - 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.

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 popular American idiom: Tie the knot

We are the World! - If you've never heard of freestyle soccer, don't feel bad. Neither had I before one of my English students several years ago brought his soccer ball to class one day and asked if he could demo his freestyle soccer skills. Wow, check out this video:
Freestyle soccer demo by Kazuya

Teacher humor - OK, I KNOW this is an English class, smiley but this week you get to challenge your knowledge of Japanese kanji characters. So can you guess the name of your teacher's original kanji character below?







If you need a hint, click here: Hint 1

If you need a 2nd hint, click here: Hint 2

Finally... The Answer!



Week 1, beginning April 8, 2021:

CNN10 Weekly Newsquiz - Formerly called "CNN Student News," this short commerical-free broadcast highlights news stories of interest to American students. Watch the first news story at the beginning of this video and name the U.S. university that has 3 main campuses, enrolls more than 70,000 students, and says it will require most of them to have had Covid-19 vaccinations by this fall. [click on the "CC" button for English subtitles]

Let's Learn English, Lesson 1 - 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 the first few 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!]

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: Two Heads Are Better Than One

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 the teacher's favorite English word spoken by his favorite cartoon character, Tony the Tiger. Students who often use this word in this semester's course work will receive bonus points! smiley [Don't miss the last 2 TV commercials in the video which are in Japanese (日本語で).]

Frosted Flakes Japanese
トニー・ザ・タイガー

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.


My main teaching philosophy: Edutainment!! laughing icon

edutainment venn diagram




New! Add your comment

Have your say about this page! Feel free to comment in the box below:




What's New?

  1. Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Jun 21, 21 08:35 AM

    The most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, traffic stats, weather, and climber stories.

    Read more

  2. Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Page 2

    Jun 21, 21 08:35 AM

    Page 2 of the most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, weather, and climber stories.

    Read more

  3. The Highest Mountains in Japan

    Jun 20, 21 02:10 AM

    Listing of the 25 highest mountains in Japan, complete with pics, videos, and descriptions, based on the 2-decade climbing experience of Gary J. Wolff.

    Read more






Let's connect!!

Gary J. Wolff
Facebook badge

View Gary J. Wolff's profile on LinkedIn

My pics:

My videos: YouTube logo