Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Best. Story. Ever.

Today I had a bad last class. The teacher had been convinced going in that his class would not like my lesson plan (storytelling, capped off with them writing a traditional Japanese story in groups of 3 or 4), and as is wont to happen, that became a self-fulfilling prophecy as he did nothing to encourage the students to participate, despite occasional flickers of interest on their part. I was grumpy-grumpy. I went to my ESS club (English Speaking Society, though the moniker barely fits at times), where we had a great game of Scrabble,* then back to my desk fully intending to grab my stuff and go home grumpy.

But on my desk was lying one of the stories written by some of the students in today's bad class. (I gave them extra time to finish their stories, with instructions to drop them off at my desk within the next day or two.) I remembered this group, a bunch of geeky-looking guys in the corner who had not progressed any further than "Once upon a time, there was" about two minutes before the class was to end, and who were anxiously poring through their electronic dictionaries for inspiration (and vocabulary).

And wow. What a story they wrote for me:

Once upon a time, there was bean-jum bread man.

"I am bean-jum bread man! Do you know me? If you don't know me, please search by the Internet."

Then, the "virus man" appeared. "Ha hi hu he fhooooo!"

And he took a strange gun - those who are shot become hungry - out, and shoot at citizens. The gun's beam made citizens hungry, so they fell down. Then, "Wait! Virus man!", bean-jum bread man arrived there.

"I'm right man. I hate bad man, like you."

"Be silent. Don't disturb me! This is my dream. My company sell grocery. If citizens become hungry, my company prospers."

"Pardon?" bean-jum bread man said. And he took flame gun out and shot him.

"Fire! Oh noooo... Heat is sore spot with virus."

However, citizens were still hungry. "You should eat my face," bean-jum bread man said. They ate him face, and finished eating, they noticed bean-jum bread man were still dead.

Brave bean-jum bread man died, but his taste remains in their memory forever.

Honestly. Just. Freakin. Awesome. They are getting 10/10.

It made my day so worth it. This is the story I will show to the teacher when he says again that his class is not so interested in my activity this week.

Turns out brave bean-jum bread man is in fact Anpan Man - anpan translates to bean-JAM (not "jum") bread - a Japanese cartoon character of long standing (around since 1968 and still going strong), and you can read all about him here. CLICK THAT LINK! :)

* The Japanese do everything differently. For Scrabble, we all started with 7 letters like usual, but the point was to combine all 7 letters on the desk in front of you into one or more words (as if it were your own private Scrabble board). First person to do so "wins" that round, and the rest have to take an extra letter. You can make new words each round (ie., you do not have to keep words you have already created). And so on. I busted one of the second-years for trying to spell words the Japanese way - "gavament" turned out to be how she thought "government" was spelled, "hangly" for "hungry" - I felt bad because I couldn't stop laughing but luckily she thought it was funny too when she found out the proper spellings.


Erin said...

Ohmygod, as if your students can write that many sentences without their heads exploding. Today, it took 25 minutes for my second-year students to fill in the sentence:

"When I [went to/read about/saw a TV program about] __________, it surprised me that __________________________."

And they were working in pairs. Kill me.

Rebecca said...

That is truly the best story ever! I even laughed a little because it was so cute!

Simon said...

I kid you not Julie, my students had to write English skits and the best one featured the same character.

Truly awesome.

I am also truly jealous because your students appear to actually be coherent :P