Tomoko and Jennifer

2015-01-09

For seventh grade English, our students make skits based on comics. The title of this story is Tomoko and Jennifer. Several years back, my coworker Danielle drew a comic. It has four parts, and each part is one page consisting of twelve frames. Each page has three or four characters on it. The story is that Tomoko, a Japanese junior high school student, is studying abroad. Her host sister, Jennifer, takes her to school and a friend's house. The precise details of the plot are intentionally unclear. Students decide how they want the story to unfold.

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Logistics

When students write skits, a good way of doing things is to give them a partly-completed skit. The setting, characters, and some of the dialog is specified. Students fill in the blanks with whatever dialog they feel is reasonable. This skit is designed to be completed over three classes. In the first class, students get in groups and write their page. In the second class, students practice speaking and memorizing their lines. In the third class, we shoot video of each group presenting their skit. Video is nice because students can try the skit several times, and nobody sees the embarrassing outtakes. Later, the teacher chooses the best take from each group and shows that to the rest of the class. On the other hand, making a movie means the teacher has to do more work.

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Files

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Vocabulary

If you want to practice vocabulary, here is a list of twenty words and phrases from the script, some of which are hard to say and all of which are worth knowing. Students ought to learn all of the vocabulary, because even though they only present one scene, they'll watch videos of the other three. The more words they know, the better they can understand what they're seeing and hearing.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3Scene 4
cereal
orange juice
milk
handkerchief
Jennifer
no one
her
Vicky
Be careful.
Be quiet.
soccer
very much
Elizabeth
That's right.
Who's she?
mother
windy
cold
dog
What's the matter?