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        Supporting Opinions - Ken from Japan

        Students write an essay that expresses and supports their opinions about how their schooling compares to a Japanese student’s.

        Lesson Summary


        Students watch a segment about Ken, a third-grade student in Japan. They learn about the expectations his parents and his school have for his education. Then students write an essay that express their opinions about Ken's schooling as it compares to their own. 

        Why is this an important concept?

        Learning is not just gaining knowledge, it also involves determining our opinions on topics and issues about which we learn. Therefore, it is important to learn to express our opinions and support them with specific information that we have learned. 

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time


        Media Resources

        • Ken QuickTime Video


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Talk with students about their school day. How much time do they spend in school and doing homework each day? Calculate how many hours they spend in school per week. Per month. Per academic year. Besides school, what other lessons or classes do they take each week? Do they ever feel stressed or too tired from all their commitments?

        2. Explain that they will watch a video about Ken, a third-grader going to school in Japan. Tell students that the first time they watch the video segment they should think about how their school year compares to Ken's in Japan. Show the video.

        3. Discuss: What is the Japanese school year like? What were Ken's parents' expectations of him? What were his school's expectations of him? How does Ken's day compare to theirs? Be sure to express the stress of meeting expectations that is a concern in both settings.

        4. Distribute the Supporting Opinions Organizer handout, on which students can take notes. Show the video again. This time, ask students to watch and listen for the parts of the segment that describe the two opinion prompts on the organizer.

        5. After watching the video the second time, discuss and complete Opinion 1 on the organizer as a class. Then students will complete Opinion 2 on the organizer in small groups. Go over their responses as a class.

        Part II: Assessment

        1. Students will write a four-paragraph essay expressing their opinions to the two prompts on the organizer. The paragraph structure should be:

        • Paragraph 1: Introduction with thesis statement
        • Paragraph 2: About Opinion 1
        • Paragraph 3: About Opinion 2
        • Paragraph 4: Conclusion

        2. Use the Supporting Opinions rubric to assess the essays. 


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