Duck vs. Dinosaur!

Ever wonder what goes on inside a JOEE online lesson? Here’s one sample of a lesson that landed on the Japanese festival of Setsubun which is celebrated before the start of spring. This year, Setsubun landed on Feb. 3, the same day as the weekly online Thursday lesson at St. Francisco Children’s Home. “The children want to chase away an oni” said the JOEE helper at the orphanage. “But we don’t have any soybeans.”


The JOEE lesson was set to begin in a few minutes, so it was time to brainstorm. First of all, I had to locate a monster…. an “oni.” I found an old costume headband from Halloween that had horns on it. Most “oni” have horns. But what about the face or the head? In homes with a mom and a dad, usually the dad will put on a mask and play the part of the “oni.” The children shriek with delight as the monster enters the house and then “drive out the evil” by throwing dried soybeans at the “oni.”

JOEEのレッスンは数分後に始まろうとしていたので、どうするかすぐに決めなければなりませんでした。まず、モンスター…… “オニ “を探さなければなりません。ハロウィンで使っていた、角のついた古いカチューシャを見つけました。鬼は角があるのが普通です。でも、顔や頭はどうなんでしょう?お父さんとお母さんのいる家庭では、お父さんがお面をかぶって鬼の役をすることが多いですね。子供たちは、鬼が家に入ってくると歓声を上げ、鬼に豆を投げつけて「鬼退治」をします。

“Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” they yell, which roughly translates as: “Evil spirits get out! Good fortune stay in!” The pretend monster goes running away much to the delight of the children, who are feeling quite powerful at being able to drive off a monster with a handful of magic beans.

子どもたちは「鬼は外! 福は内!」と叫び、鬼がそそくさと逃げていきます。一握りの魔法の豆で鬼を追い払うことができたことに、子どもたちは強くなったような感覚を覚え、大喜びします。

So, I had to find a monster mask. Then I remembered the dinosaur head, sitting off to one side of my cluttered teaching studio. Yes, I have a tyrannosaurus head — a gift from an excellent teacher, Mr. Richards, with whom I had previously taught a summer school class… all about dinosaurs. My “oni” would have to be a T-rex with bright red horns.


I grabbed a pair of red gloves and a green jacket for the finishing touches to my costume. Now we needed something for the children to throw at the monster. Instead of soybeans, the children would throw tiny rubber ducks… but not at the screen (where the horned dino would soon appear). Instead, we would direct the children to throw the yellow ducks into the air! Yes, we just happened to have lots of little squeaky yellow ducks at the children’s home. We have used them for counting games and for teaching other vocabulary words.


Why would a dinosaur-oni be afraid of yellow ducks? Well, you’ll just have to watch the video and find out. And while you are at the YouTube channel that posts JOEE videos, why not subscribe and get notified when new videos are posted there? Click here to view part of the Setsubun JOEE Lesson:


Another way to help the JOEE foundation, which brings free, lively English lessons to kids growing up in institutionalized care in Japan, is to send a donation in through the Global Giving link added below. Thank you for caring and sharing!

また、施設に入所している子どもたちに、無料で生き生きとした英語のレッスンをお届けしているJOEEの活動を支援するために、以下のGlobal Givingのリンクから寄付をすることもできます。ご協力ありがとうございます。

JOEE Global Giving Link

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