Class Ideas

Let's Think about Happiness on Earth

Author:Yoko Nishimura-Parke

Topic/Goals:Communication、Connection、Link with Other Subjects、Link with Outside of Classroom、Nature and the Environment、Self, Family, and Friends、Social Environment、Take Action


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The class activities inspired by the KIDS EARTH FUND charity "Ufufu! Let’s make Charity T-shirts" will provide students with opportunities to learn about onomatopoeias, discuss what is important for society and for the earth, and express their ideas by drawing/painting and writing some texts. In the enriched activities, students will explore sociocultural influences on children around the world through a photo book, and develop an understanding of their responsibilities from a global perspective.


・Students will learn about Japanese onomatopoeias.
・Students will compare/contrast Japanese onomatopoeias and the ones in their own language.
・Students will share their ideas about their own happiness and the happiness of people on Earth. Then they will express their ideas by drawing/painting and writing some texts.
・Students will think about and research issues around the world that are illustrated in the photo book “Where Children Sleep.” They will also discuss what they can do to help.

Target Elementary, junior high, and senior high school levels
Japanese Level Basic to advanced
What to prepare


Ufufu! Let's design charity T-shirts.
Before starting to design their T-shirt, students can learn what kind of laugh Ufufu is in Part 1. Also, some other onomatopoeias for laughter will be introduced in Part 1.
Students can do Part 2 after Part 1, or they can learn more about onomatopoeia with the activities in the worksheets.

[Part 1] What is "ufufu"?

•"Ufufu" is one of the onomatopoeias which express a type of laughter. What kind of laughter do you think it is?
In pairs, show your "ufufu" laugh to each other.
In a group, decide on your group's "ufufu" laugh and show it to the class.

• How would you describe or express this type of laugh in your language? When we type ウフフin Japanese, some emoji appear, such as (*´艸`*) and (´∀`*)ウフフ

• What kind of feeling do you think it expresses?

• There are many onomatopoeias in Japanese to describe different types of laughter.
アハハ  ha ha ha
エへへ  he he he 
ウフフ  a gentle laugh to express joy, often with something secretive in mind
ギャハハ a loud, bursting laugh
ゲラゲラ to laugh out loud (a guffaw)
ニコニコ smiling

Note Note
Find more activities about onomatopoeias in the Part 3 worksheets

[Part 2] Wishing for the happiness of people around the world, let's think of a design that can make people give an "ufufu" laugh.

Step 1 What are the keys to happiness for people around the world? What does a bright future for the Earth mean to you? How do you envisage such a place? Discuss in a group.

Note Note
The discussion may lead students to explore various social and environmental issues. Even if the issues seem global and distant, the students can still be encouraged to connect. They can feel motivated by believing their small contributions will make a difference globally.

Social and environmental issues students might discuss include the following:
• A society where everyone lives in harmony(さべつやいじめがありません。etc.)
• A peaceful world(せんそうがありません。etc.)
• A clean environment without pollution, where society coexists with nature (木をうえます。ポイ捨てをしません。etc.)
• A society where animal welfare is well managed(すてねこや、すていぬがいません。やまやもりのどうぶつをたいせつにします。etc.)
• A society where all resources are valued(だれも、もったいないことをしません。etc.)

Step 2 Decide on a theme and design for a T-shirt. Draw or paint your design on A4 paper (using coloring pens, pencils, watercolors, etc.)

Step 3 Write your design title and your message in your notebook. (Students could be encouraged to write these in Japanese in advanced classes.)
See the handout for useful vocabulary.

Step 4 Present your picture, design title, and message to the class. If you wear a plain T-shirt and hold your picture in front of you, it will look as if your picture is the design of the T-shirt.

Note Note
For reference, find pictures by children from around the world at KIDS ART GALLERY

[Part 3] Activities centered around onomatopoeias

[Part 4] Enrichment/Extension work using the photography book "Where Children Sleep"
"Where Children Sleep" is a photo book by James Mollison, a photographer who was born in Kenya and raised in England. This photo book presents children's portraits and stories, and photographs of the places where they sleep. Students can see that not all children sleep in a room with a bed. This photo book will help students think about inequity within and among societies around the world. Even within one country, there are diverse social environments and disparities in wealth. This photo book will provide students with opportunities to think about inequity and children's rights. It will be our great pleasure if these activities deliver opportunities for students to begin thinking about how they may respond.

21 selected children's photos and précis of their stories

12 selected children's photos and slightly detailed précis of their stories 

The above sites are convenient for showing the photos to the class onscreen. However, the full story of each child is very important, and these are only available in the published photo book. For the full effect, the use of the published photo book is recommended. The book is written in English, so it will make a great resource, not only for this lesson but also for the entire school.

Information about the published photo book "Where Children Sleep" 

Activity A

Look at the photos and read the information about each child. Can you answer the questions about them?
• お名前は何と言いますか。
• 何才ですか。
• どこに住んでいますか。
• その子の部屋・空間に何がありますか。
• ほかにどんなことがわかりましたか。

Activity B
1) Which child left the most powerful impression on you? Why? Share your thoughts with your classmates.

2) What makes that child live life as described? Research the circumstances that child is in. What kind of issues are affecting this child?

3) Make a poster or fact sheets with the findings of your research. Display your posters and fact sheets in your classroom. What kind of issues can you see? Share your thoughts about what problems our world has, how your country is involved in these problems, and what you can do to respond.

Activity C
1) Imagine you are the child whom you selected in Activity B. Write a diary from his/her point of view. What kinds of things have happened to this child, and what kinds of needs does he/she have?

Note Note
Students could be encouraged to write this in Japanese in advanced classes.

2) What kind of world do you think this child wants to be in? Draw or paint a world in which this child lives happily. Write a brief explanation of your picture.

Note Note
This activity can be connected to Part 2 (T-shirt design).

3) What can we do in order to realize the world you envisioned in your picture? Discuss.

Activity D
Do you think children who seem to be living a rich lifestyle are happy? What is real happiness? Do you think being surrounded by possessions means being happy?

Websites about "Where Children Sleep"

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