Class Ideas

Let's reflect on the power of words

Author:Yoko Nishimura-Parke

Topic/Goals:Communication、Connection、Link with Outside of Classroom、Self, Family, and Friends、Social Environment、Social Life、Take Action、Technology、Words


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Students will study the words of the poet who experienced the great Tohoku disaster in 2011, and will reflect on the power of words.


• Read and find out about the condition of Fukushima straight after the disaster.
• Explore the poet’s feelings and his use of Twitter.
• Discuss the pros and cons of Twitter.
• Create a collection of positive words.
• Discuss the power of words and reflect on language use.

Target Senior high school level or higher
Japanese Level Advanced
What to prepare


1. Questions to help students' comprehention
a) What were conditions like in Fukushima after the earthquake? Describe how things were in the first 5 days.
b) What was Wago's state of mind during that time?
c) What did Wago do on the sixth day?
d) Translate Wago's first line into English.
e) What did he do in the next three months?
f) What feature of Twitter encouraged him to keep on posting?
g) Explain what Wago learned from the 2011 earthquake disaster?
h) According to Wago, what kind of power do "words" have?
i) What is Wago's goal in writing poems?

2. Discussion points
j) The first line Wago posted to Twitter was:「放射能がふっています。静かな夜です。」Discuss the visual effect of these words. What kind of feelings do you think are expressed in this short poem?
k) If you had been in Fukushima in those first five days, how would you have felt? What would you have done? Share your thoughts with your classmates.
l) Do you use Twitter? Discuss the pros and cons.
m) Have you ever thought that words have power? When do you feel the power of words? How can you use the power of words?

3. Creative task
n) In a group (3-5), create a poster of positive words. Each person in the group writes three words or phrases that are powerful, positive or encouraging. Arrange the chosen words on the poster in your language and also in Japanese. Use your artistic and dictionary skills wherever possible.
Put the posters up on the wall of the classroom. Did you notice any change in the atmosphere or feel of the room? Do you think being surrounded by positive words influences people?
o) Have you or your feelings ever been influenced by someone's words? Choose A or B, and write a short essay about your experience. Then, reflect on your language use (how you use words). What do you consider when you choose words?

A Have you ever become happy because of someone's words?
B Have you ever made someone unhappy because of your words?

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