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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices

Japanese: Promoting Attractions of Japan

Japanese III - IV, grades 10 - 12: As part of a larger unit on the geography and culture of Japan, students learn the major regions and cities and discuss popular tourist destinations. Using timed activities, including a fast-paced Jeopardy-style quiz game, Yo Azama, 2012 ACTFL Teacher of the Year, assesses students on recall and recognition. As a culminating project, students create a travel brochure and begin planning a promotional video to attract visitors to Japan.



Yo Azama
2012 ACTFL Teacher of the Year


Japanese III-IV




North Salinas High School, Salinas, California

Lesson Date

May 14

Class Size



Block schedule, 100 minutes every day for one semester

Video Summary

In this lesson, students learn about the regions and tourist destinations of Japan. Working first as a whole class and then in pairs, students use familiar and new vocabulary to discuss Japanese regions and landmarks. Next, they write questions and answers for a Jeopardy-style game about Japan, then play the game. As a culminating project, students create a travel brochure and begin planning a promotional video to attract visitors to Japan.


Standards Addressed

Communication: Interpersonal, Presentational

Cultures: Practices, Products

Connections: Making Connections


backward planning
In backward planning, also called backward design, the teacher plans a unit or lesson by first identifying the desired end task or product, then working in reverse to identify the prerequisite learning tasks and benchmark assessments.

Used in one of the three Japanese writing systems, kanji are the characters drawn from the Chinese writing system. Approximately 2,000 kanji, many with multiple meanings, are needed to read materials written for adults in Japanese.

Connecting to Your Teaching

Reflect on Your Practice
As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

  • What strategies have you used to teach about tourism?
  • When you design a project with a culminating presentational product, what elements make it successful? How do you balance in-class and outside-of-class assignments?
  • How do you ensure that projects involving technology are at an appropriate level of technological complexity for your students? How do you get students to use the target language at an appropriate level?
  • How do you create a rubric for projects involving technology and group work?

Watch Other Videos
Watch other videos in the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 library for more examples of teaching methodologies like those you’ve just seen. Note: All videos in this series are subtitled in English.

Creating Travel Advice (Spanish) shows students preparing to advise travelers from abroad about tourist sites in the U.S., and Performing With Confidence (French) features students participating in a competitive game that reviews vocabulary.

Put It Into Practice
Try these ideas in your classroom. Where it’s not already evident, reflect on how to adapt an idea that targets one performance range for application to other performance ranges.

  • Use comprehensible input to teach and reinforce content and language structures. Present new content and/or grammar using gestures and props. Follow up with questions to check for student understanding. Mr. Azama began his class by pretending to travel to Japan. He used a suitcase filled with typical travel items, as well as clues to specific regions and tourist sites. As students listened to his presentation, they tried to guess where in Japan he was going.
  • Begin a unit by defining the final or culminating project, then work backwards to design the prerequisite steps and activities that students need to complete to get there. For example, Mr. Azama designed two final projects — the promotional video and the travel brochure — which he led up to with activities that taught the necessary travel/tourism content and grammar. Ultimately, culminating projects such as these demonstrate students’ cultural knowledge and language proficiency.
  • Design projects that allow students to use a range of materials, including available technology. In a travel/tourism unit like Mr. Azama’s, students can make brochures using markers and glue, computer software, or anything in between. To make promotional videos, students can use computer software to edit footage. Or, if editing software isn’t available, they can videotape a complete presentation. Consider the technology available to your students, as well as their competency level, when establishing the parameters of the project. If students will need training or assistance, make sure that someone who knows the technology is available to assist them. Be sure that the rubric you design assesses student performance in the areas of language, culture, and technology.


World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages
The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages create a roadmap to guide learners to develop competence to communicate effectively and interact with cultural understanding. This lesson correlates to the following Standards:

Communicate effectively in more than one language in order to function in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes

Interpersonal Communication

Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.

Presentational Communication

Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.

Interact with cultural competence and understanding

Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives

Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.

Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives

Learners use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.

Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations

Making Connections

Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.



Lesson Materials
Video Project Guidelines (PDF, 37 K)
Instructions that students used to create their Japanese tourism videos

Video Project Rubric (PDF, 22 K)
Mr. Azama’s rubric for grading the student video projects

Curriculum References
California Department of Education Foreign Language Curriculum Frameworks

Yo Azama’s Additional Resources

Web Resources:
The Japan Foundation
Web site for the Foundation’s Los Angeles office, which includes information about local arts and culture activities, language teaching resources, Web links, and more

Web Japan: Japan Atlas
Provides visual resources on a variety of topics related to the nature, traditions, and current social trends of Japan

Web Japan: Regions & Cities
Information about the regions and cities of Japan

Japan National Tourism Organization
Information for people traveling to Japan (Available in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Korean)

American Association of Teachers of Japanese
The national organization’s Web site

Yahoo! Japan
The Japanese-language version of the popular search engine

Series Directory

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. 2003. 2016.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-731-2