A survey to document discrimination

In some classes this term, students have been making surveys to collect information about people’s knowledge, experiences, and opinions on a variety of themes. I happened across this article this morning that has an interesting survey. They want to know: “Have you experienced or witnessed hate?” Their goal is to collect people’s stories to better understand hate crimes and discrimination.

This survey appears to be only collecting information about discrimination and hate from the U.S., but it’s a good discussion starter and may help you with your own surveys.

If you love animals…

The Dodo is a website “for animal people”. If you love animals, you’ll find videos in three different categories: pets, farm animals, and wild animals.

Here’s the video I saw on Twitter yesterday that made me want to visit the site:

And speaking of shelter dogs, there’s a TV show on in the US called “Downward Dog”. Here’s the trailer. We can’t watch the series on the ABC site over here because of annoying international rights agreements, but maybe it’ll show up on Netflix Japan or Hulu Japan, if you’re using either of those to stream TV and movies.

Things I wish I had known…

This whole video may not be that interesting to most of my students, but it’s an example of things I wish I had known when I was younger:

My high school had lots of unusual traditions. One of these was that the juniors (11th graders) were in charge of making maple syrup. We had to tap the trees and boil the sap, and filter the syrup … everything this video explains but in a much simpler way, with very little technology. I’ve blocked much of the process from my memory; I just remember how much fun it was to be able to stay out all night with my classmates and stoke the fires. We didn’t have all the fancy machines seen in this video, but we did have a lot of fun.

This video is also good for a little Canadian English input… (Many, many bonus points if you can point out some differences between American and Canadian English!)

Some discussion questions / writing prompts:

  • What were the most memorable moments from your high school experience that weren’t connected to classes or studying?
  • Did your high school have any unsuual traditions? Did you, as a group of students, have any important responsibilities?
  • Can you explain how to make something as complicated as making maple syrup?
  • Did you “pull all-nighters” (徹夜)in high school? Why? Have you pulled an all-nighter since you’ve been at university? Why?
  • What do you wish you had known when you were an 11th grader?

Real ⇄ Fake

“Storytelling is what engages us, not facts and figures.”


This is why I encourage you, students,  to add good discussion questions and your own opinions and experiences into your weekly portfolio pages.

There’s a lot to talk about in this video, including “fake news” and what we believe on the internet … the importance of citing your sources … the difference between fact and fiction. And the motivation behind video editing (or news media decisions). Is it to manipulate the audience?

And BRD students, the correct answer to “Where did you find that information?” is NOT “The internet.” Can you explain why?

Another discussion question: What do you like and dislike about nature documentaries?

I’m taking a break from posting on this Topics site for Golden Week. I’ll be back with more topics on Monday, May 8th, but there are lots of topics in the archives if you’re looking for English input.