Classroom Resources

AATJ offers training and professional development to Japanese language teachers in a variety of forms: by sponsoring workshops and summer institutes, by awarding individual small grants, by sponsoring publications and materials, and by introducing available resources. Classroom materials developed by teachers participating in these activities are offered to others in the field.

Please follow the links below to access some of the materials that have been developed by teachers and their students.

Humans of Minamisanriku: Joint Project by Students of Baylor University and Tohoku University

The Baylor in Japan (BIJ) Summer Intensive Japanese program began in 2012, just a year after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The BIJ program not only focuses on language learning but also emphasizes community service. In the summer of 2012 following the tsunami disaster, during a time where basic shelters were practically non-existent, the students had the privilege of visiting the tsunami-stricken area owing to everyone’s support. They initially arrived with trepidation at Minamisanriku in fear that their presence would further cause a burden, but as they met the people and volunteered in the community, the people of Minamisanriku welcomed them with smiles despite the catastrophic devastation.

They have been visiting Minamisanriku ever since. Inspired by the photoblog “Humans of New York”, which has touched the lives of about eighteen million people, Baylor and Tohoku University students in 2017 collaborated to establish the Humans of Minamisanriku project (BIJ’s cultural exchange program with Tohoku University was established in 2015). The films and interviews produced during the summer of 2017 can be accessed on Facebook or YouTube at the following locations:

New NCTA “Class App” Commemorates Japan’s 3.11 Triple Tragedy with New Resources and Classroom Strategies: “‘Voices from Japan:’ 3.11 through Tanka Poetry”

The response to Japan’s Triple Tragedy of March 11, 2011, has been expressed in short stories, art, poetry, and many other media. One project, "Voices from Japan: Perspectives on Disaster and Hope," captured and shares the extraordinary responses of Japanese individuals to this tragedy through a time-honored Japanese form of expression—tanka poetry. In the year following 3.11, Kathleen Krauth, a history teacher at the American School in Japan, engaged her students and school with the Voices from Japan project and many of the individual poetry contributors. In a "Class App" from the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia*, Kathy talks about the development of the poetry collection and its subsequent traveling exhibit, which has toured in Japan and the U.S. She shares personal stories of the poets as well as strategies for using these vivid, beautiful poems to teach about Japan, 3.11, and human response to disaster in social studies and literature classes. Kathy demonstrates how she involved her students with the poetry and offers multiple teaching ideas, along with a selection of the tanka poems.

View the class app at (Please note: The video takes a few seconds to become sharp when you enlarge the display to the full-screen version.)

The poems themselves, in both the original Japanese versions and the English translations (by AATJ members Joan Ericson, Amy Heinrich, and Laurel Rasplica Rodd) are available to download at

(*The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) ( offers many other resources and professional development opportunities for teachers.)

Texas Teachers and Students Visit the Tohoku Region Recovering from the 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster

In the summer of 2014 Baylor University professor Yuko Prefume took a group of students to visit the Minamisanriku and Kesennuma in the earthquake- and tsunami-devastated areas of northern Japan. A video, filmed and edited by one of Prefume sensei's students, Mikey Newton (Baylor University, Class of 2013, Film and Digital major), shows students interacting with local residents in a variety of situations and reflecting on their experience in both English and Japanese. The VIDEO ON YOUTUBE can inspire conversations about culture and current events in Japan. More information on the Baylor project is available HERE.

Students from the University of North Texas visited Japan with their professor, Yayoi Takeuchi, as part of the UNT STEP FORWARD IN JAPAN project.

Masumi Reade, a teacher at The Woodlands High School, has taken students to the Tohoku region to visit communities affected by both the earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear reactor situation. Watch a video about their visits HERE.

Classroom Materials on Chanoyu

Washington and Lee University developed a wealth of materials for K-12 classroom teachers as one of the activities focusing on its Japanese Tea Room Senshin'an. The Chanoyu Classroom Materials website has links to activity pages and lesson plans about the tea ceremony, a specially commissioned kamishibai which can be downloaded in PPT or PDF format, and many other resources on tea and its place in Japanese culture. While you are there, pay a virtual visit to Senshin'an and the programs and activities it inspires at the university and in the community.

East Asian Bookshelf

The National East Asian Languages Resource Center (NEALRC) at the Ohio State University invites you to visit its "East Asian Bookshelf" website, which aims to promote teaching and learning materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean and to assist teachers to find quality language teaching materials available to purchase. This project is a collaborative effort of NEALRC, CLASS (Chinese Language Association of Secondary-elementary Schools), CLTA (Chinese Language Teachers Association), AATJ (American Association of Teachers of Japanese) and AATK (American Association of Teachers of Korean), with financial support from a Department of Education Title VI grant. Comments and suggestions will be warmly received, seriously considered, and deeply appreciated by the site's coordinator, Minru Li, who can be contacted by email at or by phone at 614-688-3080.

Journey to the Interior: Curriculum Project

Classic Fishing PrintThematic units were developed by participants in a one-month summer institute in Japan who retraced the haiku poet Basho's iconic 1689 pilgrimage route through northern Japan, as told in his classic work Oku no Hosomichi (Journey to the Interior), studied Basho's life and poetry, wrote their own poetry, experienced Japanese rural life, and developed materials for use in their classrooms. The two units collected here are (1) a standards-based introduction to Basho, haiku, and their Japanese context for intermediate to advanced students of Japanese, and (2) an interactive introduction to haiku using skits for beginning high school students.

Summer Language, Culture and Technology Institutes in Japan

Several dozen participants attended AATJ-sponsored summer institutes in Japan in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2010 and produced multimedia resources designed for classroom use in grades K-12. If you were a participant in the summer institutes, and would like to retrieve the materials you produced, please contact the AATJ office.