Self-Introduction Penpal Videos

Students watch and exchange videos with foreign students!

This is my own experience, obviously you will need to adapt to what is accessible for you.

I was able to get in touch with a teacher at my old high school who had students record self-introduction speeches on video for my students to watch.
If you are able, reach out to your old high school and ask if they would be interested. Chances are, they’d be more than happy to take a class (or lunch) to film some videos for you!

First Lesson Overview

In my case, the students from the American high school stated their name, grade, age, favorite subject, favorite food, and free time activity.
Of course, change that as you see fit.

Based on this information, I created an evaluation chart and included some information that might be necessary to review beforehand (like American schools using freshman, sophomore, etc.) Skip/remove this page if not needed.
The students watch and listen to 5 different self-introductions 3 times. For lower level students, I paused the video after each topic was stated on the 3rd watch.
After each self-introduction, I review the answers with the students. In some cases, I was able to ask the whole class and get volunteers. In quieter classes, we assigned each student a video number and a topic, then asked each student for that information. (I also wrote the chart on the board, if needed)

For example,
Student 1: Video 1, Name
Student 2: Video 1, Age

After all the videos are viewed, I ask the students to choose one student who they have the most in common with (who they are ‘the most like’) and make a check next to their name.
Ideally, I will ask random students who they chose, and why.
If pressed for time/in quieter classes, I will just get a show of hands for each person.

The second half of the lesson is creating their own self-introduction.

Students will fill out the self-introduction worksheet.
They will also think of an aspect of Japanese culture that they would like to share to foreign students and that they can bring an example of to show in a video to send back to the foreign students.
This may be tricky, as many schools will have an issue with permission to record and send videos of students.
If you are unable to get permission to record and send a video, having the students write and practice their self-intros is a good way to wrap things up.
In this case, the second lesson isn’t necessary.

Second Lesson Overview

  • (10-15 min) I started my lesson with Fruit Basket using some phrases from the self-introduction sheet. (I am _______ years old. I am from ______________.)
  • After, I gave the students about 5 to 10 minutes to practice their self-introduction with a partner.
  • Lastly, I had students make pairs or groups of three (they feel more confident) and sat at the back of the room with a tablet to record each group’s intro video. If your students have their own tablets, you can have them record them on their own, but it is also nice to be able to monitor them.

So far, I have not sent any videos back to my high school, but I plan to do so when all my lessons are finished.

It’s a very simple concept, but I’ve seen it done in many different ways, so I thought I’d share my method and experience, as I think it is a really fun and rewarding experience, and a great way for realistic listening and speaking practice!!
Students also get super excited knowing their videos will be seen by foreign students 🙂

Note: I printed the first two sheets in the doc double-sided and the intro worksheet by itself. Of course, change it up if you don't need the info sheet.

Submitted by autumnhardesty May 2, 2023 Estimated time: Two Class Periods (50 minutes each)
  1. Sean1112 May 2, 2023

    This is a really awesome activity! I've wanted to do something like this and this gives the idea a lot of form, looking forward to asking my JTEs about using it! Thanks!

  2. autumnhardesty May 2, 2023

    @Sean1112 I HIGHLY recommend it! It's been my biggest project since becoming an ALT, but so fulfilling and my JTEs love it!! Definitely a lot easier than trying to organize physical letters or video calls lol

  3. nkeyalt May 2, 2023

    This is fantastic! I love your worksheet too. I bet your students will remember this fondly for a long time. :)

  4. autumnhardesty May 8, 2023

    @nkeyalt Thank you so much!! I really hope so!

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