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Hello Ninja World!

April 6, 2010

Students Love Dr. McNinja


I think blanked out comics are just what ESL teachers here do. There are tons of reasons why…students love comics, the students can practice making dialogues and use all kinds of language to express themselves. I’ve found that my middle schoolers are particularly fond of using interjections and onomatopoeia, which is awesome. 

For two weeks I used ninjas in my lessons. There was a running contest to see who could best demonstrate vocabulary words using ninjas and then there were the ninja dialogues made from the comic seen above, a Dr. McNinja comic. I try to use comics where the storyline is far from obvious so that the more advanced students can get really creative. This particular comic involves a family of ninjas discussing the origins of the McNinja lineage…did I tell my students any of  that? Of course not. I told them that the ninjas were having dinner, to use a vocab word and have fun….but not too much because they’d have to act the dialogue out in front of the class later. 

I’m marking the papers now…going through the regular mistakes of missing articles and misspellings. Some of the sentences are really fantastic, vivid, and/or disturbing: 

“Oh I killed someone!! I feel tingling!” -It’s surprising to see what words the kids know sometimes.  

“Would you mind if I kill that loud baby?”

I think their vocabulary word is “turn down” Other groups applied the word to music, but not this one. 

"Just put a pillow in the baby's mouth. The pillow is in the closet. OH~what a crazy ninja family it is!"


“Hi! do you know that the new government changed the insurance policy? So, the operation takes about $100,00” 

 -It strikes me as odd that students who talk about music groups and fashion all day write comics about insurance policies. 

“A tree is one thing that is worthy to raise” “I knew you would say that” –There is no amount of context to help anyone understand what’s really going on here. 

“Father what is reggae?” “Reggae is Jamaica’s rock music”

 – News to me. 

"Why are you coming so late? He has terminal stomach cancer." "What? Is it real? And you mean my son will die out because of cancer?"

I hope that this group just watches a lot of Grey’s Anatomy or something.

“Do you know reggae?” “Of course, I’m president of reggae!”

The vocabulary word was ” reggae” I can’t express how interesting the dialogues with this word are.

“Which country has the largest population in the world?” “It’s a ninja world. They have one third of the world population.”

 – I can imagine this question coming up in Ninja Jeopardy.

“K-mart sales are 70%. They are crazy” “Maybe we kill them and buy that sales”

 – Do they even have K-marts here? Also, kill who? K-mart? Also, yes, kill them and buy that sales.

Students are clever and odd. I couldn’t have done it without the original cleverness and oddness that is the real Dr McNinja series (Surprise, it’s about a ninja who is also a doctor!)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2010 9:06 am

    Um, for the record, this just made my day. As I sit here reading it at my desk I am actually crying I’m laughing so hard. Those were some awesome, AWESOME conversations.

  2. aukissed permalink*
    April 7, 2010 6:07 am

    I thought I’d share my little corner of bizarre ESl heaven with the blogosphere, I’m glad the joy spread to you!

    It was tough not to just post the really bad or really good answers since often enough I’ll get the whole range in one class.


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