This February I chose to omit a famous person in exchange for a Special English Board Feature on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Quick research taught me that Team Japan had an unusually large number of athletes and that female Japanese athletes outnumbered male Japanese athletes for the first time in history. I love the Olympics and I couldn’t wait to encourage discussion and excitement among my students.
The feature needed to be big, bright, and eye-catching to hold up to students’ end-of-term scrutiny. I found some random “gold medals” in my desk and tacked the bling directly onto the English Board. Then, I created a large, 3-d title sign to hang above the board, stepping outside the box. The feature included short facts about the Sochi festivities, the Olympic Torch, Team Japan, and tiny write-ups of Japan’s three most promising athletes: Ayumu Hirano, Sara Takanashi, and Mao Asada. By including Japanese athletes (two of them are still in high school!) I gave my students familiar faces that they can relate to, making reluctant English Board viewers more likely to take a gander at my board. I might have exceeded my monthly color printing allowance but the risk was worth it! Throughout the Olympic Games, I added “medals” for every Japanese athlete that placed in his or her competition. Shown here are Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka’s medals for the snowboard half pipe!