Friday, 16 July 2021

Things I like: dogs

 I have 4 dogs. Eren, Rona, Marusu and Rohan, they are toy poodles of 3 generations. The oldest is Eren.

16 years ago, my daughter and I met her in a pet shop in Aoyama. She was very cute and just 45 days old. We fell in love at first glance. 

At that time my daughter went to the high school in Tokyo. She lived alone. Perhaps she felt lonely. She was eager to buy this pretty dog. 

Eren saved her. They were necessary for each other. Time has passed and my daughter is a mother of two children and Eren is also a grandmother. 

She lost her eyesight and can not hear. She was a very clever dog but now she has dementia. From daybreak to midnight, we have to look after her. But she is the existence that is more important than the past. We are very happy with this dear great dog. 

The picture was taken from:

By Olga

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Things I like: reading

 When I was 9 or 10, I had a chance to read a book. It was powerful to get into the world in the story. I loved the story because it was so exciting and interesting. There are some animals, humans, and some creatures between animals and humans. 

Picture was taken from:

A few years later, I studied children's literature, especially in England. They have a lot of classical literature. For example, Peter Pan, Peter Rabbit, Mary Poppins, Dr. Dolittle, Alice in Wonderland, and of course The Chronicles of Narnia. They are so interesting and attractive. 

By Naoko Hiramatsu

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Ellis Island - "I've been there"

Ellis Island
I read “Ellis Island: Rosalia’s Story", which is about an immigrant’s journey from Italy to the U.S.A. in 1910.

A small island near New York City in the U.S.A., Ellis Island was where more than 12 million immigrants arrived between 1892 to 1954, for their health and immigration checks, before traveling into the city.

I have visited New York City several times, first in 1991 and most recently in 2019. When I got close to the area of Ellis Island, it seemed like a very little island, so I could not believe that such a lot of people arrived and stayed for several hours there. People must have been very worried and excited when they arrived there after their long journeys.

Liberty Island is close to Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island, is one of the most famous things in the world. It has been standing in Liberty Island since 1886. I think the immigrants must have been encouraged by the symbol of liberty. Today it still stands magnificently. Every time I see it I get very excited.
The Statue of Liberty: Teruki, Liberty Island,1991


Thursday, 8 July 2021

Things I like: My cat

the picture was taken from

I thought I like dogs better than cats. But my thought changed recently. A stray cat came to my house from my friend two years ago. 

I named him Brownie. His face was not so handsome and I didn't know his real age. His movements were also slow. He didn't show his teeth and didn't scratch me with his nails. 

Now he is my family member. When I worked in the dining room, he sleeps like a bowl on the table. I can stroke Brownie kindly. It's a comfortable time. 

So I found that I like both dogs and cats. 

By Hiroko Miyazawa

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Things I like: Golf

One of my hobbies is golf. I started to play golf when I was over 50 years old and I found I liked it very much. 

It was a surprise to me. I didn't think I would like sports when I was a child. My old friends will be surprised if they knew I enjoy golf now. 

I like golf because both young and old can play together in nature. So, sometimes when my family gets together, we play gold while chatting the whole day long. It is a great joy. 

I also enjoy watching golf TV programs. Hideki Matsuyama is the best gold player in Japan. He won the Masters Golf Tournament this year and on the same day, my second grandchild was born!

Now I am looking forward to playing golf with him in the future!

By Yasumi Imai

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Best eateries in Azumino - a local's Top 10

1. Auberge la vie tranquille Azumino 

“Marvelous French dishes with great views of Azumino. The first and only Auberge in Azumino”

“You can enjoy fancy French food”

2. Okina (Japanese Soba)

“You can enjoy some very good soba in the restaurant with a wonderful view of Azumino and Japanese Alps “

“It’s really popular and kind of a famous soba restaurant”

“In the restaurant, most of time, full of people”

3.Teatime Garni

“It’s a cozy cafe in the woods”

“My favorite place in this cafe is the terrace seat” 

“The morning plate: omelette and mushroom sauce and garlic rice or muffin, baked vegetables and fresh salad, is lovely!!”

4. Nishiya besso (accommodation and restaurant, shop)

“Amazing old house!!”

“You can enjoy the very traditional Japanese course dishes. They are beautiful and tasty. The rooms are really interesting old style “

“You can also enjoy hot spring. There’s a outside bath, which is fantastic “

5. Soup Curry Hanjiro

“Original soup style curry. Tasty and volume with meat and lots of vegetables”

“Really popular one. Most of the time, there is a queue in front of the restaurant “

6. Suehiro

“A Japanese style barbecue cooked in front of the customers. Traditional Japanese food, yakitori ( barbecue chicken) and karaage ( fried chicken) , cold or fried tofu…everything is good!!”

“Very old restaurant relaxed atmosphere”

7. Stagione 

“Nice Italian restaurant. They cook excellent food with their own vegetables from their garden. Especially antipasto plate in amazing!! “

“Nice, charming interior and a good view of the garden and mountains.

8. Cafe Olika

“It has just opened in this early summer. A kind of stylish cafe. You can enjoy some lunch plate. “

“ There’s a charming garden”

“On the weekend, sometimes it’s full of people. There’s parking “

9. Gappidou Seipan

“Excellent home made campagne bread and some hard bread. They are really tasty”

“The shop is in wood. It’s really nice place “

10. Azumino milk 

“There are some interesting products and food made by their fresh milk. Pudding, Ice cream, drinks. Fresh taste is unforgettable”

Friday, 2 July 2021

The Raven Crow - local rock band on the up!

Struggling to find a new rock band to follow? 

Look no further than one of our local high schools in Matsumoto, where Instagram influencer & school president Masato fronts The Raven Crow. He writes the lyrics, whips up the crowd and leads from the front...and headlined Agata-no-Mori High School's 74th summer festival with aplomb last week. Pretty tough 18 months to try to break through on the music scene, with very limited numbers at live gigs (if even open) & last year's school event binned. 

Startled teacher last autumn: "Why did you fall asleep in your Cambridge B1:Preliminary exam?" 

Unapologetic student: "I was practicing with my band all night"

Love the lad's chops, especially with his English lyrics and tight production of their debut track on Youtube (link above). 

  • Please check out The Raven Crow on Youtube (like/subscribe/share - hit all the buttons!)
  • Find them on Instagram & ditto all the buttons
No English grammar was hurt in the writing of this song!

Thursday, 1 July 2021

The Habsburg Family

 "Bella gerant alii, tu felix Asutria nube."

- Leave the war to others, and thou, blessed Austria, marry!-

The Habsburgs family reigned for many years as rulers of the nations of Europe. They expanded their territories through marriage.  Austria, Spain, Napoli. Their territories were so huge. 

However, it's also true that the repeated marriage policy has led to a lot of inbreeding. As a result, there were many weak children, premature deaths, and even more deformities. One of the most famous is the Habsburg mandible (jaw). Also (or perhaps as a result of this), they were a prolific family. 

Maria Teresia, who was the queen from 1740 to 1780, had 15 children. Among her children, the most famous one is Marie Antoinette. She was the victim of the French Revolution, and also the victim of the marriage policy of Habsburg.

At first her older sister of 3 years (Maria Carolina) was the candidate, but their oldest sister, who was planned to be married to the king of Naples, died suddenly just before the marriage. So Maria Carolina was suddenly married to the king of Naples, then Marie Antoinette, therefore, became a candidate for a political marriage to France. After that, as you know, French Revolution started. 

World War I ended on 11th November 1918, Austria was defeated, Karl I the last emperor abdicated, ending the reign of the Habsburg. But their descendants are still alive.

                                -Leave the war to others, and thou, blessed Austria, marry!-

Their marriage sometimes changed history, and their lives have been changed by their marriages.

Written by Anna

Flipping good work - young learners on Zoom

Two of my students moved away in the spring, but wanted to keep learning together as they've been with Luna/in the same class since they were knee-high. They have adapted to taking classes online really well, because they have confidence in each other, trust me (a bit!) and realise that 'mistakes' are just part & parcel of the learning process...but once upon a time a hair-trigger for tears & red faces. Now, giggles galore and superb collaborative English adventure.

Having adopted/upgraded to online presentation tools for textbooks, & digital copies of graded readers (kids still need physical books in their hands...reading is a tactile sport!) for our teachers to exploit, we've been re-skilling at Luna Towers on the job.

Last night, only one student could join me at the last minute...we've just started a new text book and I didn't want to leave her buddy behind or have to retrace our steps next week. We've just finished a set of readers and the new order is literally in the post. My game plan crashed & burned.

Sherlock Holmes:
The Dying Detective
Imagine MY delight when she bounced off her chair squeeling when I showed her the front covers of the new readers "I love Sherlock Holmes!" ... Let's run with that enthusiasm :)

Ceeding control of my keyboard & mouse, we worked together to build a Quizlet set from the glossary of 'harder' or less familiar words in the story. How? 

I have a fair idea her vocabulary 'store' so:

  • challenged her to spell 'known' or previously studied words (memory or a quick book dive) & then checking herself, by choosing an image (auto search is accurate enough) to suit. I liked this approach as her selections were different to mine!
  • familiar words I typed and she told me what she thought it meant (some L1 here), then image search to confirm understanding
  • obviously unknown & unique words to this story eg contagion or microbe, I added the word & found a suitable image & then checked for understanding ('corona?')
And there you go. Student generated content. Fully engaged both of us, and will be a great help to her buddy next week. Next mission with this set will be to make a copy, and have them both agree on a Japanese translation for the vocabulary. This will be a dictionaries open exercise if necessary, and another way we can flip our online classroom; after that game time in Quizlet and whatever else I can think of eg  wordwall or oodlu

The Quizlet set "Sherlock Holmes - The Dying Detective" OUP Dominoes "Quick Starter" graded reader produced by 'lunateacher' in our "Graded Reader - Young Learners" class. Feel free to join (it's free!) students and teachers!

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Hotel reservation - Mena House Oberoi Hotel, Giza, Egypt

 Kanako & Takeshi's writing project for June was to email a hotel to confirm a reservation. 

Dear Madam,

I'd like to make a reservation for  a family room for a week, between the 22nd and the 27th of August. I'd like a room with a view of pyramid, and confirm what menus there are with price for dinner.

Please confirm the reservation.

Yours sincerely

Your sincerely


Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Hotel reservation - Hotel Venice

Kanako & Takeshi's writing project for June was to email a hotel to confirm a reservation. 

From Kanako 


Subject Reservation for March

Dear Sir Madam,

I would like to make a reservation for a double room for two nights, 25 and 26 March.

I would like a room with a view of the lagoon. Could you tell me about using terrace? What foods we can buy? Is there a freezer in the room?

Please confirm the reservation

Yours sincerely


Thursday, 24 June 2021

Remembering my father - Sayuri's fond memories

When I found the old photo of my father, some warm feeling was recalled immediately and made me smile.

My father was fond of literature and he was rather a romantic person. When he was a high school student, he belonged to a literature club and he organized a small funeral for the famous cat at his school festival. The cat was in the masterpiece: I am a cat, Wagahai wa neko dearu, by the great Japanese author, Soseki Natsume. He told me about it a long time ago but I didn't know a photo existed. In the old black and white photo, there was a small altar of the cat in the story and three rather serious looking boys sitting straight. One of them was my father in his high school uniform. I felt strange to see my father's youth and the figure that I hadn't known.

He liked books, newspapers, movies, and a little bit of beer. I am wondering what he would do in this self-isolated situation. Probably he would enjoy himself in his creative way of living. I miss him a lot.

Posted for Sayuri

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Postcard: Wish you were here

We're having a great time! We had a good journey and the weather is mostly good. 

It's sometimes a little wet. The hotel is right in the city center. It's good to visit Big Ben. We shopped all of yesterday and got some really nice books. The food is excellent (tired lots of different cafes!) I'm looking forward to our dinner cruise tonight!

By Misawa Hinata

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

A travel recommendation - Ishikawa prefecture, Japan

Kenrokuen in winter
If you are going to Ishikawa, you ought to visit Kanazawa, which is the capital, located in the center of the prefecture. It has a lot of places to visit and a lot of foods and sweets to eat.

You can get there by a car, bus, airplane, and bullet train. In the city, you should take a walk with wearing sneakers, because there are many historical buildings like temples. If you’re going there in winter, you need to take an umbrella in case of rain.

First of all, you should go to Kenrokuen, which is one of the most beautiful garden in Japan, and then there is also famous museum called the 21th Century Museum nearby. After that you had better go to the Oumi market, which is a fresh seafood market. You can buy fresh seafoods from Japan Sea, and if you need, you can send them to your house. Finally, I strongly recommend you to go to a sushi restaurant. It must be delicious.
Kenrokuen after a blizzard

Unfortunately, in holidays, many tourists visit there and it gets so crowded. However, I think it’s worth it, because you can have great experiences in Kanazawa.

Posted for Ai

Monday, 21 June 2021

A travel recommendation - Route des Grands Crus

One of France’s most incredible places to visit is Burgundy, which is eastern part of France. If you’re going to Burgundy, you ought to visit “Route des Grands Crus“, which is a 60-kilometre running nort to south between Dijon and Beaune and lead to Santenay. It’s really beautiful country side and it passes through the many of great vineyards of Burgundy wines.

Cycling the route is an ideal way,which you’ll enjoy a tasty trip and picturesque villages at your own pace. You need to rent a bicycle, wear comfortable shoes , a sunhat, carry some water , a raincoat and a camera .You don’t need to carry your lunch, because there are some restaurants, which serves the local foods and cafe on the way.

Frist of all, you rent your bicycle at Beaune and then you start to the heart of Burgundy wines region. After you leave Beaune ride through the vineyards for a while. About half way, you get on Nuit-Saint-George and have a tasting lunch. After lunch you keep on cycling and stop at Romane Conti’s vineyard,which is the most famous wine in the world. After that you pass “Chateau Clos de Vougeot“,which is a highly symbolic building, is really picturesque. Then you arrive at Gevrey-Chambertin village and visit the winery, which is possible tasting wine. Finally you go back to Beaune by bicycle or by train with your bicycle.

Unfortunately, it depends on the weather, if you’ll be able to enjoy and you need to take care of traffic. However I think it’s worth it, because it’s so spectacular.

Posted for Miyuki

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Nanaha's Haiku - "Swallows"

 Swallows flying fast

Catching insects as they swoop

They make summer days

I chose "swallows" because I like them. Swallows are so cool They fly a long long way to build nests under roofs in my town. I miss them when they go away.

Posted for Nanaha

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Try to have fun!

Currently entering my 2 months of teaching at Luna International School set in the beautiful mountains of Nagano. Coming from a background teaching teenagers and only teenagers. When I got an offer to start teaching younger students, it definitely scared me. I always thought I could do it, it won't be that different from teaching high school (so I said!). Boy, was I wrong!

Barely a week in and I cracked. It was hard! I learned that kids especially younger ones had the attention span of a fly. I felt like a clown put to show and begged the kids for attention. My balloon tricks weren't doing the work here. Had to talk to Jim (my boss) on how to make the kids pay attention and what is too hard and too easy for them. Basically, his advice was to go back to the basics, alphabets, song, singing, and dancing. Acting silly with them. Try to have fun! 2 months in and he still reminds me of that, have fun with the kids and I do agree with that. Once I start enjoying my time with the kids, I start to relax and understand their needs better. 

I learned a lot, to be honest, I noticed how students pick up languages differently. Most kids require a hands-on approach while others are okay with learning by textbook. I felt a mix of emotions, more patience definitely. I learned different methods in approaching kids with help from Jim. I do want to be better for my students because I know they are silently struggling to understand a foreign language too. My heart cares for these kids a lot and I do agree that they deserve the best education possible and hopefully, with more guidance and learning on my side. I'm able to help them. l I still have a long road ahead and I am excited to see what else I learn! 

Friday, 4 June 2021

Megacities: Istanbul

 Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the country’s economic, cultural and historic center. It is in the northwest of Turkey and spreads over the Bosporus Strait. It spreads in both Europe and Asia with a population of 14.1 million. It is a period of about 1600 years, the city was the capital city until Ankara is the new capital of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

Istanbul has a borderline Mediterranean climate, humid subtropical climate, and oceanic climate under both classifications. Istanbul’s weather has a special feature as high humidity 80% usually in the morning. In summer, the average maximum temperature is 29 degrees Celsius and it has low rainfall.

by Reiko

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Megacities: New York


Racism is still rampant in New York. Recently, crime targeting Asians have been increasing due to COVID-19. It’s dangerous when you walk alone in the early morning and night. Lurking danger in a quiet place, ally, and subway. There are a lot of people who come from other countries.

Four seasons in New York but spring and autumn is very short. Very hot in summer and very cold in winter. You can get anywhere by walking because New York city’s streets are designed in a grid. Subway runs 24 hours a day.

The cost of living is high in New York. New York is the highest in fashion. New Year events at Time Squares is the most famous New Year count down in the world. Many famous artists perform
here every year.

by Rinka.

Friday, 28 May 2021

Junior ornithology - swallows

Original artwork by Nanaha

I like swallows. They have thin black wings, small black claws and beaks. They have red throats and faces, and white bodies. 

They are small; 10 - 24cm, and weigh 10 - 60g. Swallows live all over the world, and they make small mud nests under rooves. They have four or five chicks.

Swallows eat insects, but not stinging ones. They find food when they are flying. They can fly fast and well.

I like swallows because they are little, but they fly nicely. I like to see them in the summer.

Posted for Nanaha

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Birdwatching in Matsumoto - crows

Crows are my favourite birds. Crows have black wings, talons, and beaks. Crows are 45cm tall, and 337 to 1,625 grams. They live all over the world, and in Matsumoto around the castle and Agata no mori (park).

Crows make big nests high up in trees, 15-60 metres off the ground. Crows have four or five chicks.

Crows eat small animals - mammals, worms, other birds as well as carrion (dead things) and garbage. They find food anywhere.

Original artwork by Izhe
Crows can fly acrobatics, and make big groups. I like crows because they are so smart.

Posted for Izhe

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Young Learners & graded readers: win win!

Supplements to class books
I think graded readers have a place in every language learning environment; they certainly play an important part in our learning goals at Luna, and have proven their worth many times over as our students have blossomed from learning first words to biting off big chunks in Cambridge exams - be it entry level Young Learners (pre-A1Starters) to B2:First with us here at JP004.

Young Learners are rarely independent learners, so we use our readers in class to form good habits; get used to the format & style, find the audio or read along with the teacher narrating - we love correcting the teacher if he/she 'makes a mistake'! We exploit the artwork to predict or reflect, recycle & repeat. We get used to the kinds of tasks that are included in the puzzle pages, and understand that we absolutely can turn the pages back to find what we are looking for together (is it a team race? are we working in pairs? are the books on the table even? which pages do we need to look at?) Follow the directions (which are also in English). Stuck? Ask peers or the teacher for help, of course it's OK!

Exploit the glossary

Good choice of reader will mean you can easily suppliment/compliment your regular course books, be it in terms of vocabulary or target structure. Working on animals or numbers...prepositions or suggestions...culture, values, social studies or science? 

Use your readers for much more than 'just reading' and instead a launch pad for inquisitive minds & project work in all shapes and forms - a talking picture of a favourite character being interviewed maybe...a poster or illustration personalising vocabulary & self...scaffolded writing eg focussing on personification, localisation or prediction...use the 'hard' or new words imaginatively not as 'test' items.

Make a meal out of the level of language, and the repetitive nature of graded reader titles? Notice, for
pronunciation mining

example, when you can take advantage of regular past tense verbs. Make it a listening task & colour code your -ed endings and then organise them - organise them into sets in side the front cover (invariably blank real estate there!). Can your learners match up the (probably limited number of) irregular past tense verbs with their dictionary form - another reason to re-read (but this time scanning) & quickly.

Collaborating on a project
Reading out loud? I really think this is a bad idea for so many reasons (stage fright, fear of mistakes, "I'm too slow", not confident with big words, wasn't in class last week, didn't hear the audio etc)! Instead, narrate the story yourself (model good pronunciation/intonation, speed) and only have your students speak particular roles each. This encourages them to read ahead & identify direct speech and to figure out who is speaking...this can take time but let them do that together & agree! What words in the text help us do that? How does the speaker speak (cry? shout? whisper?) has meaning! But don't flog it - save more for next week and only give 'homework' if they can do it/know how to do it. Can they actually access the audio components, for example.

Lastly for now, with digital versions of readers available (OUP did a fantastic job in 2020 offering their reading bookshelf titles available for free) it is not hard to cater for online learners as well as our F2F cohort to stay on the same page. Takes a bit of thinking about, but the room for even more exploitation of the materials is there - US or British narration as well as fast/normal/slow choices. Most importantly, enjoy. Reading will yield the best results over time, at a regular, steady pace, at 'not-too-hard' levels and with meaningful engagement/activities. Keep track of progress - not just word count or number of books read, or obsess over reading speed...but build portfolios for your students, give them the confidence to skip tough words & come back later with an informed guess over meaning if they have to; don't translate everything, and don't stuff it all up by making it a test.

Enjoy reading :)

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Young Learners - making things "harder"

colours & shapes
We love teaching children at Luna, and we particularly enjoy students who come to every class with big "Can Do' attitudes, like gannets hungry to learn & use English.

You'll notice in the photos our textbooks are not front & centre; we really like to encourage our learners to become independent of the printed word (massively useful to set out structures etc, for sure, and provide direction + continuity)...but to get language properly into heads we need to use it variously, flexibly & realistically.

Problem I have as a teacher with this class is to slow down ravenous appetites for progress! Instead, add on a lot of extras & let our students really go to town with their awesome willingness to jump into challenges bravely and intelligently, teaching/helping each other and being very positive.

"Outer Space" (Learning Resources)...was on the table five seconds when these two started playing (first time!) asking each and answering questions "What is it? .. "It's a blue circle." then game play asking each other Yes/No questions. Winner irrelevant as loads of great language work, prompting/correcting each other nicely. And the teacher lost!

Everybody Up on the board
Song "It's a book, it isn't a notebook" from Everybody Up 1 (Unit 1) > listening task & digging out the flashcards to pop on the board & then point along as we listened again...'narrate' it at their own speed, then join in & switch places half way through. "Re-write" the song by choosing other vocabulary items...and then try with the reverse sides (words) only...still too easy!

Can't wait to get into our new graded readers, but somehow I doubt they'll help as sheet anchors either...full speed ahead!

Friday, 21 May 2021

Can't do my homework: Part 3 of 3 - flipped class

Activity from Primary Grammar Box (CUP)
Books closed, use it to hide a pair work activity and to lean on (one in-class learner paired with the Zoomer whose screen share also 'hidden' on another monitor). Pencils at the ready - no need to spell anything (although all the target vocabulary is familiar...didn't want to defeat the object of this exercise by getting bogged down again!) but the possible issue of artistic limitations/reluctance instead?

To be honest, I didn't monitor that output. Rather, I tried to see what the students were doing to get the language out...

  • glancing at the rods to 'get started' & 'load' the full utterance in their mind before starting
  • glancing at the rods to double check they'd 'used' each block/word ie completed their utterance (I wanted to make sure the time phrase was included to give meaning to the past simple target structure)
  • moving a rod to make sure they'd used the right word needed to add a couple of extra rods for the plural (doubled the ones in play) forms - nicely previews or flips next week's lesson
  • listening to each other better (for nitty gritty bits!)
...and of course listening to their spoken out & giving as much non-verbal encouragement as possible - which was not really necessary as they got on with the task really fluently, collaboratively and effectively. And, despite the masks, pretty chuffed smiles all round. And the dark clouds have lifted.

With that, I don't think any of us are dreading the next lesson! 

What are your solutions/suggestion/reactions? Let me know @oyajimbo on't twitter :)

Appendendum: a few days later I asked my son to get his homework book out (imagine the face!). I asked him to underline the words in the structure we'd been practicing with the same colours as we'd used midweek. Penny dropped - the colours had done the trick & he could correct his own work...

Where can you buy Cuisenaire Rods

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Can't do my homework: Part 2 of 3 - a different tack

Cuisenair Rods = colour + length 'coding'
I wanted to take the words out of the equation, but leave them in somehow. Replace them?

The Game Plan...and no, I couldn't remember exactly all the words either. notes. As a group, I asked them to write one word at a time on to a post-it (books open if needed); my online student did so into the Zoom chat. So no, not a 'spelling test' per se. Fortunately, my post-it notes were not very sticky so they needed weighing down (fan was on for a reason!).

Online? I'd opened a Google Jamboard & drawn colour lines where I wanted my student to enter text. Hard for newbies, but he's been learning on the job for a year now, and could cope with the challenge (enjoys messing about with the mouse/keyboard when I give him control, defacing things!). Problem = few colours available for the pen/type tools on Jamboard than I needed...

Unsticky post-it notes...just the excuse!
So we had the question form on the table, in a straight line, and then the answer below, so's that words 'lined up'. Putting the Cuisenaire Rods on the post-its = words were there but obsured, and could be peeped at if we needed a prompt (ie "I want to read the word")  without referring to the book. We negotiated block lengths to suit the actual words...subliminally giving each part of speech a different colour code into the bargain.

I didn't want to hide the words for my Zoomer, as he's already operating from the far end of the telescope and he has a lot fewer clues to work with - cannot pick up non-verbals etc. But, as his workspace was on another screen, my in-class gang did not realise he had an "advantage", so he became quasi-sensei & his ego was suitably enhanced.

Did it work? 

(Part 3 will be posted tomorrow)

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Can't do my homework - it doesn't make sense. Part 1 of 3 - the problem

Ever had one of those classes when you assumed you had a relatively straightforward lesson coming up, and 2 minutes in you realised it was going to go horribly wrong and you had no escape route? Happens to us all - especially if you make stupid assumptions and you have a blended F2F/online classroom. As I tell my teachers all the time, have a plan B and 'go to resources' just in case...and don't make assumptions!

Everything fell apart when I could not see whether my online student had done his homework or not (still struggling with that 'problem' as he cannot fax his homework book, nor scan it on his own - he's 11). Holding it up to his webcam about the best we can manage at the moment (cannot spot mistakes/spelling/handwriting obviously). Goody two shoes had done her work in pristine condition + extra doodle decorations; older lad was absent (happens); and the left-hander presented a dog's dinner. I blame the parents (that would be me...).

The rest of the lesson was painful for all; no dynamic as everyone had different starting places...could not do 'next' as the last thing we'd done was clearly a train wreck. Orally, this class usually steams through content. Listening? Too easy. Reading - we get by, and the graded readers are core to this, especially as we now have audio + online presentation tools. Comprehending question/answer word order...decoding the grammar if you home, alone showed for the most part I had not done my job at all well. I'd assumed it had 'gone in' when I had not paid careful enough attention.

My son avoided me for a day or two - ask any school owner & you'll realise that is not difficult, and I had a whole week scratching my head trying to figure out a nifty app or online game that would deliver a "Tadaa" solution. Lazy.

So I asked myself what would Alex Burke think of. 

Colour. Ah yes, colour. And inaccessibility - my lefty does not like reading for detail. It overwhelms him (Japanese maths problems - he can do the numbers but he does not 'understand' the questions). 

More sleepless nights for me, and lefty's homework bag an abandoned nightmare on the floor in the genkan (entrance hall). Dark clouds as the next lesson loomed.

(Part 2 will be posted tomorrow)

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Sir Bobby Charlton - Biography

Sir Bobby Charlton is the former football player who had played for Manchester United Football Club and England's National team. He is called the greatest football player in England.

He was born in Ashington, Northumberland on 11th, October, 1937. He joined Manchester United Football Club when he was seventeen years old. But, he faced "Munich air disaster" on 6th,February, 1958, and he lost many teammates in this accident.

He recovered from his shock after two months, and he was chosen to be a member of England's National team. He brought not just many titles to Manchester United Football Club but also the championship of the World Cup in 1966 to England's National team. 

Although he is eighty three years old, he is still well. For celebrating the sixty years anniversary of his debut, the south stand of the Old Trafford, the home stadium of the Manchester United Football Club, was named "Sir Bobby Charlton Stand".

Monday, 17 May 2021

Poul Henningsen (1894-1967) - Biography


Poul Henningsen was famous for modern lighting designer.

He was born Ordrup, in Denmark, on 9 September 1894. His mother, who was noted author.

From 1911 to 1917, he was trained at Copenhagen Technical College and the Technical University of Denmark, where he studied to be an architect, but had not graduated, he chose a career as an inventor and painter.

In 1919, he was hired by Kay Fisker. From 1920, he freelanced as an architect and designer. Henningsen presented the Paris Lamp at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts at Paris which was a World’s fair, was designed by the French government. He won gold medal for the Paris lamp, was consisted of 6 shades and made of silver.

A few years later, in 1925, he worked with Louis Poulsen which was company, had corporate with him until he was died.

Henningsen designed PH lamp series, which has three-shade system. The lamps were successful and gave him for royalty. 

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1963, struggled with difficulty speaking, when he finally died on January 31, 1967. 

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Alex Honnold - biography

I will introduce a climber. His name is Alex Honnold who was born in USA in 1985. He started climbing at 5 years old. He did well at schools, but he dropped out of a college to focus on climbing.

He is free solo climber which means climbing rocks without tools. It means he will die if he fails.

He is the only person of free solo climbed El Capitan, which is the mountain of 900m high, in Yosemite Notional Park. He climbed the rock cliff in 19 hours. The challenge was only one day, but it took nearly a year to prepare.

He is shy, but he has a bold performance and calm judgement when he climbs. A scientist, who was interested in his brain, has examined his brain waves. Then, the scientist found that a fearful part of his brain was less responsive than a normal person.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Musical postcards

 As it is very difficult for many of us to travel abroad, we used our imagination. I asked Takeshi and Kanako to listen to this song and draw a scene of what came into their heads. I then asked them to pretend that they were on holiday there and to write a postcard as their homework task. In a time where we can't send/receive postcards, this is probably the next best thing!

Audrey Hepdurn - biography

Audrey Hepburn is one of the best players in golden time of Hollywood’s movie and the EGOT actors who win all sorts of awards - Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. She was also an icon and popular actress who had slender appearance and bright smile. 

She had influenced  not only to cinema production but also to fashion market. Her dresses of  "Breakfast at Tiffany’s"  had been designed by Givenchy, and the black dress she wore is one of the most recognized as her style.

Her life, which we receive from articles in the magazines,  shows brilliant success and supreme happiness. However, her true story in childhood was relatively unknown. World War II had broken her future as a ballet dancer by malnutrition in the war. In her late life, after getting many prizes, she dedicated her life to UNICEF which helps the poor children who need help for their lives.

While traveling for UNICEF, she had found out she had cancer. To get back to all of the children who had been waiting for her help,  she decided to fight the cancer in the USA, but she couldn't win. Her family recommended she go back to her peaceful house in Switzerland which she loved, and lived happily with her family. 

Although her body had no power to walk by herself, Givenchy prepared his private jet plane for her safe return.  In 1993, she had breathed her last in her house with her loving family at her side.

Posted for Yumi M

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Jake Shimokuburo - biography

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1976, Jake Shimabukuro is a fifth-generation Japanese-American. At the age of four his mother, is a veteran ukulele player and singer herself, handed him a ukulele and he started to practice for hours every day.

In 1998, while working a clerk at a musical instrument store, he formed a band with several friends. Together, they won the Na Hoku Hana Hana Award, which is said to be "Hawaii's Grammy Award" and then he released his first album. Four years later, a Japanese music production company signed him, and he has since released an albums in Japan.

In 2006, a famous guitarist posted his wonderful performance on Youtube (without his knowledge) and became internationally famous. He played Bohemian Rhapsody on TED-talks TV, with just his ukulele, to  in 2011.

Now, he has become a master ukulele player,  playing super-fast "like lightning" and with an unrivaled technique. Known as the "Jimi Hendrix of Hawaii", he is still active , regularly collaborating with famous singers and performers.

Posted for Masaya S.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Letter to university friend - after reading

Dear Anna,

I hope that you are doing fine. It's been awhile to write a letter to you because I was in a blindness and was losing my mind. I have been a sniper for a team since this war occurred. I was thinking it was right decision, but some things happened to me lately and I realized that I was wrong.

One of things that happened to me is that a man was truly trusted from the bottom of my heart was killed by the top of my team. I thought I was choosing what I want to do, but it was wrong. He was protecting me from the top of team. The top of my team is cold and demanding. Now, they want me to kill someone, which I don’t want to do that.

Another thing which changed my thought is a cellist. He started to play cello after bombing at bakery. 22 people died for the bombing, and the cellist plays cello for 22 days. One day, I heard his play, and realized there are too many hates in this town. No one of my enemies or me doesn’t have to be a killer. I’m regretful to be a sniper very much.

Now, people of my team are chasing me because I didn’t obey them. Maybe, they will kill me. I hope I can survive and meet you again. I want to hang around with you after this war is over someday.

Your friend,