Friday, 20 January 2017

Mind the (Learning) Gap - relevant materials for teens in EFL classrooms

We have been so busy at Luna over the last year or so exploiting the wonderful resources that are Mary Glasgow magazines, that we have completely forgotten to write about them!

Published by Scholastic, and available for learners across 5 carefully graded (CEFR) levels from A2 to C1 (Cambridge YLE Flyers/KET for Schools to Cambridge Advanced) and in five editions per year, the challenge is really upon learner & teacher to motor through all the amazing content quickly enough!

Please change here for Tower Bridge!
We promise to keep you better informed of our experiences this year - we already had the third of five editions for 2016-17 land on our doorstep though!

A theme with the Crown (CEFR B1 level) magazine this year (the publisher's "year" sticks to the British school calendar which runs October to September) is a double page spread per issue on one of London's Underground Lines. So far, we have run the rule along the Central & Circle Lines. I think this is a fabulous idea - and extremely well set out - with highlights and photos of the best places to go sightseeing & which station is closest...historical & cultural information too. Also very practical - London IS the world's most visited tourist destination after all, and the map is an iconically simple representation of a very messy bowl of spaghetti!

A lot of Japanese learners can relate to major underground networks - more people pour through Shinjuku station (in Tokyo), for example, than the entire population New Zealand. Per day! And a lot of internationalised students, or returnees if you like, have tackled an underground network somewhere along the way. How often do you struggle to find relevant (and current) material for travelled & more fluent/capable kids if you are running a school/teaching outside eg the Circle Line?

We've had a redundant board game in the cupboard for yonks, which is a great game but impossible to give any relevance to apart from the odd "I'm going to London next month" panic scenario! Now? most popular game in the building as our pre & young teens want to roam around London checking out the sights and transfer urgently to get Hamley's, see Big Ben and get to Wembley Stadium!

As we adopted these magazines to replace our reliance on Oxford University Press's Story Tree (you fools, brilliant YLE resource for EFL chopped off at the knees) we went to bat making resources to cover the entire glossary for each article in each of the five magazines on Quizlet. This allows us to flip our classrooms - teachers get early editions as institutional subscribers & we roll-out sets (per article) well in advance. The subscription deal with Scholastic is SO attractive, and the resources available online so staggeringly comprehensive & archived, we feel the very least we can do is share.



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Invisible writing - get those reluctant scribblers going

In September 2010, Peter Ross made a presentation at Shinshu JALT here in Matsumoto on Invisible Writing. It remains one of the most practical & helpful learning tips I have come across over the years of workshops & conferences I have attended. It is a technique I have occasionally deployed with my learners aiming for exam success.

Keep that plan handy - or you'll get lost!
A never-ending frustration with my learners - and I suspect a nationwide issue at least here in Japan - is how slowly ideas are formulated into words, and how slowly those words are organised/connected/embellished/collocated/contrasted/developed...brainstorming is not a concept familiar to very many students I have taught over the years, and certainly not as a communal effort after primary school age.

An observation as well, from hours and hours spent invigilating Cambridge exams, is how poorly (if at all) candidates plot out their writing. Time is critical in an examination especially, but skipping the thinking & planning stage is a massive mistake - which writing invisibly illustrates beautifully!

So let's assume we have focused on the writing task and identified:

  • The audience - who are we writing to and why? 
  • The format - is this a letter? an email? a memo? a report? an essay etc?
  • The voice - formal or informal? Contractions, abbreviations & emojis going to be suitable?
Let's also assume we have determined the time we have available for this - after the planning stage (please give that about 10 mins if you are at FCE level), and the target word count. Let's also assume we have written on A4 before & know approximately how many words we can get on a line so we know approximately how many lines we need to write (and not count every word back every two minutes?!)...

What stops writers even starting?
  • Blank paper panic
  • allergy to writing joined up ideas
  • lack of muscle memory - how often does anybody use a pen these days?
  • lack of confidence in vocabulary range, grammatical accuracy, spelling, my own voice
  • time stress
Familiarity with the task & a checklist of how the writing will be assessed helps enormously. Small steps first, and build on what you CAN do. Get those hands & brains trained!

What slows the writer down?
  • erasers
  • re-reading or editing on the go
  • re-thinking the plan
  • winging it
  • word counting
When you are planning or blitzing ideas, making a mess is part of the gig. Scribble everything down as it comes to mind & don't stop. Scrap paper is literally that - it goes in the shredder. Once you have blurted ideas onto paper, organise quickly with arrows & numbers. Add extra words or replace repetitions, order logically into paragraphs. Contemplate spelling at this stage & use another word if you are stuck - don't rub stuff out or compose fully fledged sentences.

So far, this invisible writing is kind of invisible! You will need a thin plastic 'wallet' for loose leaf papers, that a pen will be able to make an impression through, within which a sheet of carbon paper sandwiched between a sheet of lined paper (top) & a sheet of plain paper below. Make sure the carbon paper is the right way up. A pen that doesn't work - I prefer a pen the students will usually use (no not a pencil) or even the wrong end of a paint brush! The whole point is that the writer will not be able to see what they have written.

Can you see what we just wrote?
I promise this exercise will transform the way your writers will think about & approach writing tasks. As they are unable to see what they have done/are doing, the following tends to happen:
  • focus carefully on what they are actually doing & where they are on the paper, physically. This stops day-dreaming dead!
  • extra care in writing neatly
  • careful adherence & constant referral to the plan - get everything 'in'
  • maintain a flow (stopping to do anything else means you lose your place)
  • no editing or re-reading
  • erasers are out of the equation
  • writers 'see' their writing in their heads & concentrate hard to keep it there
When your writers have finished, ask them what they were doing. Let them identify what has changed in their writing process. One thing my writers never do - yours too? - is re-read their work afterwards critically. Invisible writers can't wait to review their work...spelling, missing punctuation, word order, grammar. You will never see your students keener, and you may even have to let them do a re-write (that precious second draft!) if they ask. 

I love invisible writing - does it work for you?












Friday, 30 December 2016

YLE success at Luna in 2016

Super sunny Starters
 Back in September, before the cold dark nights set in, some of the children in our classes took the chance to sit their Cambridge Young Learners exams right here in Matsumoto - an opportunity we have proudly been making possible for sixteen years now.


Unfortunately, our preparations were thrown into considerable turmoil with Damian's CELTA course being delayed, and his eventual absence coinciding with Chuck's very unexpected bout of pneumonia. Thankfully, we were very fortunate to be able to rely on our good friends to see us through a very tough fortnight. One of the reasons we love the Cambridge YLE exams is because we do not feel we need to teach towards them - we know good teaching leads to Can Do,
Marvelous Movers
and we know our fun learning environment encourages our learners to be bold.

Over the last week of school this year we were thrilled to be able to give our exam takers their certificates, with proud hand shakes & big smiles - and you can also see Damian & Chuck are also back in action!

Friday Flyers
Particularly chuffed we could hand out certificates at all three levels (Starters, Movers and Flyers) this year to first-time takers - and that for our Flyers this meant they have now achieved all three levels.

Well done to all our entrants - having a go is all we can ask of you, and you can all be very proud of your achievements. Can you see how proud your teachers are?!

Looking forward to plenty more positive Can Do Luna stories in 2017!




Wednesday, 21 December 2016

After reading - Claws


Write about a time when you were outdoors, in a scary situation - fact or fiction!

This is a story when I was in childhood. Our family had a old house in the deep in the mountains. This house was almost made from wood and its roof was covered by a lot of straw.This house was broken down some decades ago, but we used as a rest house while working on a farm in those days.

One day, I was supposed to stay at the house alone during our family’s absence.
I was playing alone at first, but I slept while I was unaware. When I was awake, it has already become dark. But our family did not still come home. I was alone. It was very silent.
At the moment, suddenly I could hear the sound something walked around our house. I knew something was not man. But I did not know what it was. I could not see the creature since the door and window was close. But I would be found by the creature if I open the door or the window to see the creature. The creature walked around our house for a while. I was very scare, but I could only just wait the creature went far away without screaming.

After some minutes or hours, I was asleep again. When I was awake, it was already morning and our family was in our house. I did not know what that is in the end, but I believe that was not my dream. Because I found the footprint in our garden!



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Biggest day of the year - FCE

December 10th saw 31 experienced English teachers struggle up a steep hill to deliver speaking tests to over 300 high-schoolers in central Tokyo.

The candidates had already done their Reading & Use of English, Writing, and Listening papers - an altogether long & tiring day for them all. Final prospect of their FCE day was their paired speaking test with people they'd never clapped eyes on before.

All examiners are trained to deliver the speaking test from one of several randomly selected scripts on the day - to the same very high standard, ensuring each candidate has a fair opportunity to show what they Can Do. While one examiner invites the candidates to express their opinions & converse with each other on a range of topics, his/her colleague is paying very careful to attention to their output in order to assess each of them against a standardised assessment scale. The whole process per pair lasts about a quarter of an hour, and is a very intense experience for everyone involved.

My role on the day was to monitor the examiners and provide feedback - fine tuning essentially, to ensure quality control. Speaking examiners after all need to be delivering & assessing at the same level no matter where in the world they may be...and in my experience really appreciate being observed as they don't get that too often at work. Common objective shared, and therefor total confidence that the results will be reliable.

Massive thumbs up to Hibiya High School for adopting Cambridge English: First and a pat on the back to the organisers for achieving a smooth flow of candidates during the whole afternoon. And well done my speaking examiners - proud of you!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

A very big gig - entertaining an entire kindy!

Way back at the end of summer, one of my 'old' students (now a young mummy!)  asked if we'd be able to 'do something in English' at her son's kindergarten. Of course we said 'Yes' and 'Can Do'!

The date got pushed back a few times - Damian's original CELTA course in the Galapagos was re-scheduled and I needed him to deliver the hour or so of fun I had in mind...


We kept getting asked by the PTA reps etc what that needed to do - which was nice of them - and they didn't really get it when I said 'nothing - just join in'. They begged for a plan, and a translation of what we were going to do so they could explain to the kids. Quite hard to insist on a 'No' with that, but we did. They were not convinced with 'the kids will get it. trust me' response.

So, the day before the event, Damian & I did a dress rehearsal in the car park (looking a bit silly to passing traffic). All sorted, timings crunched & props prepped. Then Yukari told us it was a 90 minute event (not the 60 I'd molded in my head for weeks to come up with the show). A few harsh words and gnashing of teeth, emergency re-hash & an 'it'll be alright on the night'.

Until the phone call later with news that because of 'flu risk' kids in the city should not hang out in large groups for more than an hour! Actually, 45 minutes would be pushing it. Thanks for understanding & all that. Back to Plan A, shaved!

On the day, Damian & Jim led a merry song & dance with about 120 children & parents, PTA & teachers well over an hour (we knew the diktat but we were in the groove, man!). Yukari MC'd, and no-one seemed to notice when Jim got the verses mixed up! As everyone went back to their rooms we got to meet some familiar faces - mums we know - and share a lot of high fives with the children in each of their classrooms just before lunchtime. Lots of curiosity and bouncing from the tunes we'd all been running & jumping to.

For a one-hour event, a lot of phone calls & preparation. on the day, the kids did very much 'get it' (never a doubt) and in the headmaster's den later there was genuine shock (the good variety) from the staff & PTA at the way we'd approached the 'Entertain 101' challenge.

Guess we'll find out next year if they were just being polite! We had a good time, and we know the kids did :)

Snow, tree, and lights....must be Christmas soon!



The tree-builders did their job earlier this week, just before it snowed. Brrr! Bitterly cold! Jim got the ladders out to hang the lights & jolly up the house. Hope you enjoy the light show - tell us if you like the tree, please!

Ceilidh had the right idea and painted a tree instead - which we'll be using tomorrow afternoon - so please don't forget the Christmas party (I got a text message from Santa that he's already packed his bag & given Rudolph an extra carrot for the journey over from the North Pole).

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

My Thai food safari

English: Shrimp Green Curry, Bangkok, Thailand...
Green curry
I went to Thailand to meet my husband last week. We enjoyed a lot of delicious Thai food in Bangkok. I would like to tell you about Thai food.

We ate a lot of spicy food in nice restaurants:

  • green curry - it has coconut milk, chicken, and vegetables in it. Delicious!
  • Tom Yam Kum - this is a soup, with chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, lemongrass, coriander, and chilli peppers. A little hot!
  • Thai noodles - Like Japanese ramen, but with different kinds of noodles. Cheap!
We ate lots of mangoes, mango sticky rice, and mango smoothies.

Closeup of pad Thai, a Thai dish made from ric...
Pad Thai
We tried Chinese Shark Fin soup (very nice, and a little expensive). I love Pad Thai (fried noodles with minced pork, spring onions, peanuts & lime juice). 

We drank mineral water because you can't drink tap water in Thailand - it's too dirty. 

I like Thai food, a little, because it's interesting. It is not too hot, and it is cheap.

Aoi

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

After reading - The Quest

Write about a holiday you have had when the weather has spoiled everything.


My family loves Matsumoto Yamaga who is the professional football team in Matsumoto. Last year, Yamaga was in the top category in professional football league in Japan called J1. We tried to go to the other team’s stadium to watch the game as much as we can.


In summer, there was a game in Sendai. There is a professional baseball team in Sendai, which is called Rakuten Eagles. Luckily, we found there was a baseball game in Sendai on the day before Yamaga game. For my son and me, it was the first time to see the professional baseball game. So, we decided to go to Sendai to watch both baseball and football games though Sendai is approximately 500 km away from my home.


It was the night game. We went to the official shop in town to get the team T-shirts and towels and we were fully prepared for the game. In the stadium, we enjoyed the game and the supporters who sang and yelled. In the 2nd inning, we saw the lighting in the sky then heard the big thunder. Soon, the sky became dark with thunder cloud and then it rained. We had to wait for the rain to stop. But, it didn’t stop raining. Finally, the game was canceled and we were announced we would get the refund on our tickets.


On the next day, the weather was good. But Yamaga couldn’t win the game.


We enjoyed a lot of good food in Sendai, but we couldn’t enjoy both games.

「The quest book」の画像検索結果

Monday, 21 November 2016

The best footballer I have ever seen

Logo
Matsumoto Yamaga
I usually watch games of Matsumoto Yamaga football club and rarely watch games of Japan football league called “J league” and other leagues in the world like league Espanola, Premium league etc.

So, I would like to explain a best footballer I have ever seen is Hayuma Tanaka of Matsumoto Yamaga football club. I think that his football skill may not be good as other football players, the points I respect him are as follows.

His leadership
He tells his many experiences to younger players to be good football player and many players respect him, but he respects all players regardless of age. Thus, the team is very well organized.

His sense of responsibility
When the team loses a game, he doesn’t throw other players in their fault and is thinking what he should do.

His positive thought / action
When the striker’s shoot doesn’t get a goal, the supporters will disappoint it. But he offers the striker a compliment on his shoot or his fighting.

His prompt switching
His position is “Side back” and its position is requested to have a lot of exercise volume because its position is related to both of offensive and defensive. His switching between offensive and defensive, so the team can make a lot of chances of goal and can reduce a lot of risks.

I would like him to work for team until his retire and after his retire.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Great Wall of China

When I studied abroad in China 13 years ago, I have seen some of the Great Wall of China, which is one of the world heritage. I lived in Tianjin city at that time. Great Wall of China have been placed in several area of north China. Before I tried to go to Great Wall of China, I didn’t know that it consists of several fortifications and some place has already gone the wall. As I thought it should be one great wall continued from north-east China to north-west China like a dragon, I was very surprised and a bit disappointed of the fact. There were three famous places near Tianjin and Beijing city, which is Simadai, Mutianyu and Badaling. The Badaling is the nearest and most famous place because there is another famous place that is an emperor’s tomb in Min dynasty near the wall. When my mother came to see me, I take her to go sightseeing to the Badaling from Beijing by tour bus. The road to the Badaling and the emperor’s tomb had been developed and it was comfortable trip than I expected. We could get ropeway to go up to the wall on top of the mountains and enjoyed the view from the Great Wall of China. When we go down the mountain, we got truck and it was so excited. It was easy for us to go there but a lot of Chinese people go there and it was like packed train in Tokyo, it is difficult to walk on the wall or take pictures. On the other day, my friend came to see me and I took them to another famous place of Great Wall of China, which is Simadai. This place is very far from Beijing and a few people go there. However, the Simadai is most beautiful and exciting place of the Great Wall of China I have ever seen. Although it was a little hard for us to go there, we don’t have to take care of so many Chinese people. We enjoyed beautiful view from the top of mountain and the scared ropeway which is always shaking. Now these places are not same as the one I saw, but I would like to go Mutianyu if I have a chance so that I can go all of the famous Great Wall of China!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Brazil - an armchair traveller's wishlist


I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Brazil where is very far from Japan and my images of Brazil are “Football” and “Carnival”.

During this travel in Brazil, I would like to experience famous Brazilian cultures and to know other aspects of Brazil which I don’t know at this moment.

The most interesting plan of this travel is to see a football game. Any category of football is fine for me. How Brazilian supports/fans give their team or their team’s footballers a boost? How Brazilian supports/fans lift football audiences or whole stadium alight? I would like to creative a positive atmosphere in a stadium of Matsumoto Yamaga football club even though the team is behind. And I would like to see football technique of highest level in the world.

Next. I would like to visit the “Fall of Iquazu” and “Barreirinhas”. It seems that there are so many attractive places to do sightseeing, but if we visit many famous places, we will spend much time to transfer because Brazil is big country. So, I will visit to limited places and will spend much time to see them enough. I have to check how far those attractive places are placed.

As for the food, I would like to taste Brazilian chocolate candy “Brigadeiros” and “Mate” tea from special cup made from fruit called gourds. I can drink “Mate” tea in Japan, but I think that the Mate tea sold Brazil in Japan is adjusted to suit Japanese taste and would like to taste real bitter tea.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Using smartphones to learn "Telephone English"

English: Large image of telephone switchboard....
 Photograph courtesy of Joseph A. Carr
I have a dread fear of trying to teach telephone English, especially in business classes. Why?

  • The more realistic the set up, the more impossible monitoring
  • Students know each other & understand each others' short cuts/linguistic tics
  • Students are expecting this call
  • There is usually some kind of hierarchy in the group
  • Not always possible to use phones 
  • Work arounds, such as Skype or Google Hangouts firewalled 
  • Odd number of students
Obviously, making phone calls & answering them at the office/on the road are everyday working situations, and vitally important that the user masters the absolute basics very well. There are stock phrases to be used, which to sound professional & proficient just can't be mangled. We need to hear the right phrases to trigger the required responses & manage the conversation forwards in a predictable fashion.

Things learners do that kill a telephone exchange:
  • get the giggles
  • panic attack & go silent
  • start nodding or just make sounds that other cultures do not understand
  • use their own language as much as possible
  • repeat poor pronunciation more slowly
  • lack empathy with the listener's level of English
English: This is an example of the angst cause...

Whether making the call, or answering it, learners simply have to 'learn their part of the dialogue' - an observation I heard years ago as a complaint about native speakers in Hawaii, who didn't function as expected from an Interchange 1 dialogue! On the phone, we do need to learn our lines.

So how to do this in class? 

Well, this may sound stupid, but use your phones! But no, I don't mean start calling each other - recipe for multiple overlapping snippets & malfunctions which you cannot control. The answer is still BYOD, though. Although slow adopters in Japan, most of my business classes now boast mostly smart phones. 
The preparation:

I created a set of very simple phrases I wanted the receiver of a call to use, on Quizlet (here). In this instance, I took out a key word or words. We had already listened to a short dialogue and filled in the blanks, as you do. I asked students to open up the set in the Quizlet app. A few stunned faces (I have only asked them to install the app every week since May)...mini hiatus while 'expert' users led their less coherent colleagues along the app store, password, install, register, join the class dance. OK, itself a learning moment! 

The set up:

Reassuring nods as they scrolled across the flashcard function. Easy. Race each other in mad screen-tapping game mode (scatter) against the clock...pecking order established?

The Challenge:

I asked students to use the 'Learn' feature. 'Too hard!' - needed to toggle the 'term' button so they only had to write in the key word(s) and not the rest of the phrase!

Realisation:

Typing too slowly/deliberately - copying from books open. And why are we typing a telephone dialogue? USE THE MICROPHONE to fill in the answers/blanks!

Reaction:

'Cool! I don't have to type stuff', shortly followed by 'Oh, stupid phone doesn't understand me. I said "and you" but it reads "Andrew"... the dominant students cockily barking at their phones and reacting indignantly at the jumbled message received, looking around to see more deliberate & gentle pronunciation making better progress.

Relaxation:

 At this point all I needed to do was put my hands in the air and let the penny drop. Talk to the phone nicely! And as the teacher, I am totally absolved of any blame or shame game in picking on students' intonation, enunciation, elision etc. Fine tune your own pronunciation! Students wandered off to find quieter corners, they practiced and practiced more than they ever have done before with any dialogue - and importantly, with phone in hand & an unknown 'partner'.
English: logo of quizlet


We didn't get to the other half of the phone call (the caller) which was just fine with me. Nail the most important bits first, then we'll get adventurous!

Development: 
  • 'Harder' Quizlet sets (though of the same content/conversation), with caller 'terms' to match with receiver 'definitions'. This would really challenge sentence level pronunciation, with stress & intonation features etc
  • Use other apps eg Dragon Dictation to polish pronunciation further, again, without the teacher being involved in critique mode, but enabling/suggesting tweaks
Conclusion:

The students 'got it'. If their phones won't understand them, nobody else is going to! They needed to moderate their output to suit their listener, and not be critical of the listener eg 'He's from China' or something. Now they can see another function for their smart phones - a most excellent phone training device.

Jim was teaching from International Express Elementary (OUP) 3rd Ed. when this hallelujah moment struck. Check out "LunaTeacher" on Quizlet for plenty more creative uses of the site.






Friday, 28 October 2016

Postcard from...a safari, Kenya

Hello everyone!
Wildebeeste & Impalas

I stacked in Narita Airport about 30 hours!! but finally got the exciting and wild earth of Africa.

Today I met some group of elephants, gnus, giraffes, and lions!! They were amazingly beautiful.

This morning, I was able to enjoy the view of the Kilimanjaro clearly. The guide said it is really rare recent years.

Tomorrow I am going to enjoy a boat safari!!

Teruki, who is impressed by Africa!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Postcard from...Hawaii, USA

A Plumeria cluster - perfect for lei making
I arrived in Hawaii "Big Island" yesterday.

We went to the volcano. Lava had erupted.

I am impressed by the wonderful scenery.

Mie

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Night at the Museum - film review

Ben Stiller claimed that he watched Tom Cruise...
Ben Stiller
Night at the Museum is a fantasy movie. It came out in 2006 . The director was Shawn Levy .

The story is about a rookie guard in a big museum in Washington D.C. That museum has a secret, which is that all the stuffed animals and statues and models come alive at night. The guard has lots of adventures and there are lots of exciting action scenes. Old guards want to steal something important.

I thought the film was exciting and made me feel nervous. My favorite character is played by Ben Stiller, but I also like the Pharoah and the Moai. The story was only 108 minutes but it is really funny all the time. This movie really good for children and parents.
Nanako (9)

Monday, 24 October 2016

My Neighbour Totoro - film review

The film "Totoro" came out in 1988. The director was Hayao Miyazaki. This film is a fantasy film.

There are two girls, Satsuki, Mei, and a monster "Totoro" in this film.One day Mei wanted to give a corn to mom in the hospital, but she got lost. Satsuki could not find her, so she asked Totoro to help find Mei. Totoro called "Nekobus", which took Satsuki to Mei. Then Nekobus took them to Mom in hospital. Everybody was happy.

I think everything is good in this film. I like the music, design and the story. I don't think anything is bad. Everybody likes this film because Totoro is a fantastic character.

Yuto (12)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Yuka, my best friend

Yuka's Toca Hair Salon make-over!
This is a photo of my friend, Yuka.

She's 31 and she's Japanese. She lives in Matsumoto. She's a good nurse.

She has long, orange hair with green & purple highlights, and she has dark eyes. She's always kind.

She loves snowboarding and does it very well. She goes to the mountains many times every winter.

I like her because I'm relaxed with her.

Megumi

Friday, 21 October 2016

Introducing my best friend, Megumi

Megumi's Toca hair salon make-over!
This is a photo of my friend, Megumi.

She's 34 and she's Japanese. She lives in Matsumoto city. She's a HCU nurse.

She has a bob haircut. She has orange & yellow hair & dark eyes. She is intelligent and always funny.

She loves music and she likes drinking alcohol. She can cook meals very well and she can play the piano. We like eating when she cooks dinner.

I like her because I enjoy her company.

Yuka

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

More thoughts on my trip to England

English: The City of London skyline as viewed ...
The City of London skyline 
I found many things about England through this trip.

England is a racial melting pot. The air of London is stale. Many people in London use bikes for commuting.

There aren't any high mountains in England. The underground in London is smaller than Tokyo's. There are so many Chinese tourists in London & the Cotswolds.

When we were driving on the motorway, we can see many Japanese cars, but German cars are large.

In England people drive on the left. In the morning & evening, London has traffic jams. London is a very busy city.

Post offices in London sell sweets & stationery.

There are old & new buildings in London, and new buildings are now under construction.

A road sign in Kent, reminding traffic to driv...
Keep Left
In London they are parking on one side of the road, in high-class residential areas too.

Prices in London are higher than Tokyo.

Takeyo

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Postcard from...London, England.

Dear Mr. George-sensei,

I am here in London. Very exciting city.

Yesterday I rode British Pullman. There, I met British Gentleman and his smart wife.

An today visited Cotswolds, I saw beautful old styled thatched cottage.

I have to go back to Japan two days after. I want to come back again. Bon (cat's name) is waiting for our back.

From Takeyo

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Postcard from...Yamagata, Japan

It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with Ryan Hagglund's experienced staff at MY English School in Yamagata on Tuesday. It IS a long journey from Matsumoto, whichever way you slice it, but being able to hit the ground running makes the day easy to prepare for. Throw in a couple of pizzas and the odd donut...
SEs using Quizlet Live

Using Quizlet Live has proved to be a really enjoyable tool to get teachers working together quickly, and discussing aspects of eg performance feedback that might ordinarily not strike much of a cord. Getting examiners to argue the toss on courtesy or security for example, usually takes quite a lot of doing.

Grateful that even a teacher on paternity leave would give up some of that time to keep his credentials current, and for everyone's time in a week obviously crammed with interesting PD. Kudos to Ryan on pointing his school & staff in a very professional direction. Delighted we can continue to contribute to that bench-marked success with Cambridge Young Learners.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Postcard from ...Tainan, Taiwan

Hi Luna students! Did you miss me?

I made a very quick weekend trip to the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan. I went to meet some friends and to do some exploring. What did I discover?

Well, the local temples are very busy places, especially around the new moon (which was Saturday night) and the full moon. They are also noisy parades, with fire-crackers in the streets, music & girls pole-dancing on the backs of trucks! The architecture and colours reminded me a lot of Okinawa's Shuri-jo, which is actually not too far away. Another Japanese connection is obviously the pre-war occupation.

Tainan traffic is mad; the food is terrific. I enjoyed myself tremendously, but recommend much more time than a weekend. Two red-eye journeys in as many days means my head is spinning!

Hope you've all done your homework?!

Jim

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Postcard from... San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


Hi Jim-sensei,


I'm in San Francisco. I got a chance to stay here for two nights during business trip.
Before I came here I thought it is sunny and warm. It is sunny, but windy and COLD than I expected.
It is like early winter!
I went to some view points and took pictures.
I'll share them once I return!

From Tomoko

Saturday, 24 September 2016

After reading- The quest



If you had a boat...
Write about a place you would like to visit by yacht


If I had a boat, I would like to visit the various horbours in Japan.
First of all, I would visit the famous harbours in the side of Japanese sea.
I would visit Wakkanai city in Hokkaido first and Otaru city next. In this way, I would go southward from Hokkaido to Okinawa.
The fish food is very delicious in the harbours in the side of Japanise sea. I would like to enjoy fising and eat the delicious fish a lot.


After going southward to Okinawa, I would take a lisence of scuba diving there.
Since the sea and fish in Okinawa is very beautiful, I would like to enjoy the scuba diving.

After enjoying scuba in Okinawa, I would move toward the north along the horbour in the side of the pacific ocean.
In the horbour in the side of the pacific ocean, I would like to enjoy the beach.
In the beach, I would drink beer and sleep to get sunburnt under the sunshine.
This will be the most enjoyable holidays.


However, it is very hard to realize these dream. I will need a lot of holidays, money and, of course, my yacht.
I also have what I have to take priority more a lot.
If I win a lottery, I would like to try to these travel by yacht.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Mary Read - a very wanted pirate!


There is a reward for Mary Read's capture (even though she might be a bit old now!)

Posted for Nanako

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Doh, a deer. My train hit a deer...

A nightmare journey I remember was three years ago, when I was only 13, going to Chiba to meet my granny.
Tokyo-Station-2005-7-21 5
Tokyo station - scary at night

I left Matsumoto at 6:45 by train. About three hours later, the train stopped at Tokyo. I waited inside the train for about fifteen minutes, but it didn't move. And then I heard an announcement that the train had crashed with a deer. The train couldn't move for about two hours. So I decided to take another train, but they'd all stopped already. I was too young, so I stayed at the station.

When I phoned my mum, she said to wait in the station. My mother's sister lives in Yokohama, so she came to Tokyo station to pick me up. In the end, I stayed in Yokohama for a night, and the next day I went to Chiba. I was very glad to see my grandmother and to be safe. The journey had taken 14 boring hours instead of four!

Posted for Tomoro

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Wanted: Dead or Alive



Please apply to Yuto for the Reward - proof of capture required.

Monday, 12 September 2016

A postcard from Hong Kong

Dear Damian

I'm staying in Hong Kong for four days, and today I'm going to go back to Japan.

I'm very excited!
I love the cluttered buildings, good foods and the beer cheaper than Japan.
I took many photos. They were more beautiful than sold postcards. So this is picture card.
Did you already leave Japan?

I look forward to meeting you in November.

Megumi

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Apollo 13 & Ken Mattingly

Ken Mattingly did not fly with Apollo 13
Write about his NASA career after this mission

In 1972, Ken got the chance to fly with Apollo 16 as a command module pilot. It was two years after Apollo 13 came back to Earth. Apollo 16 was the tenth manned space flight mission and he flew with John Young and Charles Duke. During the mission, Ken performed the extravehicular activity to collect the film and date packages from the module. He was the outside of module for about one hour for this activity. In total, he spent 126 hours on the lunar orbit. After his mission, he received the NASA distinguished service medal.

After he returned to Earth with Apollo 16, Ken involved in the space shuttle development project. In 1982, he got on the space shuttle named Columbia with Henry. It was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He and Henry did a lot of experiments during the flight. He got on another flight in 1985.

Hit total time in space is 21 days 4 hours and 34 minutes and retired from NASA in 1985. He worked at several private sectors and is now working at System Planning and Analysis in Virginia.

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Black Cat - expenses claim

This is breakdown of my expenses for May investigation.

If you have any unclear issue, please let me know.

Sometimes, I needed to arrive at each place before the murder or the Black Cat arrived at, so I needed to use air plane because air ticket was expensive, but I could get there earier.

1st
  • Air ticket from Cairo to Beirut airport 
  • Taxi fee from Beirut airport to docks 
2nd
  • Air ticket from Beirut to Athens 
  • Taxi fee from Athens airport to Piraeus 
  • Ticket of Boat “The Syria” from Piraeus to Venice 
This ticket is the one for first class because I thought first class ticket would be allowable to go into any place/any floor of boat and it would be easy to look for a murder who killed Pearson.

3rd
  • Water taxi fee from Venice dock to railway station 
  • Train ticket from Venice to Rome 
  • Hotel fee at Rome 
  • Air ticket from Rome to Cairo 
  • Taxi fee from Cairo airport to the flat where Salahadin stays 
4th

  • Taxi fee of round move between Beirut city and Jusef’s café because I needed to tell Jusef about Borkman’s death and his message. 

This time, I could protect very very valuable antiquities of Egypt and my investigation is worh to pay these a little expensive expenses. Thank you for your understanding.

Famous ships

Famous shipsWrite about another ship with an interesting story


Speaking of famous ship, British Luxury Liner Titanic comes to my mind.  It was filmized many times all over the world, but I watched “Titanic” only which was released in 1997 and got the Academy Award for Best Picture.  At that time, I focused on the love story and did not remember the ship itself well.  This is a good chance to investigate the ship.

Titanic was the largest and fastest passenger ship at that time.  It left England to New York on April 10th, 1912.  There were more than 2,200 passengers and crews on the ship.  It struck an iceberg in North Atlantic 5 days later and sank.  About 1,500 people died due to the accident.


After reading The Black Pearl
In the meantime, about 700 people were saved.  Millvina Dean from England was 9 months old and the youngest among the passengers.  She boarded the ship with her parents and brother.  Her father died, but she, her mother and brother survived and got back to England after the accident.  She did not remember the accident and had not been known that she was the passenger of Titanic until her mother told her when she was 7 years old.  

In her later years, she lived in a nursing home, but she auctioned off the items related to Titanic to make a payment.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet who played the leading role in “Titanic” supported her on the payment.  She died in 2009 and was the last survivor of Titanic passengers.