Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Our Christmas Pot Luck party

After the children's party earlier in the day, we could all relax a bit & get in the mood with lashings of wine & egg-nog on Sunday evening. Loads of food appeared (which the Shindai-sei mine-swept in true student style at the end of the evening) which I failed to thank everyone for taking the time to prepare.

If anybody tried some of Paul's quiche though, I strongly suggest you get medical attention immediately! Also needing emergency treatment should have been little Eric, but he's got a head made of cast iron by the looks of it - serious dents in our floor though! Joe & Ric had a free run of the place too, dodging grown ups' & table legs alike.

Yuki, Taka & Hijiri made their family debut at Luna, much to everyone's delight; "students who don't know each other" were very brave and took the chance to talk to us in a social situation, relax a bit and make new friends. It was a lovely evening, and thanks to all who came.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Children's Christmas party at Luna

Sunday afternoon on December 16th was Christmas party time for all of our younger learners at Luna. It was a really cold day outside, so we made sure to do lots of running around to keep temperatures soaring & energy levels pumping.

Every year we try out new games and ideas, so that every year the party is fresh & fun. Of course we also make sure to include activities that have proved popular in years gone by - things like sticking the nose on the snowman, relay races with oranges, musical cushions & King-size blow-football. New things we tried out this year were a sausage race and learning how to dance - from the Rocky Horror Picture show...that was a real treat!

Santa's new helpers this year helped the event go really smoothly, and make sure we could all eat when we got tired & peckish! Thank you Maki, Tomoko & Ayaka - as well as to all mums & dads who joined in. As you can see, everyone wanted to meet Santa & get an early Christmas present - and happy to please, Santa very generously came to Luna with his sackful of goodies.

Although Santa looked a bit tubby this year, he had to jog here as there's no snow for Rudulph & the reindeer to pull his sleigh through! All of our good boys & girls had a moment to talk to Santa (in English of course) & tell him something about themselves (kind of a test really!). Too soon, it was time for Santa to leave and for all of us to go home - another Merry Christmas now not faraway.

Thanks to everyone who made this party such a success - please Luna's unofficial website at http://groups.msn.com/Lunasfamily/santacomestoluna2007.msnw and also at Jim's flickr site for plenty more photos of all the fun.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Picture in London

I walked around London with the book "The Full Monty" in spite of the rain.

It was on 23 August, but it was a little bit cold.

I’m extremely sorry to be late to post this.


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Because Mr. Bean is so funny and strange, I recommend to read this book for the person who feels tired on his daily life. I was surprised to be able to read this story with no break!

Which "accidents" did you think were funny in the story ? Write about three of them.
1. The accident which Mr. Bean painted a face on Mrs,Whistler's face.
2. The accident which Mr. Bean picked up the bullet from a man's stomach.
3. The accident which Mr. Bean was held by policeman in the Airport.
I felt very funny that little things escalated to big accidents.

Masanori Yagasaki

Friday, 14 December 2007

How old do you have to be?!

Yesterday (Dec 13th) saw Luna international JP004 (our Cambridge ESOL Centre number) holding what one of the candidates called "The hardest English exam in the world"...C.P.E. I'm not sure if that is entirely true, but it's certainly not an exam you could pass by accident. It requires essentially native-speaker fluency in English - and in 5 papers a lot of language to process & produce under considerable time pressure. Anybody who can pass this exam joins a very elite club.

Actually, if anyone has passed this exam and has the relevant teaching qualifications & experience, I'd be prepared to hire them at Luna.

After three days then, we've looked after almost 60 candidates taking the Upper Main Suite of Cambridge ESOL's very good exams; delivered papers in Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening & Speaking; we've had four pairs of very experienced Oral Examiners deliver the speaking tests - and they have been monitored for quality control; we've been inspected twice in a week, also to maintain quality & security.

I am proud that my school has risen to this considerable challenge, and that the dream I had over a decade ago finally came to fruition. My NHK students will have to forgive my absence tonight (and thanks Travis for teaching my class this evening) please?! I did enjoy a beer on the last Azusa home, reflecting on what we can achieve next year - going to be exciting I think.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Venue Inspection

Wednesday was day two of three, where we were running Cambridge Exams in Tokyo. The Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) is at C1 level of the Common European Framework. What that means is that candidates at this level can use language with ease & fluency. CAE may be used as proof of the langauge level necessary to work at managerial or professional level, or follow a course of academic study at unversity level.

So a very important test, and one which students have study long & hard for. It is very important in running the exams that candidates understand that we take their commitment seriously; we have been preparing for this for months as well. Candidates were impressed when I explained what the inspectors were doing - making sure that we were doing things properly. They found that rather reassuring to know that every venue running the exams has to perform to the same standard worldwide. Our venue was also surprised about this, but relieved to know that our preparations were in order & that by the end of the day we passed with flying colours.

Of course I also hope our 14 candidates passed too, but I can't make any comment on that because we send all materials to UK same day, sealing them immediately after the papers finish.
I really hope some of our students step up to this mark next year. It's so important to set goals, and just as important to measure your achievement against a meaningful barometer - in this case English learners all over the world.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

FCE in Tokyo

Today sees the second leg of Cambridge ESOL's FCE exam, which we are running in Tokyo for the first time. We are delighted to be able to do so, with the help of Luke & Kuniko at I.L.C. in Akasaka.

I.L.C. asked us earlier this year where their students could take FCE/CAE/CPE, because the British Council would no longer accept candidates. At the same time, Cambridge ESOL were asking Luna to become a Centre for those exams (also called Upper Main Suite or UMS) on top of what we are already certified for (YLE,KET, PET, FCE, TKT).

So we did the logical thing & combined forces. Wednesday we will run C.A.E. & Thursday C.P.E.
There are 33 candidates taking FCE today, and even in the large room available to us it was a tight squeeze to accommodate everyone. In the past, candidates had to take the speaking part on a different day. This is OK if you live locally, but impossible if you are coming a long way (Nagano? Nagoya? Hokkaido?)...so we are trying this way. Unfortunately, it is impossible to please everyone all the time.

Candidates took four papers - Reading, Writing, Use of English & Listening before the speaking tests to finish. It's a very long day - exhausting. At first candidates looked very nervous, later hot & tired. Our four Oral Examiners (thank you Jennifer, Mark, Phil & Martin) were busy and we justabout managed to finish on schedule.

For me this was a stressful day - preparing for it has taken a lot of my time over the last 3 or 4 months - and to finish it with everyone satisfied and no major problems was a relief. As well as running the exams, I needed to make sure the staff at ILC knew what they were supposed to do & when, what to say in the exam room & how to manage a lot of confidential material. So I was very relieved when we'd finished & the last candidates had left - only two more days of the same again!

(Thank you & sorry to my students whose classes I had to cancel today; I hope you can see the bigger picture - I want you to take the exams in Matsumoto!)

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Three short stories of Sherlock Holmes

Which other famous detectives do you know from books, film or television? Write about one of them.

Kogorou Akechi is one of famous detective in Japan.
He is a fictitious character in stories that were written by Edogawa Ranpo.
He is a very brilliant detective who has cracked various difficult cases.
He is famous as a man who fought against Kaijin Nijumensou(a famous character as a formidable thief).
He is also famous for having led detectives group of boys named Shounentanteidan.

By the way, the name of the author Edogawa Ranpo is associated with his favorite other novelist Edger Allan Poe.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

First Certificate in English - at Luna

I think I may have said this before, but FCE was the exam I wanted to have my school associated with years ago (before I even owned my school). It really is the benchmark exam for any serious English student to measure themselves up against.

I am delighted to report we had three candidates brave enough to tackle FCE this year in Matsumoto; all five papers were taken in the same day (which was exhausting I know). I need to thank Jon & Theron for doing the oral examining for us.

We also got inspected today, which was not unexpected; it is very important international standards are maintained even when we have a very small session in Matsumoto - candidates are taking the same exam on the same day worldwide. This was a very good practice for me, before we have a large session in Tokyo on Tuesday...there we will have more than 40 candidates from all over the country & overseas sitting the exam. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Last of the Mohicans

At the end of the story, Alice writes a letter to a friend in Scotland.She tells her friend about Uncas, Chinachgook, Hawkeye and Cora.Write Alice's letter.

Hawkeye is white man.Chinachgook is Mohican Indiean chief.Chinachgook is Uncas's father.Uncas is last of The Mohicans.Cora is my elder sister.
Uncas, Chinachgook and Hawkeye, they were really kind for us.And the fought to Huron and save us from Huron attack.So that we could arrive at fort and met our father.But I'm incredibly sad, Uncas and Cora dead by Huron Indean's knife.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Mr. Bean

Which 'accidents' did you think were funny in the story? Write about three of them.

One of funny accidents was a trick on the riding machine. He enjoyed riding a crazy vehicle. If it was safety, I might enjoy it, too. But it was too dangerous for kids and old person to get in.

Other story that I felt funny is an occurrence about drying his trousers. I could not understand why wearing wet trousers is more shameful than dancing in front of a picture.

I think the funniest accident is a story of his speech. He didn't mention about a painting technique, touch, method, the history of an artist, and so on. In spite of his ignorance, he could get over the trouble successfully. Due to appeal to their sense of family, he succeeded in getting sympathy from journalists. He was so lucky!

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Babe - The Sheep Pig

Writing- Read Chapter9 again. Two dogs are killing sheep in the next village. The police telephone Mrs Hogget. Write their telephone conversation.

H: Hello.
P: Hello, Mrs Hogget. This is a police speaking. I must inform you a bad news.
H: What’s happened?
P: Six sheep were killed by two wild dogs in the next village. They still seem to stay near here.
Check your sheep and keep paying attention to ensure your sheep’s safety.
H: Oh! That’s terrible. All right. Thank you for information.
P: OK. Bye.

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