Monday, 31 May 2010

Top Secret Ninja students

Postcard from Germany

Dear Tana

Hope you're OK.

I arrived in the Germany three days ago.

Today I went to see a castle Neuschwanstein.

It's really beautiful.

People call it Swan Castle

The white castle in the forest likes a swan.

Probably you will think so.

Afternoon I went to shopping.

Then I was happy.

Because I could hearing to shop assistat words.

Thank you Tana !

See you again.

From Mutsumi

Saturday, 29 May 2010

From Masanori

Hi Jim,

Masa and I painted this picture.
See you next :-)


Friday, 28 May 2010

Elvis voicethread

Please listen to my voicethread. It's about Elvis Presley. He was very famous rock'n'roller.

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Nomihodai Algorhythm - 45 & out

Oh Shit Yes!!!Image by ijiwaru jimbo via Flickr
To celebrate turning forty (bloody) five, Team Jim invites friends and especially recent EX-STUDENTS to come and commiserate tomorrow evening in town (Matsumoto).

The object of the exercise is to see just how much value for our money we can achieve. This is the nomihodai algorhythm. For Y2,000 you can drink as much as you like for two hours. Of course, if you only have two beers, then you're not making the most of the opportunity to maximise benefit. On the other hand, pommelling down the "dai jokkis" (large handled glasses) and having your table chockers with full ones by the final bell - classic exponential curve as practiced guzzlers accelerate into mission - would suggest a better beer <> yen ratio.

Unofficial guidelines do exist for toilet dashes, food, soft-drinks & rain - but they are unofficial & as such also unpublished.

Meet 6pm by the castle.
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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Grace Darling

1. Thomasin Darling wrote a letter to her son William, telling him about the stormy night. Can you find and correct the twelve mistakes in it?

The Light house, Longstone Island

Dear William
I have so much to tell you! We have had a terrible storm here. It lasted for seventy-two hours, and the waves were more than twenty metres high!

A ship called the Forfarshire was wrecked on the rocks. It was a big ship and it broke into two pieces. Some of the passengers climbed onto Harker's Rock.

Grace was the first person to see the shipwreck and the passengers waiving on the rock. Your father and Grace then got the boat out and rowed to the rock, but only five people could get in our little boat. The passengers helped to row the boat back, and then your father and two other men went to the rock a second time and saved four more passengers.

Your sister Grace is now a famous heroine, and the Queen is writing to thank her - it's in all the newspapers!

Come home soon.
Love from Mother

I think that the story is like as Titanic.
However the story is less famous than Titanic, because it is not Love story.
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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Pre-schoolers on the buses

Looking for signs of life in our flower beds already! Been a very wet last couple of days here (just rainy, or has the rainy season arrived?). The girls were very excited to see nothing at all - can't wait until we get some shoots appearing.

We were talking about the things we do, and the order in which we do them today in pre-school. Seems sensible to have breakfast after we get out of bed (OK, not always!) etc, and the first time we have asked our little ones to process activities in this way (ie sequence them formally). We also ended up talking about buses a lot - the "Wheels on the Bus" song is a firm favourite, and today no claustrophobia from Hinata so she 'got on' the bus and drove along with us to the shops, stopping to 'buy' lots of stuff. There is an app on my iPhone of this song which is cool, including being able to record your own voice(s).

Without anywhere special in mind, and not a lot of time to spare, we decided we should catch a bus this afternoon - our first time! No seat belts so sit down and hold tight! We watched the driver, and paid when we got off (at the front - we got on at the back). The bus wasn't pink or blue as we'd predicted, but white.

We  got off at Asama, crossed the road carefully at the crossing, and waited for another bus to take us back to school. We sang along on the back seat, and counted HS kids getting on. Ice cream treat from the shop on the way back, paying the man and saying thank you :)  A very exciting little excursion and a nice change in routine!
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Bishop's Finger

No, I can't think of anything appropriate to add to the name either, but it did rather sum up my feelings on Saturday.

The examining at our venue in Akasaka went well enough, although there were some noise issues which will have to be sorted out before the next session. Tana & I examined Japanese, Swiss, Russian and French candidates at KET & PET levels, a nice variety.

Session also taking place in Nagoya at the same time, so quite a lot of our OEs got the chance to examine again and to implement some of the feedback from last time before they get too rusty.

I enjoyed a couple of pints in The Mermaid with my mate much so the last train home very nearly went without me!

Spring Planting weather topic

This is the perfect time of year to exploit the change of weather and do a little planting. I also find that this time of year lends itself well to study the weather topic as everyday seems to have a season in itself. Today, rain, last week wind and sun, and snow still fresh in our memories.

My younger students have been making these delightful little planters showing the change of seasons. Also a good oportunity to talk about the natural environment, which we did before hand whilst pouring over some pictures of the outdoors. Excitement is mounting as we look forward to all of the fun things we can do outside!

Well, that is if it stops raining that is!


Monday, 24 May 2010

If you haven't done your homework...

Cheat like the blazes - the more blatant the better!

I do actually encourage my students to help each other out, and to 'look around' if they don't know how to spell something (too often the case, for my liking). NOT COPYING - that is a rule, but peeking and hinting is fine.

As half my class was absent last week, we needed the catch up; last week's attendees challenged to remember what we did in class and what the questions meant (all a review of the previous book we just finished) - as well as helping use the picture dictionary for more personal answers (We decided we like capabarry & squirrels and that we can't scuba dive or ski jump!

Nice lateral thinking girls!

Hello! Avatar intros from Airi & Rei



Sunday, 23 May 2010

Changing their Skies

1. Perhaps one day Joey’s mother found the little toy aeroplane in Joey’s school bag. Here is her conversation with Joey. Write in the speakers’ names, and put the conversation in the right order. Joey’s mother speaks first (number 3).
[order] (speaker)
1 [5] (Mother) What do you mean, you don’t know? Did you steal it?
2 [8] (Joey) He … the mean with the wheelbarrow.
3 [1] (Mother) Joey! What’s this that I found in your school bag?
4 [6] (Joey) No, I didn’t! Someone gave it to me.
5 [11] (Mother) So it came from that smelly rubbish pit! Go and throw it at once, Joey!
6 [2] (Joey) It’s a toy aeroplane, Mother.
7 [9] (Mother)What wheelbarrow? Oh, you mean Mazambezi?
8 [4] (Joey) I-I-I don’t know where it came from.
9 [3] (Mother) I can see it’s an aeroplane! Where did it come from?
10 [10] (Joey) Yes.
11 [7] (Mother) Who? Come on, who gave it to you?

2. What do you think Joey did next? Choose one of these.
I think he hid it in a much more secret place.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Planting season

This little mission a little overdue, but better late than never!

Glorious sunny morning for a little stroll down to Watahan, grab some seeds & get our hands dirty. We chose some nice colourful flowers, and some easy to maintain vegetables. Hopefully they won't all bloom or blossom or ripen at the same time!

The girls helped dig holes, plop seeds in, cover and add water; some of the water even went on the seeds and not on socks! We were careful to label our  pots this time, and will remember to water everything regularly.

We also saw Mr & Mrs Swallow building a nest under our school, so we will have to keep an eye on them, and hope the landlord doesn't break the nests again. Mr & Mrs Pigeon have laid four shiny white eggs on the other balcony, which should hatch soon.

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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

First round matches - World Cup schedule

FIFA World Cup Match BallImage by chooyutshing via Flickr
Here is the schedule (Japanese times) for the first round matches in the World Cup (football, the one in South Africa...)

I will be showing some of the matches on the big screen at Luna - everyone is welcome.
I will post the schedule of matches we will screen on the blog each weekend during the tournament

To get started, which countries will win their groups? Vote in the polls on the right-hand margin NOW!
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Joy Division 1980 - Pyroclastic flow & a suicide

It is very difficult to accept that an iconic song such as "Love will Tear us Apart" by the Joy Division is thirty years old. It's one of those songs that you recognise from the first nanosecond of intro. I you are my age & British, then it is hard wired into you!

On May 18, 1980, at 8:32 a.m. Pacific Daylight...There's an interesting article about the lead singer, Ian Curtis at the Guardian, and the odd news that Macclesfield (his home town) is a place of pilgrimage for fans even now, 30 years after his suicide. I would be interested in seeing the movie ("Control") of his (depressed) life if only for the soundtrack. I don't think the location is the most inspiring place on earth!

I've just come across another interesting article in the Guardian today, the writer has to be about my age!

Also celebrating its thirtieth anniversary is Mount St. Helens, that other famous volcano but with the more memorable name than the one in Iceland! Yep, 30 years since that one blew itself to bits.

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Red Dog

No4. Use clues below to help you complete this crossword. Then find the hidden word in the crossword.

1 A ___ is an Australian animal.
2 Red Dog liked to __ cats.
3 There was a __ in the caravan park which said NO DOGS.
4 When Red Dog broke wind, there was always a terrible __.
5 Nancy lived in a __ while the builders were finishing the new homes.
6 At a __, people often cook meat over an open fire.
7 Red Dog wore a __ round his neck with his name on it.
8 Red's friends put up a __ to him in Dampier.
9 When someone shot Red, his friends took him to the __ in Port Hedland.

The hidden word in the crossword is WALKABOUT.

Elephant hunt

Today we went on an elephant hunt - it was too beautiful as morning to miss the chance. We made a list of things we were going to find along the riverside, put on hats and suncream, and set off with our eyes peeled!

We found lots and lots of flowers - all the colours we know of course! We looked closely and found a ladybird and some bees, and all around us were lots of butterflies: they were all on our list. We hunted harder and had a good look from the bridge, but not a goat or an elephant in sight - not even any ducks. We saw some tiddly little fish, just as we were giving up, and headed back indoors for lunch - hunting makes you hungry!

This afternoon we got our fingers busy. We have some very nice pictures to feed string around, following the numbers from one to twenty. This is tricky, tongues out kind of tricky! We did a glove, a fish, a welly, a teddy bear, a duck and a leaf.

We also did some braiding, and threaded different shapes onto pipe-cleaner as bracelets and things. We all looked very cool and had super nimble fingers!

Friday is going to be planting day...

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Monday, 17 May 2010

Now I know my ABCs

I know it looks a bit counter-intuitive to have the alphabet reading right to left, but I knew Sho would be turning around to check his progress. He's also left-handed, so I wanted to see if this way around would  make any difference (plus Yusuke  was running capital letters on the other side of the table to 'mirror' his progress). Not entirely scientific but it worked!

Rule of the house is 'If you're using materials, milk them!' So the ABC song at speed, then a rock/scissors/paper (janken) race. Now, taking out a few letters each time to upset the rhythm/actually recognise the letters (and not repeat a memorised pattern) a real challenge they got their teeth into.

Lastly, for fun, same games but using the animals - some unusual ones to slow proceedings down (promote 'need' to ask me 'What's this?' in a hurry - narwhal, squirrel, umbrella bird, jaguar & vulture).Again, take out the easy ones & you've got yourself a dentist's dream - high speed drilling!

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Marco Polo and Silk Road

After Reading Question 4: Do you agree or disagree with these sentences? Why?

1. Niccolo and Maffeo Polo should be famous travellers too.
    I agree. I think that they were great explore than Marco Polo.

2. Today there is nowhere new in the world to explore.
   I disagree. There are somewhere new in the world. For example, deep sea.

3. Travel is less interesting today because people all over the world eat the same food and wear the same clothes.
   I disagree. Travel is interesting because the local culture, weather and view are different of each local place.

4. It is better to travel slowly and get to know a place than to visit it quickly for a short time.
   I agree. Traveling quickly is very convenient and easy, but if you want to enjoy the travel I recommend to travel slowly.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Mr Midshipman Hornblower

This is a success story of Hornblower who is 17 years old midshipman. He was getting a raise to overcome many difficulties
There are four stories in this book. The 4th story is the best for me. He is bravery, genial and honesty. He saved three survivors from the Spanish privateer on the rocks and returned to Spanish prison to fulfill a promise for his parole.

It seems that there was a TV series for Hornblower in the UK. If you want to know more details, please click here.

After reading :3. Put these words from the story into four groups under these headings. There are four words which don’t quite fit into any group. Which are they?
- TYPE OF SHIP:  cargo, cutter, frigate, privateer,
- PARTS OF A SHIP:  cabin, deck, galley, mast,
- TEPES OF WEAPONS:  cannon, cutlass, pistol, whip,
- SHIP’S OFFICERS:  admiral, lieutenant, midshipman,
- DON’T FIT:  crew, duel, fleet, hold,

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Friday, 14 May 2010

About these Voki things

This week Tana's students have been very busy putting themselves 'in character' making Avatars of themselves, using Voki to animate dialogues from English Time textbooks.

You need to click on the > icon to activate the sound. This kind of thing really energizes and motivates learners (young and old!) and is a way for them to show off what they can do!

From the chalkface

Toshiya listens a minute

Toshiya likes his football (a lot more than he likes doing homework!) so we went to one minute listening and had a go at some listening activities focusing on Spain, who T thinks will win in South Africa next month.

After that, we did the patriotic thing and found out about Japan as well. Not as easy as we thought, but fun and educational. Bingo!
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Crazies on Golden Week

Crazy Daibutsu

Get a Voki now!

Crazy Pink DOG

Get a Voki now!

Crazy Green ALIEN MAN

Get a Voki now!

Carla Crocodile goes to see the King - read along with Jim

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Takako getting famous

Unfortunately the image processing in my iPhone rather over did it, so this is a bit hard to read. It is even harder if you can't read Japanese :) It is an article in the local paper about the help available to non-Japanese visitors to our fair city.

One of our old students from my NHK class quit working in a dull bank in Tokyo recently, coming 'home' to Matsumoto and found a much more interesting position working for the city, in the Tourist Information office.

Takako's English is great, and she has just the right kind of personality to help 'lost' foreigners. Although she is a local girl, she is having to learn a lot about the city on the job! Whenever I am passing the office, on Honmachi dori (approaching the castle, left side os the street) I like to drop in and pull her leg.

Gambatte Takako! Great to know visitors are in good hands!

The songs of Distant Earth

This story is a science fiction, but I think it seems like a love story. Because almost of the story was described about Lora and Leon’s love story. Leon had come from Earth. He met Lora on the beautiful beach in Thalassa where was peaceful and young planet and they got to know each other and fell in love, but at the end...... I I felt sorry for Lora and Clyde who was ex-boyfriend of Lora.

Use the notes to write a paragraph for each of these different endings for The Songs of Distant Earth. Which ending do you prefer-one of these, or the one in the story? Explain why.

I prefer No2, because everybody would be happy at the end.

2. Leon decided to stay on Thalassa, because he loved Lora intensely. Finally, he married Lora. He made up his mind to make a living as a fisherman. At first, it was so difficult for him to get a lot of fish, but he was an engineer, so he invented his fishing tool to get a lot of fish. He and Lora lived simple, peaceful life in Thalassa.
Clyde was very disappointed in their marriage and unhappy, but he changed his mind. He quickly made a recovery and he married someone else soon. So this story ended when everybody was happy……oh, this story is too normal and must be boring for readers.

By the way, the name of translator from English to Japanese is Asakura-san. It is said that his name was from Arthur Clarke...Arsaur klarku...Asa-kura-ku...Asakura... It's funny for me.

Masao Kuroda

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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Avatars: Kaede and Yuusei introduce themselves

Get a Voki now!

Get a Voki now!

Get a Voki now!

Listening practice - topical

I felt the same wayImage by ijiwaru jimbo via Flickr
For those of you in my classes taking a break at the moment, here is something to keep your brain juices going and to get you in the mood for England's eventual success in the World Cup in South Africa next month!

Ideally, this 'time off' would actually be next all the games, late night beers & snack attacks...

Listen A Minute: Easier English Listening and Activities

There are 32 countries taking part in the finals, and there is an activity for each one. And it's free.

Stay tuned HERE for the matches we shall be screening on the big screen at Luna :) Remember to support your country (replica shirt, face paint, dye your hair etc!)
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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

We didn’t Mean to Go to Sea.

After I read the chapter 1, I could make a prediction subsequent deployment.

Thus this book was easy because I could predict next happening.

In contrast, I couldn’t understand the reason of missing Jim.

The reason sounds untrue and it made pulp story.


The children didn’t mean to go to sea-but they did. Whose fault was it? Which of these ideas do you agree with? Why?

I agree No.2.

It was Jim’s fault. A good sailor should check everything on his boat, including the petrol, before going sailing.

As for me, when I go to camp with my family, I make check list for goods and prepare even spare.

That’s natural, and I think Jim made fault.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bizarrest injury ever

I have to apologise to poor little Takumi - he came into Luna today with the weirdest piece of headgear I've seen for a while. Then I realised it was actually a surgical net - looked like a scrum cap, and I assumed he'd been doing sumo or something daft, maybe got a cauliflower ear?

Not at all. He said it was a burn. Ouch. But how???

When he told us he'd managed to do it in the sea, we couldn't stop laughing - how on earth? The only way we could think of was a really bad sunburn - but his neck was OK, and he wasn't particularly brown....anyway, didn't want to dwell on it as he was looking a bit sheepish. Would love to know how he did it, because for my money it'd have to be almost impossible to do again.

Get well soon Takumi - sorry we laughed. I am sure it hurt.
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Maho's London Bubblr

Yuuki's avatar

Get a Voki now!

As you can see we are having lots of fun with these avatars, using the characters we create to practice introductions and other language that we learn in the classroom. Of course it is a bit funny to hear your own voice on a recording... Yuuki(11yrs) bravely plunged in and did a very good job!

Well done!

Back to school

I was very happy to be getting out of bed this morning to teach at our pre-school; it has been a little while and I have missed the intimacy of our little learners and their go for it personalities.

Motor skills - big problem here = both boys le...Case in point is Hinata's use of scissors - bizarrely had to tell her mum that she is left-handed (thought surely a mum would notice something obvious like that?!) and as a result was having a lot of difficulty with regular scissors & getting quite frustrated, poor thing. Now with the right tools, the girls are really in business! (The two lads pictured are both southpaws trying hard with inappropriate tools).

Today we were looking at /Nn/ words in particular (new flashcard set will be up on Quizlit tonight), colouring, cutting, sorting & sticking. We also played a couple of 'new' games - making letter sets, pairs, and flashcards on the floor/dice race kind of thing. Amazing what even a few weeks can mean in terms of development. Much more co-operative & democratic mood!

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