Friday, 23 December 2011

Our very young learners - a treat 2011

We have had a wonderful time together this year, every Tuesday and Friday - sniffles, coughs and bugs notwithstanding!  As I browsed through our albums I realised it looks like we spend a lot of time outdoors...well, we're lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and Luna is nicely located for the castle, river, parks and other zones fit for adventure and exploring minds.

Eriko-sensei has been ever cheerful and ready for hugs, and usually beating me to work even though she lives so far away. Our children have emerged from mummies' protective arms and wails of tears every morning, to sharing and self-aware young big people!

The highlights? Well, let's see:
  • Ceilidh ripping the wings of a cicada was pretty shocking (it had ventured into the classroom though!).
  • Shige mastering My First Scrabble
  • Going trainspotting at the station and riding on the bus
  • Eating all our lunch and tidying up nicely
  • Playing together gently and taking turns
  • Being really helpful and favouriting the "Clean Up" song
As the slideshow says (it is a bit long at 5 minutes, but how else can you celebrate 9 months of growing up?) we wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and all the very best for 2012. The Year of the Dragon. Exciting!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Giving directions

A while ago I played a similar online game with these lads, where the aim is to discover clues, tools, bits of puzzles etc to achieve a solution - be it a collection of pearls or in this case an escape from a room: Christmas Escape.

The player has been locked in a room for wrecking previous Christmas parties; my kind of role!

As a stand alone, this is intriguing but language free (mostly - the odd note here & there) and a lot of random clicking around a scene. Not much point for an English class then!

The trick is to find the relevant "walk through" or solution on eg YouTube. If you have two computers great, if only one, then open up the walk through in a separate tab.

The rule is simple; the helper cannot touch/point/narrate; has to guide their partner with instructions/directions/explanations. Lots of language there! After 5 mins, guide & player swap roles. Teacher can monitor & help out with key phrases - suggest making a list on the board as the need arises.

A lot of these kinds of puzzles are long & involved; find a fairly short one that can be solved in the time available.

A couple of ideas to follow up; use something like Jing to record your own walk through with commentary. Alternatively, write down the directions - or a section; with multiple groups assign parts of the story to each.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Making stories with Lego comics

Last night of classes, and 66% absenteeism a bit annoying - if I have to be here...

Anyway, chance to try out a cool site I came across via twitter a day or two ago (sorry, forgot the source tweeter - going to do something about that for regular readers in the new year). Lego comics is fairly limited in that it represents a 'flat' storyboard. Other animated ones give you more tools for movement & allow you to add audio.

For the job at hand today though, more than enough. I wanted my student to 'transfer' a story from his most recent reader to the simple choices presented -  so instead of characters going to "The Red Planet" his became an "Island Adventure". In particular, I wanted my student to snip chunks of conversation (locating the direct speech in the book) and present it into bubbles for the comic. Oh yes, in Japanese comics the panels are read in a different order - something to remember.

Annoyingly, the entire story disappeared with only 2 letters of his name left to we re-booted and he directed me with background, characters and text (actually good review!). We also had to guess what the tabs did across the top (no text to help us decide which one was 'save', 'export' or 'delete'! The printed result was lovely quality which impressed us both (something for mum to admire, and make his absentee mates jealous when we get together again in January!)

What do you think of our end result?
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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Postcard from.... Amalfi, Italy


Jim & NHK students, I'm enjoyiing my holiday in Italy. The weather is perfect, the food is delicious & the people are so friendly. Luckly, I entered the "Gratta Azzurra". How blue the sea is! I visited Amalfitana today. How beautiful the coastline is!! I'm staying in Alberobello tonight.

Can you imagine how I am excited?

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Monday, 19 December 2011

That Xmas party in music

Try our slideshow maker at Animoto.

Adults' Xmas party 2011

Simon entertainsIs this funny?Look at meTasteyCan I get some?Low blow
Nice to see you too, ZoomerYou'll be safe in Australia, PaulTesticlHakuba teamIt's this bigQuiz
WinnersLosersA gaggleOK for me too!Mi-chan & Tomo-chanZooms with men
Yanissa & JimMiho with HokutoFeeding timeParty roomMinglingKung Fu Mi-chan

Adults' Xmas party 2011, a set on Flickr.

On Saturday night we got into the Christmas mood proper, with a gathering of friends and students at Luna - also justabout marks our anniversary, as we'd already started the move by this time last year.

Among the guests tomight some of our removalists - Paul, Mark & Naomi especially welcome.

A lovely night, stuff the landlord and stick him on a bonfire...Thank you all for coming, and for the delicious food: Shizue's cake I think easily the crowd favourite!

A Christmas Card

As an expression of thanks to everyone who came and made our children's party such a success!

A Christmas Carol - 2011

Hinata meets SantaCeilidh gets a job doneOr is it Elmo?Cookie?FishyEriko helps Ceilidh!
Ceilidh helps prepGetting ready - Ayumi & mumAyumi, Ayana & EleanorAre we all here?mummy momentThe Ceilidh shuffle
Kokoro worries about big kids!Masa ignores everyoneChecking cossiesCurious KaitoWhence Rudolph?Na-chan arrives
busy receptionCome on in!ExpectantArrivalsTaiseiEriko-sensei's family :)

A Christmas Carol - 2011, a set on Flickr.

Here is a taste of the some of the super photos from our Chritmas party yesterday afternoon - our young learners and mum all had a lovely fun time!

Please check out all the rest on flickr or our Facebook page.