Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Jungle Book - a similar story in my culture

My favourite story " Prince of mononoke" which is a girl raised by wolf from Ziburi which is really famous of movie company not only Japan also around the world.

A girl was got dumped from her parents. And wolf picked up her and she rased her with her children. She doesn't like human and she believes that she is not human. When a girl is grown up, wolf and a girl try to protect forest where they are living against groundbreaker.

During that period, a boy visited there and met a girl. He tries to match up her/ wolf and groundbreaker. It was really hard but he never give up. Finally, they could make it up with each other. After that a boy lives with groundbreaker and a girl lives in the forest with wolf's children.

Posted for Miyuki

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Scrabble with six year olds?!

Absolutely! And do you know what, it cured a bad case of the "mummy mummies" this afternoon - which was a pleasant surprise!

Our first time to play, and with six players Jim-Sensei had to be fast & loose with the rules (including not keeping a score!)

Main aim was to recognise/match lower case letters ("sensible" font a big bonus!) & to be able to say what the letters they were matching were. Big group = plenty of thinking time (big ABC chain on the wall) & time to locate matches on the board.

Each child took a fistful of tiles (four!) and took it in turns to put two on the board; lots of mutual support, as we were not trying to win. Pick up two more. Play ended when we'd filled the board & run out of letters. Achievement ;)

On the way, incidental game playing/turn taking language (repeated every turn!) as well as letter revision, getting them the right way up & distinguishing especially between p/q/d/b. 

And we sat & played very nicely for over half an hour; that "change activities every 5 minutes with YLs" myth debunked again!

Next time we play, we will win points for putting the last letter in a word to complete it, and for reading it/saying what the picture is ;) And everyone will still be a winner! 

What's your favourite YL board game?

Dracula - Interview with a Vampire (after reading)

Question 1
: I like man’s blood because woman’s blood is weak for me.
And I like both old and young healthy man’s not too old or too young.

Question 2
How do you choose the person who you will drink his/her blood ?
: I choose by good looking and good smell. If he/she has plenty of muscle, his/her blood is very good.

Question 3
How much blood do you need a day ?
: I don’t need blood to live every day.
I need the blood once or twice a month.

Question 4
Do you eat any food without blood ?
: No, I don’t .I need only blood .

Question 5
How many vampires live in near here ?
: I think many vampires live in near here.
So if someone died and people doesn’t know why he/she was ill, he/she killed by vampire.

Question 6
If you can live under the daylight, what would you like to do?
: If I can live under the daylight, I would like to swim in the sea.

Posted for Yuri

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The festival at the Nagano Prefectural Children’s Hospital - independent report!

2013_Kod_byo_fest (792)
2013_Kod_byo_fest (792) (Photo credit: ijiwaru jimbo)

In October 14th, I went to the festival at the Nagano Prefectural Children’s Hospital. The hospital is famous for its orange rooftop and it has reached the 20th anniversary in this year.

This festival was organized for children who will play important roles of our future and for children to know more about hospitals. The festival lasted for about 5 hours and 30 minutes and the number of its event is 42, so that means it was very busy day, but I think it was a brilliant idea for the visitors not to be bored and have fun!

What I looked and experienced was to ride on hot-air balloon, to watch a street performance and to see the plarail toy trains. All of them were fun do.  In addition, many vehicles including a police car, the Self-Defense Forces, a fire engine, a ladder car, an ambulance, a doc copter and the shovel car came, and children were states of the delight. Also, there were the experience-based tour and occupation experience in the hospital, and there was the figure that they told about their work. 

The world's best photographer came, too and was cool. I really enjoyed the festival.(Jim)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dr. Matsui calls "999"

If you are the deputy director of a hospital, and you need to put on a show, who would you call?! Obviously I'm British, so 999 is the number for me...but what number are you pre-programmed to dial in an emergency?

Dr. Matsui's call was answered fabulously, and allowed children to climb all over fire engines (and some to go up in the crane), ambulances, police patrol cars (and try to find the siren button!), an armored car & a Humvee, various diggers and to get blown away by one of the two dedicated air ambulances (Ecureuil EC135) in the prefecture.

You can download the slideshow (free) here

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Young Medical Learners get hands on experience with professional guidance

The best kept secret of the festival at the Children's Hospital festival last week was the chance for children to touchy-feely with all kinds of things, the way doctors and nurses like to!

All aspects of health care could be tried out, explained very easily and quickly hands-on. Children could try to use an ultrasound machine (to see what kind of fruit was hidden in a jelly pack!); they could mix ingredients to make new medicines; they could give a lifelike baby doll a warm bath, injections and swab wounds; they could listen to heartbeats & take pulses, check other vial signs...they could even have a go at making stitches in a very real pig's heart. Brilliant experience (if you have the stomach for it!) and I hope inspired some youngsters to study science more. Certainly not everyday you can get live tuition from a heart surgeon on a real heart!

Download the slideshow at

Throwing up with an audience - juggling in hospital!

Usually, the Quad in the middle of the hospital is a nice quiet place to sit and think, enjoy a bit of sunshine and escape the 'hospital' feel of flourescent lighting and the faint smell of disinfectant. On festival day, it became the home to a procession of cunjurors, mimes, jugglers and street performers. As you will see in the slideshow, they had their little audience (not their lunch!) in the plam of their hands.

Supersized Mascots roam free, kids enthralled

I christen you "Chirukuma"
The Prefectural Children's Hospital wanted to reveal their new mascot at the festival, and to have it named by a popular vote. Of course, the mascot community found out and came to crash the party! In all, 20 oversized characters turned up to parade themselves and to wander the corridors looking for hands to shake. Very popular and colourful participants!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

When a hospital turns into a music & dance venue!

A very nice way to jolly up a hospital is to have a carnival in the main entrance! The Nagano Prefectural Children's Hospital pulled out all the stops and had African dancers, Hula girls, an apparently famous lady in a stripey PJ suit, the local school band, a folk band, a parade of mascots, and a Q & A session with two players from our local Matsumoto Yamaga football team - no surprise they were very popular and accounted for all the green football shirts being sported!

You can download the slideshow here (free)

My Badminton Competition

Badminton racquets
Badminton racquets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear diary,
 On Saturday I took part in a badminton competition in Okaya city. It was a competition of doubles. On the day, I woke up at five thirty in the morning, took a train to Okaya.
 The whole competition was divided in to three groups, group A, B and C. Group A is a group of best players and Group C is a group of beginners. Out of those three, I was in group B. After being divided into three groups we were divided into another eleven groups to do a league game. Only the top of the league is allowed to go to the finals.
 We won all the games in the league without any trouble. In the quarterfinal, however, I got so nervous and I missed a lot of shots and lost one game, but after that game, I pulled my self together and won next two games and won the match. Semifinal’s competitors was the strongest pair we played that dayI concentrated, move my feet, tried not to miss, and then we won. The final didn’t differ much from semifinal. We became first in the competition! I was so happy because I had never become first in badminton competition. We got cakes for winning it as well. It was good.
 I have to thank my partner, Minami. I couldn’t win it with out him. This day has been the best day in October. Better than my birthday!
 I will practice more hard to be better and earn the strength to win against stronger team. Next competition is in November. I want to win it as well if I can.

Kanro M

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One big balloon and glowing smiles

I have to admit I volunteered eagerly to be able to photograph this year's festival at the Prefectural Children's Hospital. The red roof is a familiar landmark (which I am sure the helicopter ambulance pilots appreciate) out in the fields of Azumino. My school has deep ties with the hospital, going back over a generation and still going strong now. We really do know how much good is done there, and how much the staff care about the children in their care. We know that some of the patients are very poorly indeed, and others just need to be there for a long time. It is a beacon of hope, as well as excellence.

Once a year, they open their doors and put on an event for visitors and patients. It is remarkable how many people attended, but not that the place was buzzing with tenderness and love. From dawn, a hot air balloon all the way from Saku was anchored, then inflated, in the car park, offering rides above the hospital roof for a pristine view of the Alps on a beautiful clear morning. It was wonderfully heartwarming to see clearly unwell children be brave again, and enjoy the thrill of a very unusual ride. A very big 'wow' event.

Click on the slideshow below for all the smiles!

You can download the slideshow (free) at

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Using Quandary in an FCE reading prep class

 I came across an online game called Quandary a few days ago via @dkapuler - someone very well worth following on twitter if you are into that kind of thing & have an interest in #EdTech (useful technology & tools that can be used in the classroom).

I quickly realised I should try it out with my young #FCE students, who enjoy a change of pace and revel in a challenge. They also relish the chance to compete with each other, but being brothers this can often be hard to achieve with a level playing field. Getting them to read quickly is a bit harder...

The premise of the game is that the player is the captain of a crew, who have just arrived at a far flung planet & begun to colonise it. The crew/settlers are diverse bunch with a predicatble range of opinions which the player needs to take into consideration as he/she moves through scenarios. Each scenario requires the player to read (can also listen to the information) about a particular situation, then tap into the community's opinions and make a decision about a course of action; then fine tune that decision with more information and take stock of a core of opinions selected from the larger group.

The player scores points along the way, according to how well they have categorised opinions or matched potential outcomes to predictions...and the outcomes do vary, depending on the choices made by the player along the way. I will ask my players to offer their own feedback on the game soon (hopefully they are exploring a few more levels for 'homework' this weekend).

I liked this activity because the game is not too wierd or requiring role play into dungeons & dragons territory. The premise is simple, the scenarios realistic and the moral dliemma's presented are everyday & believable: the outcomes are not judgements on the player's character either, more a hint that they did not take heed of the right opinions or make such smart decisions, given the information available.The information is just heavy & involved enough, and the range of opinions given requires re-reading & ranking, sifting for nuance & a setting aside of personal bias.

Once familiar with the chain of events as a scenario unfolds, my lads quickly became independent and jumped into the next situation. We have 2 PCs in the classroom so they could do this real time against each other both in terms of time taken & points accumulated (also found they were not on the points leaderboard at the end), which dampened the triumphalism (Yes, there's more than just you two in this mire!) while I could keep track of where they were & ask a few questions of my own along the way.

I will be coming back to the next time we have a 'too tired to think' evening. Games in class? For me, gamification is not a dirty word if used well - hoping it will encourage my learners to engage with more reading out of class. Their moral compasses are pretty sound, but never hurts to give them a polish every now & again!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Quick Hallowe'en masks

 Workshop today at Luna was all about making Hallowe'en masks.

Yes, I am not into the whole Hallowe'en thing at all (erm but I love the whole Pendle Hill thing) as an utterly false American premise...but it does lend itself  to an very nice arts & crafts session. Hypocrite Jim sensei!

What do you need? An hour or so to get all the bits & pieces lined up for a start - after you've done the shopping. This after you have had a trial run on your own to get the steps sorted out/iron out wrinkles/fine tune design & process...otherwise you end up blowing your timing and having a project half undone. In cooking terms, mis en place.

Paper plates (pre-painted = save all the drying hassle) & draw in a pencil face. Chop off the top, turn upside down & re-attach via dangles as a mouth. Fill in with a black marker. Use a paper punch on either side to make ear-holes - rubber band through each & tie them together with a length of wool. More wool, threads pulled apart, to add a fringe and a beard.

One hour done :)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Solving teen angst with Quizlet!

It can be really hard motivating teens in EFL classes, especially if they are knackered and would rather be playing baseball. Add into that a boy/girl demarcation line as wide as the English Channel...

So, sitting at different work stations is an ideal solution - and bizarrely far more collaborative as the competitive edge kicks in! Both were online to Quizlet and having a crack at the same vocab from the same unit of the same book....I almost didn't need to be there :)

Look who's smiling now!

We can do this!
 Snuffling season is upon us, suddenly!

Expecting five, and suddenly two only - umm. Great chance to reward keenness with a really fun 'game'.

Chance to practice colours, alphabet order, and just along the way some phonics...My First Scrabble with Miyu & Aoi. Loved seeing their eyes light up as they 'got it' and quickly got independent of me!

Teacher tip = just as much use getting #YLEs to put the letters back in the right order :)

Graffalo watchers
An awesome reward = watching the first half of the Gruffalo. Memo to self = get an HDMI cable to a flat screen at our next premises :)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Batman Begins - Film Review

Cover of "Batman Begins"
Cover of Batman Begins
This is a a film disclosing how the "Dark Knight " was born.I enjoyed this breathtaking film by Christopher Nolan.

Wayne Bruce, who is the son of a noble, was an orphan. Feeling discouraged, he leaves his city Gotham and travels all over the world. Seven years later, he returns and with his mates, he over comes his fear. With strength,  brains and high tech weapons, he fight for justice.

The action in this film is just spectacular. Especially in the last scene which is breathtaking. Incidentally the car is just too cool. Also, there is a lot of special effects used and I was impressed with them as well.

I have seen some of this Batman series and think this is the best out of those. It is the beginning of the story the prequel, so anyone can enjoy watching this even if you don't know anything about Batman.

Posted by Kanro
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Super Simple Songs YouTube Channel Trailer

As many parents of our learners will know, we like to use a lot of songs here at Luna. We particularly love Super Simple Songs and rate them very highly...why not engage at home with your children + animation?!

How did Jim find out about SSS? At an ETJ Bookfair in Tokyo several years ago, Rob Habbick of course, introduced him to Devon Thagard.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Armageddon - film review

Armageddon (1998 film)
Armageddon (1998 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My dad suggested that I watch Armageddon when I was about ten. Before that I wasn't a great fan of science fiction and special effects in adventure films. I was impressed by the stars' brave hearts.

An enormous asteroid, about as big as Texas , is coming towards Earth at 35000km/h. If it impacts, no living species, even bacteria, will survive. 14 guys were chosen to save the Earth by using a nuclear bomb.

The music is fantastic, the stars are cool and there's a beautiful actress in it (Liv Tyler). The special effects are spectacular . Also Bruce Willis's acting is superb.

This film teaches us bravey and love. It's one of Michael Bay's most popular films. You should see this!

Posted by Takuro

Monday, 7 October 2013

Postcard from Cote d'Azur, Nice - France


I am in Nice.

I have eaten delicioussea food in Nice and Monaco. Monaco was different place to what I thought. It looks like underground, another world.

From Atsuko

Friday, 4 October 2013

In Memoriam

I was devastated to hear that my very close friend, and champion of Luna, Rob Habbick had passed away on September 30th. For now, I am too sad and upset to put into words my feelings about his passing. My family, and our extended Luna family, owe Rob an awful lot for his moral and material support (where do you think all the new books come from?!).

Our thoughts, condolences & love to his family, who we know since they were much shorter but now taller than me... we feel your loss and will continue to do so for a very long time to come.

We love you, Rob.