Wednesday, 25 December 2013

What do you want for Christmas?!

Can you remember what we did this Christmas?

Let this audioslideshow jog you memory!

Please follow this link & download or go to Luna's Youtube page...

Don't burn that turkey - and have a wonderful Christmas xxx

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Luna's Christmas Party 2013

All of us - Luna :)My office!Bum rushGoodfellas?!Food hallSanta + Miki
Santa + Saki & mummyXmas_Kids_2013 008Santa + RunaXmas_Kids_2013 010Santa + Airu 2Santa + Airu
Santa + Ceilidh 2Santa + CeilidhXmas_Kids_2013 015Xmas_Kids_2013 016Xmas_Kids_2013 017Xmas_Kids_2013 018
Santa + gf2Santa + gfXmas_Kids_2013 021Xmas_Kids_2013 022Santa + Hina 3Santa + Hina 2
Luna's Christmas Party 2013, a set on Flickr.
What a tremendous afternoon!

So many excited Luna faces with little brothers and sisters arriving just before 1pm (sorry, our landlord is The Original Grinch - we are on Matsumoto's equivalent of Oxford Circus afterall so stopping outside is very difficult) and no staff here...

Thank you SO much Yukari & Mayumi for sorting out all the food & drinks - yellow card MosBurger for putting spicey mustard on all the kids' burgers though. What were you thinking - some fat git wants 60 chicken burgers all in one go?

We learned some new Christmas songs to sing & dance, and then had to make our own Christmas Bingo sets. Share crayons? Share glue? Not hoard all the pieces? Designed to be a calming event - share, y'all...Jim applied Nissan "just enough" philosophy to this the greedy kids lost out BIG TIME when they had to wait for all their pictures to be called! Ha!

A new S-A-N-T-A song tired everybody out:
  • Red hat
  • White beard
  • Twinkly eyes
...and the balloon race got off to several false starts because no one was listening. Eventually, Kotone's team won.
Naomi's Xmas ABC colourthon was a mad rush of enthusiasm minus a clear plan (need to turn up before the party starts & prime the DJ with soundtrack requests, think through how you are going to display the end result....) but everyone had fun before drifting off...

Michael sensei turned up an hour and a half late (thanks Ceilidh for vacuuming all the carpets downstairs + the stairs) just in time to put on a suit & pose for pictures. We are very grateful he managed to write his class notes for 2013 yesterday while visiting 2nd hand car dealerships; the effort really shows.

Fortunately, Jim managed not to explode and instead the children enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the Christmas mood - all original activities this year (thank you Super Simple Songs).

We are really excited about 2014 - classes start on Jan 6th. Lot's of exciting new things to report, starting with Tim being spotted over the North Pole Dec 30th...

Testing phonics? Play the game!

 As we have just about got our heads around long vowel sounds - and established classroom strategies for sussing those impossible to decode sounds ("magic 'e'?", "double 'e'?") reward system is to play a game again. I think we last played this in the summer & needed teamwork & teacher support...not so Friday. Game played at a blistering pace - read cards, choose one to give a chance of making four-in-a-row, put counter down, next player. 

Why was I surprised they could do this? I think because they couldn't before! My students really got a lot of satisfaction out of measurably improving & needing almost no support. 

So how do you gauge your students' progress in reading/spelling?

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Murders in the Rue Morgue - after reading

 Imagine you are locked in Matsumoto Castle one night. 
How can you escape without getting anybody's help and without getting wet?

Matsumoto Jo
Matsumoto Jo (Photo credit: ijiwaru jimbo)
First, I will walk around in Matsumoto Castle and check if the latticed windows or anything can be come off.

Matsumoto Castle, however, is the ancient building. I am not sure if the latticed windows or anything can be come off. Even if they can be come off, I cannot replace them after escaping. In addition, Matsumoto Castle is one of national treasures in Japan. If I break or damage anything of the castle, I must be arrested.

If I am arrested, my life is significantly changed in the wrong direction for any reason. I must avoid being arrested anyhow. If I am locked in Matsumoto Castle one night, I have no choice but to give up escaping and stay the night there.
If some of them can be come off, I will check if I can go through them. When I find the proper window or anything to escape, I will go through it and stand on the roof. Then, I will climb down the roofs slowly and carefully, move to the top of stone wall and stand on the ground.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Murders in the Rue Morgue - after reading

Edgar Allan Poe is a famous author of this genre (mystery/horror). 
Write about your favourite author.

My favourite author is Kaori Ekuni. She is a Japanese author and writes many novels on love story. 

I recommend “Kirakira hikaru” at first, since I started from this novel as well. It is a kind of love story with a married couple. She is dependent on alcohol and he is a gay and has a younger lover. They try to accept each other and seek the best way to live altogether like family. They are very unique characteristics, but I myself felt empathy for her. 

Posted for Tomoko

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Jungle Book - after reading

 The Jungle Book is about a boy raised by animals. Write about a similar story in your culture.

Cover of "Princess Mononoke"
Cover of Princess Mononoke
There is " Princess Mononoke" which is a famous anime historical fantasy adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

This is a period drama set in the late Muromachi period (approximately 1337 to 1573) of ancient Japan, but with fantasy elements. The story follows the young warrior Ashitaka's involvement in the struggle between the supernatural guardians of a forest and the humans who consume its resources.

It is the same ending as Jungle book that the princess could not live as human.

Posted for Reiko

Huckleberry Finn - after reading

 What is your favourite story about a childhood journey/growing up quickly?

My favourite story is "Lion king" not human story.

Main charactor is called Sinba. He is son of King of Africa. When he was child, his father was killed in front of him by bad guy who wants to become King. And he decided to kill him after he growing up. And then he travelled in Jungle. He made a friends and girlfriend. He could studied a lot things. Finally, he could get back to the bud guy and he was king like his father.

Posted for Miyuki

New Yorkers - after reading

 Write about your experience doing a menial job eg waiting or waitressing

I did a part-time job in a Sushi restaurant when I was a university student. I worked there as a waitress for two years. It was my first job. When I got the salary first time, I was so glad and bought cakes for my family.

My job was to get the orders from customers, serve the meals to them and wash the dishes. I liked to serve the meals to customers because the meals looked so delicious and the customers were glad to see the meals.

In the weekend, many customers came to the restaurant and it was much crowed. I was so busy and could not have a rest, but I worked very hard as it was better than I had nothing to do. I paid attention so that the customers enjoyed their meal without awaiting our service for a long time.

My forgettable memory in the part-time job is that a sushi chef cooked to celebrate my birthday. I am not good at cooking, so I tend to like the man who cooks well. If the sushi chef did not get married and were much younger, I might fall in love with him.

Posted for Tomoko

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Of lateral thinking & playing scrabble

End of game 'aid de memoir'
I think crosswords and games like scrabble are especially difficult for learners of languages which use a different script/non-latin - it is harder to 'see' words and manipulate letters around as abstracts in the hope of finding something familiar. This particularly so when one or more of the letters you need 'isn't there' but is instead 'hidden' on the board already. I do not have any proof or research to back me up (help!), but a lot of observation!

So, I find my role is quite an active one with younger or lower level learners; not much fun gawping at seven letters when your mind is blank. Very much the prompter - asking questions to guide them to a word eg "Think of a number" or "What is the past tense of ____?", "Where do you stay if you go hiking?" or "Finish this set of words - bass, tenor, soprano, ____ " and of course trying to avoid a run away winner. A practical aspect is that you will avoid 3-letter-word syndrome that otherwise clogs up the board!

Teams work better but need a time limit - and the 'lesson' needs to have a follow up (don't just tip the letters back in the box at the end!), for example writing x number of sentences using words from the game, or a spelling test or pop quiz at the start of next class. Some students are natural 'collectors' of vocabulary & will take notes - mine need constantly reminding! 
Other hints for players:
  • opposites
  • plurals (add an 's' to an existing word that is also in your new word)
  • prefixes & suffixes
  • write possible answers on the board phonetically
  • pictionary clues 
  • page number in text books or readers
  • I Spy
  • word transformation (eg give the noun when they need the adjective form etc)
  • what's your suggestion, reader?
I'd say in our class today we were more engaged and enervated than usual - cold, wet December night near the end of term - and yet we did not waste our time just playing a game!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Recycling reindeer - and paint them green

Tis that time of year, and we need to revamp our decorations a bit at Luna Towers - we seem to have a lot of Santas downstairs, and only one or two reindeer...

Break out the empty cardboard boxes!

We have a room full of junk (which really does need tidying up - anybody?) and a remarkable amount of raw materials if we rummage in a few drawers.

As we are little bit on the little side on Wednesdays, I didn't want to waste time & energy trying to cut the thick cardboard with tiny scissors; besides, a Stanley knife is rather sharp & dangerous. Best done as prep, especially as the antlers are fiddly. So, everything cut up & ready to paint, kids!

And paint themselves they did - on sleeves, faces, fingers as well as the table! Memo to self; tie on the strings first, then you can paint both sides and dry them easily. Another memo to self - check the reverse side of the box does not have printing on it, labels or cellotape (paint resistant) and remove ahead of project. Make sure the nippers roll up sleeves; we did this standing at the big table which worked better than sitting down...don't know why!

Eyes, noses & mouths done (Rudolph's), we could set aside to dry - but not in time before end of class (hairdryer would be useful). I'll get the string out tomorrow and finish the job off. Pics to follow!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Hime - how does your dog smell?

My dog's name is Hime. She is a small dog - a Cairn Terrier.She doesn't dig holes. She doesn't climb trees.She likes cats.

Hime is clean but smelly. She doesn't like baths or watch TV.She doesn't eat fish but she licks my face.

I love my dog.

Yuta (who made the picture using Dog Party iOS app by PBS Kids because he hates drawing!) talked/wrote about his own dog after reading an OUP X reader about a lazy boy called George (no relation) whose dog messed around in the background of the story.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Lost in the Jungle to Space Race: offline analog reader to online digital player

The raw material
As a pre-read/speed read I asked my class to find all the animals they could in the story. I think 'sloth' is a low-frequency noun (it's not in the text!) and a bonus point to the lad who asked me what a "lazy whatsit (in Japanese)" is in English! Looking hard for creepy crawlies too!

Previous titles in the orange series have introduced irregular past tense verbs, and most of those occuring in this story are not new. We listened to the narration on the CD, underlining said, got, threw etc as we followed the text. I coughed and/or paused the CD if we missed one - lots of peeking at friends' books.
Vocab/grammar in logical place

This gives the children something to 'do' - and a not easy task either. Competitive challenge too, as well as co-operative; writing them as a list in the inside back cover & counting - in this case we had collected 22. I wouldn't ordinarilly go anywhere near that many in the course of a class!

A messy board - brainstorming
The challenge then was to try to remember what the original form of the verbs looked like. They could remember a few but 22 is a daunting; nice teacher put them up on the board but oops in a bit of a mess. We took turns to call out pairs and scribble them down in our books (see right). I think you'll agree these ARE high frequency words, so making a decent note of them is no bad thing and in a place where we can remember them ie in the Jungle!

The digital version of my messy board is a lot more fun with a PC: check out  Space Race below. Plenty of other fun ways to use Quizlet online; apps work oniOS as well but with limited functionality (still useful!).

 Why not log in to Quizlet & see if you can set a high score?!