Friday, 30 May 2014

In a tree? On the ground? Under the ground? - Where does it grow?

Jungle in the classroom
The weather is hotting up and some of you may be keeping yourselves busy by tending to your garden and getting your green fingers dirty. As some of you may know back in March we ran a workshop where some able and willing volunteers planted a collection of seeds in the hopes of seeing them flourish after a rather cold and harsh winter. In fact one of the plants has grown to about the same size as some of our younger students! As these plants have proved to spark wonder and curiosity into my students I took them as inspiration to include more nature based activities within the classroom.
Enjoying the sunshine

Ideally I would love to have a huge garden where we could grow lots of different plants, especially fruit and vegetables as they are a very common topic within a young learner's curriculum. Plus we could always eat them when we get hungry during class.

Is that a mouse?
Rather than dwelling on the fact that we are inhibited by a lack of gardening space me and my students turned instead to the next best thing. Our imaginations! Always a great alternative when things won't quite go your way. Instead of actually planting fruit and vegetables we took on the task of illustrating where some of the fruit and vegetables we've learnt in class would grow if we had the means to grow them.

Now some students took this activity more seriously than others, some intentionally drawing potato trees and mice nibbling at the underground bananas. However it did prove to be a fun and productive activity where we could practise prepositions, our writing skills and fruit and vegetables vocabulary as well as test the students' critical thinking and logical reasoning.

We will be looking to expand our flower pot garden, with lots more surprises to come. Maybe even adding a caramel plant to the collection. Or even the proverbial money tree. What will you be growing in your garden this year?

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After reading "Stranger Danger"

My hiking trip...

There was customs around my county to go hiking when I was elementary school student. At fifth grade, I went to a camp place where is located in East of Nagano prefecture.

The first day, we learned how to use saw by cutting wood actually. A bird expert taught us what kind of birds were in the forest and head their actual voice.

After we learn about forest, we divided 6 or 7 parties, and built up tent. This is the time to make team work, and grow self-initiative.
Some members of the party built tent and others went to fetch branch to lit fire for cooking. All parties made curry. Some parties cooked rice over, and some parties made light taste curry. All task was fresh and fun for me.

The next day, we had a game, called orientation. Each team gets a map, and find points which are located in the map. After they find all points, they go to goal. The faster team to go to goal is the winner. My team had a nice team work and could win the first prize.

It was fun camping, and I could learn team work.

Posted for Yumi

Thursday, 29 May 2014

After reading Hadrian's Wall - other walks

I'm a hiker...

During the spring and autumn from2 years ago, I am climbing a nearby mountain once a month with our colleagues and bosses.
And I am trying to climb big mountain with about 1,000M difference of elevation 1-2 times per season.

First, I though I would give up a hill climbing soon because I didn't have much physical energy and very very hard for me.
But, by repeating the hill climbing and pre-training, I felt the followings.
* I gained strength in physical energy by little and little
* The view of mountains are very very very beautiful
* The lunch at the top of the mountain is very delicious even though it is a rice ball bought in convenience store.

So, I want to continue regular exercise and keep current physical energy to see beautiful views and have delicious lunch at the top of the mountain.

Posted for Ritsuko

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

After reading the Black Night...a cunning plan!

There is a very valuable painting on display in a local gallery. 

Describe your plan to steal it without getting caught.

This is going to be a very challenging mission as there would be various measures taken by the gallery to prevent the theft. I’d have to visit the gallery a lot and investigate all the possible options thoroughly. I also need to be very careful not to cause any suspicion from anyone when visiting the scene.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, just before the gallery closes for the day, I hide myself in a bathroom stall and cool myself down. When everyone goes home, I quickly take the painting off the wall, remove it out from the frame, shove it under my shirt, and RUN! It’s as simple as that.

The possibility of success becomes higher if I have the right partner. He can lay spikes on the road to the gallery, and at the time of the theft, he can set off a couple of bombs in other areas of the city. That should definitely result in the slow response of the police.

But come to think of it, even if I did succeed in making off with the painting, while the gallery would have a major problem, I would have one, too.
A million-dollar painting is not worth a penny if no one buys it…

Posted for Nobuyuki

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

After reading Double Trouble...creative writing

 Write about a home-stay visit you have made.

When I was 17 years old, I went to Salt Lake City in U.S. and had a home-stay at there for a week.

It was my first time to go abroad. This home-stay program was planned by Matsumoto city and arranged by JTB. Matsumoto city is the sister-city relationship with Salt Lake City of Utah, and there is a home-stay program every year.

I stayed a small family together with another participant. They are a family of three. Father was a professor of Utah University. Mother stayed at home, their daughter was primary school student. They were believers in Mormonism as the city is very famous for Mormonism.

As my English level was not so high, I often talked with the daughter and play with her friends in the yard. Host mother and father had a barbeque party in the yard and we enjoyed the dinner. I had a lot of activities like river trip, attend the parade, and study English at University together with the groups who attend the program.

It was very amazing experience and all things were new and interesting to me!

Posted for Reiko

Monday, 26 May 2014

Jungle Book - similar stories? After reading...

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

I have read the same story in Japanese comics once.

Japanese most famous comic artist, Tezuka Osamu drew the comic “Black Jack”. I have read the same one as one series in that comics.

I think Tezuka Osamu probably has drawn the story based on “Jangle book”. Or, I think he wanted to introduce this story to Japanese people.

“Black Jack” is the story of the doctor, Black Jack who does not have the official license for doctor, but has top caliber. He could succeed any difficult surgeries, but always charges his patients for very high operation fee instead. The boy raised by the wolves was took to the doctor to adapt the boy to the human world after the boy was abandoned by everyone. I think this was just the story in the case Mowgli returned to the human world afterward. However, the boy ended up to return to jungle in this story, too, although Black Jack tried the various scientific ways on the boy. Black Jack seldom fail his surgeries, but he could not do anything about the boy raised by the wolves. This story finished by advising us ineffectuality of human.

Posted for Hiroshi

Friday, 23 May 2014

After reading The Black Night...thieves in the night!

There is a very valuable painting on display in a local gallery. Describe your plan to steal it without getting caught.

First of all, I will case the scene very carefully. I will check how many security guard, how is the alert system, let alone how is the location and when the gallery opens and closes. And then I will enter into the gallery during daylight. And I will look for the place I can hide until the night. And I will wait there until the night.

Next, I will look for the gateway I can escape during night, for example the window or exhaust outlet. I will never bite off. If I cannot find the best gateway, I will go home from the front door without doing anything after I wait until the gallery opens. If I find the gateway, I will try to escape from the gateway without stealing the painting. I will repeat that again and again. I don’t know how long it takes. But, if I find the best gateway finally, I will perpetrate the theft plan. I will go to the gallery during the daylight as if nothing had happened. And I will hide the place and wait until the night as usually. I will steal the target painting and escape from the gateway I have already found.

This is my plan.

Posted for Hiroshi

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Show Must Go On - after reading

Describe a sporting occasion that you participated in, when you got very excited/lost your temper

This was more than twenty years ago, but I recall when I was in the basketball team at my junior high, my coach always used to put me on the bench. Looking it back now, I think that was for the best, as I was not as tall as the others in the team, and my basketball skills left a lot to be desired. However, when we made it to the finals in the last tournament in our school life, he gave me a chance to play in the very last match. At the time, as I was also a member of our cheering squad, he was expecting me to call out loud for everyone to get motivated so we could give the match everything we had. Since it was so sudden that he told me to play as a substitute, I totally lost myself and just had to shout out some stupid and meaningless words only babies could barely understand. Although it was quite embarrassing and we even lost the match, it is also one of the very exciting and memorable stories of my school life.

Posted for Nobuyuki

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

After reading Murders in the Rue Morgue: a true story from Japan

 What is the most unusual story you have ever heard involving an animal?

This was an actual story which was happened in the World War Ⅱ.

There were three elephants in the Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, but because of the war, there was no food for the animals. Breeders in the zoo thought elephants were dangerous for people when they couldn’t control them. So they decided to kill the elephants. However, the elephants' skin was so hard that they couldn’t inject the poison. So they thought they should starve to death the elephants.
Elephant (Photo credit: Averain)

A few days later, elephants were very hungry. One of the elephants began to perform tricks to get  food. Then the others began to perform, too...The end of story was that elephants starved to death. But they were performing till they couldn’t move.

I like elephants because of their eyes. They look very kind. But I know they attack people or other animals when they protect their-self or their family.

When I was a child, I read this book. I was very shocked and I couldn’t stop crying. First, I thought why animals were killed for people. But if I was in the time, I thought the same thing as the breeder. I think these elephants were so clever and I would like to see them.

Posted for Yuri

A film review - "My Sister's Keeper"

Cover of "My Sister's Keeper (Turtleback ...
Cover via Amazon
Here is a film review by one of my students Yuuki who recently watched "My Sister's Keeper", a film adaptation of Jodi Picoult's novel. This is his second draft, and unfortunately he forgot to include a summary paragraph at the end (again!), so I will leave it up to you to decide whether you would like to watch this film or not.

This is a 2009 drama directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, and Alec Bladwin. This story based on Jodi Picoult's novel of the same name.

Anna (Abigail Breslin) was born as a savior sister. Anna is conceived to be a genetic match for her older sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), who suffers from leukemia, to donate organs, blood and tissues to keep her sister alive. When Kate turns 15, she goes into renal failure. Anna, eleven years old, realizes that she will be forced by her parents to donate one of her kidneys. Anna tells her mother Sara (Cameron Diaz) that she does not want to donate any of her organs and starts to sue them for rights to her own body.

The film is interlaced with flashbacks that detail Kate and Anna's close relationship. In a flashback, Kate also meets a cancer patient, Taylor (Alec Baldwin), whom she begins dating. After a date, they kiss outside Kate's house. After this, he becomes her boyfriend and starts her support. A few days later, Kate is crying because Taylor hasn't called her for several days. Kate learned he has died. Kate latter attempts suicide by overdosing on painkillers, but Anna stops her.

Kate makes a request to go to the beach one last time. Her father Brian removes her from the hospital for the day and takes her and the kids to the beach. When Brian arrives home to pick everyone up, her mother Sara overreacts and demands that Kate be returned to the hospital immediately. But Sara later shows up at the beach, where they enjoy a final family outing.

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Monday, 19 May 2014

Tales of the unexpected - Japanese

Edgar Allan Poe is a famous author of this genre (mystery/horror). Write about your favourite author; describe the genre and the main kind of characters in the books. Explain why you like to read the books, and which book you recommend to read first - and why.

I love Miyuki Miyabe who is a Japanese famous author of mystery. I read almost all her book as it was very interesting, not let me bored during reading and she describe normal person in normal life.

My recommendation is "Kasha" which means fired vehicle. A detective was asked to find a woman who is the fiancĂ©e of his relative. Her name is Shoko and she ran away with her decision. While he investigates her deeply, he found “Shoko” does not exist actually and she is another woman with the complicated back ground…

I like it because the fact is disclosed slowly and deeply with the natural story. The detective just tried to find out one ordinal person at first, but he found a big and deep back ground of her. These pieces of story is unimaginable and I enjoy the gap of the story and my imagine of her book.

Posted for Reiko

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A letter from beyond the grave - creative writing after reading "The Bride Wore Black"

"Ghost" letter written by Yuri
Dear Kate,

I am very sorry to you. I didn’t know Bea is so dangerous woman. And I can’t believe she killed me. But it was true. I am happy because you and your sister are well. My thought wasn’t wrong. I should get marry you, not Bea. But I can’t.

Thank you for love me.

Now I love you more than when I lived.

I wish you will be happy.
Good-bye and see you next world.

Love Steve

The importance of attending a funeral

 After reading "The Bride Wore Black" - writing exercise:

In my memory, I have been to funeral twice. One was for my grandfather, and other was for my friend.

I think funeral was the time to send-off the late person to the other world. And people can say good-bye to the late person. And also people can forget to cry because of busyness for preparation the funeral.

When I attended my friend’s funeral, I met a lot of my old friends. We talked about our student’s life and recent situation. Of course we talked about late person. She was a leader of one of girl’s group. I could remember about her clearly.

When the dates of funeral have come, I remember about them. I think this is also important for them or their family.

There are some pictures which we took them at the day of my grandfather’s funeral. They are family’s pictures. But all of us were smile. I was shocked and very sad when he died. But I was smile. Because I could talk about him a lot and I could say good-bye. I thought all of our family was same.
So I think it is important to attend the funeral.

Posted for Yuri

Saturday, 17 May 2014

An orang-utan writes: "Hello Sailor!"

Write a letter from the orang-outang to the sailor, telling him how you feel about your time together on the ship and in Paris.

Hi sailor,

I'm writing this letter for you because I ate a nut which is able to understand human languages and write words. I can imagine how you are surprised!!

I try to describe my feeling when I was together you on the ship and in Paris. I would like you to know our true character.

When I met you first time in island of Borneo, I was very scary, afraid of you/ human.. I'd never met like you before. I could not understand what you spoke. Suddenly I was caught by human. I tried to escape from you but I couldn't. It made me really angry since I was uprooted from my home island!! You delivered me on board. It was terrible for me during on the ship. I was in cage which was small for my big body.

I don't know how long I traveled from leaving my home.. At the last, I arrived a place, of corse I didn't know where I was. Some sailor said " We are in Paris". Then I was in your home. There were a lot of staff in your home. I was interested in them. Although you took care me, I wanted to go back to my island. I want living my family freely.

I saw many humans in Paris. I wonder if they mash up me, so I pretend forbidding behavior. Please don't decide our, Orang-outang is dangerous. We are gentle animals.
I hope you never snatch other orang-outang onward.

Posted for Miyuki

Friday, 16 May 2014

Between the Flags - after reading.

I love swimming.

For the past few years, I have not swimmed, but I started swimming from six years old and took swimming lesson about for seven years. I am good at all style except for butterfly and especially good at breaststroke. During the elementary school years, I was selected a member of team which took part in the city tournament.

The points which I love swimming are as follows.
* I believe that swimming can use all muscle of the body though some athletic machines like the running machine can use only a part of muscle.
* If I take exercise in the same time frame, swimming can burn more calories than athletic machines.

But, I have two negative points for swimming and those are keeping me out of swimming.
* Before swimming in a pool, I need to wash off the makeup and it takes time before swimming.
* I want to protect my skin from burning and want to get a skin free of spots someday.

Posted for Ritsuko

Thursday, 15 May 2014

My favorite story about a childhood journey/growing up...after reading Huckleberry Finn

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

  My favorite story about a childhood journey/growing up is "Never ending story". I read the book
and saw all movies, but I like the story of books. A quiet boy named Bastian Bux who love to read the book found mystic book in the bookstore one day. The owner of the bookstore said don't read the book because it is dangerous. But the boy rob the book and read the book...

There is a wonderland in the book but it almost same as the real world. I exited to read the book like I am the boy. It is mysterious feeling as it seems I see the boy through the book and the boy also see the another world through the book!

Posted for Reiko

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

April - a month in pictures at Luna

Thank you Damian for reminding me to make April's was such a great month. The sun came out to play, at long last, and with it the Cherry Blossom (good) & hay fever (awful). Goodbye wellingtons & shovels, hello short sleeves and sunglasses! Social highlight of the spring was our annual barbecue on the Susuki riverside; thank you everyone who came, cooked, ate & drank :)

Loads of fun in classes too, as you will see, with arts projects showing off some really creative ideas...readers getting stuck into their books, and learners learning how to use their indexes properly. Table-top games, dice games, iPad games, board games and any other kind of games you can think of too!

May will see our final month in our current premises; we love the space we enjoy but little else. We hope there will be as little disruption as possible to the regular class schedule, and we expect to be up & running next to Big Boy from June 10th. If anybody would like to help us with the big shift, please let us know - all hands on deck June 6, 8-9.

May will also see some of our students taking their Cambridge PET exams, and others getting ready for their FCE at the beginning of June. Important steps in several language learning careers.

BTW, the song is by Bob Geldof, a man I have a lot of respect for. Very sadly his daughter passed away in April.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Mississippi River - Chinasa's backpack: after reading Huckleberry Finn

You are going to travel down the Mississippi River like Huck. 

Describe what you will take with you, and why.

I will take a lot of foods, clothes, compass, gun, and bulletproof glass. The reasons are as below.

First is food that is most important for me. I am not sure how long it takes for the journey, so I would like to take foods as much as possible. I will choose breads mainly since it can keep it longer than rice ball.

Second is cloth. I think that I will feel cold on the river. I would like to take outer clothes as much as possible so that I can adjust body temperature properly.

Third is compass. The Mississippi River is so big, so I may be lost. I should know the location that I am by using compass and move boat at the correct direction.

Fourth is gun. I think the Mississippi River is dangerous. If some dangerous animals like crocodile attack me, I will kill them by gun to protect myself.

Last one is bulletproof glass. Not only animals but also some people may attack me by gun or arrow. If I protect myself by bulletproof glass, I will be safe.

I want to take many things on boat. Now, I am afraid that the boat may go down due to heavy luggage…

Posted for Chinasa

Long lost friends - getting back in touch

A message for your dearest friends
Me and Teruki have been recently covering the topic of "old friends". When we  were discussing friends we had lost touch with, Teruki told me about her childhood friend, Mariko, with whom she exchanged letters with regularly when she was younger, but has lost contact since. As a homework exercise I asked Teruki to write a letter getting back in touch with Mariko. Here is what she wrote:

Dear Mariko,
How have you been? It has been really long time since I met you last. What have you done? How about your family?... and Where do you live now?

I really enjoyed wrote you and I really looked forward to receive your letters, when I was teenager. We shared a lot of things about school life, friend ship and ourselves. Your letter was really exciting for me. I loved reading your letters.

Now, I live in Azumino with my husband, Takeshi. Takeshi is always busy as a director of a Art Museum, specialist of pictur books and a speaker. Takeshi and I opened a gallery restaurant in Matsumoto city with one of our friend. I have to care of the restaurant, so I am also busy recently. I have a lot of things I would like to tell you and hear from you.

I really hope to see you.

Your friend,

Friday, 9 May 2014

Adventures in Australia - the lost diaries of Remi

Recently one of our students, Remi, had the opportunity to have a 2 week homestay at Jim's brother's house in Australia. How exciting! Before departing on her grand adventure we asked her to keep a diary of her experiences as well as sending us a postcard, which read "Australia was fun". Thankfully her diary is much more interesting to read, even though it did take her 3 weeks to finish after returning from her trip! So here is the long awaited diary log of Remi's experiences in Australia!

It was my first time to go to foreign country alone. So I was very nervous but also excited. And I was very happy because one of my favorite singers, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was on my plane!! I was soooo happy!!!!

Next morning I got to Sydney at 7:30AM.(In Japan it was 5:30AM) I had to get up so early. So I was a bit tired. After I met Mike (Jim's brother), Charlie and Louis, Mike took me to a place where we can see Opera House. Opera House was really white and beautiful than I expected.

I got up early and went to see football practice of Louis and Joe. In Japan, football is not so popular so, I didn't know the rule at all. But it looked so exciting and fun !! In the afternoon, I went to a walk with Mike, Liz (Mike's wife), Fred, Louis and Joe. And we walked along the beach. The beach was beautiful than Japan. Japanese ocean is not always clean and algae is always floating so I hate swimming in the Japanese ocean. But that beach had white sand and clear water. Next time when I goto Wollongong, I'd like to swim!! 
For dinner, we had fish and chips.Usually, I don't eat oily food a lot. But it was incredibly delicious that I ate all!!!

I went to Coles (a supermarket in Wollongong ) with Liz. When we got out from the supermarket, it was raining cats and dogs. Liz told me in Austrailia, it doesn't rain so often and last time it rained that much was before Christmas! I was really unlucky.

I met to Misaki. She used to study at Luna. And she lives in Sydney now. She took me to Rocks, Manly and Mosman. We took lunch at Rocks and had pancakes. It was my first time to eat pancakes for lunch. This day was short because, Misaki took me to lots of nice places and I had so much fun. And I thought I wanted to meet her again.

Went to Sydney with Liz, Fred, Louis and Joe by double decker train.It took a lot to go to Sydney so, at last everyone got bored. After we got to Central station, we walked through QVB(Queen Victoria Building). Queen Vitoria Building is a very huge shopping mall. And in the corner of the building, there is a big statue of
queen Victoria. So, it is called QVB. After that, we went to Aquarium. The aquarium was very big and there were lots of animals like Dugongs, Platypus and Sharks etc...
After going to the aquarium, Liz was planning to go on a ferry from aquarium to Circular Quay. But the ferry had already gone. So we had to walk all the way to Circular Quay station. I got really tired tired but, it was so fun to walk with the boys.

I went to Sydney again!!
This time, I went with everybody by car. Liz told me it is really difficult to go out with everyone. Because
everyone has each football practice and soccer practice almost everyday.
First we walked around Darling Harbour. Mike told me there is the biggest cinema in the Southern Hemisphere. After walking around, we went on the ferry and played a little bit in Luna Park. Luna Park is a amusement park in Sydney. There are lots of rides like roller coaster, ferris wheel etc.... 
And walked across Harbour Bridge. The view from the bridge was very beautiful and we could see Opera House from the bridge. I saw people doing bridge climbing. It looked really scary. I think I can't do bridge climbing because of the height. 
For dinner we had Chinese food at China town. 
After that we went to the Olympic stadium (now it's ANZ stadium ) to watch Australian Football. The rule was complicated but I had so much fun. 

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Thursday, 8 May 2014

After reading: New Yorkers & menial jobs

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

I actually have a lot of experience as a waiter. The first experience was when I was a high school student. I worked at Japanese style bar. After I worked there three months, I started working at family restaurant. This job was very enjoyable and I ended up to work there for long time intermittently. Furthermore, I have made a lot of friends who is close even now there. When it comes to technical matter, I learnt how to have many dishes. As the result, I could have seven pieces of dishes finally. After I entered university, too, I worked as a waiter at another restaurant. However, I had a little different experience as a waiter when I was university student. That was a waiter at a place for the wedding. I was dispatched to the different place every time. However, the wedding is the very important event for bride and groom as we all know. Accordingly, I was not allowed to make any mistake at all, although I almost came to fall to the ground by stumbling on a spot light. This was very tough job.

Posted for Hiroshi