Monday, 29 September 2014

My new friend

Yesterday I went to a park near my school with my dog. In the park, I met to a  boy.
His age was same as me. He was walking with his dog too. So my dog looked very 
happy. We talked a lot. He said that he likes playing with girls!
I was very surprised with him. We spend a lot of time in the park together.
I didn't ask his name but I want to meet him again.

Tomoro M

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Referendum time – Luna’s voice

Votes are in
The hot topic last week was the Scottish independence referendum, although picking my students’ brains for their thoughts and opinions proved largely fruitless (some were even unaware there was a referendum whilst the rest weren’t really too bothered either way), I did come across this little gem: “I hope Scotland don’t become independent or Scottish whiskey prices will be higher”.

I was in for quite the surprise when I received a phone call from Yukari on Friday morning, just as I was setting off for my midday class at Daiichi High School, requesting if I could prepare an impromptu demo lesson discussing the recent Scottish independence referendum for a slot on the evening news for ABN (Asahi Broadcasting Nagano). I was a little taken back, especially since this gave me a 30 minute window after my midday class to get back to Luna, have lunch and prepare! Despite the unfavourable situation that I found myself in, I decided to give it a shot and make the most of it. It’s not often do you get the opportunity to demonstrate how you operate in your working environment. But I assure you I was in no way calm and collected as I am making myself out to be, to be honest I was terrified at the prospect of conducting a lesson in front of a camera with little to no preparation. What if my students didn't know that Scotland is a country, let alone identify it on a map.

            I motored back to Luna after my class in order to clear my mind so I could set about how I was going to tackle the demo class starting in less than half an hour. However, when I arrived at Luna I was greeted with yet another shocking surprise. The demo lesson plan had fallen through, since we were actually unable to get enough students together at such short notice, so as an alternative ABN wanted to interview English nationals on their opinions of the referendum. Here’s the catch: the whole interview was going to be in Japanese. Definitely not part of the job description when I joined Luna! My head was spinning from just trying to keep up with the day’s antics, I hadn’t even sat down to have my lunch yet. I guess there wasn’t an abundance of potential candidates to choose from either, as they settled on me as an appropriate interviewee. Luckily we also had our friend Mark, who teaches over at Shinshu University, join us for the debate. Thanks for joining us on such short notice Mark!

            I barely had the time to digest the news, and what lunch I could shovel into my mouth, before the crew arrived on set a la Luna. The camera was so big I didn’t think it would fit in my classroom! After brief introductions and usual pleasantries we got straight down to business, the footage was going to be aired in less than 4 hours after all. I was greatly amused by the "voting batons" that had been prepared for us to show whether we were for or against Scottish independence; they were the epitome of Japanese ingenuity and craftsmanship. They had essentially taped on a red circle and blue cross onto plastic tea stirring spoons. They had the last laugh however as me and Mark both had to reluctantly hold up our chosen "baton" for the entirety of the interview, Mark tried to put his down several times but to no avail.

Chewing the fat
            I was a little tense before the interviewing process due to my limited Japanese vocabulary. I thought I would come across as simple and uneducated, which may not be too far from the truth, but I didn’t want people tuning into the news to know that! Having a massive camera sitting right in front of me didn’t help with the nerves either. Once we started though, my fears and worries quickly faded and I quite enjoyed myself. I jokingly mentioned that my biggest relief for Scotland rejecting independence was that we get to keep the Union Jack, as it meant I wouldn’t have to re-teach what the Union Jack represents to all of my students. You wouldn't believe how many people thought the Union Jack was the flag of England.

            But alas the referendum has passed, I had my shot at fame and stardom and the Scots have decided to stay united, for the time being at least. Back to business as usual I suppose. I wonder what old Nessie would have made of Salmond’s plans of an independent Scotland…

Monday, 22 September 2014

This my learning biography, and a Voki!

Hi, I'm Tomoro. 

I'm studying English to remember what I learned in England. I have a lesson once a week with Jim, and I study English in school too. In my lesson I use a textbook and it's a little bit hard. I practice English by listening to English songs like Queen and The Beatles. Also I watch football matches in English too. I sometimes read English books, but I don't like reading.

This is why and how I study English.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Hello 100%

Friday, 19 September 2014

Let's go to the movies.

Created with Sock Puppets for iPhone and iPad.

After reading The Black Night

Describe your favourite art gallery or painter...

Actually I'm unfamiliar with art. But my favorite painter is Leonardo da Vinci. I think his picture is spidery, exquisite and mysterious. I've never seen his painting, so I want to look it in the near future. Especially I want to see Mona Lisa in Louvre Museum. The women is not so beautiful in the painting, but I cannot leave my eyes from her. His painting is realistic, I mean his painting is based on anatomy. He has inquiring mind because he watched body.
English: Self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. R...
English: Self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. Red chalk. 33 × 21 cm. Turin, Royal Library ( 15571). NOTE This image is in red chalk. Do not revert to the black and white image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also want to see "The Last Supper" at the Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Accoring to one of the book I read, this painting has secret massage and Leonardo da Vinci was leader of secret society! It was really exciting for me. Leonardo is great painter but also cool person, so he is my favorite painter.

Posted for Miyuki

Zoo book – Lets find the animals!

Hard at work
Satoka and Keina have been learning to ask and answer where to find zoo animals, using the prepositions in, on and under. We have been using the zoo scenes from Everybody Up 1 as well as playing hide and seek with animal flashcards around the classroom. Unfortunately we exhausted all of the hiding spots in my classroom very quickly. It would be fantastic if we could organize a school trip to the zoo for some language reinforcement and a way to blow off some steam, but sadly we don’t have any money trees currently growing in our garden.

Our very own zoo library
As an alternative, we embarked on creating our own zoo book, filled with our favourite animals hiding on/in/under various nature items such as trees or lakes. We folded an A3 sheet of card in half to create our books, instilling life into the empty double spread with our own creative ideas. Satoka and Keina got to show off their wonderful creations to a very proud mummy. They were also able to explain to her where all of their zoo animals were hiding! Smiles all around, even without splashing out on a trip to the zoo.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

After reading the Black Night - describe your favourite art gallery

I like Chihiro Iwasaki. She painted babies and children a lot. Her paints make me feel warm. Children in her paints are so cute. But sometimes they look sad. I want to look them many times over because I don’t know why.

She paints a lot of illustration of books, too. (ex, Andersen) She painted some illustration of war. But she didn’t paint the scene. She painted facial expression a lot. So her paints were very impressive for me.

She painted in water colors. She used a lot of water. So sometimes paints look like India ink drawings. She used mellow colors. I like her colors, too.

When I was a child, my mother bought some replicas for my sisters and me. One of them used only green and white color, and a girl is smiling. I exhibited it in my room. When I was tired, I looked it. It healed me.

There is “Chihiro Museum” near my home town. I haven’t gone there lately. So I want to go there and look her paints. I think many women or girls like her paints.

Posted for Yuri

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Noisy 'see you later' song!

Shopping for Trouble - a shopper writes

When the going gets tough, I go shopping... 

I like shopping! Because I like looking many things for clothes, grocery, shose, etc.. So i like looking something but also buying something. When I buy new things, it makes me happy and excited. My favorite place is Karuizawa outlet and Isetan, which is famous department in Shinjuku.

Regarding Karuizawa, there are many shops. I can buy anything with cheap price. I also like to touch the high brand clothes. Of course I'm not able to buy them but it is exciting. And for the Isetan, I can look and buy latest stuff there. Sometimes, it is hard for me to get some products in Matsumoto, but if I would go this department store, I can get them.

For me, it is exhausting sometimes but I like looking goods and imagine how to use them in my life style. Furthermore, if I can buy a goods after researching, looking, it is very happy!

My learning biography :)

I'm studying English at the moment. It's the second most important language in Japan, and I want to travel to the Olympics in Brazil & Russia.

I go to English classes once a week. We have a coursebook, and I always study it if I have got a free moment, in the car for example. I'm going to read English books and watch English DVDs.


Here's my Voki!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Postcard from New York, New York.


Hello from New York! I stayed in NYC for two days and I really enjoyed. I watched the baseball game (Ynakees x Red Sox), got on a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and had a great dinner at Grand Central Station. It was so excited city.


After reading Death at Hadrian's Wall...

What 10 things would you put in your backpack for a long hike?

1 a tent: We can be out of winds and rains in a tent. And if we will sleep outside without a tent, it will very dangerous!
2 a torch: we can walk in the dark night safer.
3 a mobile phone: People who reads this book will understand it is necessary to walk for a long distance. If we will get into danger, we will be able to inform it to others quickly. As I am bad at directions, I want to confirm where I am by GPS.
4 raincoat: we need not wet clothes and ourselves if we wear it. So we can keep feel well.
5 matches: They are very useful to set fire when we cook.
6 a pot: If we take it, we can eat hot meal.
7: a map: This is one of the most need things. We can confirm the course to goal.
8: batteries: When the battery of torch run down, we can change it with new one.
9: money: We can buy foods, clothes and other need things. And we can stay a hotel or youth hostel and we can take a bath there.
10: medicine: If we have a stomachache suddenly, we need it.

Posted for Mio

After reading Mystery at Lion Rock - my trip to France & Italy

Write about a (school) trip...

I went to Italy and France with my friends after the graduation from the university in 2005. It was good for me to have two weeks trip with the cheap price as we were still students.
We visited a lot of famous and beautiful buildings like church and museums.

In Italy, we were very excited to go around the locations of Roman Holiday like Spanish Square, The mouth of Truth and Trevi Fountain. We enjoyed doing the same action as the movie.

In France, the most impressive one was the Louvre. I was not very familiar with the arts, but there were many arts that I learned in the text book. Especially, I was moved to see Mona Lisa. It was much smaller than expected, and there were many people around the art, but I felt the great presence from the drawing.

I was also looking forward to seeing the Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay, but it was cloudy, so I hope that I can see it in sunny day next time.

We also enjoyed eating many delicious pizza and sweets in those countries. I can eat most of them even if I am in Japan, but I felt they were special when I had in Italy and France.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Want to be a better teacher? Become a Speaking Examiner...

Delighted to report that Luna's most recent Speaking Examiner training events in Tokyo were a resounding success. This makes sure we are able to have a good rotation of top-class examiners for the coming sessions and beyond, at all adult levels (we are offering all levels of Cambridge English Language Assessment exams for adults - KET, PET, FCE, CAE, & CPE - this autumn, at various locations which can be found via our exams-specific website ).

Experienced teachers prepared to listen & learn
Big slap on the back to the team, giving up two Sundays in succession to tackle some very demanding professional development, and a fairly demanding trainer to boot!

Thanks always to Trevor at King's Road, for hosting us & rearranging classes.. Actually pretty pleased he didn't thump me, after nominating him for the A.L.S. ice bucket challenge!

Certification for all examiners will be taking place on October 19th in Tokyo. Anyone considering becoming an examiner should contact Jim directly.

After reading Daeth at Hadrian's Wall...

Write about an historic structure or building in your country, that you have visited. Include photographs.

 There is a Zenko-ji temple in Nagano city, Nagano prefecture. It was built in seven century.
The main temple was designated a national treasure in 1953. It is the 3rd biggest wooden building in which was designated a national treasure.

Its honzon (the principal image of Buddha) is Amida Sanzon-zo (the image of the Amida Triad). But we can’t see the honzon. We can see the copy instead of honzon once in seven years. The period is called Gokai-cho. The copy is an important cultural property built in Kamakura period, made of bronze.
Zenkoji in Nagano, Nagano prefecture, Japan
Zenkoji in Nagano, Nagano prefecture, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A pillar called Eko-chu is built in front of main temple when Gokai-cho. If you touch the Eko-chu, you will happy in your next world. When I went to Zenko-ji in Gokai-cho, there are a lot of people. So I got in the line to touch the Eko-chu over one hour.

There are some idioms including “Zenko-ji”. For example, “Ushi ni hikarete Zenko-ji mairi” = Never see me as just a cow, the mind of mine let you to go to Buddhism. It mean you are unexpectedly brought to somewhere with others. And an invitation from someone or unexpectedly chance will lead you good or lucky.

I think Zenko-ji temple look very beautiful. I like it.

Posted for Yuri

Write about the best 'bad' guy from a movie

English: The British actor Jeremy Irons presen...
The British actor Jeremy Irons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My favorite baddy is Simon Peter Glover acted by Jeremy Irons in Die hard 3.

I fell in love with Jeremy Irons when I saw him in the beginning of this movie. He looks full of intelligence. He is tall and thin. He shows up in the movie, wearing dark blue suit and a pair of sunglasses, and walking through the babel of Wall Street. He looked really cool. The way of his speaking is also attractive.

In the movie, he was setting to have German accent. I couldn’t really tell the difference of English accent. To me, he sounded British accent, which gave me an noble impression.

In the movie, he asks John McClane riddles, saying “Simon says…” He was teasing John, and his elegant and mysterious “Simon says” attracted me because of his coolness.

However, as the movie goes to the end, he becomes just a human being, so I don’t like him so much in the end of the movie. He loses his temper because John McClane brakes his perfect plan. He dies very easily, so I felt something missing with his ending, but I think it is good for the end of bad guy that Justice have to win always!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

After reading The Show Must Go On...

When I was a high school student, I belonged to a brass band club of my school. I played Bassoon. This instrument is not famous. But I liked to play it. Our coach, Mr. Matsui was very good conductor. And he coached us very harshly.

We wanted to make our debut at a national convention. Therefore we had to get a gold medal at each three conventions. To rehearse, we always went to school by first train, and we went home by last train. And not only that, we rehearsed every weekend. Mr. Matsui always said “ If you don’t practice for a day, your skill will return back to three days ago!”

We could get a gold medal at two times every three years. But it was hard for us to get it at the third convention. My last year, we got very nervous by the side of the stage at the third convention. We cheered up each other. And we enjoyed to play there. At last we could get a third gold medal! But we could not go to the national convention. Gold medal was given seven teams, and four upper teams of them could go to the next convention. Our team’s rank was seventh. We were unhappy then, but it is my good memory!

Open week - happy mums everywhere!

A big thank you to all our parents who made the effort to get involved during Open Week. It means a lot to us, that the job we are doing with your children means a lot to you. It is great to see so many of you wanting to see inside the classroom & get a first-hand glimpse of the classroom dynamic.

Importantly, we do not ask our teachers to prepare a finely crafted demonstration that has been rehearsed and drilled down to the last minute; this used to happen when I was an assistant language teacher at Fuzoku junior high school. Every last detail of the class was choreographed (even down to which students would be asked which questions...). Our teachers' brief is to "get on with it", teach a class as usual and highlight how/what the kids can do as well as how you 'do it' along the way - don't play to the gallery.

Obviously the children behave differently with mums hovering, but they quickly forget the audience once engaged with class tasks and it's business as usual. Some issues of course with distractions (little brothers & sisters, mostly) but time flies and a high quality lesson delivered smoothly means no one was watching the clock/surprise that it's already time to wrap things up & set homework.

We will be taking note of your feedback and look forward to fine-tuning things with your comments in mind. 

Anyone is welcome to observe a class at Luna - please do contact Yukari to ask/give us the chance to find you an extra chair etc.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Black Night - after reading

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

Describe your plan to steal it without getting caught.

I ask my friends to be a member of my robbers’ team. At least I want four or five people who one can
trust in my team. To get down safety with this job, we need for more than one year. I think the local gallery borrows very valuable paintings for art exhibitions from a famous gallery. So we will steal it when the paintings would be carried back to the famous gallery.

First, one of my team will work for this local gallery as part-timer for about a year. And he has to earn the trust of the staffs. And he will say the boss that he knows the very high-grade and low cost transport company to carry art. That is our team! Others of my team will learn method of packing for art for a year. On this day, we will wear disguise. We will pack for art perfectly. And we will carry back them except for the painting we want. This plan is perfect …Oh! This is not perfect. When the staff notice the one of paintings was stolen, our friend who works this gallery will be suspected… I think I can not steal it without getting caught!!

Posted for Mio

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Alphabug soup - There's a fly in my soup!

s...s... soup!
I was looking for an open ended vocabulary game to test some of my YLE students when I stumbled upon “Alphabug Soup”, which was tucked away in our vast boardgames cupboard, right next to the gateway to Narnia.
The essence of the game is to get your critters around the board, and back into your soup pot, by naming words that begin with the letter displayed on the letter disks that you pick up after rolling the die. The aim of the game is to collect as many disks as possible, NOT get around the board as quickly as possible. Repeated words are strictly forbidden!
Rather than focusing on a specific vocabulary set, this game provides the students with freedom to choose their own words. I was especially pleased when “Union Jack” was uttered during game play! The game also helps clear up some common mistakes with words beginning with "l" or "r" and "b" or "v". One of my classes was struggling with differentiating between b and d, the competitive aspect of the game soon straightened out those errors.
I’ve also experiment with some variations to the game and upping the difficulty. Instead of only picking up 1 letter disk per turn, players pick up the amount of letter disks as shown on the die face, moving forward 1 space for each correct answer. For hard mode, the number you roll is the number of words you must say beginning with the letter shown on your chosen disk.
“Alphabug Soup” is fun, versatile and basic enough to suit classes of ranging abilities, whilst allowing for a broader range of vocabulary to come into use. The students also don’t seem to mind the collections of critters bobbing away in their soup pots!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Making a mobile - butterfly flutter

"This is fun!"
In a bid to brighten up the classroom a little more, Ceilidh and Koutarou gave a helping hand in creating a butterfly mobile to hang up in the classroom (it was also another excuse to bust out the paint brushes and get our fingers dirty!).  We used folded card to draw on 1 wing, then by the magic of mathematics we were able to cut out perfectly symmetrical butterflies with half the work.

Following on from the symmetry theme, instead of painting these butterflies willy-nilly, we painted a pattern onto 1 wing of each butterfly with the intent of pressing the wings together while the paint was still wet to transfer our patterns over onto the opposite wing. It took a couple of attempts before the idea of painting only 1 wing sunk in, while some patterns transferred better then others.

Pressing the wings together
The class was also disturbed by Jim’s ALS ice bucket challenge, which meant we didn’t have the time to assemble the mobile during class. On the other hand, we did get to tip ice cold water all over Jim!

The mobile is now complete and on display by the window, with the butterflies fluttering merrily in the breeze. They can now serve as a reminder to the prospect of spring and sunshine when the cold winter months set in.

The finished product

Monday, 1 September 2014

After reading Rip Van Winkle...Nanako predicts 2034

Happy graded reader!
This is what I think I will see if I wake up after a 20-year sleep!

In people's houses...all the things have 3D screens, like your TV and computers. If you say "Lights on", the lights will come on.

In people's can go to work by a clean bus for free. People wear 3D shirts, and everybody prints their own clothes. You can decide the colour & design and everything on your computer. Life will be better.

In the way people work...some people work at home using their computers and the internet. People work more, because they do it at home - mums can work.

In what people do in their free-time...they can go to space for $1. People will play other new sports and you can do sports in the house with a special helmet. 

I would like to go the future now, cos. I want to see what I will be doing right now. I will not be married, and I will be a doctor in America and in Japan too.  My brother will be married, living in America and be a doctor too. My dad will be retired. My mum will be a normal mum, living in a small house in Matsumoto.

Nanako (7).

Can you do the vocabulary games on Quizlet for this story? Have a try!