Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Flipping boardgames for remote teaching - going on a safari!

Keeping it simple and familiar is a mantra I've been trying to apply as more & more of Luna's students are joining us remotely. There are enough 'new things' to have to learn on the hop right now, an overload of advice and a fair avalanche of problems usually at the last minute or as classes are starting/students arriving...

Animal Safari is a simple board game from Orchard Toys, which I like to use to reinforce learning of (low) numbers + animals, and the target language to differentiate singular/plurals...
  • "What can you see?" "I can see a parrot" or "I can see three alligators" etc
But how to play when the mice are all at home?!

Solution: looks messy (my end) but worked a treat for the end users, (9-10 y.o.) on iPhones.

Game set up on the floor, counters flat on the board. Bird's Eye view of the game & pieces by balancing an iPhone above it (plastic train track cellotaped to a box overhanging the table edge = avoids a shadow. Share that screen in Zoom, with your camera app open, making sure everything is "the right way up".

Floored - analog game play!
Teacher shakes dice for the students. Hold dice up to the iPhone camera so they can count for their turn. Teacher moves the relevant counter forward (make a note of player/colour counter in game play order!). If there is extra action eg take a card etc, then hold that card also up to the camera and let the game play happen - as much as possible get the participants to do all the talking (establish turns eg A plays, B asks the questions...B's turn, C asks the questions & so on).

Teacher meantime on video as Zoom host, giving feedback & correcting if necessary, keeping the action going & everyone involved. Not easy - juggling a number of roles! I got so confused I couldn't remember "Meerkat" when asked!

I think this set up will work with most simple & familiar board games out of the cupboard...going to try a few more! Avoids downloading apps and all the hassle there with extra screen time etc and also clearly not digital ie I, the teacher, need to be 'in the room' so I'm not going to making myself unemployed...

Give it a go - what analog game & set up works well with your YLE class?

What can you see?

Can you find all the items listed with the picture?
What colour are they?
What is your favourite thing?
What is the strangest thing?
How many of these things can you find in your house or garden?

Thank you Liz George for this lovely idea!

Friday, 24 April 2020

Remote postcard from...Whangarei, New Zealand

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well and are at home staying safe and healthy away from corona.

Luna students met Laura here 20 years ago!!!
Here in New Zealand we have been in lockdown for one month, and it has been extended for one more week until Tuesday. This means that everyone in New Zealand has had to stay home and only communicate with people in their ‘bubble’ in person, the only time we are able to leave is to go for a short walk/bike ride or to an essential service (supermarket, pharmacy etc). I have been staying with my family on a farm in Whangarei, but will be moving back down to Auckland after the alert level is low enough to continue with work and prepare for university which I will start in July!

I miss all of you so much, and love seeing all of the photos of everyone on Luna’s social media!

Lots of love,

Laura :-)

Friday, 17 April 2020

Japanese users' guide to Quizlet

生徒様 保護者様

Quizlet の使い方(パソコン・iPad/iPhone・スマホ)

[Quizlet] のアプリをダウンロードする

1. 検索画面から「Lunateacher」を検索。
2. 「LunaTeacher先生」を選ぶ。
3. 各クラスで使っているテキストブック毎に Quizlet があるので自分の使っているテキストブックのタイトルを選ぶ。 また「Edmodo」を通じて担当講師から課題(homework)が出ているときは課題をやり提出しましょう(オンラインで)。
4. 是非、音量をオンにして行ってください。正しい発音が聴き取れるようになります。















  True ○  False ×

単語と単語の間はスぺースを空けること。 音声入力もできます。





ゲームです!設定は All, Easy, Englishでプレイします。


Day 1 /Flash card + Learn         

Day 2 /Write + Match                

Day 3 / Match + Spell                       

Day 4 / Test + Match                               

Day 5 / Gravity 

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Sockpuppets on inventions

To celebrate getting to the end of our text book, we had some fun with one of my favourite older apps "Sockpuppets". The free version works fine (but I seem to have lost a load of purchases/usability) and the outcome for Miyu & Aoi was very satisfying! Round of applause!

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Online class #1

As promised, from April 13th, Luna is offering students who want to stay at home the opportunity to nevertheless join in with their class. We totally understand our students' & parents' concerns...and we also really understand that others really do need to get out of the house - which for now, is relatively safe here. We will provide our students with their classes 'live' online, as long as we have 24 hours' notice to do so - we found out today that we need a lot more preparation time & logistical care....a lot of things we cannot do at the last minute.
Cardboard box + Thomas track = cheapo interactive whiteboard!

As long as needs be, we will provide this opt-out/stay-in service, and at no extra cost. We are sharing an audio of these classes via Edmodo, as well as other asynchronous homework tasks/games/projects and add ons.

We know an online class is no replacement for the flexibility & warmth of a a face-to-face class...we are going to find it really hard to replace game play for example...we will instead introduce a favourite free app & give our class members a challenge therein. We are lucky; most of our students have pretty good wi-fi, plenty of memory space on their smart phones/tablets, parental support. Chance to share/learn & extend everything we do and build on all the good ideas we've been having for years! It really strikes me that there is going to be such a conversation to have soon about digital poverty on top of actual financial poverty.

BIG moan I have now = why do publishers only produce large flashcards - back in the day, playing card size was the default & perfect for all manner of games, and cheaper/easier to manage. And now, would fit half a dozen under an iOS device >> be able to gamify.

Little other moan - I have to stop biting my fingernails!

Last moan - at Luna we only ever give students homework AFTER we have taught something, or occasionally in a flipped learning scenario as in "we'll be doing this next week"...what the hell have Japanese school teachers been doing since closure in March?

  • Delivered or learned how to deliver a single class online? Been given training/log in/security training in how to do this?
  • Mastered or even tried the #EdTech to deliver above?
  • Written a single email or message to any student/class via any app/online learning system/LMS?
  • Learned how to use/apply an app? Shared that/assignment within?
  • Been given a budget to buy/master an app & enroll a class eg Class Dojo?
  • Been allowed to take a PC/laptop home & do anything from there? 
  • Attended any webinar or used SMS to ++ on professional development?
  • Figured out how to use/install a webcam/mic?
  • Figured out how to connect their iOS device to an online meeting & share that screen?
  • Justified the need to actually go to school when there are no kids there?
  • Checked in on their students' mental well-being?
  • Provided online homework (boring as all fuck that it is) provision?
I think I could go on...

My point really is, we will not be going back to school as usual. We won't at Luna, and as a parent I will not accept it at my children's schools. Will you?

Friday, 10 April 2020

Blended provision for our students - announcement

With the re-closure of schools in Nagano prefecture, and the increasing nervousness of some of our students and parents (as well as us!) we have decided to do two things as of Monday, April 13th:

  1. Continue to teach small classes in the school with even more enhanced care over disinfecting surfaces, sanitising visitors'/teachers'/students' hands on entry/departure etc, and making sure students are seated as far apart as we can manage without being 'weird'! We are avoiding activities which require students to share things, and encouraging YLs to wear masks (prevent fingers going in places more than bugs!). We are obviously asking anyone who has a temperature or who is feeling unwell to avoid coming to the school.
  2. Offer students who are concerned about using public transport, or who not keen to be here in a group, the opportunity to join their class in real time via Zoom. We are all new at this, but we can all try and learn something new together :) We will also record the lessons and share them within our class members on Edmodo (an LMS we have been using for years but has hitherto been very under exploited). We will continue to do this for as long as needs be.
We will be making an effort to also share with students and parents more than ever, additional resources/ideas/apps/activities withing Edmodo. Any one can join that 'class ' but you do need to join. It's free :)  Join here >> https://edmo.do/j/fgcrjx

Matsumoto Castle - not recent!
As ever we will do our best to keep you up to date - check your Edmodo class regularly please?

We will continue to share via our Facebook page - click here

Of course we will also be answering the phone! 0263-34-4481 & talk to Rinka, Emi, Yukari, Yuka or Eri.

We can also look after students who want to 'observe' a lesson (but don't want to physically come!), or even students not in our neighbourhood. Tell us which level/age, and we'll put you with a suitable group as a guest.

We are looking forward to making sure our students can continue to get the best English language education we can provide...just going to have to do it a bit differently for a while. Don't panic!


Friday, 3 April 2020

At School - a Potato Pals smash hit!

Singing will be banned in Japanese schools next week, I think I read somewhere in the last 24 hours. Reason - projectile phlegm will spread corona virus. Scientific basis...erm.

I went on a bit of rant here - deleted - as I want to share the fun that can be had without too much singing (and I can't sing or dance, as evident in the video).

My Potato Minions are wonderful, so I hope you will  TPR yourselves into smiles At School (or ideally, not).

My follow up idea - make this a Flipgrid challenge...

Thank you Patrick Jackson for your encouragement and lack of ego - a real Pal!

Digital enlightenment : graded reader + YouTube classic movie compared

Thank-you very much for The 39 Steps! I enjoyed it!

Honestly speaking it was the first time for me to see a movie via YouTube... I have been in digital darkness really...

I watched it with my husband's tablet and it's always off the sound but I didn't know how to be on. So I watched it without any words as I had thought that I couldn't catch the natural English speed anyway...
But I realized that it was no sense to watch it without the words and stopped the YouTube and managed to make the sound on somehow. It was so much fun to see the video with the words and sound of course :-)

The story was quite different (from the OUP Bookworm graded reader) but Hannay was rather charming like 007 and I like the romance with the teacher of the girls school.
It's a good way to review the story and I enjoyed that thanks!

From Sayuri, self-isolating 

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Postcard from... Australia

I went to Australia. We went to an aquarium with my uncle.

We saw lots of fish! It was very cool. I ate fish and chips.

I love fish and chips!

from Eleanor
(This journey took place in early March!)

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Postcard from....Singapore

I went to Singapore with my family. 

We to an aquarium and swimming pool. It was so fun. 

We went to the Botanical museum too. 

It was beautiful and it smelled good.

from Nanako