Monday, 30 June 2014

After reading "Shopping for Trouble" - Describe your very best friend, and explain why you stick together.

My mother and her mother are good friend. So I and my best friend have known from we were 4 or 5 years old. But we have been best friend from we became adult. Of course we were good friend from we were children.

I don’t know why we became best friend. I think one of reason is we like same artist.

From ten more years ago, we go to their concert every New Year’s holiday. And we stayed same hotel room two or three days. I find I don’t care about my life style when I stay with her. And I don’t care about her life style, too. So I feel comfortable with her. We only can meet twice or three times every year. But we can understand each other.

One day, I understood she felt uncomfortable about her friend. She said nothing. But I could understand. After few years, I said to her about this. She was surprised, and she became smile. I think she understand me, too. If we say nothing when we stay together, we don’t care. And we don’t feel uncomfortable.

My sister said to me, “Your friend is always looks like her.”

Posted for Yuri

Trattoria Gallery Matsumoto - Tetsu Yamashita Paper Quilt Exhibition

Tetsu Yamashita Paper Quilt Exhibition is going to be held at Trattoria Gallery Matsumoto from July 7th to August 25th. 

“Paper Quilt” is Tetsu Yamashita’s original art work. At first he makes colorful small parts which he cuts out of paper, and sticks them onto a paper. It requires incredible patience and delicate work. At first sight, it is difficult to recognize that it is a paper cut work, but it is. His motif is Africa. When he was younger, he was interested in Africa, and he studied African language in Africa. After that he traveled around 5 countries in Africa. He was inspired by African culture, nature, people and animals. He presents them by colorful sensitive cutting art work.

I really recommend you to see these brilliant art works up close. You can find exotic power in these sensitive works. You can also enjoy fabulous Italian pizza, pasta and so on in the gallery restaurant. Having good food whilst appreciating art will be a special time for you.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Let's get physical - the alphabet coming to life

Alphabet 03
Alphabet 03 (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)
As we all know, the alphabet is an integral part for anybody learning English. I mean how else will they learn to read and write otherwise. Of course communication is just as, if not more in my opinion, important and should never be neglected as it seems to be in many Japanese school classrooms. Now it's no short and easy task teaching your students to become proficient readers, else I would probably be out of a job! But building a strong foundation and getting to grips with the alphabet at an early age will hugely benefit your students' ability to recognise and read letter combinations and eventually words and sentences in the future.

There are a plethora of activities, exercises and tools for learning the alphabet and it can at times be difficult in choosing what's best for your students. As I teacher I endeavour to have as much variety during lessons as possible so that the classroom is an exciting and fun learning environment. Recently I have added another activity to my arsenal of tools to teach the alphabet; using our whole bodies to recreate letters of the alphabet. I know that this may not be the most original activity but I regret not trying it sooner once I realized how enthralled my
students became with the activity.

Some teachers like to do this activity by marking out letters on the floor using tape as guidelines, but unfortunately we don't have the luxury of spacious classroom at "new Luna". However this is not necessarily a bad thing is it allows more scope for ingenuity and creativity amongst the students.

I have found that some students tend to take a much more active role than others, essentially becoming group leader and making sure the others stay in place and are not rolling around on the floor in a fit of giggles. Takasumi is the biggest culprit of either lapsing into fits of laughter or doing his best whale impression and proving immovable, whilst on the other Rin and Ruka are struggling to put him into place! This activity allows the students to learn the importance of teamwork as well giving them a chance to get out of their seats and get physical.

After reading "Deadly Holiday" - Write about a trip you made with them when you were afraid.

Is there someone you know who drives badly?

I traveled to Los Angeles with my friends to meet our classmate of high school. It was second visit to LA but it was difficult to catch what they are speaking. My friend lived a small city near LA. She took us to go to a lot of place by her car. One day we went to the outlet stores where placed between LA and Las Vegas. In the way going back to her room, we talked a lot of things and she found she was going to be missed the gate to get out the highway. She turned the handle to right side suddenly and all of us in the car was floated. I felt I was going to die when I was floated!

Posted for Reiko

Friday, 27 June 2014

After reading "The Man Next Door" - student digs

Describe where you used to live as a student

I used to live in Tokyo for four years when I was a college student. It was the first time and only time to live away from my parents, but I was not lonely since I lived in the college’s dormitory.

There are about one hundred students who came from other prefectures. The dormitory was built in the area of the college, so it was very convenient to go to the college. I was happy as I didn’t need to ride the crowed trains.

When we were freshman, we had to share a room with other student. My flatmate was from Osaka. She was very smart and active. In addition, she liked to talk and go out a lot. I didn’t like her, but in fact, I was a little bit no match for her as I like to spend the time by myself. Fortunately, she had many chances to stay the nights in her relatives. Therefore, I could keep the good relationship with her.

After that, we were given each room. It was very narrow, but very comfortable to live. Drinking was prohibited in the dormitory, but sometimes I bought some alcohols with my friends and had the small parties in the room. The dormitory curfew was 9:50 pm which was too early, but I enjoyed the college life in Tokyo as much as I could.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

After reading "Stranger Danger"...hiking memoirs

Write about a hiking trip you made when you were young.

In Mastumoto, it is very popular activity to go hiking during the junior high school years. The destination depends on school, but I went to Kamikouchi for hiking and camping when I was in the first year at my junior high school. We went to there by bus and arrived in the noon. In the afternoon, we walked around the field to see some ponds there. It was a summer activity, but it was very cold there.

We had to cook by ourselves, so we packed food in our backpack. Our group brought a watermelon as a dessert after dinner. We put the watermelon in the river as soon as we arrived there. Our teacher cut it for us and we could share it with everyone in our class. It tasted really good and the most delicious one in my life.

In the night, we watched the stars before we sent to sleep in the tent. The sky was full of stars which were brighter than what I had seen in my town. I felt it was even nearer to me. Watermelon and starts are my good memory of hiking.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

After reading "The Secret in the Farmhouse"...

The boys make the front page of the local newspaper. Write the dramatic article.

Brave Four helped police! 

 The local police office has been looking for the stolen goods in the town. They could not find out anything until those four kids gave the great hint.

The four kids came to the town for their school trip this week and discovered the stolen goods in the old farmhouse during orienteering. They saw the robbery at the old farmhouse and remembered the car number. The photo taken by a girl helped the police as well. She always carries her camera and takes a lot of photos. She could have a confident with her photo and will be a good photographer in future.

A boy had been in a trouble and was not a good student, but he changed his mind through this school trip. He realized he is not alone and he had good friends. They discussed how they should address this issue and decided what they should do next. They helped each other and showed a really good team work to solve this case. After the robbers were arrested, those kids got lots of reward money.

They have decided to donate money to help young people who are now in a trouble. What wonderful kids! We can say the robbery would not be arrested without brave four kids.

Posted for Tomoko

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

After reading "Death at Hadrian's Wall"...

 Explain how to put up a tent, and to make sure you do not get wet during the night.

When setting up a tent, it is important to find a flat area that is relatively high to ensure that you will not get wet if it rains. It is also important to clear the area free from stones and branches that could pierce or chafe your tent. It may be good to use some dry branches as a broom to sweep the area.

Now it's ready to set up your tent. When you pull out all the items out of the tent bag, make sure you have them in front of you neatly so you don't get confused.

Place down the four corners of the inner tent and spread them out so the base part is on the ground. Peg each corner to the ground and make a nice square by pegging each opposite corner in turns.

Next, assemble the poles and run them through the sleeves to give the tent a shape. Make sure you know which poles are for which section, and the ends of each pole have to be stuck firmly into the fastenings.

You also need to hook up the outer tent but I’m running out of space. Hope you read the instructions carefully and have some nice rest in your cosy tent.

Posted for Nobuyuki

Transformers - student becomes teacher

Recently we were asked if we could provide a 'non-teacher' speaker for a high school-aged class, and from a 'different' background. We immediately asked Rukshini...

This young lady's English is tremendous, and she is a wonderful ambassador for Sri Lanka (who, as I write, are giving England a cricketing lesson at Headingley!). She is also a poster girl for everything that is wrong with Japanese education...unable to get into uni (here) despite her academic talent, worldly perspective, driven nature and obvious smarts...having bashed her brains out all the way through JHS & HS and catching Jim's attention within seconds about 5 years ago.

Destined for great things - with FCE
"For the first time in my life, I had opportunity to speak in front of a class at M school, not as a student. I was nervous full of doubts. How are they going to react? What if I say something goes wrong?
It's so much easier to be the student!
Preparations for the presentation well. I had a lot of advice and I was adamant to try my best. It was fun to do all the planning from a different perspective , get the new ideas but the real job lay ahead.
The few minutes before the class, I was shaking, but the moment I started talking the tension vanished. I was actually enjoying myself. It was more like a conversation than a speech. Ms R was very supportive asking questions and encouraging the students.

My theme was to speak about life in Sri Lanka and Japan. How do I see things as a foreigner in Japan, things I've learned...So I was eager to talk. There is so much to tell and it kept me going. The students were shy, but I could tell they were interested. 

In the second period, we had a Sri Lankan tea-time and questions from each student. I had to think back on some of them. “What surprised me most in Japan?"
To tell the truth, there were too many !

At the end of the class some students even thanked me 😃
I know how difficult it is to learn a language, especially if it has nothing interesting. You need the spark, that desire to learn....and I wonder if I had given them that spark..

So, it's easy to be student but it's thrilling to be a teacher!

I am no longer nervous. I could say I got over the fence. I'm quite looking forward to the next one, and thanks to Luna for providing me this wonderful opportunity 😆"

Monday, 23 June 2014

After reading "The Show Must Go On"

Write about your contribution to a play/performance from behind the scenes

My mother teaches the piano and Koto (Japanese traditional instrument). She gives a music recital for her students every year. Almost students join the recital and they play in front of audience.

When she gave the recital last year, I helped her. I announced player’s name and their message before they played. That was my first time to try indoor announcer. Before the recital started, I felt nervous. But when the recital started, I didn’t feel that. I tried to speak slowly and clearly. And I enjoyed the being indoor announcer. Each player was more nervous than me. So I tried to being smile.

I think if the announce has a lot of mistake, the player felt more nervous. And they couldn’t play well. But it was difficult to say each player’s name. Sometimes their name was difficult to say clearly.
I think my announcement was good! I did not play the piano, but I felt I join the recital.

I will try to be indoor announcer this year, too. So I try to practice I pronounce clearly. I think this year’s announce is better than last year!

Posted for Yuri

Sunday, 22 June 2014

After reading "The Bride Wore Black" - a 'Dear John' letter from a ghost

Dear Kate,

I'm sorry that I leave you alone. I wish I could live together with you.

Please don't forget one thing. I was happy after I met you. Your are so kind and beautiful. I was the happiest man in the world to marry you!

I have a request for you. I want you to live happy for future. If you will meet nice man, you can marry him without considering me.
I hope you spend wonderful time.

Don't forget I'm always around you.


Posted for Miyuki

Saturday, 21 June 2014

After reading "The Bride Wore Black" - tell us about a wedding you've been to

I went to wedding on February 8th. It was heavy snowing that was record. To go wedding of venues, I wore rain boots. While driving, it was keeping snowing.. When I arrived at venues, car park had been covered snow. Everything was white.

The wedding ceremony was delayed due to the heavy snow. The parents of groom could not arrived on time. The ceremony was scheduled to start from 12 o'clock but a lot of people include the parents could not come by the time. I waited a hour and the wedding party started without the parents of groom. There was only few people for groom. He felt lonely and his speech was sad. Eventually, his parents and his friends arrived. The groom face became happy. The friends prepared video letter for the bridal couple.

The beginning was not good but finally the wedding was nice and happy.

Finished wedding, my car was buried by snow.. I dig snow to rescue my car..

Posted for Miyuki

Friday, 20 June 2014

After reading "Shopping for Trouble" - shopaholic confessions

Why do you love shopping? What is the best store/place for you, and why? If you hate shopping, what is the worst store/place for you, and why?

I love shopping. My best store is Marayka which is in a mall called " I City". Marayka is an import shop from Southeast Asia and Africa. I bought some jewellery, like bracelets and necklaces, lamp, and wood carvings etc before. I can relieve my stress to buy something I like.
And I feel comforted that I am just in this store !

Posted for Mio

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Twister in the classroom? - Not just for parties!

A blast from the past
Most of you will be very familiar with the game Twister, but have you ever considered it as a fun and interactive teaching tool? My students (and I'm sure yours do too!)  love to play games, just a mention of the word "game" during lessons perks everyone's interest.

Twister is a great activity for in many ways, first of all it gets the students out of their seats and moving around. Always great for shaking off those undesired yawns. The game also focuses on recognising colours, alongside interpreting and following simple instructions whilst also making sure not fall over with limbs flailing everywhere.

Head on red, bums to the sky!
You can adapt this classic game by using your own instructions, catered to the needs and curriculum of each class, in place of the rather boring and limiting Twister spinner. You can use the different body parts you have studied in textbooks or come across in songs, even get the students to stand or sit on the colours instead. I have to admit it's, quite the sight when you call out "Head on red!". Lots of falling over and plenty of laughter.

Confusion in the ranks
Another idea I have been meaning to try out is writing the alphabet over the coloured circles, or maybe even attach vocabulary flashcards. I still haven't quite worked out a creative and reliable way of keeping the flashcards in place during gameplay. I don't think trusty old blu-tak is going to be able to stand up to the challenge and come to my rescue this time. It's always inevitable that in the heat of the game that the flashcards will go flying everywhere when students are rushing to be the first player to reach the coloured circle. So any ideas or recommendations for attaching flashcards to the Twister board, without damaging the board for future use, will be greatly appreciated.

So why not expand your horizons and give Twister a try, not only as a fun game to play when you're bored but a teaching tool to aid your students' learning.

All smiles :)
"Play dead"

Friday, 6 June 2014

Spacing out!

Just because we are packing everything up into boxes before the big move doesn't mean we can't still have loads of fun!

We actually found loads of things we haven't seen or used for a couple of years - sure, they needed some dusting...but all new stuff for most of our little learners. We also needed to 'do something different' because the things we really want to use have been packed "high priority" ready to use as soon as we have moved into the new place. Will we be able to find them though?!

Hope you enjoyed the last flickers of fun from our large classrooms...we can assure you little Luna next to Big Boy will be a Tardis, just like Dr. Who's...much bigger on the inside and full of exciting adventures!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Exhibition in Trattoria Gallery Matsumoto

 From May 22nd to Jun 7th, we are having the exhibition of Bolormaa Baasansuren in the Gallery. Bolormaa Baasansuren is a budding Mongolian illustrator. Recently she was awarded some international prizes and she has published about 10 picture books in Japan. The theme of her pictures is mainly about traditional Mongolian life and nature in huge fields of grass in Mongolia. She draws Mongolian’s spirit really delicately and finely. Her hand works are amazing and touching. The colors are also interesting. She tries to express Mongolian traditional colors in her pictures. I recommend seeing them with your own eyes.

 You can also enjoy fabulous Italian pizza, pasta and so on in the gallery restaurant. Having good food whilst appreciating art will be a special time for you.