Last Friday was the last day of school in this area. I had no scheduled classes that day. Good, thing, too! Because every single train line in my area was delayed due to an Injury Accident. Even the subway! It took an extra half hour to get to work but for me it was just an inconvenience. For the people who were involved in those Injury Accidents it was a whole different story. The sad truth is that while I’ve always thought of spring break as a good thing, it can also be a dangerous time for stressed out, mentally ill, bullied, and abused kids.
A few years back everybody’s favorite minimalist, overpriced everything store, Muji, came out with a genius modular system for organizing makeup into rounded, modular plastic bins that fit like legos into each other and then smoothly into a makeup bag. But each item is like 300 yen plus. Boo. This past year 100 yen shop Daiso came out with their own copies and I love them.
After doing the “What do you like?” and “I like” grammar patterns over and over again, it’s time for the little ones to get up in front of their peers and give a speech. But, how do you get first graders to stand in front of their friends and give a speech in English? You pretend it’s a drawing activity! This is a simple poster based speech activity based on the first grade final lesson of the year for the YICA curriculum.
As part of the 3rd grade curriculum in the final YICA lesson plan of the year, kids go shopping for colors and shapes. In the original lesson plan, there’s a bit of a rigid goal in mind. Find these shapes in these colors to build this picture. I much prefer creativity. Here’s my variation on shopping for colors and shapes.
This past week was the city wide day for 6th graders to graduate from elementary school. I only cried three times and I hugged one girl good-bye even though hugging is supposed to be a big no-no. It was a good-bye hug! It doesn’t count! Some of my fellow AETs complain about going to graduation. They call it boring. But, seeing those little faces all grown up in their little formal wear for the last time as my students is something I wouldn’t miss for the world.
Congrats, kids. Good luck in middle school. I’ll miss you all!
狡い (ずるい /ZURUI) adj. Unfair.
Or, more precisely, “No fair!” Heard most often when playing a game. “Teacher, he got three cards! No fair!” Sometimes my little Justice Kids, who have to make sure everything is perfectly fair, overuse this word. I make it a goal to organize activities so that no kid can cry, “Zurui!” at any point. It’s totally fair, kid. Them’s the rules of the game!
As the year winds down, my 6th graders disappear. Somehow junior high visits, tests, and orientations all seem to fall during English class and half the time in February and March I’m teaching a class of 40% capacity. Ugh. So, I give them a project; What are you kids into this year?
For some reason this year my two sets of 5th grade classes ended at different parts of the textbook. I think it happened when everyone was out sick with the flu in January. I needed something to fill an extra lesson that was worth the students’ time. The answer came from the old Eigo Note series: A board game! There used to be this great year end board game in Eigo Note 1 that I loved to just let the kids go at back in the day.
I received this monthly hand out at one of my schools this month. The “Dietary Education Book” or “Oshiete Shokuiku”. Apart from featuring the little radish mascot character that represents school lunch in this city for some reason, this handy pamphlet features recipes for Japanese school lunch… uh… favorites?
Japanese school lunch has a good reputation for a reason: It’s freaking awesome! In lieu of a lunch lady, you get a school nutritionist. Food is cooked on site. There’s a guaranteed protein, carb, and veggie balance. Students serve each other and lunch is a class instead of just a meal. But, here’s the thing…