blog (125)

水, 08 2月 2017 11:06

Toyama 1-Chome Newsletter

We were asked by my local Chokai Association (think parish council) if we could provide a one point lesson for their upcoming newsletter.

Naturally we said 'yes'; so after a bit of brain scratching we came up with the theme of directions, as it's probably the most common reason for foreign visitors and the Japanese population to interact.

I also got to have myself featured as a local business, cue mug shot:

The owner of Andy's Country Farm in Wakamatsucho, who provides the flower displays for The Three Little Pigs was also featured. So all in all not a bad bit of free publicity.

Thank you, Toyama 1 Chome.


P.S. Actually it's not the first time for them to be featured, check out last summer's edition on our facebook page.

土, 10 12月 2016 14:41

Autumn Colours

Every year, in our Sprouts classes, we have a theme of autumn/fall colours. We ask the children and mothers to bring in any interesting leaves they may find. We then arrange look at and talk about the leaves, noting colour, shape and anything else that may be of interest.

As well as leaves, we also receive other autumn items such as chestnuts, acorns and pine cones. All create a great theme that is fun to talk about.

Just in case any of the children and mother pairs forget to bring in any leaves, I also take a walk through Toyama Park collecting various items. The above picture shows my haul of autumn goodies, including various leaves, pine cones types and some very spherical acorns.

Something else we also do is to select a few of the most interesting leaves, arrange them in a laminate pouch and then feed the pouch through the laminating machine. This encases the leaves in plastic as shown below. The children can then take the pouch home as a reminder.


(Beware: laminating leaves is probably not recommended by the laminating machine manufacturer!!)


This is the book I'll be reading in a couple of hours time at the Sixth Story Forest Waku-Waku Camp.

The English title of the book is Fortunately, although in Japan it is known as Yokkata ne Ned-kun, or  just Ned-kun.

It was written by Remy Charlip and first published in 1964, and although it looks a little dated it's a charming story about the adventures of Ned.

 Let's hope the children gathered today at Okubo Library enjoy the story.







土, 19 11月 2016 13:50

Word Up

At last a game that features English you can use in everyday life!

Q.6.  Could you ___ me a beer from the fridge, please?   (3 letters)


Essential English phrases from WORD UP, ages 7 to adult!

木, 17 11月 2016 19:48

New Headway & Macmillan English

  We received these from our favourite textbook supplier, We've finally migrated to the New Headway series, so pictures and language will be a bit more relevant to 2016! No more clunky mobile phone pictures or listening to telephone switchboard conversations! Already enjoying using the text in my classes.

 Also received the Macmillan English Book 1 sporting a new cover and a few packs of stinky reward stickers.

 As mentioned before the books were ordered through, as are most of the books and materials we use. While usually very pleased with their service this time I was blown away, the books were ordered Tuesday lunchtime and they arrived Thursday morning. And this from a company that is based in Miyazaki! How many Tokyo based book sellers can offer this kind of speed? In my experience not many...

 Already feeling highly satisfied with the staff at on Friday a Sales Rep stopped by to say hello and ask how things were! Pretty fantastic was all I could answer.

 I'm pleased to announce that I'll be taking part in the Sixth Story Forest Waka-Waku Camp to be held at Okubo Library on December 4th, 2016.

 It's the first time for me to either attend or take part in this event so I really don't know what to expect. I've been asked to co-read a book, one of us will read it in English (me) and the other will read it in Japanese. Sounds different? Apparently they've done the same thing with reading books in Japanese and Korean, and this year thought they'd give English a try.

 As I say I know very little about the event at the moment, but just looking at the flyer it looks like it may be quite interesting. The book reading takes place in tents and teepees! And the children move from tent to tent collecting stamps.

 Looking forward to it and hope to see you there!


More information:

English: The Sixth Story Forest Waku-Waku Camp

Japanese: 第6回 おはなし森のわくわくキャンプ

Korean: 제6회 이야기 숲의 두근두근 캠프(오오쿠보 도서관)

水, 16 11月 2016 11:06

Christmas Party 2016

 We will hold our annual Christmas Party on Sunday, 18th December this year. Posters and 'chirashi' are already made and printed and will be going out to all our students this week.

 I can't quite believe that I am so organised this year, as I usually leave everything to the last minute! But as some of the mother's have already been asking when the party is I thought I'd get busy!!

水, 09 11月 2016 19:38

Meet Frog

 I am a firm believer that the secret to language learning is to be able to ask questions. The more questions you can ask in the target language the quicker you will learn. With this in mind, I make sure that in all our lessons the students gain confidence in asking questions.

 Take today in our Elementary B class, I put this rather childish green plastic frog in the centre of the table and asked the children to think of a question, expecting them to ask 'What is it?' or 'What is this?' or 'What colour is it?' or 'How many frogs?' etc. as they are patterns we have been practising over the past couple of months and I've these frogs to elicit those kind of questions.

 Imagine my surprise when the first question that came to their minds was 'What's your name?' followed by 'What sports do you like?' as if they were interviewing the frog!!!

 After many giggles we decided to call him 'Little Green Froggy'.



水, 02 11月 2016 11:27

Halloween Decorations

One of the pleasures of teaching young children is that sometimes you receive handmade gifts, such as this swag of Halloween bunting from Little Miss I in our Kinder class. I'm a real sucker for these handmade items and tend to keep hold of them for years, as I really appreciate the thought and effort that went into making them. Over the years I've amassed a collection of hand written thank you notes, hand drawn pictures and handmade crafts that I can't seem to part with.

By the way that's the second time in my life that I've used 'swag of bunting' to refer to a length of bunting. Apparently 'swag' is the correct term!


火, 01 11月 2016 23:17

Halloween Party 2016

A big thank you to all those who attended the Halloween Parties on Sunday. We think everybody had a lot of fun, and the assistants and myself certainly had fun hosting the parties.

I have a stack of photographs taken on the day that I'll be sorting out over the next week or so, but in the meantime here's a photo taken at the end of the Elementary party to keep you going!



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