Card Games 

I've been on the lookout for a really simple game that can be used with kindergarten and early grade students. You know, something that grabs their attention and gets them focused on the lesson in hand.
I wasn't too concerned with it's English educational value as the kind of game I had in mind would be over in less than five minutes-but of course we would use English to play the game.
Well I took a trip to a local store that I stumbled upon a few months ago, tsumikinomori in Waseda. The owner is crazy about wooden toys and has created a large space where childen can play, for a small fee, with the widest range of wooden toys I've ever seen available. They also sell many of the toys and games.
You can probably guess what's coming next...yes, I found what I think is a great little game that really captures the childrens attention, drawing them into the lesson. It's called 'Regenbogen Schlange' and those those who don't read German it has an English title of Serpentina. It's made by amigo-spiele and so far has proved an instant hit with students aged 3 to 8 years old. Basicaly the game consists of 52 coloured cards that are laid face down in the center of the table, the students take turns to turn a card over and try to make a snake by matching colours. A bit like donimoes. The great thing is that the group has to work as a team to complete a snake, so they also learn to share!!
By the way if you're in the Waseda area and have young kids please drop by tsumikinomori, I've recommended it to a few parents and they've all reported how much they and their children enjoyed playing with the toys.
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Candle Night 

June 22nd is Candle Night, an initiative organised by a NPO here in Japan. Basically it's a time to light up a candle, switch the lights off and think about our lives.

For a full explanation of the aims head on over to their website There are English and Japanese pages.

Join them, and us, this June 22nd.

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New Blog 

Well we've had the software since last August but have only just found the time, and inclination, to update the blog format.

So here is the new blog...well not much has changed but we're assured by the good folks at SPHP BLOG that this version is more secure and user friendly.

Now..we just have to remember to update more often!
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St. George's Day 

I had an idea for our ever popular twice monthly Saturday classes today. Why don't we celebrate St.George's Day? It's a typical English story and should capture the children's imagination nicely, what with a knight in shining armour and a dragon to boot.
Well...from experience it was always a very low key day in the UK and finding material proved to be harder to souce than for other celebration days. Seems that since I've been in Japan it's also become something of a controversial subject as the site below demonstates.

Finally found a great resource for bringing St.George's story to our student's from a site called SparkleBox, which deserves a very special mention for it's resources and outstanding support. Thank you.

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Cooking and English! 

This year we had a request from one of our Waseda students to do Cooking and English. So of course we said yes, let's try.

The photograph above shows Sachiko and Paul reading the recipe for 'shortbread'. Shortbread is a classic biscuit often associated with Scotland and is ideal for making at home because of it's relatively easy to achieve good results.

For the recipe click below

Shortbread Recipe (PDF 174KB)

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