Waseda Info 

I was taking a quick look at sites that link back to us and discovered this little gem of a website for the Waseda area. It's called waseda.info and surprisingly can be found at www.waseda.info.

Unfortunately it's only in Japanese but it uses a lot of visuals and maps so armed with a little basic Japanese reading ability you can use it to find bars, restaurants, shops, services and of course englishpool's entry in the Waseda area.

I particularly like the interviews with various shop/business owners in the Waseda area. I think it would be good to offer some kind of video content on this site but don't really know enough about it.

Maybe I could approach waseda.info to do an interview at englishpool...

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Eigo Story Book Reading Event 

Saturday was the big event. We had 11 students, ranging in age from 1 year old to 7 years old, and their parents squeezed into the classroom. Whereas Tuesday was only mothers, on Saturday we had fathers too; having fathers in the classroom always makes me feel embarrassed, probably because I can imagine myself in their position...

Anyway the event went smoothly, and this time I remembered the stuff I should have done on Tuesday but forgot.

In conclusion the two book reading events were a success, in that they provided an opportunity for existing students/parents to meet people from other classes. We also got to see a few new faces and they got to look around the classroom and see a little of what we are doing.

I am already thinking of doing a Halloween Book Reading Event...watch this space...

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English Story Reading 

The first event was on Tuesday, we have about six children and their mums for the session. We started with a little light hearted warm-up; we'd prepared this huge pretend bento box from which I was able to pull out various food items and see if the children knew what they were. Lot's of fun and surprisingly the children knew quite a lot of the English names for the foods (and weren't afraid to shout them out!)
That of course set us up perfectly for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We followed that with Albie and although I thought it's language is way too difficult the pace and excitment of the reading grabbed the children's attention. We finished with two titles from the Oxford Reading Tree, Six in a Bed and Strawberry Jam.
All in all a fun 30 minutes for all involved...let's hope Saturday is as smooth.

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Book Reading Event 

After the success of installing and running Koha we've seen a lot of interest from the student's mothers about book reading especially the Oxford Reading Tree series, which seems to have received a lot of favourable comments in the Japanese press as most of the mums we speak to know about it.

So we thought we'd share some of our favourite stories in a special event dedicated to story reading on August 25th and 29th. The first book I've chosen The Very Hungry Caterpillar namely because it's a story that everybody probably knows, although possibly not in English! When I've used it in class I've had a lot success naming the food (but pear and plums always leaves them stumped), counting the items and with the slightly older children saying the days of the week. So hopefully this will be a good book to start with.

The second book, or probably books, will be taken from the Oxford Reading Tree. As yet I'm undecided on which stories to use and with so few words in the books I'm going to have to provide a narrative in order to keep interest. I suppose I'm aiming at demonstrating how mum or dad might use the book at home.

The final book will be Albie by Andy Cutbill. Why? Just because I love this book. The story is crazy and really lends itself to reading aloud, even if some of the words are difficult to comprehend the pace and expression of the story keep them hooked to the final Allllbbbiiiiiieeeeee!

You can find the details, in Japanese, over at our Waseda events page or there's a downloadable flyer, again in Japanese available be clicking Book Reading Event PDF(220KB)

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Photos of the classroom 

Finally we got round to taking some photos of the classroom. They're in black and white because we took them to use in our new flyer/pamphlet which we are busy distributing at the moment.

This is the adult area. The 'antique' table spent most of it's life in a clothing factory cutting room so is very flat and heavily scored! The stools we commissioned from a guy up in Akita prefecture.The ceiling fan we picked up from yahoo! auctions and is a Odelic SH901 for those that are interested (sorry but many people have asked!)

This is looking out of the classroom. What could be called the children's area. We decided that we wanted the children's area to be as clear as possible so we put in a long high shelf to keep the stereo, flashcards and other lesson stuff away from small hands. The low table is yet another 'antique' and functions as a blackboard.

This shot is taken of the entrance area, very stylish don't you agree...? The photos you can see just above the yukari plant, and some unidentified specimen, are of my great grandmother and great grand father when they were babies, so must have been taken about 100 years ago. The photos look great on the wall and are always a talking point with new students.
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