Bresee's blog

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Bresee's blog


DATE:2017.02.18 Saturday  Category:Around the School

The days are starting to warm up, a fact that I greatly appreciate!


Along with the warming weather come the blossoming trees. The first to bloom every year are the plum trees. So it's not a surprise to see one starting to bud and bloom.

Cleaning Groups

DATE:2017.02.15 Wednesday  Category:School Life

If you have read my blog before or know about Japanese schools, you will know that the students have cleaning time every day.


Normally, I have a group of Grade 3 students come to help me clean the stairs.  However, this week, we have cleaning groups. A couple of students from each grade are assigned to each area to clean it thoroughly.


Younger students learn good cleaning techniques from the older students.


No one can resist posing for the camera!


A student makes sure that the rails are clean...


...while some of the students volunteered to help clean the walls which don't get done every day.


I even had students volunteer to clean out the dust with chopsticks!


By the end of the week, these stairs and the whole school will sparkle with the students' efforts. Not only did the younger students learn cleaning skills, but the older students practiced leadership and everyone worked together to develop teamwork, pride in their school and a sense of comradery across the grades.

Museum Study Trip!

DATE:2017.02.03 Friday  Category:Field Trip

The Grade 5 Museum Study Trip is a program that takes the students out of the school and up to the mountains in central Hiroshima.


They visited two museums to learn about trees and birds.

Here you can see the size of the trees that used to grow in the mountains.


While in the mountains, it's always a good idea to play in the snow!


Of course, since it is a serious study trip, there has to be some study time too!


Learning isn't all done in the classroom. Here the students experience snowshoeing.


And how to properly take a snow-angel break!


On the trip, the students built personal responsibility as they had to look after the cleaning in the rooms and the shared spaces.


By the end of the trip, the students were tired from having so much fun!


DATE:2017.01.16 Monday  Category:Seasons

Hiroshima had its biggest snowfall in 33 years this weekend. Of course, the students couldn't wait to get out and play in it.


By morning recess though, the snow had started to disappear.


That didn't deter the students from playing in what was left.


Throwing snowballs was the most popular game of the day.


Any teacher that was brave enough to step outside was an immediate target.


Not even the photographer was safe!!!



Opening Ceremony

DATE:2017.01.07 Saturday  Category:Assemblies

Welcome to 2017! 


The year has started, and the students are back for their first day! We began the morning with the opening ceremony.


To start things off, we had the opening ceremony. The principal welcomed the new year by showing the zodiac kanji.


Next, the principal introduced the two newest members of the Nagisa Family. They introduced themselves with confidence and poise, even though they were standing in front of the whole student body for the first time.


Well done!


To finish things off, the Gassho Bu, the school choir, stood up to be recognized. Over the holidays, they went to Osaka and won first prize in the MBS Kodomo Ongaku Konkuru, the MBS Children's Music Competition.


Great job! It's wonderful listening to you practice and perform, and your efforts and talent have paid off!




Global Studies

DATE:2016.12.15 Thursday  Category:Lessons

One of the goals in Nagisa's educational philosophy is building global citizens.


Today, I had the pleasure of observing the members of the English Department in action talking about different countries.


In Grade 3, Mr. Lamb and Mr. Kuwabara were teaching the students about America. 


The students took some guesses as to how many people lived there.


Then, it came down to some serious language/math explanations to get the size of the USA's population in perspective.


Yes, it really is big!


The students located the country on the map, and took notes about the important points.


Of course, some fun facts came up along the way!


In Grade 4, students were also learning about a country. They started by finding out where it was compared to Japan.


The students quickly figured out that they were talking about New Zealand.


Ms. Szabo talks about how long it takes to fly there.


That's a tough flag to draw!


Of course, everyone knew New Zealand's favorite sport is Rugby!


To end things off, a show of hands revealed those with an urge to travel!

Music Festival

DATE:2016.12.02 Friday  Category:Special Events

Another big event on the school calendar is complete!


We had a fantastic music festival this year. I am always amazed at how musical our students are. Having great music teachers is vital, both for building the students' skills and also their motivation and love for learning music.


These photos are from the first part of the rehearsal on Friday, so I appologize for not posting pictures of the taiko group "Drum Corps" or the Grade Six students.


The Grade One students sang, acted and played their percussion instruments.


The Grade Two students likewise treated us with their voices as well as the accompanying instruments.


When the Grade Three students went on stage, they played their recorders as well as sang.


Larger instruments were brought out on stage for the Grade Four students. The students demonstrated a lot of talent playing for the audience!


The Grade Five students carried on demonstrating in the same vein, playing the larger instruments and singing.


In between the different Grade performances, the audience was kept entertained by the gassho club, students playing the hand bells, and the Drum Corps.


The Grade Six students broke the trend and sang without accompaniment.  They also made all of the announcements for the day, leading the audience through the program.


Sakura Project

DATE:2016.11.19 Saturday  Category:Special Events

On Monday, November 14th, the school was in for a treat.  Sakura Project came to the school. Sponsored by Daiwa House, they help plant Sakura (Japanese Cherry Blossom) trees around Japan.


The school got a new tree that day.


Of course, there was a commemorative photo!


The other part of the Sakura Project visit was a demonstration by the Aun musical duo, Ryohei and Kohei Inoue.


They introduced several traditional Japanese instruments, and then played them in a lively, rocking fashion.


First, they played a rambunctious shamisen and drum set. 


They followed it with a calmer, flute and drum combo.


Then it was time for dueling banjos... except they were dueling shamisens.


Brothers being brothers... it soon turned into a competition. Then they were trying to outdo each other.


The brotherly competition didn't end with the shamisen.


To wrap up the show, representatives from each grade went up to try the drums.


Being really good sports, they let some of the teachers have a turn too.


Thank you Sakura Project, Daiwa House, and the Inoue brothers!

We will remember the fantastic concert and beautiful new tree!

English Week

DATE:2016.11.02 Wednesday  Category:Special Events

Last week was a big week for the English Department.


It was English Week!


Every day the broadcasts were done in English. The Hosou Inkai (Broadcast Committee) did a great job delivering all of their announcements in English. On top of the regular committee broadcasts, each grade also did a special lunchtime broadcast in English.  We had quizzes and interviews while the student body was eating lunch to get their listening skills up!


Also, we played "What Time is it Mr. Wolf" and "Bring Home the Bacon" in the gym at lunch time.


For the students with more of a literary leaning, we had story books in the auditorium and on the roof.


It wasn't just the English Department running different events though. Every lesson during the week started and ended with the usual greetings done in English. Also, the homeroom teacher ran English words games in their homeroom times.


Finally, every morning a different grade met outside to greet the student body as it entered the school.


You can see here the Grade 6 students really got into it!  A great finale for the week!


This greeting group met on the 31st to celebrate Halloween. It wasn't in technically in English week, but it definitely was in the spirit!

Sports Day

DATE:2016.10.17 Monday  Category:Special Events

Sports day is one of the biggest events of the year at any Japanese school, and Nagisa is no different.

There were so many events and so many pictures that I could only choose one or two from each event, but I hope you get an idea of what the day was like.


The day started with the opening ceremony. The presentation of flags and the marching students is a throwback to an earlier Japan.

Here, the two teams, red and white, bow to each other before the competition begins.


The first competition was "tama ire" where students compete to see which team can get the most bean bags into the basket.


The next event is one that would not be allowed in Canada due to safety concerns. The defense holds their pole upright, and the offence tries to take the flag from the top of the pole, either by pulling the pole down or by climbing over the defenders. In this photo, the red hats are the offence, and the white hats are defending.


Like sports days in the west, there are running events. Here we see a Grade 3 student pulling away from the pack.


"Wanted" is an event where Grade 5 students race to get a card. The card has a hint on who to find. It could be someone from the crowd, "Someone holding a baby" or a specific teacher. Here are some teachers who dressed up for the event.


The next event was called "Nagisa Hanagasa" which means "Nagisa Flower Umbrellas". In this case, the umbrellas are old style rain hats.


The Grade 1 students the challenge of negotiating huge inflated balls around the field.  The balls where twice the size of the students! They needed communication, coordination and teamwork to get it done!


The Dragon's Tail was next. The Grade 2 students made teams of 3 people, and had to stay linked together as one dragon. Their aim was to take the tails from an opposing team while protecting their own.


The next event was a variation on tug-o-war.  Instead of one rope, there were 15. Some of the ropes got taken quickly, but those that were lasted longer than a couple of seconds soon turned into prizes to be fought for.


After the tug-o-war was the Grade 5 relay.  These students can run fast!


The Grade 5s were followed up by the Grade 6 individual races.


The Nagisa Flags dance fills the field with Grade 1, 2 and 3 students as well as color and action.  This is always the cutest event of the day.


The next event was the PTA relay, where parents, teachers and graduated students ran hard to see which team could get the gold! 


After that, the cheer squad led the whole school in the cheering event. This event always leads the day in coolness.


Then, the Eye of the Typhoon came round. The Grade 3 students coordinated their efforts to move their poles quickly around their cones and back.


"Kibasen", which means cavalry battle, is another game that I don't think would be allowed in the west. 3 students make the base, and one sits atop as they do battle. They must take another group's hat, while protecting their own. It is an exciting event!


The Grade 4 students then showed off their speed in running races. 


The Grade 2 students then faced an obstacle race. They had to go under nets, carry tires over a mountainous mat, traverse balance beams and walk on stilts. Everyone finished the race, even though it was tough!


Ready, set, go! The Grade 1 students ran their hardest to gain points for their teams!


In Canada, we had three legged races. Can you count how many legs are on one team here? Getting your team to the mat in this event required a lot of communication and teamwork. Getting 15 people to work as one required a lot of practice and cooperation!


Getting near the day's finale, the Grade 5 and 6 students put on a great show with "Kumi Taiso" which is group gymnastics. Strength, balance, trust and teamwork were all on display with these amazing tableaux!


The final event of the day was the relay which took selected students from each grade. These students can run!


The closing ceremony finished off the day with a warm down, speeches, and (this year) the white team declared the winner. I'm pretty sure red will take it next year, and I'll be cheering for them!


One last note before finishing today. I'd like to thank the Grade 5 and 6 students for all of the help they provided on sports day.  They made sure all of the events were ready, that the equipment was in place, made the announcements, kept score, and made sure the whole thing ran smoothly.  Well done!



学校法人鶴学園 なぎさ公園小学校

〒731-5138 広島市佐伯区海老山南2丁目2-30 TEL:082-943-0001 FAX:082-943-0004