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Bresee's blog

Peace Walk

DATE:2017.06.21 Wednesday  Category:Special Events

I was lucky enough to go with the Grade 4 students to the Peace Park this year on their Peace Walk. In the weeks before the event, the students prepared. They learned interview questions, made thank you cards, folded origami cranes and learned the history of the atomic bomb.

 

On June 13th, we boarded the streetcar and headed to the Peace Memorial Park. The classes took turns visiting the museum and interviewing visitors to the park.

 

The first question asked was, "Where are you from?" The guests answered by placing a sticker on the map.

 

 

Then, the students asked what impressions the visitors had of the Peace Park and Japan.

 

It was fantastic to see the students using the English they knew. 

 

The last thing the students asked was for the visitors to rank what they thought was important for peace.

 

Of course, everyone wanted their pictures taken together, so we got some good photos!

 

One thing I really liked is that the students could meet with and interact with many groups and types of people.

 

There were students from other countries.

 

 

There were couples.

 

There were retirees.

 

Perhaps most importantly for our students, there were families and children.

 

When the students had finished talking with a group of visitors, they gave the visitors one of the thank you cards they had written. Each student had hand-written at least one card. Inside each card was an origami crane, instructions on how to fold a crane and a piece of origami paper.

 

Before lunch, all the students gathered together to listen to one of the atomic bomb survivors. She told of Hiroshima on the day of the bomb and the time following from her point of view as a school girl.

 

I think the Grade 4 students did a fantastic job of communicating with all the people they spoke with. They had the courage to approach people who couldn't speak Japanese and communicate with those people in English.

 

Finally, to all the people out there who took the time to speak with our students, thank you! Your time was valuable in our endeavor to help our students learn about the world, its people, and how to make it a more peaceful place.


Pool Cleaning

DATE:2017.06.20 Tuesday  Category:Around the School

Elementary schools in Japan teach swimming over the summer months. Therefore, most elementary schools have a pool. Nagisa Koen Elementary has one too.

 

Like other schools in Japan, the pool here has water stored in it over the winter. The water in school pools is kept for emergencies so that it can be used for fighting fires.

 

However, when it comes time to use the pool in the summer, there is about 8 months worth of algae in the pool.

 

Before anyone can start work, the winter residents are moved out of the pool.

 

Why do we have carp in the pool over the winter? It's not just because we are Hiroshima Carp baseball fans! The fish eat insects, especially mosquito larvae, and they keep the mosquito population low.

 

The Grade 5 students line listen to their cleaning assignments.

 

Fist on the list was cleaning the poolside and gutters.

 

Then the students worked on the small pool.

 

Finally, it was time to get the big pool cleaned! The students started on the sides.

 

Then they worked on the bottom of the pool.

 

Now the pool is filling.

 

Even though these pictures were taken the next day and it is cloudy, you can see the difference!

 

Thank you, Grade 5 students! The pool is very clean! All the students who swim this year will be swimming in a beautiful pool. Thank you for helping to make this summer fun!


School Trip - Days 3&4

DATE:2017.06.17 Saturday  Category:Field Trip

The Grade 6 students have been back in Hiroshima for about a week now. It has taken me a while to get back to this blog, but let's take a look at the last part of their travels now!

 

The students visited the Haru no Tsuji  Ruins from the Yayoi period.

 

The students also visited the Ikikoku Museum.

 

While at the museum, the students also got to make their own jewelry.

 

The last day was a day of travel... mixed in with some fun learning!

 

The last train home!

 

Even though the students look tired in these pictures, they have been telling me how much fun they had on the trip. I'm glad everyone had a good time!


School Trip

DATE:2017.06.06 Tuesday  Category:Field Trip

In Japan, Grade 6 students usually take a school trip together, as it is their last as a group before dispersing to different junior high schools.

 

This morning, the Grade 6 students woke up to the second day of their school trip. They are on Kyushu Island, in a place called Iki in Nagasaki.

 

They started their day with a walk on the beach.

 

Then, it was time for breakfast.

 

Later, the students learned about Matsunagasu Yasuemon and how he revolutionized Japan's electric power systems. They also saw his art collections.

 

Afterwards, the students learned about fishing. They pulled nets up from the beach.

 

What did they catch?

 

Finally, time for lunch! It was time to try some of that fresh fish! The cooks prepared the fish right in front of the students.

 

I hope all the students are enjoying their trip!  I'll try to post more pictures when they are available!

 

 

 


Fireflies

DATE:2017.06.05 Monday  Category:Special Events

This morning before classes, I was looking for a Grade 2 teacher in order to pass on a message. I found the Grade 1 and 2 students in the auditorium talking about fireflies.

 

Four Grade 2 students were at the front, leading the both grades through the explanation.

 

They had a great method for demonstrating the flash patterns for male and female fireflies. They showed the difference with a flashlight. The male flashes quickly in short bursts, and the female has long flashes.

(The boy on the left has a sign that says "female" and the boy on the right has one that says "male").

 

Both of the Grade 1 and 2 students sang the firefly song well!

 

Today's leaders did a great job of both educating and entertaining. It's fantastic to see leadership, public speaking skills and a willingness to challenge new things at such a young age! 

Good job!

 

The Grade 1 students made these glowing fireflies!


Saturday Lessons

DATE:2017.06.03 Saturday  Category:Around the School

Many private schools in Japan have lessons on Saturday mornings. Nagisa has two Saturday mornings a month.

 

This morning, I went to see how some of the Grade 4 students were doing in their first period English class.

 

What's this? Too early on a Saturday? Everyone was having a nap!

 

Actually, the students had their heads down so they couldn't see the surprise answer on the board.  Hey, who's peeking?

 

The teacher said "close your eyes!"

 

Once everyone looked up, they all wanted to share their answers!

 

Mr. Lamb demonstrates "What is it?" "It's a wet towel."

 

Of course, after that demonstration, everyone wanted a turn!

 

Next was some pair practice using cards.

 

Rock, scissors, paper determined who asked and who answered the key question.


Bento!

DATE:2017.05.30 Tuesday  Category:Special Events

Today the whole school had  washoku bento , or Japanese style bento. Most students bring their bento lunch every day, but today was special. Most of the vegetables used in the school lunches today were grown in the garden by the Grade 2 students.

 

The lunches are ready to be delivered. 

 

First, everyone sets their desks.

 

A Grade 6 teacher explains how to do the cleanup before anyone takes a bite.

 

Another teacher gets ready to distribute the lunches.

 

The same thing was happening in Grade 5.

 

Here we can see the Grade 5 students getting excited about lunch!

 

The Grade 4 students look just as happy!

 

When I walked by with the camera, Grade 3 was getting ready as well.

 

Likewise, the Grade 2 students were digging in!

 

Last, but not least, the Grade 1 students were also gettting a talk about how to clean up after eating.

 

Of course, they enjoyed the food too!

 

Thank you to the Grade 6 students who came to help tidy up with the Grade 1 students. Your help means a lot!

 

Also, thank you to the cooks who prepared today's lunch. It must have been a big job preparing over 400 bentos! The food was fantastic! 

 


New Zealand

DATE:2017.05.25 Thursday  Category:Special Events

Every year a group of Nagisa students from Grades 5 and 6 travel to New Zealand in July. This year's students have been selected, and are now preparing for their trip.

 

The students meet at lunch time to get themselves ready for their journey. As they eat lunch, they learn about what to expect in New Zealand.

 

Of course, the students have a chance to learn and practice the useful English they will use in New Zealand.

 

In today's meeting, the students were taking charge of their own learning. They worked collaboratively in teams to research about the country in general, Tauranga (where they will stay) and Rotorua (where they will go sightseeing).

 

So far, everyone is working very hard.  Keep up the good work and you will have a fantastic trip!


NAP Time 2

DATE:2017.05.24 Wednesday  Category:Field Trip

Yesterday, the Nagisa Adventure Program continued. However, yesterday's participants were the Grade 5 students.

 

Following a similar program as the Grade 4 students the day before, the Grade 5 students also started with a ceremony.

 

In proper Nagisa style, that included a student-led song!

 

Then the students broke into groups for their day's activities. This group started by working with bamboo.

They cut it down and took the branches off.

 

Then they tied the bamboo to trees to practice for their next visit to Numata when they will make a tree house.

 

Their next challenge involved more teamwork, problem-solving, communication and leadership. The one student had to move up the trail. However, he could only put his weight on the pieces of color pipe. The pipe was not allowed to move while he was on it.

 

This group is leapfrogging the pipe forward.

 

Lunch! After all that hard work, the students were ready for their bento boxes!

 

The last challenge of the day was a physical challenge where students needed to move along a rope while keeping their balance.

 

Finally, the students found that it was easier to work as a team.

 

When the day was done, the students finished the day by thanking the teachers at the the Numata campus.

 

Again, the students came away from the day with skills that will be useful for the rest of their lives. Even though they won't have to balance their way across rope bridges often, they will have to work with others to solve problems, share ideas and help others achieve goals. 

 

 


NAP Time

DATE:2017.05.23 Tuesday  Category:Special Events

You might think that NAP time would be relaxing, but in reality, it takes a lot of energy. NAP stands for the Nagisa Adventure Program. 

 

The Grade 4 students have had several lessons at the school learning about NAP and about what they are expected to do and learn while out of the school. Yesterday was the first time for the Grade 4 students to go to the Numata Campus for NAP.

 

First, the students held the opening ceremony.

 

Then they heard the final details on how the day was going to flow and what their groups were going to do.

 

Before heading outdoors, the students warmed up.

 

This activity is called the "A-frame". Students stand on wooden beams and have to order themselves without stepping off of the beams.

The first challenge was to order themselves by student number.

 

The second challenge on the A-frame was to get into order by their birthdays. However, in the second challenge, five students were not allowed to speak, and two students were blindfolded.

 

After the A-frame challenge, the students debriefed and talked about which parts of the activity went well. They also had a chance to talk about how they could have done a better job. These discussions help foster better communication skills that the students can use every day.

 

The next activity was preparing lunch. The students made rice on camp stoves. They will use these outdoor cooking skills again when they make curry and rice on the Grade 4 Summer Adventure camp in July.

 

The last activity for this group was called the pipeline. The students had to move a ball down the pipe. They were not allowed to move their feet while holding the ball. To ensure that the pipe was long enough, the students had to leapfrog to the front.

 

Again, the students discussed how the activity went, and how they could have worked together better. The exercises themselves and the debrief sessions were fantastic for building teamwork, leadership communication, and problem-solving skills.

 

At the end of the day, the students still had some energy left to play around!

 

Finally, they held the closing ceremony to finish the day.

 

Thank you to the Numata teachers for hosting the Grade 4 students. They had a fantastic time with you.


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