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Bresee's blog

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!


Opening Ceremony and Sports Day Practice

DATE:2016.10.11 Tuesday  Category:Assemblies

Today was basically a reversal of Thursday.  We started with the opening ceremony and set into sports day practice soon after.


The first students in the gym started lining up.


Then, when everyone was ready, the principal welcomed everyone back. She talked about how pressure can be hard, but it can also result in beautiful things, giving the example of a diamond.


Then an awards ceremony was held to recognize students for their recent achievements.


There were awards for track and field, science awards for invention ideas and also the English recitation contest.


Soon after the ceremony was finished, we headed out to the field for sports day practice. The students practiced their group cheers.



Everyone, welcome back to school for the second term. We're starting with a big event, so let's have fun!

Recitation Contest

DATE:2016.10.07 Friday  Category:Special Events

One of the biggest events of the year for the English Department is the recitation contest. This year, it was on Tuesday, October 4th.

Over the summer holidays, every Grade 5 and Grade 6 student chooses and learns a story. There are three choices for each grade.

When the students get back from summer vacation, they recite those stories to their classes. The top students from each class are chosen to participate in the recitation contest.


This year's contest was October 4th. The judges were the principal from the high school, Mr. Kadoshima, our principal, Mrs. Watanabe, two English Department teachers from the high school, Ms. Kandori and Mr. Farrell, and our curriculum designer, Mrs. McNamara.


The first set of MCs were in charge of running the program while the Grade 5 students presented.  


The first story is from Russia and is about a hat seller whose hats were taken by a group of monkeys.


The second story is from Japan. It's about a warrior who is the size of a thumb.


The final Grade 5 story is from Arabia. It's about a man and his son learning to make their own decisions.


Because we had so many volunteers, we had a second group of MCs for the Grade 6 presentations.


The first story is about a New Zealand Maori warrior named Maui who wanted to catch the sun.


The second story was about a little girl from Russia who escaped from a bear.


The final story came from Africa, and was about a hunter who helped a lion and a rat.


Then the awards were given!


All of the stories were so good that everyone could get recognized for their talent!

A couple of big events...

DATE:2016.10.06 Thursday  Category:Special Events

Today was our first whole school practice for sports day.  In Japan, sports days are big, official events with a lot of speeches, marching and cheering.


In order to make sure everyone does there best, we practice everything. That includes entering the field while marching!


Here are the team leaders:


The flag bearers:


And the student body:


Our second big event of the day was the closing ceremony. Nagisa operates on a two term system, and so the students get a short break now before the second term starts.


The students looked on intently as the principal gave a speech about how small acts of kindness can greatly increase people's happiness.


Then representatives from the three Grade 6 classes reflected on what the first half of the year had meant for them.


Finally, the hall was filled with the school anthem.


After the official closing ceremony, there was an awards ceremony for some of the students' recent achievements.

The awards were for excellence in shogi, which is Japanese chess, swimming, and volunteering every day for morning greetings.


Well done everyone.  We'll see you in a couple of days!

Lunch Time!

DATE:2016.09.12 Monday  Category:Around the School

Remember the old joke?

What's your favorite subject?  Lunch time!


Let's take a look at what the Grade 4 students are doing for lunch today.


First, the students get the room ready by putting their desks into groups, and covering them with table cloths.


Then the class leader for the day checks that everyone is ready, and leads the class in saying "itadakimasu", which means "(we are thankful for) receiving this food".


Then, it's time to eat!


Bentos can be ordered from the school for those busy days.


Of course, students are welcome to bring lunch from home.


It really does look like everyone's favorite subject!


When everyone is done eating, the day leader leads the class in saying "gochi so sama deshita", which means "(thank you for the food) it was a feast!"


DATE:2016.09.11 Sunday  Category:School Life

In science class, the Grade 3students grew rice this year. Rice is of course a very important part of the Japanese diet, so it is important to know how it is grown.


Many schools, and even kindergartens, have rice planting events for their students. Fewer schools have the students look after the rice through its whole growth cycle.


The Grade 3 students planted this rice in April. Since then, the students check on the growth, weeded the fields, and cared for the crops.


Then on Friday, it was time to harvest.  The students learned how to use a sickle.


After the harvest, the rice has to be hung to dry out.


The studeThe students will use traditional threshing equipment to separate the grain, and in November they will make and eat onigiri with the rice.

NHK and Mazda

DATE:2016.09.08 Thursday  Category:Field Trip

The Grade 5 students went out on a full day of learning today.


There were some final words before heading out.



Then everyone boarded the bus!


At NHK, they started with introductions and greetings.


Everyone got to experience a 3D presentation.


Here's an explanation as to how the news is produced:


Then some of the students got some small group tutoring.


Presentation time!


Some of the students then got to experience the blue screen.


The next adventure was at the Mazda factory.

Students learned a little about Mazda's history.


They also saw some of the fast cars!


This display shows one step in the design process.


The students also saw how cars are designed with safety in mind.



Here are some of Japan's future drivers.


It looks like you had a fun today, and also learned a lot in the process!

Grade 4 Parent Observation

DATE:2016.09.07 Wednesday  Category:-

Today was another parent observation day at the school. However, today was a chance for the Grade 4 students to show what they know to their guardians.


Let's take a closer look to see what the guardians are looking at.


The lesson I observed was the English lesson being taught by Mr. Gates and Ms. Kawaguchi.


Mr. Gates explained how he wanted the activity to go.


The students were listening carefully to everything the teachers said.


Then it was time for an activity demonstration.


Pair work time! The students had to do the conversation with five different partners!


Good work to all the Grade 4 students today! You all did a great job!

Also, I'd like to say thank you to all of the guardians who could come in to the school today to see your children in class.

Grade 3 Parent Observation

DATE:2016.09.06 Tuesday  Category:Around the School

It's always nice to have the parents come and see lessons at the school. Although the students are a bit nervous with their parents watching, (maybe the teachers a bit too!!) it's a great chance for the parents to see how their children interact in lessons, how the teachers teach, and the overall atmosphere of the school.


Today it was the Grade Three classes that were being observed. In Kaede Class, Mr. Uenaka was teaching math. 


You can see the students working in groups using collaboration to solve the problems.


The students are using Mana-bodo, which are light, portable whiteboards which are great for group work!


Next door in Tsubaki class, Mr. Fujiyama was teaching social studies. 


The students were especially engaged because they were discussing one of Hiroshima's traditional local delicacies, okonomiyaki. 

Great teaching mixes individual attention and whole class attention.


Thank you to all the guardians who came today to see their children and teachers in action. It was good to see you today.


DATE:2016.09.05 Monday  Category:School Life

Lately I've been writing a lot about the different events, camps, and trips that the school is engaged in. However, with all of that finishing for the summer and everyone getting back into regular routines, I was thinking about what to write about today.


Then, I came across this flower.  It doesn't get to bloom and be a beautiful flower all in one day. It grows little by little, overcoming obstacles and taking opportunities to grow and develop.


Likewise, our students grow day by day. These pictures are from Kogomi Class in Grade 1. They are working on their literacy skills in the classroom.


Nagisa has some great facilities, like our library. The other Grade One class, Tsukushi, was here working on their literacy skills.


Like the little flower growing up through the grate, these students are growing and learning day by day. With the literacy skills developed here, and a nurtured love of books and reading, these children will continue along their paths to be lifelong learners.


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