This past year, our Mercury class has been working on a book called “My Book All About Me.” The book is from the ME, Myself collection of Dr. Seuss books. (We endearingly call it MyBook at school). This book is basically a big collection of fun facts about each student in Mercury class.
We start working on the book very early in the year and fill out at least one page a week. Each page is unique and colorful and asks a lot of questions in English. For example: “How tall are you? How many teeth do you have? Where do you live? What do you like to eat?”
Because each student’s answer tends to be different from their classmates, we write everyone’s answers down on our big whiteboard and have the kids copy their individual answers in class.
Here is a page spread we recently worked on together. There were many fun questions about our bodies!
Mercury kids split into two lines and tested their skills against the door. It was a lot of fun to connect our writing and our physical bodies together to complete our lesson!
Many kids enjoy MyBook because of its fun and creative nature. If you’re curious about the book and want to know more, here is a link to the hardbook version:
January and February are the coldest months of the year here in Japan. Our bodies can feel very stiff and we may not feel as flexible or energetic as the rest of the year.
That being said, International Language House is a school full of young kids with lots of energy! We are all moving around most of the time despite the weather. Because of this, we make sure to stretch and warm up our bodies every morning with radio taiso and by running a few laps around the school.
In January, we completed our Winter Sports Day a.k.a. Marathon of 2022, and ran with all our might!
Despite the many ways we stay active at school, it is still very important to keep safety in the front of our minds at all times–teachers and kids alike.
Recently, we updated some of our rules of free time to help further guarantee the safety of each student. Our teachers have mapped out stations so as to have eyes on every part of the school while the children play. To refresh everyone’s memory, we also did a short tour of the playground with each class to make sure they still have a clear understanding of safe and dangerous ways to play.
Wintertime is also a season of dry air. This can create dry skin and sometimes cracks that can become bloody if not treated with vaseline or other moisturizing creams. These days with the ongoing pandemic, using hand sanitizer further dries out hands, so it is very important to keep our skin fresh and moist in between washes.
Two very important stages of development are key in order to ensure safe play:
Spatial awareness can otherwise be described as understanding your own personal space. It is knowing how far your arms or legs stretch out, how tall you are, and how close objects or other people are to you. As kids get bigger, this personal space area grows with them and they are constantly adapting to it.
Social awareness can otherwise be described as understanding other people’s personal space. This can be something as simple as apologizing to friends to if they bump into each other. When older and younger age groups play together, this is bound to happen. The conversations that happen right after are the most important. We encourage our kids to say phrases like “Are you okay?” or “I’m sorry” to each other whenever there is a problem.
Until the weather gets warmer again, ILH teachers and kids will keep doing our best to stay warm, flexible, considerate, and above all, SAFE and HAPPY!
Today was our first day back at school after a nice, long, winter vacation.
Each class sat in a circle and talked about how everyone spent their time. Some kids stayed home, others went to spend the holidays with their grandparents, and some kids stayed at hotels or went to attractions.
Before teachers went home for break, we invited anyone to come look at our Christmas lights in front of the school for a small light up ceremony. The lights looked beautiful at night!
Before teachers went on break ourselves, we enjoyed looking back at International Language House Kindergarten (+ Preschool) Christmas show.
Here are the links to both our concert portion and theatrical portion of the Christmas show on YouTube:
Every year, we choose a Christmas themed story to follow along in English as a winter performance. This year, our theme was Home Alone! The story follows a young boy named Kevin who gets forgotten by his big family during the holidays. While everyone spends their Christmas in Paris, Kevin spends it alone and has a lot of adventures!
It was a lot of fun making the scripts, creating backgrounds, and our favorite, setting up the traps for the robbers! Everyone was able to take part in show, giving a sense of pride to the project.
Now that it is time for the new year to begin, our teachers set up our 年賀状 picture to prepare for the Year of the Tiger.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a safe and healthy welcome into 2022!
The temperatures have dropped drastically, autumn leaves have fallen, and everyone is bundling up under layers and layers of clothes…
You know what that means: Winter is here!
December is now in full swing. We have welcomed in Christmas cheer early this year as we started practicing songs and English lines for our Christmas show on the 10th. The school also has been looking extra festive with our indoor and outdoor decorations.
Another way we have been welcoming in the winter season has been planting and growing some new tulip bulbs in our garden.
Tulips are a special winter flower. If you plant the bulbs in the soil in the colder seasons, they will be fully ready and bloomed in the springtime. Now is the perfect time to start growing these tulips!
Last but certainly not least, preschool kids came to the kindergarten for song practice leading up to our Christmas show.
For the concert part of our show, the preschool had a bunch of their own songs to perform, and so did the kindergarten. Both schools also shared a performance of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in between our class performances.
It’s been a great start to the winter months so far. We are excited for our last few days before Christmas break!
The past few eventful weeks have been full of memorizing English speeches and scripts for recent big events at the kindergarten. From the beginning of November, our selected Speech Day kids practiced their speeches every day with the English teachers. We started by reciting each word together and then practiced on the stage leading up the the big day.
On the 25th, we celebrated Thanksgiving by performing a short skit. Jupiters played turkeys, Saturns played Native Americans, and Mercuries played Pilgrims. Each class spent time learning some basic lines, then we performed all together while wearing our specially crafted Thanksgiving hats.
As December approaches, our focus shifts to the upcoming Christmas show. This year’s theme is Home Alone, a story about a boy who gets left behind by his family on Christmas Eve and has to protect the house from burglars. Everyone has a lot to remember, especially Mercury class, so we’ve all been working very hard!
When getting ready for a big event like these, whether it be a short skit, a speech, or a big holiday show, there are certain things we always work on with our kids.
Getting them able to speak loudly in front of a big group of people
Remembering certain words and phrases without teacher help
Adding the right pronunciation and inflection to what they’re saying
Showing them how to use their whole body for their performance
All these points are what makes a normal presentation into a great one!
We are so proud of our kids at the kindergarten for slowly becoming more confident in their English skills and performance skills!
Since our fall semester is so busy, it’s easy to get caught up in all our events and forget everything we have done up until now! In order to properly enjoy all our holidays, we make sure to talk about them a lot both before and after they have ended.
Our favorite way to keep school memories fresh is to draw them out on large pieces of paper. The kids start out by drawing the main part of our picture in crayon. After everyone finishes, we paint the background and let the pictures dry in the sun.
English Teachers will pull each student aside after the pictures have dried and ask the kids for a description of their picture. We then translate into English and write the description for them as a caption.
This month, we drew our memories of Halloween and our fall field trip to Kanazawa Zoo.
Our favorite moments from Halloween were our fashion show and –of course– trick-or-treating! It was so fun to see whose costumes were everyone’s favorite by looking at everyone’s artwork.
Our fall field trip from the beginning of November to the zoo was also so memorable! Many kids loved drawing pictures of the elephants, okapi, kangaroos, and other animals!
Looking back at our recent events, it’s been fun thinking about all the things we have done and seen together as a school.
Now it’s time to look forward to Christmas and other school events!
Every Year for Sports Day, our Mercury class takes on some extra responsibility with our special Sports Day Leader roles. Everyone in the class has a role for a different part of the event. Our 2021 graduating class is the biggest we’ve had, so we have included more leadership positions than last year!
The first leaders we choose as a class are our team captains. Everyone writes on a piece of paper a name of someone (not themselves!) from the class, and later we count all the votes to make a decision. The captain is in charge of their whole team and it is a tough job!
Alongside our captains we have our co-captains, who are equally as busy-if not MORE- than the captains. Co-captains are also in charge of leading radio taiso at the beginning of Sports Day.
The morning of the big event, all students will enter the field with a dramatic march! Leading the march, we have our drum leaders, baton leaders, and flag leaders giving us a colorful performance before the rest of the kids march in.
Before we get into our games, our cheer leaders take control of the field and lead their respective teams in a big cheer to get everyone’s spirits high! Later in the day, cheer leaders also take center stage during Red and White Team cheer dances!
Meanwhile, our MCs will be going back and forth to the front stage to announce the next event throughout the day.
These leadership roles not only teach the Mercury class how to connect sports with responsibility, but also gives them a sense of pride as it is their last Sports Day at International Language House Kindergarten. Saturn and Jupiter classes can look up to them and get excited to grow up and do the same cool things themselves in a few years!
The days leading up to Sports Day are getting shorter! As we are getting closer to the competition day, our practices are becoming more often and more serious!
Mercury class has been focusing a lot on their soccer skills and jump rope skills.
Saturn class is focusing on their obstacle course for their class game this year.
Jupiter class has been practicing their animal-themed relay as well as getting used to “Ready, Set, Go!” commands.
Since September, Red Team and White Team have been working on their energetic cheer motions and dances every day.
We have also been increasing the amount of Park Days to also work on our group competitions, which include relay, sprint, and tug-of-war.
Not only are we getting a physical workout, our brains are also working very hard. We have been creating designs for our 2021 badges, practicing Mercury class’ Opening and Closing Ceremony speeches, counting points during practice, and memorizing vocabulary for some of our games.
With the collaboration of volunteer parents, our kindergarten teachers, preschool teachers, and other volunteers, our teachers are hard at work coordinating every detail for each part of Sports Day.
This September, we held our 2nd annual Matsuri event at International Language House!
Last year was such a huge success and we are happy we could do it again!
This year, our matsuri had 5 stations:
Yo-Yo – Everyone grabbed a yo-yo from one of our water tubs outside!
Goldfish Scoop – Whatever kids could scoop, they got to put into their bags!
Snack Lottery – Each kid had a chance to pull a string from a group of strings. The string pulled would decide which snack they got!
Target Game – Each kid would throw a ball into one of 5 hula hoops and got a balloon!
Photo Booth – Everyone took a picture in front of a cute lantern design!
Before going into our different stations, all ILH kids and teachers broke into Bon Odori dance. We danced to two different songs together in the sunlight.
The days leading up to our Matsuri event, each class spent time making full-faced character masks out of different colored pieces of paper. We had so many different characters, including Pokemon characters, Doraemon, Ultraman, cats, etc.!
It was so fun to see all the girls dressed in their yukata and boys in their jinbeis! Many girls had their hair done to look fancy, so boys wore their masks while walking around to each festival station. We were so happy to have preschool kids join us as well 🙂
It was fun for the teachers to think of activities and games leading up to festival day. For the English teachers, we haven’t seen or heard of all the activities before, so it was fun to learn about each one and think of ways to set up our station.
Enjoy our video of the festival on YouTube by following this link:
One of the biggest changes in second semester is having Jupiter class being added to our unique ILH Leader Board.
What is the Leader Board?
Our school goes through a rotation every week, and a few students are chosen at a time to be that week’s leaders. The leaders are broken up into categories: Group Leaders, Teacher Helpers, Room Leaders, Daily Leaders, News Leaders, and Outside Leaders.
Under each category, the leaders each have various responsibilities.
Lead Radio Taiso every morning and head up the lines
Bring the role call sheet to the teacher, take care of the lunch box coolers, and help feed the fish
Set up chairs for lunch, wipe off tables, and sweep floors
Lead morning and afternoon greetings and Show & Tell, and organize the library
Announce weather, the day, month, and day of month in the morning
Water the plants, pick up leaves or flowers, and clean up the sandbox toys
Teachers help make sure each Leader knows what job they have, and give commands in both English and Japanese. This helps Leaders each week to practice using everyday phrases in both languages.
Because Jupiters had all of first term to watch Saturn and Mercury classes take on Leader Board responsibilities, they all should know what is expected of them as they join from second term.
Not only does this help Jupiters participate more in our daily life at school, the Leader Board teaches life skills to also use at home, and brings out a stronger sense of responsibility from within.