Sunday, April 19, 2009

English Club Apple - Picnic Theme

This weekend for the English class I decided on a picnic theme - teaching about picnics and picnic words. the format of the class went like this:
Sing: Hello, hello
I'm a little teapot
Lesson: picnics and picnic foods
I showed crayon drawings of foods and was impressed with how some of the children were already familiar with some of the words, like "sandwich" "spoon" and "fork"
We did a little review where I tried to encourage each child to speak aloud, by giving them each a try with the cards, and asking them to "Please pass...." and saying "thank you" and having them say "you're welcome". They are very comfortable with basic niceties like thank you and you welcome, and I was hoping this would be a little confidence booster. Most of the kidlets are quite shy at speaking out loud until we loosen them up! Then we reversed it and I had them ask me to pass things.
Game: What did bear take?
I had my little puppet bear (from by the way) steal something from the picnic scene and the children guess what it was that he took. For the most part, they were right on. :)
Songs: Two picnic songs I borrowed from a website called "Pete's Yakaberry".
The Picnic Basket (sung to the Mulberry Bush)
Here we go round the picnic basket
" " " "
" " " "
So early in the morning
Ants at the Picnic (sung to Skip to My Lou)
Ants at the picnic, what'll I do?
" " " "
" " " "
Guess I'll eat very quickly
Craft: had them color picnic foods on their own paper plate. I loved this part of it, just seeing what they would out on the plates. Lots of strawberries, grapes, bananas! Onigiri! (Mom always makes rice balls wrapped in seaweed and stuffs them with goodies for a picnic!). Adorable!! then I collected the plates just for kicks and went over each one with the English words of what they had drawn. It started out as a bit of review and time filler, but I noticed one very shy young boy who had refused to speak earlier, really brightened up when I showed his work. They liked having their art shown and discussed.
Story: Picnic, by Emily Arnold McCully. It was a very cute book. It was what they had at the base library.
Snack: I bought some cut up oranges, grapes and chips and we had a picnic on the floor. Usually Mio like to have them line up and get their snacks in an orderly manner, but I thought we'd get some speaking practice out of asking for each snack and saying please and thank you. This was cute.
Stickers! the ever loving stickers. This time ladybug stickers. It was what they had at the NEX. I think if I ever forgot the stickers we would have an international incident.
Anyway, I wrote in some detail this last class because I guess I'm feeling a little sentimental about getting ready to leave Japan and the class. This time we had a new teacher, Sarah, who is actually quite experienced in teaching and is going to take over after I, sniff sniff, leave.
After class I went home, had lunch with the boys, loafed out in the backyard with the dogs, popped open a Chu-hi (sho-chu and grapefuit, sold in cans at 7-11), and refused to act perky for several hours.

and one for Jeanne

This one is for my little sister Jeanne. The colors look quite faded in this picture, and it is really a blend of deep and brighter purples, with some sparkly gold flecks sprinkled in. The yarn was soft and reminded me of her. It is bit long so she can wrap it around her neck and have some fun with it. It is a simple knit-purl-knit over and over until you have made a million freaky little knots of yarn - one of my very first projects :). I guess we can call this one "The Amethyst Stripe."

Cherry Blossom Scarf

Here is the Cherry Blossom Scarf that I finished for my Mom. First, I knitted a frothy mohair confection that turned out a most unattractive pinkish grey and was also scratchy on the neck. I pulled it apart and saved the yarn to make something else with, then packed it out already. Then, I found a thin pink yarn that, translated from the Japanese, was part acrylic, part "hair". I hope this will be softer and wear more nicely. The stitch is actually a beginner lace pattern, called the "feather and fan" stitch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

spring has sprung, the grass has riz...

Finding this website, has added another dimension of brightness to our morning coffee here at the Casa de Gomez. You can click on, and read what Henry David Thoreau wrote on that date, in his journal.
That and this brilliant Japanese spring has left us feeling a bit sentimental over here. When the sun comes up, we can hear new songbirds calling and when it goes down, we hear the tiny new crickets at our feet. The cherry blossoms have graced us with their pale show and already blown into drifts along trails and roads and sidewalks.
Yep, I found my first centipede in the bathroom at an inopportune moment, and I'm still not sure what became of him but I think he is in the closet waiting for me.
Our mole friend has left his calling card of fresh tunnels in the yard but I think he has retreated to the forest, so we've sprinkled grass seed once again.
It's t-shirt weather over here, and we've been out enjoying it.
Have a happy spring everyone!

lots of class

I just taught private English lesson for three girls aged 4, 5, and 6. I tend to like the private lessons because I can splurge on better materials for the girls, than I can for a class of 26. This time we worked on what I am going to call "The Book of Me": a book the girls are working on about themselves, there names in English, birthdays, families, favorite foods, toys, friends, addresses and phone numbers. The covers will be construction paper and the ever loving yarn strung through the punched holes.

One of the craft blogs I like to read recommended the book "Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book" and it finally came in the mail from amazon, used, for 11 cents. And $3 shipping and handling. Anyway, making little pictures from the thumbprints was the highlight of the class. Practicing writing English letters most decidedly was not the highlight. I live and learn.

Next, I need to plan another large class/party/free for all for the big group of about 20 to 30 or so little tikes. The theme will depend on what books are available to check out at the base library. Ha!