2011年2月16日水曜日

Meg's observation day

Last observation for grade 1.

The teacher really built it up (for the parents and the kids) as a chance to show how much they'd achieved this year.

K and I got caught up in the excitement and both took the afternoon off work to go and see.

The kids had chosen what they wanted to show everyone. One group chose reading and put on a puppet show while reading one of the stories from the textbook:


One group chose skipping and did 20 skips of their chosen skipping- scissor skipping, running skipping, double jumps or crossover skipping.

Meg's group chose kanji- Chinese characters- and put on a kanji quiz for the class. They had kept their posters secret so noone knew what they were going to be quizzed on:

"what do you get if you put these two characters together?"

choosing someone to answer

The last group chose to play a song (from memory) on their pianicas:

(the teacher of course didn't pass up a chance to join in on the guitar!)


Then they each read out their goals for grade two. I was really surprised how many kids chose 'I want to be able to eat all my school lunch' as their goal. Maybe it's because my kid food issue is limiting their intake but I had no idea how many kids struggle to eat school lunch. The other goals kids had were not forgetting things, getting top marks in a test, being able to do some trick with a skipping rope/ monkey bars/ unicycle, and Meg's was to be able to play a song on the pianica. My favourite though was the little boy whose goal was 'I want to be able to get up by myself the second time my mum wakes me up in the morning' High and lofty goal there, huh? And I was feeling bad that Meg has stopped jumping out of bed when her alarm goes off!


The finale was a rousing number with the whole class singing a song the teacher had doctored so it became a song about their year in grade 1.

It was a really fast paced, action packed observation day and it ran so smoothly. Obviously they had rehearsed it before the main event but even so I was impressed by the minimal input from the teacher. He basically stood at is desk manning the cd player (the non talking acts had background music) accompanying on guitar and occasionally reminding the kids to speak up. Even the unscripted bits of the day (when kids fumbled their skipping and one kid tripped and took out a row of pianicas) there was a rousing chorus of 'donmai!' which is a horrible bastardisation of 'don't mind' intended to express 'never mind' but, bad English aside, the sentiment is great huh? As you can see in the pictures, the classroom is covered in posters with motivational mesages (the teachers second love after music is drawing) and one of them is 'failure is the stepping stone to success- never mind!' And the teacher has really done a lot to create a very supportive and encouraging learning environment. Less than a year ago these kids were a mish mash of graduates from something like nine or ten different kinders and day cares. There was an overwhelming majority form the two village kinders (104 out of 139 kids) and there was very much an us and them attitude when it came to alliances. On the very first day of school- when they were all still in their entrance ceremony best- they were told quite strongly that they were not 'Azusagawa West kinder' or 'Matsumoto Catholic kinder' anymore- they were now "Azusagawa Primary School Grade 1 class 2" and they were all in it together. All naming of kinders was banned outright. At the time I thought this was a bit serious and scolding for a first day welcome speech but looking at it now I see it was sowing the seeds of the cohesive group they are now.

I was quite nervous handing Meg over to the Japanese education system- not that we have a choice- no international school anywhere near here and the only alternative to the local public school is over an hour by car away so not really attractive even if it didn't run classes 6 days a week and have a highly competitive educational philosophy I don't agree with but anyway, the more I see of the local school in action the more I think it's not such a bad option after all. Now if they would just get onboard with a few more school holidays...

4 件のコメント:

Lulu さんのコメント...

I always love reading about observation days in schools here as it gives me (and probably others with kids not yet in the schools system) an insight into how things work, what kids do each year etc.

I think it is great that while you were worried to begin with about putting Meg in the local school that you have been impressed with how things are run there- Similar to you, I would love for Noah and Shion to have a more English environment/international environment for school but due to cost it is very unlikely it will happen so hopefully we luck out with a great local public school like you guys!

It might be a bit too early for you to be thinking about it but will Meg/Amy stay in the public school system for Junior High and Highschool as well?

thefukases さんのコメント...

Hmmmm public or private? I'm a state schools are great schools kid but I taught at an elite grammar school in Melbourne before I came here so that let me see the other side of the coin.

There really isn't a private option until HS here. (Other than that highly competitive start-everyday-with-a-test school I was talking about) and- bonus- I really like what I know about the local JHS (I have been tutoring kids from there for the last 6 years) as well. It's 600 kids strong and has a very academic bent as well as a whole plethora of clubs and extra curricular stuff. It's also the only real option distance wise so that makes it an easy decision, too!

High school..... While Japan bleats on about a population decline Matsumoto is still growing and a lot of it is young families so the competition to get into HS will be tough. There are a surprising number of quite academic schools here (relative to the size of the city) but to get in you basically *need* juku which I am still not sold on- but then I was never going to do Benesse either and now they're both signed up for that! Specialist highschools not so much- a kosen technical high school is about it. The main private highschool is very academic with a huge sporting department (they go to Koshien more often than not and are national champs at soccer too) so if they excel at sport that's an option...

I would love them to have school in Australia as an option (so I have to keep up their English!) but my hometown has very little ESL support so that would be difficult.... hmmmmm guess it's lucky we still have 9 years to work it out as I really don't know!

achan さんのコメント...

It sounds as if your year has been a good one. Like anywhere I think the teacher is the key-good techer then there will be a positive outcome and not so good techer then anything could happen. We take on the elementary school system this year...I'm a little apprehensive I think it as it is the unknown that I am worried about, like you we have no other choice, none what so ever.


My husband has always said that nagano has the best education system in the country. They apparently do things their way which to me is encouraging as it means that they are not spoon feeding the same crap. I look forward to hearing how the girls go over the coming years.

Loved the coment about your girls needing to limit their food intake, it sounds so familiar. I've heard some friends of ours kids don't eat after kindy at all anymore-snacks of dinner!! I'd be happy just with a reduction in the food bill!!

thefukases さんのコメント...

achan- I think the teacher really is the key... and it seems to be the norm to have the same teacher for two years at a time (1-2,3-4,5-6) making the teacher lottery even more serious!

When we decided to move to Nagano *everybody* we told told us how eductaion focussed Nagano is. I don't know... it doesn't *seem* special to me. I will say the level/ expectations of the state schools are pretty high. Tough to know if it's pressure from parents or the prefecture though... starting school really is the start of a new adventure for the whole family!

And the not eating dinner after kyushoku thing? I hear that, too. I really just have to shake my head and wonder!