Two thirds of the order has now arrived. I'm expecting the last box of books to arrive in the next few days.
I should be able to distribute the books next week.
Very exciting. I hope you will enjoy them.

Next week the lunchtime chant (あいさつ) will go English!
The shortened version will be:
"Mothers, fathers, dear cooks too."
"Thank you very much for this yummy lunch"
"Itadakimasu" (there is no English equivalent)

This is in addition to the "Good Morning" song, "Lunchtime" song and one of the "Goodbye" songs, which are already sung everyday in English.

Last week we began Special Circle Times. These are a bit different to normal Circle Times. A group of about 8 children go with an English teacher for a session of English activity, normally work on the alphabet, story-time or phonics.
This is very useful as the children get more attention. Another benefit is that the group that remains in the classroom is smaller and more manageable.
You can see Lee-sensei giving a Special Circle Time session to a group from Bamboo by clicking the link below:
Special Circle Time for Bamboo

The bright green bear, Yamamoto-san came in to play with the children on Thursday this week. The children really enjoyed it and I'm sure Yamamoto-san did too!

In this photo you can see Lilly playing with Lilly class. If you
click the link below you can see a video clip of Yamamoto-san with Bamboo class!

Bamboo and Yamamoto-san

Very soon children in the Immersion course will be given catalogues from Scholastic and an order form (with instructions in Japanese).
The prices for English picture books in Japan are quite high and books bought through Scholastic are generally much lower than the shops and even many internet book shops.

The English teachers, myself included, have bought many books for the Kindergarten and our children this way.

Happy shopping!

Welcome to the Immersion Programme 2008-2009!
The year has started and the teachers have already taught their first Circle Time of the new year.
The teachers for this year will be:
Bamboo: Marika-sensei and Gregory-sensei
Lilly: Yuki-sensei, Lee-sensei and Anwar-sensei
Cherry: Yuka-sensei, Sobia-sensei and Yumi-sensei
Pumpkin: Risa-sensei and Augusto-sensei

We are all looking forward to teaching and learning with your children this year.

I'm in the process of applying to run a book club from the Kindergarten. This will mean that parents (and teachers) will be able to buy books quite cheaply from the U.S.
Watch this space!

For the last few months I've been researching phonics programmes and looking at ways of fitting a programme into the existing curriculum.
Phonics is very important as it teaches children how letters they learn as the "ABC" are used. You could call it the building bricks of the written language.
The programme I've selected builds very gradually. In Cherry the children will learn to recognise and remember instrumental, body and voice sounds which will be a lot of fun! Then in Lilly, the children will start to learn the sounds of the letters in games and activities. Gradually they will build up to learning short mixed sets of sounds. As new sounds are introduced, so more short words can be read.
Children in Bamboo will learn more short sets of sounds, so they will be able to decode more and more short words. For Bamboo, the programme will be supported by the monthly book which will be a phonics reader.
Eventually, they should be able to read very short phrases like "a dog and a cat". Of course, children develop at different rates, so some will be slightly behind and some will be slightly ahead.
The phonics programme is designed so that it blends into the Saturday School phonics programme guaranteeing a smooth progression.




Here are the picture books for February.
"What do you want?" (Longman, Mice series two) for Cherry class. This should help the children with the upcoming pretend shopping activity.
"Is it Winter now?" (Longman, Mice series four) for Lilly class. Lilly class with this book move onto the most difficult of the Mice Series. A good book for practicing the season names and winter vocabularly as well as the phrase "Let's____".
"The Storm" (Oxford Reading tree, stage four) for Bamboo. The last book in this series. We use this book as a sight reader but it will be very useful when the children start to read independently.

All the children take these books home with them at the end of the month.


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