Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Izumo Gang

Interview practice with Taisha Sho 6th graders - 14
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

So these 5 people are my best friends in Japan - my compadres and fellow teachers who can sympathize with my struggles and don't compliment me on how well I use chopsticks or speak Japanese. And even tho these people ended up being my friends out of simple geographic happenstance - they're the only other westerners around - I got lucky and they're all really cool people and I enjoy hanging out with them. So it was great fun to have all six of us teaching together.

Left to right they are: Lisa, Mark D., Mark M., Rusty and Dustin. I'll introduce them each individually in the photos below.

One of my great Elementary school teachers, Nagami-sensei, asked me if i could invite some of my friends to Taisha Sho to help his students prepare to interview foreigners at the peace park in Hiroshima on their upcoming school trip. I said I'd ask and to my delight, all 5 agreed to come.

So all 6 of us descended on Taisha Sho on Monday, April 18th and joint taught two combined classes of roku nen sei (6th graders). First, everyone introduced themselves. Some of the ALTs spoke really s-l-o-w-l-y, and I had to mention that these were sixth graders with limited English, not the mentally handicapped. Then, we sang a really fun song involving the days of the week. Then it was on to a group reading of a favorite children's story - "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
We each took turns reading one page of the book, which had been replicated on big cards for the kids to easily see. Dustin started us off well, doing voices and making animal sounds, and we're all laughing in the picture above as Rusty asks Mark if that's how an Irish duck sounds. We had a good time just laughing at each other - I'm sure the kids wondered if all foreigners were this weird.

We then split up into groups and the kids asked us practiced questions, like "What is your name?" and "Where are you from" and "Do you like Japan?"
We then asked them easy questions, like "How old are you?" and "What's your favorite school subject?"
They did great and I hope they got plenty of chances in Hiroshima to speak with non-Japanese people.

After we left the elem school, we walked back over to my junior high, where I showed them all around. The next day, one of my JH students came up and asked me if they were my family. Hahahaha :)
But thanks guys - you made it a great day and I really appreciate you helping me out.

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