Wednesday, November 09, 2005

like irony, only not

1st graders (7th graders) and i are on the same level in acquaring our perspective languages. Last week i learned how to ask and tell time. The next day, I was helping my 1st graders do the same thing and I could understand what they were saying in Japanese. I'd ask them to first say the answer in Japanese, and if it was correct, to translate it step by step into English. This week I'm tackling personal pronouns of all shapes and forms and we'll be on the same level at the end of the week.

The school is empty right now. Students are gone. 2nd graders went to their respective "on the job" internships. They're gone all week. 1st graders are gone today and tomorrow picking shikwasas and going to the factory where they're processesed. At least i think that's what they're doing. 3rd graders are at a home for the handicapped/old aged volunteering their time. A few weeks back they went to Naha for a day seminar on how to help the handicapped. On the computer next to me, a screensaver slideshow is actually showing the pictures of them from that day. They had to cover their eyes, hang things off of their limbs, walk with a cane (ala Harrison Bergeron) and help their friends who were put in wheelchairs or blindfolded.
Btw..if you haven't read that short story by Vonnegut, you really should.

I'm getting really good at putting together listening tests for students. Next week I won't be here during the day they will be taking their mid-terms, so I'll have to record the listening portion. I've just finished 1st and 2nd graders' tests...and I'm really good! wow.. he he

Listening to russian rock on my mp3 player. It's weird being in school with almost all teachers gone and no students. Empty halls, cloudy sky, sleepy art teacher, bored Elina....just not a good combination of elements.

Oh...the vice principal just dozzed off in his reclining computer chair.
He looks like a bear who's gone off into a lime green shirt.

The office lady and accountant just walked off together. Smiling. At the vice principal.

On Monday, when i was in Nago for a day to run some errands, I decided to look for a park our fearless blockhead, Ben, took us to in September for our first block game/initiation. He gave me directions and I only got lost once! It's a great park that's built around the site of the Nago castle ruins. The castle hasn't been functional since the 1700's; it's been only used as a prayer site. The park is in a mountain side with winding roads leading to different spots with benches; awesome kids' play areas; a huge soccer field; wonderful, secluded spots for reading; shrines hidden away in the shadows of trees; a bridge that leads from one section of the park to the other over a chasm filled with treetops.. and really nice views of Nago. I'll put up the few pics i took soon.
I drove around, checking out all the places, studied for a while at a table near the kids' playground, and then found the huge soccer field. Old men were playing "put put" (ok.. it looks like croquet..but is not) and then some kindergarteners showed up.....I was reading and all of a sudden two little boys came up to me and said in English "hello!" Then, one of them pointed to the other and said, "My name is Seito." and to himself, "My name is Daisaku" I was shocked!
So i asked how old they were... They understood the question but couldn't reply in English, so they did in Japanese, "rokku-sai"...good think i just learned that the suffix for counting ages is "sai".. :) so they were 6. A girl came up and also introduced herself. They giggled around me for a while and then went off to do their own thing on the jungle jims...

i love the coincidences...



Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

hey english major, i think it's jungle gym, not jungle jim

Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

wow, you know what else if funny? clowns. but seriously. I have read all the Vonnegut stories I could get my hands on, but never Harrison until this year when I taught it for my literature class!

Anonymous said...

So, are 1st graders 7th graders? It's all so confusing. I'm not sure of the grades of my students although some would fit into either.


-e said...

hoooked on phonics obviously did not work for me!

and yes.. 1st graders in junior high school are the equivalent of 7th graders in an american system.
which would make 3rd graders the equivalent of high school freshmen.

hey, Kevin.. are you certified to teach literature to students whose first language is not English? ;)

Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

Back off, I can spell Jungle Gym! Kevin don't need no certification to teach books n' stuff :) I actually really enjoy it and I am considering going back to get certified for english as well.

Anonymous said...

Little kids are too cute.


Anonymous said...

huh. So, what are k-6th graders called? Zeros?


-e said...

no, Paul.. the elementary school grades start at 1 and go through 6.
i think it's cause they're considered separate schools.. so the high school students are once again grades 1 through 3. (10, 11, 12). high school attendance in actually not mandatory in Japan and students have to pay to attend them..they are still mostly public and cost about 100$ a month.

Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

how about a new blog? what are have you been up to? I have a freind coming in two days and I will be going back to Alexandria and then to Luxor. I will also be hitting some of the stuff in Cairo that i haven't yet like the pyramids and the citadel. So check mine out in about ten days

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