Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Inagi Dai nana Elementary School June 18, 2008

Wow! Today has been the best day so far. It is going to take along time to write about it, so you may want to visit a few times as I update. It's 9 PM right now, and I'm dragging, but I really want to post some pictures and video. We got to the elementary school before the children arrive. Every day they are greeted at the gate by parent volunteers. The kids were very excited to see us and most made a point of saying hello. A few were very shy, and really steered clear. When the bell rang at 8:15, it's really a nice chiming sound like a clock, the students moved into the shoe room where they deposit their shoes and put on their school slippers. The children's slippers are really more like tennis shoes, but they only wear them in the school.
After English we tried our hand in the caligraphy class. I was only OK.

We waited in a lounge until the day started with an assembly in our honor. Imagine our surprise when we walked in to several arches of flowers that we wound through to get to our seats.

The students did most of announcing and then the show began, and it was one fantastic treat after another!

After the younger children performed, we really got to see what years of practice can do!

The drums were done by 5th graders and they were outstanding. We played rock, paper, scissors with the kids, but the twist is that if you lose, you give the winner a name card. Well, the kids swarmed us. However, the star of our group was Jotwan from North Carolina. The kids couldn't leave him alone. He said he felt like a rock star, and he could easily get used to all of this attention! The sixth grades provided music, and after the assembly the 4th graders performed and then taught us a dance. I don't think my thighs with get over it for a while.

After the assembly and the dance lesson, we were free to roam through the classes. There was a lot of activity! I was shocked, because I thought the classes would be very disciplined and quiet. It seemed like organized chaos, yet the kids always knew what to do and when to respond. I watched a third grade math class. Now, remember, they start the year in April. So, this is about 3 months into the new year, and the children were multiplying 1 digit by 3 digits! We haven't even started multiplication by the end of three months! I'm going to have to rethink my math for the upcoming year! Then between second and third period the children went out for recess. The teachers may go out and play with the kids, but I didn't see any formal supervision. Apparently, there is no bullying problem at this school either. Following recess we went to a fifth grade English class. They begin English in third grade at this school. They said, "Nice to meet you. My name is ____. What is your name? Where do you come from?" Then they served us Japanese food. We went down the table, and the children asked, "Do you like ______?" If we answered yes, they served that to us. They also sang a couple of songs in English. It was delightful! Then we tried our hand at calligraphy. I only did an OK job.


Jill said...

What a fun day! I especially loved the taiko! To this day, I regret not learning how to do that. Sometimes the Japanese American National Museum offers classes, so I might still give it a try one of these days ... heh, I wonder if they ever have middle aged students? Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing more about your day! (Btw, were the arches made with paper flowers? The're so pretty! Stuff like that reminds me of my childhood ...)

Jill said...

I just realized that I missed one of your videos yesterday. I just watched the one with the kids in black doing an impressively athletic dance. If what they taught you was anything like that, I can completely understand your comment about your thighs! Oh my goodness! That was quite the workout!