M2 Money Plan Game – Sept. 2020

Hello everyone,

The weather is a little cooler this week, and term 2 is rolling towards mid-term tests. In M2, our Nagasaki trip has been cancelled because of covid-19, so we needed some different ideas for homeroom this term. Today we are playing the “Money Plan Game!”

Each group in the class takes the life of one person. Starting in their 20’s and finishing in their 60’s, groups draw cards and make decisions about money in their life. Do they buy the small car or the sports car? Do they get married or not? Do they work hard for a lot of money, or make less money and make more “memory points”?

We are halfway through our 30’s now, and in class C there are groups with thousands of dollars in the bank, and others in debt. How will it all turn out? We will finish next week!

Eiken Results Day – Sept. 2020

Good morning everyone,

It is September now, and a little bit of rain last night made the morning cool when I walked my dog. After I got to school, there were some messages on my desk. Then I remembered, today is Eiken day! A couple weekends ago, many students took their eiken interview tests. We practiced very hard together before school, at lunch time, and afterschool. For many of the grade 3 high school students, passing the test now is important so they can concentrate on their university exams through the fall and winter. Anyway, let me share a little bit of good news:

That is a really nice score for the pre-1 interview test! Even though this student had trouble with the last question, overall she did really well. The jump from grade 2 to grade pre-1 is HUGE, so congratulations.

No matter your level, I hoped you were able to pass the test and use the skills to continue your English study.

Online English… Getting Ready – Aug. 2020

Hello everyone,

Our online English lessons at school happen from Tuesday to Friday. An important part of a good online lesson is getting ready. This means, before your class, you need to read the chapter in your textbook that you will talk about. Check new words in your dictionary. Practice reading the dialogue. Prepare answers to the questions. If you do these things, your online lesson will be easier and more fun.

Take a look at this book from my lesson yesterday. This was done before the lesson started:

This student is ready with her answers, and has read the page. Good job!

The other thing you should prepare is a story to talk about at the start. If your teacher asks: “How are you?” “Fine” is not an interesting answer. Instead, try telling the teacher something interesting that has happened to you in the last week.

“I’m good. I finished school on Saturday and then enjoyed going to the mall with my friends on Sunday. I bought a new shirt and had ice cream.”

This small story can lead to a much longer and more natural conversation with your teacher, and it is more fun. You just need to prepare a little bit first.

I hope you are enjoying your online lessons, and come practice with me anytime if you need help!

A record temperature… – Aug. 2020

Hello everyone,

School is back! It is nice to see everyone back in class, but coming to school and going home is SO HOT. Please take care of yourself by using sunscreen, wearing a hat or using an umbrella, and drinking lots of water or tea.

There was one place hotter than Wakayama this week, however, as “Death Valley” in America reached the hottest temperature ever recorded. Take a look at this picture:

This is part of a park in California. I think even ice cream won’t help you in that heat!

Please take care of yourself and your classmates as we restart school for the second term. Do your best, and don’t forget to keep your hands washed and masks on. Good luck.

Passing the Peace – Aug. 2020

Hello everyone,

Today is the last day of school for term 1. What a crazy term it has been! I am thankful that we could finish it all together in our classrooms, rather than doing it at home via video. Although it is a short vacation, I hope you can relax and refresh next week.

This term we listened to various teachers talk about the bible. My favorite was Mr. Yamauchi’s talk from the book of Matthew, chapter 10. It talked about greetings and giving the “blessing of peace” to people you meet. It reminded me of when I was a boy in Canada going to church on Sundays. At the end of the church service, we turned to the people close to us and said “May the peace of the lord be with you”, and that person replied “And also with you.” In this way, the greeting made the community stronger.

So, I told my class that at the end of the day we would pass the peace. They have been doing that for the past month before saying goodbye. Recently when I was talking to my grandmother in Vancouver, I mentioned our new way of finishing the day. She was happy to hear it, and wrote down the story to share at her church discussion group. They meet outside after church on Sundays to talk about their lives and their faith. Last week she shared the story of my class “passing the peace”. Another woman in the group really liked the story, and she told it to another church group, this time a Catholic church in Nanaimo.

So just like how we pass the peace to each other, the story of M2C has itself been passed half-way around the world. Who knows, maybe it will keep going! Until next time, have a good summer, and “May the peace of the lord be with you.”

A Good Day! – Aug. 2020

Hello everyone,

Many events have been paused at schools in Wakayama because of the corona virus. However, when one thing stops, there is an opportunity to try somthing new! On Saturday our regular lessons were cancelled and each grade made a plan to enjoy the day. Some of the highlights I heard about were:

  • making rockets in the science rooms,
  • a water fight at the tennis court, and
  • an esports tournament on the first floor!

As for grade 2 junior high school, my class, we enjoyed playing table tennis together and blasting some loud music. The students were the DJ, so I learned a lot about Korean boy groups. After that we went back to the classroom to watch a movie and eat some snacks. For one day, it was nice to enjoy our time together and make up for some of the other ideas that have to be postponed.

Now we are into our final week before the mini-summer. We have parent-teacher meetings starting tomorrow. I will get my smile ready! As for you, you have three days to tackle your summer homework. I suggest you finish it fast this week so you can enjoy next week.

Warming up with table tennis!
Watching a movie together.

Bible Reading – July 2021

Today was my turn to give a reading from the bible. The news from around the world has been difficult to watch recently, and I feel like there are many ways people are divided. So, I wanted to read something about what makes people the same. It is from Galatians, chapter 3, verse 28.

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The bible teaches us clearly that everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord. God created each of us, Christ died for all our sins, and everyone is welcome in the Christian faith.

Recently on TV we see in America, and around the world, people protesting with the message: BLACK LIVES MATTER. It is a movement that is seeking equality in society for people of color, and protection from police brutality. The recent protests were triggered by the murder of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer. However, the roots of this unfairness in society extend far back into history.

You may think that this problem isn’t a Japanese one, but it is here as well. I’ve been told, “go back to your country” by someone trying to hurt me. It worked; I’ve never forgotten it. Even in language the Japanese word “gaikokujin”gives the image of two groups of people, Japanese people inside the country and everyone else outside it. In this globalized world, that way of thinking has to change. And, it is yourjob to change it as you grow up and enter society.

Today’s world is divided in many different ways. There are lines on a map. There are people of different colors. There are people with enormous sums of money, and others with nothing at all. In the end, we are all children of God, and should seek to create a planet where we can all find happiness and peace. That is both our right and our responsibility as people on this shared earth.

Math and statistics in the real world. – July 2020

Hello everyone,

Right now you are all studying hard for your final exams. Sometimes my students say to me, “Mr. Allen, why do I have to study math?” Well, the math and logic you study now helps you understand the world around you. Take a look at this video about the corona virus in America:

USA Reopening

To understand this video, it is important to understand some basic mathmatical and statistical concepts. If you do, then you can be a better informed person, and make better decisions in your life.

If you watch this video, please come and tell me about it. I think it is both interesting and important. Good luck today, stay at home and study tomorrow, and see you on Monday for Day 3.

7 Months! – July 2020

Hello everyone,

Yesterday after lessons my class had short homeroom to finish the day. As usual, the day duty students read the announcements and homework for the next day. Then, before we said goodbye, I asked my class “when were your last tests?”

They had to think for a moment. May? No, mid-term tests were cancelled. February? No, we finished the school year with with no tests. Your last tests were in December, 2019! That feels like a long time ago now, seven months!

That is a long time without taking any tests. It also means that there is a large amount of material for the tests to study. Have you taken good notes? Have you asked teachers questions about what you don’t understand?

As we get ready for the tests to start tomorrow, I hope you can prepare your body and your mind. Eat a good dinner, get enough sleep, and study your material deliberately. Good luck.

English is Everywhere! – July 2020

Hello everyone,

These days the weather has been very bad, especially in western Japan. I hope your homes and your families are ok. Every morning I wake up and check the weather conditions, I imagine you do too. Well, if you do something everyday, try to do it in English! That is called a habit, and it is a nice way to have English in your daily life.

For example, the Japanese government has a weather website, and the information is in both Japanese and English. You can find it here: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/warn/index.html

If you don’t know some of the words, that is ok. Check your dictionary, or change the website languange back to Japanese to check. When you need information, it is easier to remember it.

This goes the same for many things. Try changing your smartphone language to English to learn other new words that you use everyday.

Have a good week and stay dry!