Friday, May 31, 2013

Branden and Noah's class observation day

Wednesday May 29th, 2013 was Branden and Noah's class observation day at our local/town elementary school. It was an "you can go any time of day" type one. My favorite types of observation day versus a "go to the last class" type. We also would be having a disaster/emergency drill where all kids were expected to have a parent there with them show up and walk them all the way home, however the non stop rain, in the afternoon cancelled the walking home part. : ) I'll get to that part later. But for now, let's start at the beginning. Noboru and I walked up the hill and into the school. Everyone who is supposed to be there, needs a name tag. We have 2 for our family. Checked in, took off our shoes and put on the school slippers. Went to Noah's class. This is Noah's artwork. Their class went and picked wild flowers and misc. flowers on the school grounds and made these. The teacher shrink wrapped these or however you wanna call it, so they'll be able to save these which is pretty cool of his teacher to do that for the class. : )
The kids were doing this clapping type game with hand gestures. Goes with a song. It was cute to watch.
Aha, last year in first grade they had their birthday train. But this year they have animals of some sort. I was thinking this was a fat dinosaur at first? Then thought maybe some strange type of turtle? Or reptile?  Aww well. : ) These are the July birthday kiddos. Noah's 7/7 of course. : )
Creating stuff! Use your imagination. : )  Noah's sensei told the class to make an obento/packed lunch. They could bring supplies from home, though she brought the disposable obento boxes herself for the class. This is what Noah made. And I was out of tiny obento American flags, the day I packed up some stuff for Noah. : )
In Japanese schools you don't wear regular shoes inside the school. So your regular shoes/street shoes. You put in your appointed shoe box. This is Noah's. It says Noah. His regular sneakers are on the bottom of his shoe box, in this pic. And the smaller second tier is where his inside shoes go, the shoes he wears inside the building. Anyway thought that might be interesting for those of you not in Japan. : )
For 1 whole year, this will be displayed, in the main hall for everyone to see. This is who won the marathon back in December 2012. If you came in 1st-3rd place your name will be on here. I erased everyone's name for privacy, but I left Noah's first name on there. Noah's name is on here under first grade boys, so the top line. His name in on the top line, far right. Noah came in 3rd place.
2 short seconds separate Noah and the one who won 2nd place as you can see here... 4 minutes 26 seconds versus Noah's 4 minutes 28 seconds.  Yes, the race was *that* close! It was a close race last year. It will be interesting to see everybody run this year again. Me, I'm personally not interested in running, nice leisurely walks? You betcha. But, I'm just glad the boys, both of them excel at what they both are interested in and are good at and most importantly have fun with it. As long as they have fun, doesn't mater what place they finish. : ) Branden meanwhile is gearing up for the upcoming swimming season at school.  He wants to compete for his school against the other schools. As long as they enjoy the sport they're doing and have good sportsmanship whether win or lose. And be kind. Then that's good. : )
10 minute break between class. So the kids run outside and get fresh air. Get all their extra energy out.
Noah went to hang around with 2 of his pals.
Aha! I have been spotted! I had told Noah I was going upstairs and honest, I was ...it's just I decided to run outside and take a few pics first. : )
Everyone in Branden's class were asked to write a paper about something that interested them personally. So, Branden wrote his on swimming. Swimming at elementary school. What you need. the do's and the don'ts. A few drawings. He also took a poll. How many in his class like swimming, 17 for what it's worth. : ) And 5 don't care for swimming. : ) Branden drew pics of goggles and swimming cap, towel, card that your parents stamp daily or whenever, swim trunks, saying this is what you need. : ) Meanwhile the drawings on the bottom right, is a pool, lockers, showers, etc. Their teacher shrink wrapped this too. Because just like Noah's flowers and art project up above, I can save this for Branden also for when both of the boys grow up and they can look through these things I saved for them and smile. :)
This is on the wall outside of Branden's class, this says, Home Ec/cooking practice. Stir frying (side dishes for breakfast) At our school all grades cook. And all grades garden/plant food. Remember last year Branden's grade planted rice and harvested it. This year for example Noah's class is growing veggies, they all voted in Noah's class what to cook from it and then it has already been decided that before Summer break their 2nd grade class will make vegetable curry from the vegetables they grew with their own hands! That is very cool, if you think about it. : ) Meanwhile, Branden's class last week made, a light stir fried salad. The girls made scrambled eggs. And the class all made rice, they had a breakfast meal last week. All kids learn how to properly hold knives, proper ways to cut and peel and dice/cut veggies. How to wash rice. Scramble eggs.  To grow something and respect a seedling watch it grow daily, watering it, caring for it, then harvesting it and right down to cleaning it, chopping it and making a curry from it, they learn a respect for where their food comes from, I know I've said it before but our school never ceases to amaze me and impress me. I love our country school. These "real" life skills our school teaches are awesome. Oh and this is not to be confused with the "cooking club" because our school also has a cooking club, and sewing club etc also, besides sewing in regular class time, hahaha. : ) And yes, they do have regular core classes, math, science, English etc and a wonderful computer lab and such.
Branden and the" jinbei boy" making the breakfast salad side dish for their class. They are such good friends and his mom is super nice. : )  Our school has a very big cooking room with many stoves and whatnot. Dishes, pans. Both Branden and Noah have so much fun at their elementary school. : )
This was another use your imagination assignment Branden had. His teacher gave the class assignment. She asked them last month. What is your favorite place in the whole school. Branden told me, she let the class go walk all over and decide what their favorite place was. Branden told me, 1 boy picked way back high up near the bushes, facing the school and field and playground. When the class each decided, she told them, now you go ahead and draw your favorite place and then paint it! The kids felt really inspired Branden said and so on the wall outside Branden' class there were painted pictures displayed from every one's own point of view,  no two were alike....what each and every one of them considered their favorite spot at the school! They all had a different spot from their classmates. Branden's pic right here is of the gym. I whited out the 2 kanji from our last name. And the white paper above Branden's picture, says...my favorite part of the school. : )  Can't believe this is Branden's last year here at the elementary school.
Math class. I know you're thinking only 9 kids? Not that having 9 kids wouldn't be uncommon. But we have about 22 or so in Branden's class. Anyway, at our school our math class is separated by level. I know, I have girl friends/fellow mom friends in Japan who say their school doesn't separate by ability level. Meaning all kids whether they are top or lower/needing a bit more help level or medium all have to be lumped in 1 class, gosh that sounds frustrating for the teachers and kids. Our schools a bit odd/unusual (in a good way), as you know. : ) Math class for Branden's grade for example. They have 3 math classes. Highest math level, medium/regular level math level, lowest math level/just kids needing a bit more extra attention and I'm sure they'll get it. : ) And the kids don't compare or tease or even mention who is in which class. It's a non issue for them. And I'm glad they're like that at our school. Since there are two 6th grade classes, first they combine both classes then splitting directly in half by level. But there are also a few spare teachers at our school, and they go wherever needed. So the math class is broken in half by level and then they do have a remedial class for kids who need a bit of extra attention on top of that, which that makes 3 math classes total for Branden's grade for example, and both 6th grade classes combine and then they split by level. So every time they have math they split into 3 classes and they know who is in what class and they quietly walk to that class. Also if you improve you can switch to another class if your teacher okay's/approves it. And also that way the struggling kids get the extra attention they need without worrying if the "kids ahead" will be rolling their eyes type thing if they keep raising their hand again and again, if they don't get it.... you know what I mean. So this is a safe way, they break up math here at our school.... so only kids who are in similar levels and won't be nervous about not "getting it" if they don't. And the kids who are ahead or on track don't get bored to death waiting for their classmates to catch up. So in that way I like that math for example is broken in 3 classes by level. Noah's grade breaks up math class also, it seems to be a thing our school likes to do.. That way the kids who are ready to move on, can move on and the kids who'd like time to practice a bit more, can get the extra practice.
Branden and Akira sitting next to each other. And the girl behind Branden is one of the girls, who gave him a Valentine's treat. : )
So after math class, I pop downstairs in Noah's for about 10 minutes before leaving to go and buy our movie tickets for Saturday. The kids were deciding on who was to read which part. They would be putting on a performance later that day for the last class. Good thing, I went back into Noah's class before leaving that morning, because I made a mental note of it and reminded myself to come back for Noah's last class. Noah's talking with his good friend K-kun in the gray long sleeve, "what part would you like to read...I'd like to read this line...okay and I'd like to read this line/sentence" type chatter going on in the classroom. K-kun's grandma is super nice by the way. : )
Noah's really diplomatic and sits in the center and writes down who wants to say which part and makes sure it's all fair. : ) Goodness these kids are great. The boy with the book in his arms, in the long sleeve teal colored shirt (it was a bit chilly that day) anyway he's an identical twin. That's pretty cool, I think. We have 2 sets of identical twins at our school. 1 girl set (3rd or 4th grade). And this set who are boys. : ) The boy in the white T shirt. : ) Bless his heart. You know most of Noah's classmates have gotten over the whole..."omg your mother is western" or..."omg your mother is American" but a few still will get this gobsmacked look, every once in a while and just stare. I'm used to it, so I'll just smile and talk to them.  Thank goodness Branden's classmates got over it well over a few years ago and now don't even think twice about me being different. Now I'm just normal in Branden's class. Just a mom. But as you can see from this pic, a few of Noah's classmates are still trying very hard to over come their shock. Hahaha. : )  Oh dear. : )  You can just see by his expression he must be thinking something like...."but she just doesn't look like the other mom's" @_@ That's really getting to him. And yes I know I don't look like the other mom's...  but on the bright side....I am still nice like the other mom's. I can talk with them and joke with them like the other mom's. But still....this little boy just feels awfully unsure what to make of me. : ) Hahaha. : ) Aw well. He'll get over it eventually, I know it. : ) 90%-95% are fine with me now. : )
The vegetables the class are growing, information about them is on the wall. The 2nd graders are all about the gardening right now. Noah's totally talking about his plant daily. At dinner time...it's vegetables this and my bell pepper plant that. Even at bed time...Noah will ask..."what do you think my bell pepper plant is doing right now mama?" "I'm pretty sure, he's sleeping, Noah, just like you will be doing soon... so you go to sleep soon sweetheart, now sweet dreams, I love you." : )
More vegetable motivation on the wall. Hahaha. The kids had a choice to grow, mini tomatoes, bell pepper, edamame and 1 more choice. Last week Noah came home and said he needed a gardening stick, so I had to run to the local DIY and buy a gardening stick for about 80 yen and he trekked it to school the next day. : ) Noah and Sera are both growing their own bell peppers. So any info on bell peppers they get they share it with each other. : )
Now the group was practicing their lines. And so I left, waved good bye to Noah and left. Next stop, movie theater to buy tickets for Saturday.
Tickets bought. Seats already picked. Ran home, heated the leftover curry up and ate that for lunch with Noboru. We then went back to the school. This trip to the school now we took separate cars this time. Because Noboru would be leaving around 2:30pm for work. Meanwhile I was staying for the whole last class and the disaster drill stuff.
Now they're second graders! Yay! : )
And now the big presentation. This was the last class. Noboru went and watched Branden's last class, gym, and I meanwhile stood here and watched Noah's presentation.
The one in red and white was speaking....
And now the cutie patootie boy who is a twin was speaking on the left of Noah.
I can tell the boy was almost done and I can tell by Noah's expression he was getting ready to speak and probably had his line running through his head at this time. Oh yes, I almost forgot, the forecast said rain was expected that day. And it did rain a sprinkle here or there but not much. However after buying the movie tickets it started really coming down hard. It rained super hard. By the time we got to the school the walking home part of the drill had been cancelled. But the drill was still on.
See these colored flags with grades written on them. 1 for first grade 2 for second grade and so on. And if you have multiple kids. Our school wants you to line up with the youngest child first collect said child then go to the older sibling line/lane. So, I crouched in the 2nd grade line next to Noah. My good friend Adele was working and so she couldn't be there. Her daughter was lined up behind us, so I gave her 5. And chit chatted with her. I know if the shoe were on the other foot, my friend, she would have done the same for Noah. I didn't want her to feel alone. So we 3 chatted until the teacher came. At that point we stood when it was our turn. She said, "who are you?" Clearly it's obvious, but it's protocol. I said "I'm Noah's mom." Then she turns to Noah and says is this your mom? He says yes and she smiles and we leave to Branden's line. And for the record she did this to all other parents too. I now hear Branden's teacher running through the same questions to the folks in front of us, "is this your mom...who are you "etc etc etc. Same spiel, we just heard in Noah's line. Then it's our turn. Who are you she asks? I'm Branden's mom, I said. : ) Is this your mom she asks Branden. (I'm an impostor or clone I thought quietly and cheekily to myself) but again be serious. Ahem serious. : )Branden says...yes. And so we leave. She smiles and waves us good bye. See the principal on our way out, greet and head bow him. He does the same and we leave. hahaha. This picture is blurry. I'm not sure why, I thought I made a full stop when I took this.

This pic is blurry also. Sorry about that. But we left, we switched our shoes to regular shoes and by now it was raining buckets...raining cats and dogs. So we ran down the hill and into my tiny red car and drove home. It was a fun day, I was most certainly glad I was there to enjoy seeing what the boys are doing in school. And whatnot. I don't think I sat down once that day....well unless you count the drive to and from the school and to the movie theater. When we got home, we all switched clothes. I immediately took my makeup off with a cleansing wipe. I hate the feel of makeup on my face and I don't wear a lot on days I actually wear it anyway. Put my hair in a pony tail and wore house shorts/sweat shorts type thing and a long sleeve T. And started in on dinner.  Noboru did call me later and told me to tell Branden he rocked it in gym class. And I mentioned it to Branden and he just laughed. : )  All in all, both the boys were glad we were both there and that we could spend a nice long amount of time in each of their classes. I'm 90% sure we'll have our July/Summer observation day coming. Gee, I hope it's a "free" type/come any time of day type.

Anything else to add? Nope not really, I did have my big health check yesterday. I went in first thing in the morning and I left around 10:50am and was home by 11:30am. So, I'm glad I went and got it over with. Now I'll just wait for the results to be mailed back to the house. My results last year were everything was pretty normal. No health issues at all. No high blood pressure. No high level of sugar in my body. Breast check and female exams came out just fine, blood tests, everything was spot on. Fit as a fiddle, as we say. : ) And this year looks about the same. Every nurse and doctor, mentioned to me yesterday though maybe they shouldn't say so, I don't know....but they did all mention...looks good. So, I think all is well. But of course I'll just wait for the paperwork to get here. And the barium was just as horrible as I remember from last year hahaha. : )  Anyway...I have the boys swim towels out back drying as I type and a load of clothes outside drying too. Today is luckily not rainy. But it's windy. I am so glad today is Friday, I am looking forward to the weekend. And for the movie tomorrow afternoon. : )  Have a great weekend everyone. : )