Friday, November 06, 2015

Branden's 8th Grade, Fall Observation Day...

Wednesday, October 28th was Observation Day, at Branden's school. At our local JHS, observation day is held over a 2 day time period (at our elementary school, it's 1 day only, so a slight difference). So parents who cannot make it to 1 of the days, have at least an option to catch it the other day. So technically Observation Day was October 28th and 29th. But I came to visit and observe October 28th. I always ask both of my kids "which class would you like me to come and visit?" And this time around, Branden asked me to watch his science class because his grade has been doing a lot of dissecting, lately and it's something he finds very interesting and so he wanted me to come and watch the dissection of a chicken head. I mention it here in the first paragraph, so if it's something that freaks any of you out. Maybe skip this post. Personally though, in America we too dissect things in middle school/JHS too. So, if you are American you probably...more then likely did something along these lines too. It's just normal learning curriculum, for most kids worldwide in middle school/JHS age. However if you come from a country, that does not learn this stuff or if it makes you queasy at all... again...skip the post. No worries at all. I think I shared 1 pic of the chicken head and frankly you can barely see much anyways. You personally see more gore on Grey's Anatomy even though it's fake.. it's still gore. I personally... growing up in Denver, Colorado at my middle school, we dissected a frog and a baby pig! Most kids in my class were mature and took it as it was...a science class and a way to learn. But yep, there were a few immature ones...who made jokes about the class that day and that's sort of sad. And there was also a girl or two who was queasy and left class too, so not really their fault either.... but I really enjoyed the class and took it as a learning thing. I do remember also...the pig in formaldehyde smelled absolutely hideous though. That smell, I do remember. I also was asked by Bran to come and visit English class after science class too. This is the shoe area at the JHS Branden attends. These specific shoes are the 2nd grade JHS kids. Eighth graders basically. 

There are many pictures along the walls, in Bran's class. I enjoyed looking at everyone's picture and reading the little blurbs below them, about each of the kids. It also says what each students semester goal is. Or something they want to say...a message! It was very interesting to read those. Many kids said...their goal was to study 2 hours every night. Another kid said, I don't want to get below 450 on my combined score on any of the tests, this semester. On the wall outside their class, hung all the kids 2 day work experience stories. For all of us parents to read. I enjoyed looking at those as well. I was still reading some of those, when the bell rang and it was time for science class to start. So, I went up to the 3rd floor science classroom. 

Apparently a few of Branden's classmates asked Bran, "if your mom will be okay...since we are dissecting a chicken head today"...Bran told me, he said..."my mom did this same type of stuff back when she was in JHS in America too and also she doesn't get disgusted easily" Apparently the kids were like..."wow, that is good to know!" Hahaha. : ) So, in walked Noboru and I. We sat far at the back of class, as not to disrupt class. The main teacher was a woman science teacher! She's pictured here far right towards the TV, is that a TV? Hahaha. I loved that it was a woman science teacher! I only say that because my science teacher back in my middle school was a woman too! I just thought that was cool! There was a helper teacher and he was a man. But she was running the class and I thought that sorta really rocked! I also really appreciated that she made us feel really welcome and she brought us a copy of the paper they were reading in class too. That...I appreciated very much! Made us feel very included! So thank you sensei! : ) You're awesome! 
Everyone in the entire class, was very mature. No joking around. They really took it as a learning experience. The "professor" the nickname the kids call him...the one kid who is so smart, I swear he's borderline genius, you guys! He's from the other smaller school. But he's the one, who wrote he wants to maintain the 450 scores on his tests. He's smart, like REALLY smart,  he's respectful to EVERYONE. And he knows what he wants, he wants to be a doctor! So he enjoyed the heck out of this class. All of the girls in class were like totally mature. Not 1 girl left the class. There was 1 lone boy though...the way he was carrying on. OMG! He was like..this is so gross. He was dry heaving. But if he's truly sick, we must feel bad for him. didn't appear really so. At times he was laughing. In a way...and I shouldn't say this...but I think he truly wasn't genuinely grossed out...he just wanted attention. But nobody really fed into it. So, he eventually stopped doing that because...there wasn't any pay off...meaning no attention. 

Again appreciate she gave us these 2 print outs also. These were photo copies from the biology book for all 8th graders, so perhaps if you will be having an 8th grader next year or someday, don't be surprised, if they mention dissecting a chicken head. The object of the class was to remove the brain in 1 piece, extra points if you could remove some of the brain stem along with it. 

Again, because it was a living creature they want you to show respect. A chance to learn. So don't mash it or destroy it, like a serial killer. And the X over the pic on the not destroy the poor chicken head. Also the teacher said these were chicken heads that came from a pet store. They came from a big can. @_@ And they apparently feed some other bigger animal in Japan a great big ol' can of chicken heads. What animals? I don't know, and she didn't say. So...that meant since it was to be food for another animal. That meant no hideous formaldehyde smell. What did the chickens smell like? Honestly just like boiled chicken. If you have ever boiled chicken for chicken noodle soup. Then you know what I mean. Again though...this was bought from the pet store and is usually pet food for something bigger. So no gross chemical-y smell at all. 

All the kids separated in their already selected science groups. Bran and 3 girls. Two of the girls are from his elementary school and 1 of the girls is from the other smaller elementary school. All very nice girls. 

The one and only picture. They all went around the group and took out the specific things that was on the paper/list. Branden removed the brain in full and intact and they also got points because he has some brain stem... long thingy dangling at the back. And the teacher went around to each group. And all the groups did a wonderful job! I liked how they all wore gloves. It got me wondering...did we wear gloves in my class? I sort of think not. Hmm. The sensei also asked the kids to remove the beak, so one girl did that and the sensei asked the groups to remove the tongue. And another girl did that. Again they all took turns. They wrote their findings, as a group. Again...the whole class did amazing. Noboru and I were like...too bad they didn't offer *us* a chicken head. We would have loved the opportunity to show the class our skills too. This class was so beyond interesting! This class was so educational! And boy oh boy...I am so glad no hideous chemical smell, like the pig fetuses had, in my day! 

Also, at the genkan/entrance of the JHS, every observation day, they have a questionnaire of sorts. We were visiting a 2nd grade JHS child. If you are in Japan, you know already. But for those of you outside of Japan. They count 1st grade to 6th grade. The same like we do in America. But in JHS, they stop counting and start at 1/the first grade all over again. Absolutely drives me nuts! In America it's easy peasy, I have an 8th grader or 11th grader. But you must say, hi I have a 1st grader JHS. Or I have a 2nd grader JHS. So now you have to begin the count all over again, from scratch. And I am guessing more then likely you'll have to begin the count all over again in high school? Same how in Japan, every time an emperor dies they start from year 1 all over again. I guess to them it makes sense. But the whole start count from scratch thing... drives me nuts. Like...when I say my son is a 2nd grader now and technically to Japan Bran is a 2nd grader (JHS) do people think 2nd grader...aww how cute... oh she has a 7 year old...yes probably so..but I have a 14 year old! have to add the word...JHS (in Japanese) 2nd grader. Again. Drives me nuts. So, when I am speaking to my Japanese friends I will say it that way. But in English..I just count Branden as an 8th grader because... he is an 8th grader. I feel absurd saying I have a 2nd grader, when he's taller than I am! Hahaha. : ) What class did we attend? We circled science. We then circled English too. : )  The bell rang and time to go back to the 2nd floor where all 8th graders class rooms are located. 

English class is taught by Branden's teacher, who is the 8th grade English teacher for both grades. She's awesome! I like this teacher very much! She seems kind and nice! Branden thinks the world of her, he truly digs her a lot! Branden tells me all the time..."mom, my teacher is *so* nice" because he thinks the world of her, we too think the world of her! I watched her teach English to Bran's class last year... back when Bran was a 7th grader and I watched this time too. I think she's a very good English teacher, very thorough, and I see how she wants to give everybody in the class a chance to try! As she was writing, this on the board, she turned around first and asked a student..."How do you spell October?"  Of course she knows, but she's just getting the kids involved and I loved watching that. And she wrote it down. And she turned around again and asked another student, "how do you spell, "twenty eighth" and she kindly listened as the child said it/spelled it out. Then she wrote it on the board. She also did that with Wednesday. The sensei asked about 3-5 kids and it surprised me that... about 3-5 kids didn't know how to spell Wednesday. Kids were struggling with Wednesday... so she said, "that's okay" and asked another. She seems like a very gentle teacher. Not a...make fun of a child type teacher. You can tell the kids feel totally safe to learn from her. A very relaxing learning environment, if you have a positive teacher like that. There was not a kid... who didn't get a turn in her English class. I am so glad she is Branden's teacher! 

These kids, Branden included are so very lucky to have this wonderful and amazing teacher this year! Hopefully next year too! At 12 noon we left. We only watched half of the English class. We left because we had to run to Costco and given the time the kids got out of school that day, we had to leave then or we wouldn't have made it back in time to pick up the boys. 

We picked up this salad, it's a very nice salad it says salad base. but it's a full salad, it has lettuce and colorful bell peppers and purple cabbage and shredded carrots, it's a full salad. I also like this salad because it's the cheapest/most affordable salad Costco sells. The other one is 1000 yen this is like 598 or so yen. Don't quite me on that price...I'm iffy on the price... but it is way cheaper. I also picked up, cheese, tortillas, ground beef (you can see taco night and spaghetti and meatball etc night was happening.) Ham for sandwiches for the boys weekly school lunches. And pancakes for breakfasts for the weekday. Morning weekday breakfasts must be quick and fast! 
I had 1 slice of pizza. And Noboru ordered a hot dog and a clam chowder. We are hoping they start selling, the curry soup this season. Their curry soup, was fantastic last year! All in all, a wonderful Observation Day, and a nice quick Costco run too.

What did I do the next day, Thursday, October 29th, I had my hair salon appointment. I had a Japanese ionic hair straightening. Followed by a color and then finished up with a cut. Towards the end of November, I'll go back for another color. And in December, I'll get a color and cut. It's good for us mom's to take good care of ourselves. We do so much taking care of our families and our homes. And with cooking and cleaning and whatnot. Sometimes we can put ourselves on the back burner. And a burned out mama, is not good for anyone. So, for me...I like to go once a month and have someone take care of me. I hadn't seen my original hair stylist since Noah was in his last year in yochien. And it was lovely to catch up with her again. She has since had a baby girl. And I congratulated her on that. Her daughter is 19 months. She gave me 2 cups of coffee during my visit. She massaged my head and shoulders. I felt like a new person leaving the salon. I felt so relaxed and ready to once again, give my family, my all. Papa's also need to take care of themselves too, because they work just as hard! I really needed that hair salon appointment. : ) Now I feel much better. : )