March 2020

Where is Hisato going?

Dear G7 and G8 Guardians,

Although your children won’t be attending school until after Spring Break, they definitely have a lot they can do at home. I gave both grades 7 and 8 homework, including books to read, and summaries to write. I also encouraged the children to help out at home and try to pick up some new skills like cooking and/ or cleaning. My sons always get some house challenges from their school on their breaks, and I have been surprised again and again by how helpful and capable they are.

February 28th was the last day for G7 Hisato, and we will miss him dearly. At the end of our day on Friday, we went to the canal and played around and took some photos. The weather was beautiful and spring is definitely in the air.

I sincerely hope we will run into Hisato again!

Ski Camp 2020

On February 18th – 21st, TYIS, including all middle school students, went skiing in Snow Park Oze Tokura, Gunma Prefecture. The middle schoolers were given more freedom than the elementary school students, but they also had to produce a slideshow and a video about ski camp that was shown to all students and staff on the last day.

Some middle schoolers had skied many times before, but others had never been skiing, so going on the trip was definitely out of some students’ comfort zones. They started at the bunny hill (easiest hill), but eventually everybody ended up going on the chair lift, and skiing down.

Poetry Project

In February we were studying poetry, and together read the famous poem, The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost (if you haven’t yet, please take a minute and read it: The children realized that the road in the poem is a metaphor for life, and the fork in the road represents the choices we can, and sometimes have to, make.

After we had read and discussed the poem a couple of times, all students chose a song which they then presented to the class, explaining any metaphors, similes, or other literary devices. I heard many new and interesting songs, and some of the students were surprised to find out that the songs they chose had an interesting, hidden meaning to them.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Grade 8 students have recently been reading the chilling short story The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe. In the story, we follow a narrator, who is trying very hard to convince the reader that he is indeed absolutely sane. Meanwhile, he is also explaining why he so detests his employer’s horrible eye. What happens next, you’ll have to either read the story to find out, or pop by school to check out the outstanding comic poster created by G8 Kokoro and Haruya.

Middle School Christmas Party

Today, on our last day before Winter Break, we had a Christmas Party for Middle School, as I am sure you all heard. After P.E., the children came to Mr. Serpico’s classroom, where we had food and drinks, handed out our Secret Santa presents to each other, and played a couple of games.

Middle School Trip Presentations

Kokoro and Haruya: Kyushu

As a part of their academic coursework, Middle School students are required to come up with a Middle School Trip, which they plan in detail and present to the administration of TYIS.

This year, Grade 7 students formed three groups, working on trips to such different locations as Hokkaido, Osaka, and Korea, and our Grade 8 students planned a trip to Kyushyu. The kids worked really hard, finding hotels, activities, transportation, and made presentations that they could be proud of.

Fall Camp Presentations

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Hisato telling us about his scary hiking experience..

In October, Grades 7 and 8 went on two Fall Camps. On the first camp, they went with the younger students at our school to volunteer, and since I didn’t attend the camp, I had each and every student make a presentation about the trip.

Overall, the children liked the camp, spending time with the younger students (or munchkins, as they like to call them), and getting a couple of special treats like coffee after breakfast. Other favorite experiences that some students mentioned were field games, canoeing, and hiking.

I was very happy to hear from the teachers that attended the first Fall Camp how helpful the Middle School students were and what a great job they did!

The Princess Bride

A part of our Language Arts class in Middle School is devoted to novel study. We read a novel together as a class, discuss the material, the characters, their motives, and anything else that interests us. We also have a comprehension quiz most Fridays.

We usually spend one term reading each novel, and once we’ve finished the novel, we watch the movie (if there is a movie based on the novel).

The first novel this year for both Grades 7 and 8 is The Princess Bride.

I first watched the movie when I was a Middle School student, and until this day it is one of my favorite movies. The unforgettable characters, their dialogue, the adventure they find themselves in, the setting, the costumes.. etc., etc. Your children seem to like it a lot!

Hello from Ms. Rachel

Me and my sons after getting our new belts!

Dear All,

I am Rachel Reynisdottir, and at TYIS I go by Ms. Rachel. This is my fourth year at TYIS, and this school year I will be the Language Arts teacher for both grades 7 and 8.

I come from Iceland, which is not nearly as cold as it sounds, and received my Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iceland. After moving to Japan, I did my Master’s degree in International Relations from Waseda University, before getting M.Ed. from the University of Iceland.

When I moved to Japan in 2004, I intended to stay for about two years, but before the two years were up, I had met my husband whom I later married. We have two sons, who are seven and eight years old. Together we like to ski, swim, play soccer and recently we have started watching movies that my husband and I both enjoyed at opposite sides of the world in the eighties.

Other hobbies of mine include karate, karaoke, reading, hiking and hanging out with friends.

I look forward to getting to know all of your children, and I am sure that together we will have a wonderful time reading, writing, presenting, and having fun!

Kasai Rinnai Aquarium

On May 31st, I went to Kasai Rinnai Aquarium with Ms. Rachel and Mr. Serpico. As a family we started taking the bus to Shin-Kiba station and took the train to Kasai Rinkai park museum. I felted like I was the son of my homeroom teachers. At the museum we saw a lot of interesting sea animals and sea plants. We saw penguins, colorful fishes, starfish, tuna etc… We heard information about how the penguins live in museums in Japan when the weather gets very hot. We saw shiny, beautiful, giant tuna swimming all over the place in the aquarium. While we were looking at the sea animals and sea plants, there was a place where we could observe the staff feeding the fishes, but we didn’t have enough time to do that. I want to try that next time if I go again! There was a section where we could touch some sea animals and sea plants. I had so much fun time being like a family with my homeroom teachers. It was a calm day before I leave for Hawaii and the last field trip in Grade 7.

Kokoro Kuramochi