Milky Way 15 April

Welcome to the Milky Way blog for the class starting April 2016. The students are transitioning smoothly into their new class. As an appropriate opening theme, the students are learning about ‘where we are in place and time’ and the central idea to be conveyed during the coming six week unit is that communities are constantly changing.

2016年度ミルキーウェイへようこそ!子どもたちはスムーズに新しいクラスに馴染めています。新しい始まりにふさわしく、この6週間のユニットでは、”Where we are in place and time”というテーマで私達のいる場所、時間について学んでいきます。

During the first week, this theme was introduced to the students and the terms were defined very generally to provide a sound basis for coming concepts. The students first defined where we are in space in terms of increasing specificity from planet Earth to ‘sitting in a chair in Milky Way’ in ISN in Kotobuki-kita in Matsumoto in Nagano in Japan. To enhance understanding and provide a visual image of where we are an aerial view of the school was shown using google earth wherein the students could identify the school bus and other familiar surroundings such as nearby stores, parks, and the route the school bus takes between campuses. Sequentially zooming out, the children were able to see local train lines and stations, residential areas, the city centre, waterways, and rice paddies. Further zooming out revealed the boundaries of Matsumoto’s built up areas and the surrounding forests and mountains. Further again, the students could identify white snow-covered mountains, green forests, blue oceans and brown deserts. Likewise they could see Japan as a satellite image and some students could identify neighbouring countries. Following this, clips on youtube were viewed to further zoom out from earth into space and additionally, to compare the size of earth with the other planets, the earth’s sun, and other larger stars. The class was thoroughly enthralled with this, particularly with the animation comparing the size of the earth with the larger stars. This activity was timetabled to be repeated on the following day to reinforce the students’ understanding, however many of the students without knowing the following day’s timetable were requesting to again see the satellite images and celestial animations.


さらに理解を深めるため、Google Earthを利用して実際に目で見て確かめてみました。スクールの隣に停まっているスクールバス、近くのお店や公園、バスの通るキャンパス間の道も見つけることができました。少し拡大してみると、電車の線路と駅、たくさんの家屋、松本市の中心街、川の流れ、田んぼもが見えてきました。さらに拡大すると、松本とその周りの森や山が見えて、そして雪に覆われた山や緑の森、青い海と茶色い土地が確認できました。最後には衛星から見える日本やお隣の国まで見つけることができる子もいました。ユーチューブでは地球から宇宙まで拡大された映像で太陽、地球、その他の星の大きさの違いを発見しました。

Google Mapを使っての活動は子ども達もとても楽しくて気に入り、次の日もまた見たいと言っていました!

In addressing the idea of where we are in time, the class was able to collectively provide day, date, year, season and time of day. This was likewise repeated the following day to reiterate the answers. Following this, the class was asked to consider ‘where we are in place’ in relation to time to introduce the idea that the world is constantly changing. The students have come to understand that the building they are in was not always a school and likewise, that at some time in the past, the building wasn’t there at all.


Additionally, within the theme of time and space the students have each spent time creating representations of the classroom’s floor plan on graph paper, including items such as tables and chairs, lockers, and the piano. Within their maps they are able to identify individual lockers along with the seating arrangement at the tables. When queried, they are likewise able to comment on sizes of items relative to the size of the room – for example, students can say if the image of a table is scaled too large or too small.


Also aligning with the central theme that community is constantly changing, a short time each day is being spent reading the book “The Little House” that provides an age appropriate story about the construction of a city over time.

地域は常に変わり続けているということは、絵本のThe Little Houseを通して時を経て町の風景や人々の暮らしが変わる様子をしっかりと見てきました。

In mathematics, the students have begun learning to count different things concurrently by tally marks. They have used rulers to make tables with columns for tallying different coloured blocks and over the coming days they will discuss their tallies using English including ‘there are more/ less xx than yy’ and ‘the most/ least common xx is yy’.

算数の授業では、tally marksという日本でいう正の字を書いて物の数を集計しています。ものさしでしっかりと表を作り、異なった色のブロックを数えてマークしていきます。yyよりxxが多い(少ない)という表現を用いながらグループごとに話し合いました。

In language lessons the students are reviewing the sounds that each letter of the alphabet can represent, as well as doing a daily drill of multiple phonograms with phrases containing the letter combinations. This is done using flashcards with the phonograms and example words. For writing, the students are reviewing and practicing the correct way to print upper and lower case letters.


During intermittent breaks throughout each day, the students are learning to tell their left from right, as well as enjoying some rhythmic coordination activities, ‘Simon says’ games and aerobic activity.

休憩の間にはSimon Saysというゲームで右と左を区別して身につけれるような楽しんで出来るゲームや体操を行っています。

Each day the children have a period of free-play time before lunch as well as approximately one hour of free-play time each afternoon. In this time, the children enjoy drawing, origami, reading, using building blocks and other general free play.


In the coming weeks, all subject content hitherto will be reinforced and expanded.