On December 15th, we held the International Workshop for junior high school first graders. These are special classes planned by International Teachers making use of their hobbies and special skills.
The following are reports by the teachers in charge of each class. All of the classes were interesting and exciting, and the students gave their best effort and enjoyed themselves.
Please have a look.
In today's workshop students played two popular board games from the United States - A Ticket to Ride and The Game of Life.
Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway
The Game of Life, also known simply as Life, is a board game originally created in 1860 by Milton Bradley. It was America’s first popular parlor game. The game simulates a person’s travels through his or her life, from college to retirement, with jobs, marriage, and possible children along the way
This was the first time for students playing these games and they had a lot of fun. Students playing Ticket to Ride were able to learn U.S. geography as they strategically planned their train routes and carefully managed their limited resources. Students playing Life got to mull over important life decisions such as deciding whether to attend college, buy insurance, or invest in the stock market. All students were able practice their English ability in a relaxed environment.
Our workshop focused on designing a family crest, based on those found in European countries. Real crests are based on symbolism that is important to both the crest’s owner and their family. We gave some cultural background to the students, and then challenged them to create their own unique crests.
The exercise involved a lot of creative artwork, but this was only part of it. Students had to think carefully about why they chose a certain animal or design for their crest. They had to evoke imagery to illustrate their lives and the stories of their families. We informed them that, at the end of the workshop, they would have to show off their finished crest and explain its many meanings to the rest of the group.
The students had a great time! They talked, swapped ideas, and they were very expressive with their designs. Most importantly, they were able to give reasons for their choices. Many chose imagery to represent their parents or siblings, and most drew things that in some way spoke to their home prefectures or countries. Some chose animals based on pets that they have now, or had in the past. In order to represent themselves, many opted for symbols and characters from popular movies or TV shows that they enjoy, such as Minions or Harry Potter. It was all a very good mix of themes and ideas.
The workshop was very good indeed, and the only problem was that we could have made use of more time.
This was our second workshop together and we feel that it was very much a success. We had decided to do American and British TV gameshow games because we thought that that would be both educational but also a lot of fun too. We had aimed to play four games, but the games we did took a bit of time so we only played three. We played (in order) Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud and Press your luck.
The first game, ‘Wheel of Fortune’ involves the students guessing phrases and idioms after filling in the letters on the game board. If they guess a letter correctly they can win points. It was really nice to how much the students got into this game.
In the second game, ‘Family Feud’, students make two teams and they have to guess the most popular survey answers to a particular question, for example:
“Name something you would hate to find under your bed”
“Well done! 38 people said monster so it is the most popular answer in the survey. You win 1000 points!”
Our final game was called ‘Press your luck’. In this game, students press a buzzer to stop on a particular square on a game board. They can win points or lose points. The focus of this game was to have fun more than anything.
We had really good feedback from the students and we saw many of them laughing and enjoying themselves so we’re really happy with how it went.
Disney has a special place the hearts of many people, with dreams of becoming a princess, or hero, or both high on the list of fans everywhere. The Voice Acting workshop gave students a chance to become characters in film scenes, and learn what it’s like to try and match voices to film.
The workshop began with video tongue twister voice warm-ups from a professional coach, led by International Teacher. The students did an impressive job with the tongue twisters, at first starting slowly and then building up speed with volume.
The second part of the workshop introduced the concept of syllable/beat counts for establishing a pace for putting dialogue into a character’s mouth at the right pace. A scene from Frozen was provided to demonstrate some dialogue actual dialogue voiceover, and then ad-lib filling, like what the class would be doing. The students paired up, practiced, and performed their voiceovers and had an interesting variety of conversations.
We followed up with a clip from Minions, and then finished off with an open microphone for filling in dialogue using the opening scene from Toy Story 3. The class was everything a voice coach could hope for – energetic, funny, and original. We hope the students had as much fun as we did, and look forwards to more acting classes.
The goal of our workshop was to have the students make a pop-up reindeer Christmas card using templates and by listening to English instructions. The students were provided materials such as colored construction paper, scissors, and glue. Students were also encouraged to bring their own decorating supplies.
The activity was done in multiple steps and required precision cuts and folding. The first step was to cut out the template for the antlers, trace the cut-out onto beige construction paper, fold the appropriate lines, and glue it onto the card. The same steps were applied to the upper torso of the reindeer using brown construction paper. Once all parts were glued onto the card, the students were then able to decorate their card using hanging ornaments, colored pencils/markers, etc. to complete their Christmas card.
During the activity, the teachers walked around and helped the students complete these tasks and guided them in the right direction. Although the card making instructions were all in English and were quite complicated, communication was successful through simple English and gestures.
Overall, the students and teachers had a great time getting into the Christmas spirit by creating festive crafts all while listening to some Christmas classics.
For this International Workshop, we decided to introduce the MITA students to the wonderful world of cricket. Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world and played regularly by an estimated 220 million people.
Students had the chance to play cricket using the Japan Cricket Association’s innovative new skills system called Cricket Blast. Cricket Blast is a short, fast, fun way of introducing the game of cricket to children through a set of activities designed to be fun while teaching the fundamentals of the game.
For the workshop, the students were divided up into 4 groups and given a quick introduction to each of the key elements of cricket. Each group practised batting, bowling and fielding through a variety of quick and fun skill-based games. Every student had the chance to bat, bowl and field for the same amount of time as all the others, regardless of ability.
After the skills session, students had a chance to put this practice to the test by playing a short game against the other teams. The students picked up the rules quickly and were soon shouting and cheering for their teammates. A fun time was had by all and hopefully inspired a few students to take up a new sport. For more information see
Magic is one of the oldest performing arts in the world and has amazed people since ancient times. Dedication to magic can teach confidence and creativity, as well as the work ethic associated with regular practice and the responsibility that comes with devotion to an art.
Today students gathered together to learn how to perform magic. After watching the teacher’s demonstration of various magic tricks, students utilized their English speaking and listening skills to learn the secrets behind the illusions. Students worked together and practiced in pairs performing magic on each other before they performed the magic tricks on their teachers. Their favorite teachers became the audience and students had the opportunity to amaze them with their newly learned skill.
The main purpose of this workshop was to introduce and let the students experience “Eisa,” a traditional folk dance from Okinawa. We aimed for students to learn what this traditional dance means to Okinawan people and how it represents the Okinawan spirit.
Before trying actual Eisa, we presented a short history of Okinawa and the background story of “Eisa”. The students learned that Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom and was once occupied by the United States. Students also learned that Eisa was originally performed to celebrate the rich harvest while welcoming and seeing off ancestors.
Then, we practiced Eisa with a song called “Ashibinaa,” meaning “playground” in the Okinawan language. By listening to instructions of the basic moves and watching the model performance, the students learned each move step by step. By the end of the workshop, we were able to practice all moves successfully. Finally, as an extra activity, we had an Okinawan folk song performance with a traditional string instrument called “Sanshin.” The song was called “Asatoya yunta.”
Overall, the students enjoyed Eisa. Although Okinawa is part of Japan, students saw Okinawa from a new perspective and more fully appreciated Japan’s diversity and multiculturalism.
In the Postcards and Global Communication workshop, students research about mail, postcards, languages, and delivery systems around the world. We utilize “Postcrossing,” a website where individuals can send a physical postcard to a member in random foreign country.
For every postcard we send, we receive one back from another random Postcrossing member somewhere in the world. The postcards we receive are from individuals of all ages, education levels, and life experiences. Some members write in their own language, but most write in English.
To date, MITA has received postcards from 38 different countries, including Argentina, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Sri Lanka. MITA students write their postcards in English about their school life, interests, club activities, and ask questions about the foreign country they are writing to. They learn how analog and digital communication helps connect people around the globe.