Homework and Academic Responsibilites
With the commitment of learning a second language, it is very important for you to help your child/ren to practice both English and Japanese at home. Although the curriculum is taught in both English and Japanese, the instructional time in either language is condensed to a half a day. Therefore, homework is an extension of the learning process and is needed to help the students practice these skills.
We encourage every child to read a library book and practice Japanese each evening. In addition, homework may be assigned for:
· Practice of skills introduced in class
· Activities for discussion and sharing at home
· Long-term projects
· Review for tests
· Enrichment extension of classroom study
· Extension of student interest
· Reinforcement of study skills
· Communicate homework to parents through weekly letters.
· Make students aware of homework needs.
· Make sure students understand directions and have written directions when appropriate.
· Check homework and provide feedback to students.
· Inform parents about student progress through work sent home, report cards, and conferences.
· Ask questions if directions are unclear in class.
· Write down assignment and put work to be completed in an organizer during class.
· Remember to take assigned work and materials home.
· Complete the assigned work and bring the completed work back to the class.
· Call a classmate to get clarification if questions arise while working at home.
· Tell the teacher if the assignment wasn’t understood and redo it after explanation.
· Provide time, materials, and a quiet place for studying.
· Provide assistance and support when needed.
· Talk with the teacher about homework concerns.
Our language arts program includes reading, writing, and speaking. The goals of our program are linked to the Oregon Statewide Standards that can be viewed at ode.state.or.us.
Most of our students are reading materials at their grade level and beyond. However, all students are being taught not only how to read but, also how to read to learn. Students learn strategies that allow them to blend sounds and create words. As they view text they are busy looking for new vocabulary. Their oral reading is at a fluent flow that allows them to understand what they read. These elements and many more help create and foster a rich literacy experience.
Yujin Gakuen has created a writing benchmark at each grade level. The teachers pay attention to the grade level goals throughout the year and teach lessons toward them. The writing goals are built upon as the student enters each new grade. Staff has also been trained in the WriteSource curriculum books and they are a successful compliment to the writing program.
The speaking component is strongly visible through the class speeches and Japanese singing. The students are given many opportunities in the Japanese class to strengthen their oral skills. As often as three times a year the students give a formal speech in both classes. Other smaller speeches are part of the students’ learning environment.
Teachers introduce science through exploration of the natural and physical world. Older and younger students are encouraged to solve problems using process skills including observation, classification, record keeping, making hypotheses, experimentation, consideration of variables and drawing conclusions. The program is a hands-on, investigative approach correlated to the developmental needs of students.
Teachers at Yujin Gakuen use a variety of curriculum. Often science projects are tied to work in social studies, math, and English to provide a cross-curriculum unit. Teacher use science kits provided by the 4J district that include topics on life, earth, and physical sciences. Most teachers use two of these kits a year and also provide additional enrichment on topics covered by state exams. Yujin Gakuen teachers use the help of local resources such as the Science Factory, Near-by Nature, West Eugene Wetlands, OMSI, UO museums, and the Planetarium. Science is taught in both English and Japanese classes.
Yujin Gakuen uses Investigations, the district-adopted curriculum from Houghton Mifflin.
Students at Yujin Gakuen are expected to memorize addition and subtraction facts to 20 by the end on second grade. Similarly, third graders are expected to memorize multiplication and division facts to 10 by the end of third grade.
Near the end of the third grade and fifth grade, all students are given the State Assessment in Mathematics. Students have the option of taking the test using the computer. Most students do this, as they receive three opportunities to meet or exceed the state’s benchmark. At Yujin Gakuen in 2006, 96% of the students met or exceeded the benchmark.
To go to the Oregon Department of Education web site and view the state math standards by grade level and strand, click here. The link will open in a new window.
The overall goals in the social studies program are to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values for responsible and effective participation in all aspects of a global society; to improve students’ abilities to make intelligent and socially responsible decisions, and to assist in developing informed attitudes towards controversial issues.
In each grade, teachers focus on a different aspect of the Social Studies curriculum. Some of these topics include: family, school, community, maps, Oregon and its history, European explorers, the original thirteen colonies, the American Revolution, and current events.
We take advantage of guest speakers from the community and abroad, museums and historical recreations. Current local, national, and international news events also are an important source of study at Yujin Gakuen.
Computer and Media Literacy
Computer instruction is integrated with subject areas in the curriculum. Classroom teachers and our computer specialists work together to find appropriate software to support academic subjects. Computer instruction takes place in the classroom for all students. The computers in the classroom learning centers allow students access to technology for both group and individual projects. The instruction from the COW’s (Computer on Wheels aka laptops) enhances classroom lessons and strengthens computer literacy of individual students.
All students use the media center on a frequent basis. The program focus is on literature appreciation, selecting and evaluating books, library utilization skills and reference skills. The media specialist works closely with classroom teachers to incorporate classroom studies into the media program.
Both English and Japanese books are in the library for students to check out. The library is automated, and each book is entered into a computerized database. There is much in the library for volunteers to do. Please contact the library assistant if you are interested in volunteering.
Yujin Gakuen adopted the Scott Foresman Art Program in 2006. Grade levels share student materials purchased for Grades 1, 3 and 5. Students are instructed in the elements of art: line, color, value, shape, texture, form and space. They use the principles of design – emphasis, unity, balance, rhythm, pattern, variety, and proportion, to put artwork together.
In addition to classroom teacher led art lessons, the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) has funded Artists in Residence to explore clay, painting, paper-making, and weaving (baskets and pouches).
Students are encouraged to participate in learning Japanese cultural dances at each grade level. Primary classroom teachers instruct students to dance to traditional Japanese songs such as “Sakura”, “Toryanse”, and “Kagome Kagome Momotaro” and “Temari”. Teachers instruct students in dancing to Japanese Festival music such as “Soran Bushi” as well as traditional dances such as “Onoenomatsu”, “Ehigasa”, “Takeda Shingen”, and “Takekurabe”. Students use fans, batons, balls and umbrellas in their dancing.
A taiko drum group at our school made more than a half dozen taiko drums to be used in performances by students. African Drums on loan from the school district are also used in performances for parents. Trained and talented Japanese teachers use voice, piano, and rhythms to teach Japanese through children’s music. We have found that music is a very effective vehicle to teach the pronunciation, fluency, sound and intonation of the Japanese language. Songs are also an integral part in teaching the content of our units of instruction and the culture of the Japan. Yujin Gakuen students have instruction in reading music notation, as well as instruction in playing the xylophone and recorders. A music listening project is in the planning stages.
Each grade level culminates lessons with one or two performances a year. The plays may represent a Japanese folktale such as “Momotaro”, “Issunboshi”, or “Urashima Taro”. Plays are also written by Yujin Gakuen teachers to culminate a unit of study such as “Little Mermaid” for a unit on oceanography, and “Kagoyahime” for a solar systems unit. Performances are typically bilingual. Students dress in kimonos when performing Japanese folktales. Other classroom performances may reflect the concepts and content of the daily lessons. Students and teachers enjoy the opportunity to share the learning that takes place in the classrooms with each other as well as with our school-wide community of family and friends.