Mrs. Jorgensen's Fulbright Memorial Fund Study Tour of Japan   |     home
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October 12
Today we finally got to visit an Elementary School.  Sannomaru Elementary School is ranked very highly in Odawara-shi.  Its campus is quite new, and it is indeed very beautiful.

While there, we were assigned to a class where we were allowed to observe and interact with the students and their teacher.  We were also free to observe other classes and join in if we chose to.  Many of our host teachers spoke little or no English, and none of us was strongly versed in Japanese, so communication fell to a newly invented form of sign language.

The structure of classes was quite different from what we expected.  Teachers did not specialize in a single subject area, and shared the responsibility for teaching the specials areas as well.  For instance, the teacher who I observed also turned up in Music as the Music Teacher and changed into gym clothes to instruct Physical Education as well!

After regular classes, the students serve each other lunch, then clean up the school.  There are no janitors here!  We observed this process with unabated marvel.

When the instructional part of the school day has ended, Japanese school children typically stay at school for Club Activities.  These include cooking, sewing, computer literacy, and various sports.

The common-area staff room
Welcome Assembly

Third grade students

Learning Kanji
Music Instruction
Lunch Preparation

Clean Up, Clean Up!
Computer Club