Grand Avenue State School (GASS) offers an amazing Japanese program. Japanese is a compulsory subject for the students in years 4-6. The vision is to enable students to engage with an authentic language and cultural learning experience.
Throughout the program, students have the opportunity to become increasingly aware and appreciative of Japanese culture in order to reflect on their own. They also develop the ability to communicate with Japanese students in both written and spoken forms.
Each term, we have the wonderful opportunity to practice this during live video lessons with our sister schools in Tokyo and Kumamoto city in southern Japan.
GASS prides itself in offering a diverse language learning experience. Students are engaged in learning through the incorporation of digital technologies in their learning. They also enjoy participating in cultural arts and crafts activities such as: origami, calligraphy, traditional food sampling and festival celebrations.
Units of work are aligned with the Australian curriculum and a variety of assessments, including both formative and summative, are implemented in the process of students learning.
Origami sent to Japan
Every year, during Harmony Day celebrations, students learn about the story of Sadako, the atomic bomb and world peace. Paper cranes and hearts are folded, messages of hope are written in English and Japanese then sent to Japan. The teachers and students from our sister schools then take the origami to be displayed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki peace parks. GASS students love to see the photos of their work displayed for visitors from all over the world to view.
Guest teachers from Japan
During the normal school year, there are occasions when Japanese people visit Grand Avenue. Apart from visiting LOTE teachers, so far, the school has welcomed visiting teachers from Japan including Mr. Sonoda who is the principal of one of our sister schools in Japan. On his last visit in, he taught the upper school students about Japanese culture and how to play traditional Japanese games including Kendama (a tricky stick and ball game). Like us all, he was very sad to not be allowed to visit GASS last year and is desperate to see us (hopefully in mid-2022).
Japanese Manga Challenge!
Students in Years 5&6 are currently studying about Japanese animation (anime) and comic book characters (manga) as part of a unit on Characters. Students are producing bilingual profiles of their new creations and taking part in an interclass and year level competition which will be judged by a panel of Japanese teachers and students (including Mr. Sonoda) in Japan. The level of creativity and use of Japanese have been highly impressive with a friendly rivalry in place as students try to be in the top two of their class. Students have also integrated the use of Seesaw (online learning platform) as a way of submitting work, collaborating together and acting on feedback. Through this the quality of work is most certainly on the rise!
From Year 4 students are engaged in rich learning experiences that align with the Australian curriculum. As each student progresses through the upper school, they continue to consolidate what they have previously learned. Students explore topics including families, foods, homes and school life. The current unit on families allows students to learn the vocabulary for Japanese family member names, compare family lifestyles and interview family members in Japanese (don’t worry there is a help sheet for family members)!
By years 5 and 6, they continue to consolidate their acquired vocabulary by learning to place keywords in a sentence. This includes the basic grammar structures of the Japanese Language. The students explore: subjects, games and sports, shopping, differences between Japanese and Australian table manners and food in addition to describing a place and celebration of their choosing. Students use digital resources such as Seesaw to further hone their speaking and listening skills.