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Into the Winter Wonderland

Hello, everyone! We hope your week was as fun as Upper Elementary’s this week! ⛄
The big event was definitely Wednesday’s bus trip to the Norikura ski area for a fun day of cross country skiing and snow-shoe walking with Grades 1 and 2. The fun started early in the morning with new tour buses coming to pick up the students. Grades 1 and 2 got on one bus and Grades 3, 4 and 5 on the other one and off we went. We drove for about an hour and a half on beautiful roads, twisting and turning next to big lakes, through snowy forests and across dams, criss-crossing the Japanese Alps. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a lively group of our guides for the day. Everyone changed into their ski boots, got all the equipment and divided into two groups. 🎿
Group 1 went for a snow-shoe walking tour through the forest. They walked through deep snow through narrow passages between the trees, before reaching a completely frozen lake. Everyone made angel shapes in the snow and tried breaking the ice, surprised that it would actually hold thirteen children and four adults. The snow was falling in thick snowflakes and the whole area had a feeling of untouched, snowy, winter wonderland. ❄️
Group 2 strapped on their skiis and enjoyed practicing ski walking, or nordic skiing, which they have learned was quite different from alpine skiing that they usually do with their families. Everyone had fun trying to slide down a small hill, falling and getting up over and over again.
Around noon, everyone gathered for lunch in the shape of yummy bento boxes. Thank you to all the moms, dads and grandmas for preparing beautiful and delicious creations. After lunch, the teams exchanged guides and Group 1 went cross country skiing, while Group 2 embarked on the snow-shoe adventure. The day was so exciting that we’ve had more than a fair share of sleeping faces on the bus ride back. As the snow will start melting soon with Spring coming up, this was an excellent chance for the students to have one last day of winter fun. 🍱
This is also the last week of the sixth Unit of Inquiry. The students have continued the work on the summative assessment projects, showing off their ideas for improving the school’s rubbish allocation system through their written essay, drawings and photos they chose. One of the ways to check how the school is handling its waste was to go around the classrooms, dig through their trash bags, collect all the trash and then measure and weigh it in the classroom. This was a fun activity, but the students have also learned that the school does not recycle nearly enough. 🗑️
They have also been reflecting on the past semester, as part of their final assessment reports. The students are thinking about what areas of their education have they tried their hardest in and if there are any things they need to improve upon in the coming school year. Reflecting on their own work, rather than simply having an adult do it for them, is an important part of the students’ education and a way of motivating them for the upcoming work.
Have a lovely weekend! ❤️
グループ1は森の中へスノーシューウォーキングツアーに行きました。木々の間の狭い小道を通って深い雪の中を歩きました。みんなで雪に天使の形を作ったり、氷を割ろうとしてみたりしました。驚いたことに、その氷は子ども13人と大人4人が乗っても割れませんでした。雪が降っていて、辺り一面がまだ誰にも触れられていないウィンターワンダーランドのようでした。. ❄️グループ2はスキーを履いて歩き方やノルディックスキーの練習を楽しみました。今回学んだ滑り方は、普段家族の方と行っているようなアルペンスキーととても違いました。