Wow. It’s been quite some time, hasn’t it?
Well, things have been busy, to say the least. We finished our writing contest at school a little more than a month ago, and last week was filled with testing! More on that later. I wanted to talk about the writing contest, because it was awesome. As I mentioned before, the kids have to write original compositions, and there are winners selected for each level (minus the kids six and under).
We got a lot of really well-written entries this year. I feel like every year, the quality gets better and better. But of course, there are always those off the wall ones, and the kids who do exactly what you tell them not to.
The point of our writing contest is for the kids to use the skills they’ve learned in class, and put it onto paper. We don’t expect them to write beyond their level, and they’re allowed to look at old worksheets for grammar and vocabulary help. We told them to write something based on the English they know, instead of trying to find the English to write something they could easily write in Japanese. They also have to include a picture, partially to demonstrate to us that they can comprehend what they’re writing, and not just jotting down random sentences (or getting mom and dad to help).
My favourite aspects of the writing contest are that we get to see some of the kids’ creative sides, we get to learn about something they’re interested in, and we get to see their improvement. Every year the quality of work that’s submitted for the contest goes up, and that’s also something that’s amazing to see. Many of the kids put a lot of work into their pieces, and it really shows.
Many of the stories make little impact if you don’t know what we’ve been studying, or if you don’t know the student. So let me leave you with one particular entry that I was … very surprised at. I teach an upper level class, meaning that the students are pretty much fluent. They can hold a conversation with you in English, and in their class instead of focusing on grammar, we work more on getting them to express their thoughts, ideas and stories in English.
I should also say that the theme is free. They really can write about whatever they want. That, however, didn’t really prepare me for this entry. I also want to add that it’s not that I feel there’s anything wrong with what this student wrote about, I was just surprised.
Click the images to enlarge them to read.
And on one closing note, the line that reads “life is a nightmare”, was originally “life is a bitch”. I told him that for this contest, “bitch” was inappropriate, so we had to change it. I nearly died the first time he read it to me with bitch in it. Who even knows where he learned that word (and how to use it correctly!).