Yamasaki High School DAY BY DAY
On the 17th and 18th of August, Yamasaki High School held their annual open high school days, for junior high school students interested in the “Academic Course”, to come and visit the school.
The open days allow junior high school students to discover what student life is like at Yamasaki High school and they can participate in many lessons.
The open days begin with a very warm welcome by the Brass Band, and an introduction to the school. Student council members provide information about the history of Yamasaki High School, the different courses available, and all the wonderful special events and club activities they can participate in. Career development is also discussed, providing students insight into future professional paths.
Then the junior high students can participate in demonstration lessons, in Japanese, English, Mathematics, Science, Education and Social Science.
In addition to lessons from teachers, students of Yamasaki High school’s “Education Course” also took demonstration lessons, teaching English and Mathematics displaying the teaching expertise they have learned.
Further to the “Academic Course” open days, on the 27th of August, “The Forestry and Home Economics Course” held an open day for students interested in those specialized courses at Yamasaki High School.
After a very warm welcome and school introduction, the junior high students were able to experience first-hand specialized units of study, provided at Yamasaki High School.
First the students were able to participate in harvesting egg plants, peppers, and other vegetables, and learned about the process of growing vegetables.
Second the students got to participate in wood-working, and were able to make wooden mask boxes, with help from the wood-working high school students at Yamasaki High School.
Thirdly the junior high students were able to experience cooking, learning to make delicious cup-cakes by watching instruction videos on personal tablets, and with help from the Yamasaki cooking high school students!
The open days at Yamasaki High school, were very interesting and enjoyable, and allowed junior high students a wonderful insight into all the amenities Yamasaki High school provides. We hope to see all the junior high school students again, come next spring.
The students of the second grade have been working on an English presentation about foreign countries. At first the students made groups and chose which countries they would like to research. They then did extensive research into the many facets of life in the countries they had chosen. These included such topics as history, famous places, culture, music, food, art, sport, education, plants, and animals etc.
Having done thorough research, the students then developed wonderfully illustrated and detailed PowerPoint presentations expounding upon the many highlights of their chosen countries. Further to this, all the presentations were required to be written and presented in English.
In order to present professionally, the students were individually instructed on correct pronunciation, intonation, and advised on elements of non-verbal communication such as gestures, and eye contact.
All the students had assessment sheets and scored each other’s presentations, using an assessment matrix.
The goal of doing presentations for the students were fourfold.
The first goal was for the students to learn more about foreign cultures.
Secondly we wanted the students to improve their communication skills.
Thirdly we wanted the students to gain some experience in public speaking so that fourthly, it would encourage them to use English more confidently in the future.
Despite the challenge of presenting in English in front of their classmates, all of the students did exceptionally well, and they can be proud of their hard work.
On the 28th of September 2020, Yamasaki High School held their annual sports festival. Because students couldn’t have a cultural festival this year, some of the activities were included in the sports day. The day started with an opening ceremony, parade and raising of the flags. Then the games began!
The first event was the 100 meter and 200 meter sprints, followed by a 4 x 100 meter relay.
Then new for this year was an obstacle race prepared by the student organization of the school.The obstacle race included drinking a fizzy bottle of drink, a sack race, balloon popping, spinning around a baseball bat, egg and spoon race, and a two person wheel barrow race. Participants and spectators thoroughly enjoyed the race!
This was followed by a group jumping rope event, with class 2-4 winning with 84 jumps! An amazing feat! Then to conclude for lunch there was a wonderful dance and singing performance.
After lunch, all the members of the sports clubs at Yamasaki High School changed into their club uniforms and marched in a parade. The students all looked impressive and proud in their colorful uniforms. Then four members of each club participated in a relay race.
Following the club event, everyone was treated to a mesmerizing dance performance. The students performing the dances had such incredible precision and poise, and danced at such a professional level! The talent of students at Yamasaki High School is really outstanding!
Not to be outdone, the second grade students dressed in a wide variety of hilarious costumes and performed a parade, and raced in a very entertaining cosplay race!
To finish the day’s events, there was a 200 meter relay race, followed by a massive tug of war between the three grades.
After everybody had strained their sinews in battle, it was time for the closing ceremony, which finished a day full of fun and exhilaration!
Opening Ceremony Report
The opening ceremony for the second semester was held on Tuesday, August 18th. The ceremony was held in classrooms by using the school’s broadcast system to prevent the spread of the new corona-virus. Principal Takeda gave a speech about the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and talked about the importance of peace with his experience as a student. The Principal hoped the first and second year students would inherit the attitude of the third year students and continue to work hard for the next year.
Next, Ms. Kanzaki, the school nurse, gave a lecture on measures to prevent the spread of the new corona-virus at the start of the new school year. She talked about the importance of the three basic measures against infection: "cutting off the source of infection," "cutting off the route of infection," and "increasing resistance to the virus”.
On Wednesday the 19th, the first and second graders will be taking an assessment, and from the 19th (Wed.) to the 21st (Fri.), the students will only have classes in the morning. Regular classes will start again from Monday the 24th of August.
On the 27th of September Yamasaki High School held its annual sports day event. The day’s activities began with a grand opening ceremony; with the school brass playing a grand fanfare as all the students entered the field reminiscent of an Olympic opening ceremony!
From Tuesday the 20th through Thursday the 22nd of August Yamasaki High School hosted a three day open school event where junior high school students from the surrounding areas could come and experience classes at our high school.
The students were able to enjoy classes from across the full spectrum of courses available at Yamasaki High School including the Forestry and Environmental Science Department, the Home Economics and Lifestyle Department, and the General Academic Department.
As the ALT at Yamasaki High School I conducted lessons with an excellent and experienced Japanese English Teacher with whom I share a great rapport, and we enjoyed providing the students a glimpse of an English communication class. We started with an introduction activity where the students were shown how to introduce themselves in English. Then they were given a brief display of Australian culture and had the opportunity to sample an iconic Australian food, Vegemite! We then played a classic game, Shiritori, using English words.
The junior high students were very attentive, quickly grasping each task and enjoyed the activities. Their English skill levels are definitely improving thanks in part to the good work Japanese English Teachers and ALTs are doing at junior high schools in the Western Harima area.
In addition to experiencing classes at Yamasaki High School, the junior high students had a tour of the school and were able to see the many different extra-curricular activities on offer here.
As the joint facilitator of the ESS club, we showed the junior high students the types of activities and games we play including the “Game of Life” (人生ゲーム). The game is in the Japanese language, but the ESS members have to explain in English what each square says as they land on it, to help practice their English on a range of everyday topics. It's also lots of fun!
We hope the students enjoyed the open school events, and will choose to further their educational career at Yamasaki High School next spring!
Reported by Philip Wilby, ALT at Yamasaki High School
Today, on July 19th, we held a closing ceremony of the first semester of the very first school year of Reiwa, looking back on what we have experienced during these memorable four months here at Yamasaki Senior High School. Our ALT, Mr. Philip Wilby, now reviews various aspects of our school activities at this very turning point of the Japanese history. Also, he briefly reports the Ball Games Sports Day which was held on July 12th, when the Yamasaki youngsters showed their wonderful performances at every site of four ball games. Please enjoy our weblog essay with marvelous pictures !
Semester in review
From the start of semester one,with the cherry blossoms in full array, the semester has been full of engaging and stimulating experiences. Semester one started with the opening ceremony on April 8th when the first grade students were very warmly welcomed to Yamasaki High School.
This was followed a few days later with an exciting display of all the many cultural and sports clubs the first grade students could attend. From activities such as Judo and Kendo, to Flower Arranging and Tea Ceremony, students were spoilt for choice!
Then on the 23rd of April the first grade students got to experience a wonderful orientation trip to Hiroshima where they enjoyed many fun and invigorating activities together,learning about camaraderie and team work. The activities included “Zazen” and row boat clipper racing.
In May the students learned the importance of disaster preparedness, by way of an evacuation drill, and last week the teachers and students were given rescue and first aid training from fire and ambulance emergency services personnel.
On the 5th of June each class participated in a chorus singing competition, and the best classes, 1-4, 1-5, 2-2, 2-5, and 2-6 progressed to the final. On the day of the school’s cultural festival, Class 1-4 took the victory with the best performance and class 1-5 earned an admirable second place.
The biggest event of the semester was the school’s “Yamako-sai” or school cultural festival. Students had spent weeks preparing for the wonderful annual event, both in their classes and in their clubs. There were so many amazing displays,activities and events, which thrilled everybody. Each class had prepared a great performance which was shared in front of all the school, and the third grade students cooked a whole range of delicious food. There were amazing dances,great music, and many people from the community also came and enjoyed the merriment.A truly thrilling time was had by all.
During the Semester students also attended many community events, and participated in a whole range of volunteer activities, such as visiting aged care homes, schools and kindergartens. Also the Home Economics and Lifestyle Department opened a student restaurant where people from the community came and enjoyed delicious meals together!
Ball games sports day
The semester’s activities culminated on Friday the 12th of July, when the students of Yamasaki High School participated in an exhilarating ball game sports day. This time they played a number of ball games instead of the normal track and field sports day that are normally the only sports day held in western schools.
The boys played basketball,softball, and volleyball, and the girls played dodge ball instead of softball.It was a hot, cloudy and humid day, as this time of year is the rainy season. However despite the weather all the students relished the opportunity to spend the day playing the sports they love, and everyone was cheering and having fun playing or watching the games. Each game was arranged into a tournament with volleyball divided into two teams from each class.
In the boy’s volleyball game, the students of 1-1 B almost overcame their senpai's of class 3-3 but alas they couldn’t quite overcome, and had to settle for second place.
In the boys basketball game, class 3-6 took the victory against a strong team from 3-4. And in the softball, class 3-1 took a strong victory over the gallant class of 2-1.
In the boys tournaments it was very difficult for the younger students to overcome the additional strength of the older students. However this was not the case in the girl’s tournaments.
In the girl’s volleyball game, class 2-2 A took a stellar victory over an excellent 3-4 team. In the dodge ball final, class 2-3 won the battle against the girls of 1-6, with class 3-2 finishing in a very respectable third place. And in the girl’s basketball final,a thrilling game was played between 3-2 A and 3-5, which saw 3-2A take a superb victory.
The semester closed on July 19th with a final word of advice and encouragement from the principal and teachers to all the students, to make the most of their summer holidays, in work, rest and play!
School festival morning activities
On Friday the 14th of June, Yamasaki Senior High School held their annual school festival. It was a wonderful time when the students of the school displayed their talents and exhibited all their wonderful creativity and artistic flair.
The festival day started with an opening ceremony and all the school gathered in the gymnasium for the first series of performances. Each of the 3rd grade classes had prepared for the event, class 3-1, an all boys' class, performed a very exciting and energetic dance performance that “wowed” the audience!
Next class 3-2, the all girls' class, performed a beautiful choreographed dance to the song “Kyun” from the Japanese girls group Hinatazaka 46.
Class 3-3 acted a very funny skit that had everyone laughing, and then performed a very lively dance where Takashima Sensei, the home room teacher of 3-3, made a very grand entrance, cart-wheeling down the center aisle up to the stage. He then danced with the students during the climax of the song.
Class 3-4 displayed a very entertaining movie and then class 3-5 provided a video that led into their happy and upbeat dance routine. Class 3-6 also started with a video introducing all the class members which then segued into their lyrical chorus.
Singing competition final
After a short intermission the finalists of the singing competition that was held on the 5th of June, participated in the competitions final. Each class chose a song and performed it together as a chorus. From the preliminary round, the classes which advanced to the final were; 2-2, 1-4, 2-6, 1-5, and 2-5.
Class 2-2 was the only all female class and they sang the song entitled “Letter to Tomorrow.” They blended their soprano and Alto parts and created a very pleasant harmony.
Class 1-4 sang the song called “Rain.” Class 2-6 sang the song called “Sakura,” Class 1-5 sang the song called “Yell,” and class 2-5 sang the song entitled “Story.” Apart from 2-2, all of the songs were sung in chorus blending the four chorus sections of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone, and created beautiful melodies which were immensely enjoyed by the audience.
Although each class sang wonderfully, the judges compared the quality of the harmony, volume, expression and team work, to decide which class would come first and second. Finally after deliberation the judges decided that class 1-4 had most satisfied the judging criteria and had made the finest performance. Classe 1-5 had also made a stellar performance and were rewarded with second place.
After the morning’s performances by the 3rd grade students, and the final of the singing competition, the students were free to enjoy all the wonderful displays that had been prepared. Many families and friends from the community had also attended the morning’s spectacles, and stayed to enjoy all the other activities.
Displays and activities
In the main building each of the first and second year classes had prepared games in their classrooms like bowling, fishing, or free throw basketball, and made vibrant and merry decorations. It was lots of fun to play all the games and laugh together.
The culture clubs had also prepared gorgeous displays, such as the Flower Arranging club with beautiful flower displays, the E.S.S. club with a magnificent “Love” sign, and displays on foreign cultures, and the Art club with so many amazing and striking pictures exhibited.
Students also could listen to beautiful Japanese traditional music from the Koto musical instrument while savoring Japanese tea at the tea ceremony corner, and delight in the beauty of Japanese culture.
Food and drinks
Outside in the main square of the school, many stalls had been set up with a wide range of foods and drinks on offer.
The third grade students, in addition to preparing the morning’s entertainment, also prepared delicious food for everyone to enjoy. The range of food was extensive including Japanese food like yakisoba and yakitori, and lots of western style food like pizza, cheese hotdogs, potato fries, baked corn, as well as sweets, such as ice-cream,caramel popcorn, and churros. There were also many tasty soft drinks and the incredibly popular Tapioca drink which has become a firm favorite of young people all over Japan.
While savoring all the delectable delights, everyone was treated to entertainment from an open air stage.
Open air stage performances
On the stage, members of the guitar club demonstrated their outstanding abilities by singing and playing many popular songs, and created a bright and energetic atmosphere. Interspersed with the songs were stunning dances performances by female students who had learned dance outside school, in their own time. The girls dancing were magnificent,with brilliant poise, presentation and panache!
The school festival provided so many fun and exciting activities, delicious food, wonderful displays and excitement. Everyone worked so hard to create so many happy experiences.
In western schools there aren’t really any comparable events that blend the cultural and entertainment aspects exhibited in Japanese school festivals. It is a wonderfully unique Japanese celebration that would be wonderful to share with people all around the world.
On the 5th of June all the students of the 1st and 2nd grades at Yamasaki Senior High School participated in a singing competition, which each class singing a song in chorus. This was the preliminary round, and each of the six classes of the 1st grade took turns and sang, and then subsequently each of the six classes of the 2nd grade sang. Though many of students were nervous, they all did their best, and sang many beautiful songs.