KA VOICECAST for Saturday, November 15th (2014)

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KA TOP PICKS—with Olwen Bartlett

STORY TIME—The Switch by Anthony Horowitz





KA NEWS for Saturday, November 15, 2014

Entries to the KA Winter Writing Contest must be submitted by Sunday, November 16.  Please hand in your piece to your class teacher or to the KA front office.  The winners and runners-up will be announced and awarded prizes at the KA Winter Event on November 24.  Good luck!

KA’s Winter School program is scheduled for Saturday, December 27 and Sunday, December 28.  Courses for students in grades 1 through 6 will run from 10 a.m. until 3:30 pm on both days.  Learning subjects will include English, science, and art.  Classes are also available for 5th year Juken, Junior High, and Senior High students.  Classes will take place at the KA Jyugaoka, Meidaimae, and Nishifunabashi schools.  Registration deadline is Friday, December 5th.  For more information, including schedule and costs, please contact your school or follow the link below.

Science classes will be held on Saturdays from 3:30-5:30 at KA Tama Plaza for students in levels Yellow through Blue.  Students will conduct experiments, make predictions, and analyze results.  The class is limited to six people so be sure to sign up quickly.  For more information, please follow the link below or contact the Tama Plaza School at tamaplaza@kikokushijoacademy.com

KAIS International School and Kikokushijo Academy will be opening new facilities in Toritsu Daigaku offering a daytime international school for students grade 1-8 that will be called KAIS Elementary and Middle School (KAIS EMS). As the new building will not be available until 2015, KAIS will on a limited basis offer its grades 3-6 program at Kikokushijo Academy’s facilities in Jiyugaoka.  The facilities are adequate, with a fine library, functional classrooms, and an overall warm atmosphere. The program will be high-quality and individualized, utilizing a combination of traditional, proven teaching methods, including Kikokushijo Academy’s highly successful English program, as well as progressive and holistic educational practices focused on encouraging creativity, curiosity, self-confidence, and a general positive outlook on life. Small group homework tutoring for all subjects, including Japanese language, will be a key feature of the school, as will dynamic theme-based modules that synthesize literature, history, music, art, and other disciplines. For more information and questions to frequently asked questions, please follow the link below.

KA’s famed essay-writing course for students in grade 4 of elementary school and above is available as a correspondence course for students who live abroad or outside of the Kanto area. This is a serious, results-oriented program for students who wish to pass essay exams for junior high, senior high, university or the EIKEN, TOEFL, or SAT exams. Distance Learning students will write and revise weekly essays, complete grammar assignments, and build vocabulary to raise the register and effectiveness of their writing. Each student will correspond with a Personal Writing Tutor, who will guide the student through the course by email.

Students wishing to participate in the Distance Learning course must have:

• Access to the internet

• A computer with Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader

• A strong desire to improve their writing.

For more information about this exciting new program, please contact Kikokushijo Academy or follow the link.

The KA Kids International Preschool in Tama Plaza is still accepting applications for children aged 3-6. Children who sign up for the KAIP program will be introduced to the fast-paced, advanced reading and writing program with teachers trained in the Read Write Inc. Phonics method, currently exclusive to Kikokushijo Academy. For general information and answers to frequently asked questions, please follow the link to the KA Kids International Preschool Page.

The new season of KA Wordcast: Listen Up! focuses on improving your listening and comprehension skills and  should help those of you preparing for entrance and other exams with challenging listening passages, questions, and key vocabulary words.  Listen Up! airs every Tuesday.   KA Wordcast:  Idioms and Phrasal Verbs airs twice a month on the 5th and 20th of each month.  Lesson 30, scheduled to air on November 20, will cover useful idiomatic expressions you might use when speaking about your health or consulting a doctor so make sure you tune in!



KA Top Picks!

With Olwen Bartlett



The Hunger Games is a trilogy of novels written by Suzanne Collins.  The first novel, entitled The Hunger Games was first published in 2008 and adapted into a film in 2012.  The second novel, Catching Fire, was published in 2009 and has also been adapted into a film, which was released earlier this year. The final novel of the trilogy, the Mockingjay, was published in 2010 and has been adapted into two films, the first part of which is to be released in the UK on 20th November 2014.  The second film is expected to be released in the UK on 20th November 2015.

Given the huge success of the novels and the films, it is unlikely that you have not already heard of them. You may have read trilogy and seen the previously released films already. But if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Set in the distant future in the remains of continental North America, now renamed Panem, The Hunger Games portrays a post-apocalyptic world very different to the world in which we live.  Panem is divided into 12 divisions and ruled over by the Capitol, which is located somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.  Following a failed rebellion by the Districts, the Capitol has devised a televised competition in the guise of a reality show where one girl and one boy from each district are randomly selected to compete.  These children, called Tributes, are faced with a competition held in an outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol where they must overcome many challenges and ultimately fight to the death.  The winner being the last girl or boy left alive.

Katniss lives in poverty with her mother and sister in District 12.  When the lottery to select the tributes results in her younger sister Primrose being selected, without hesitation, Katniss (who is only 16 herself) volunteers in place of her sister.  The male tribute selected from district 12 is called Peeta and he is an acquaintance of Katniss, having been at school with her and once having given her bread from his father’s bakery when Katniss and her family were starving.

Peeta and Katniss are taken to the Capitol and assigned a Mentor and Stylists and the wheels of the reality television swing into motion.  The key to success in the Hunger Games, they are told by their Mentor, is obtaining sponsorship from the television audience which can result in valuable gifts being delivered when you are in the arena fighting for survival.  The first day of the competition is brutal with nearly half of the contestants killed.  Both Peeta and Katniss survive and form alliances with competitors from other districts.  Peeta has openly declared his love for Katniss and sensing an opportunity, the Capitol changes the rules to allow two tributes from one District to win the competition together.  When, however, it comes down to Peeta and Katniss being that last two alive, the Capitol callously reverses the rule change.  Rather than kill each other, Katniss and Peeta indicate that they will both commit suicide.  With the prospect of no winner at all, the Capitol relents and declares Katniss and Peeta joint winners.  They may have survived the arena competition but now that Peeta and Katniss have openly challenged the leaders of the Capitol what will become of them?

In the second novel, Catching fire, we catch up with Katniss and Peeta six months after the end of the games.  Under pressure from the president, Katniss and Peeta have announced their engagement and are touring the Districts as victors.  Peeta is aware of Katniss’s less than genuine romantic feelings towards him but he continues to play along with the plans for the wedding to protect district 12 from the wrath of the Capitol.  Inadvertently however, the story of Katniss and Peeta helps to fuel rebellions among the Districts who begin to rise up against the Capitol.  Katniss wears a pin in the shape of a Mockingjay and this becomes the symbol of the new rebellion.  The president announces a new edition of the Hunger Games where Katniss and Peeta will be forced to compete against other former victors. Katniss and Peeta team up with other tributes and manage to destroy the arena and escape the games.

The final novel in the trilogy, The Mockinjay, sees Katniss return to what remains of District 12.  All of the Districts are now staging a rebellion against the Capitol and it is discovered that a thirteenth District remains, having survived underground for many years.  Katniss is taken to District 13 and agrees to help recruit more rebels from each of the districts.  But where will the rebellion lead and will it be successful?  I could tell you of course, but it would be much more interesting if you were to check out the Hunger Games trilogy from the KA library and find out for yourselves.  Or you could watch the films that have been made based on the first two books.  The final film will not be released for sometime yet.

The story does deal with some mature emotional issues including considerable violence, and for this reason, the recommended reading age for The Hunger Games is thirteen and above according to Common Sense Media.  Parents are advised to read the novels first and decide whether the content is acceptable for their younger child.


The Switch

By Anthony Horowitz

The Caravan

Tad knew something was wrong before he’d even opened his eyes.

First there was the sound, a metallic pattering that seemed to be all around him: frozen peas falling on a tin plate.  That was what had woken him up.  At the same time he became aware of the smell.  It was a horrible smell—damp and dirty—and the worst thing was that it seemed to be coming from him.  He moved slightly and that was when he knew that something had happened to his bed too.  The sheets were wrinkled and rubbed against his skin like old newspaper.  And the pillow…?

Tad opened his eyes.  His face was half buried in a pillow so utterly disgusting that he was almost sick.  It was completely shapeless, stuffed with what felt like old rags.  It had no cover and, though it might once have been white, it was now stained with dried-up puddles of sweat and saliva, various shades of yellow and brown.  Tad pushed it off his face, gasping for air.

He looked up, staring through the grey light.  But what he saw made no sense.  His brain couldn’t take it in.  He lay there, unable to move.

Instead of the chandelier that should be hanging over his bed, there was a neon tube with a tangle of naked wires twisting out of a broken plastic fitting.  The sound of frozen peas, he now realized, was rain hitting the walls and the ceiling.  He was lying in a small bed in the corner of a small room…it had to be a caravan.  He could tell from the shape of the walls.  There was a window with no curtains but he couldn’t see out because the glass was the frosted sort that you sometimes get in bathrooms or toilets.  The room was very cold.  Tad drew his legs up and the bed creaked and groaned.

The room was only a little larger than the bed itself, divided from the rest of the caravan by a plastic covered wall with a door.  Somebody had left some clothes crumpled in a heap on the floor.  A pair of torn and soiled jeans poked out from a tangle of T-shirts, socks and underwear.  There were also some comics, a battered ghetto-blaster and a few toys, broken, missing their batteries.

How had he got here?  Tad tried to think, tried to remember.  He had gone to bed like he always did.  Nothing had happened.  So how…?  There could only be one answer.  He had been kidnapped.  That had to be it.  Someone had broken into Snatchmore Hall getting past the wall, the moat, the security system, and the dog, had drugged him while he was asleep and kidnapped him.  He had read about this sort of thing happening.  His father would have to pay some money—a ransom—but that was no problem because Sir Hubert had lots of money.  And then he would be allowed to go home.

The more Tad thought about it, the more relieved he became.  In fact, it was almost exciting.  He’d be on the television and in all the newspapers: MILLIONAIRE’S SON IN RANSOM DEMAND, BOY HERO RETURNS HOME SAFE.  That would certainly be something to tell them when he got back to school!  And when the kidnappers were finally caught (as of course they would be), he would have to go to court.  He would be the star witness!

Tad glanced at his watch, wondering what time it was.  The watch was gone.  That didn’t surprise him.  It was a Rolex, solid gold, with built-in calendar, calculator, and color TV.  His mother had given it to him a year ago to thank him for tidying his room when Mrs. O’Blimey was off sick.  The wretched kidnappers must have taken it.  (They also seemed to have taken his silk pajamas—he was wearing only pants and a black T-shirt that was several sizes too big.)  Tad lowered his hand—then raised it again.  Was he going mad…or was his wrist thinner than it had been?  With an uneasy feeling in his stomach, he closed his third finger and his thumb in a circle around where his watch had once been.  They met.

Tad began to tremble.  How long had he been in the caravan?  Could it have been weeks—even months?  How had he managed to lose so much weight?



1. What woke Tad up? 

2.  What words were used to describe the horrible smell?

3. What was wrong with the pillow?

4. What was in place of the chandelier that should have been hanging over his bed?

5. When tad finally realized what sort of room he was in, what was his conclusion?

6. What did Tad assume had happened to him?

7. Who gave him the solid gold Rolex watch and why?

8. What functions did his missing Rolex watch have?

9. What was Tad wearing instead of his silk pajamas?

10. How did Tad know that he had grown thinner?



1. What woke Tad up? 
Tad was woken up by a sound—a metalling pattering sound like frozen peas falling on a tin plate.
2.  What words were used to describe the horrible smell?
Damp and dirty.
3. What was wrong with the pillow?
The pillow was disgusting– completely shapeless, and stuffed with what felt like old rags.  It had no cover and, though it might once have been white, it was now stained with dried-up puddles of sweat and saliva, various shades of yellow and brown.
4. What was in place of the chandelier that should have been hanging over his bed?
There was a neon tube with a tangle of naked wires twisting out of a broken plastic fitting.
5. When tad finally realized what sort of room he was in, what was his conclusion?
He realized that he was in some sort of caravan.
6. What did Tad assume had happened to him?
He thought that he had been kidnapped.
7. Who gave him the solid gold Rolex watch and why?
His mother gave it to him for tidying up his room when the housecleaner, Mrs. O’Blimey was off sick.
8. What functions did his missing Rolex watch have?
It had a built-in calendar, calculator, and color TV.
9. What was Tad wearing instead of his silk pajamas?
He was only wearing underpants and a black t-shirt.
10. How did Tad know that he had grown thinner?
He closed his third finger and his thumb in a circle around his wrist and they met.



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