KA VOICECAST for Monday, September 1st (2014)

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KA News

Study Tips for Back-to-School

Story Time—The Alchmeyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Key Vocabulary Words


KA News for Monday, September 1st


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, beginning September of 2014. 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 now 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 for the 2014/2015 academic year. 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, which begins on September 2, will focus on improving your listening and comprehension skills.  KA Wordcast:  Listen Up!  should help those of you preparing for entrance and other exams with challenging listening passages, questions, and key vocabulary words.  Listen Up! will air every Tuesday.   Beginning in September, KA Wordcast:  Idioms and Phrasal Verbs will air twice a month only on the 5th and 20th of each month.  Lesson 25, scheduled to air on September 5, will cover various phrasal verbs and expressions based on the word RUN, so be sure to tune in!


  1. Get plenty of rest.  It goes without saying that sleep is incredibly important.  Most researchers agree that children should get between eight and twelve hours of sleep a day, depending on your age, and that means going to bed earlier.   Save your late-night YouTubing, gaming, and telly watching for the weekends and turn in early enough to get a restful night.
  2. Eat healthy!  Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast is key to keeping you focused throughout the school day.  Put away the pop tarts and donuts and have some protein—such as an egg or smoked salmon, some fruit or vegetable, a slice of toast or some cereal, and milk.  Even if your parents allow it, don’t drink coffee or other caffeinated beverage.
  3. Pay attention while you are learning. Make sure you are actually paying attention in class.  You don’t want to miss anything that you may be tested on later. When you can, make sure you choose a seat that offers you optimum learning advantage.
  4. Ask for help.  If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask.  Chances are there are other people in your class who don’t quite get it either.  You are probably doing yourself, as well as your classmates a favor by asking your teacher to explain further or clarify uncertainties.
  5. Create an environment for learning.  When studying at home, make sure you do so in a clean, orderly room with plenty of lighting and minimum distractions.  Turn the TV off!  If music helps you concentrate, don’t have it blaring from the speakers. Do not study while lying on your bed.  You will get drowsy and lose your concentration.
  6. Turn your phone off. Your smart phone is a huge distraction.  Turn it off!
  7. Get yourself organized.  Create a timetable and budget your time wisely.  Prioritize and plan ahead so that you aren’t rushing to get homework in at the last minute or cramming moments before an important test.
  8. Take breaks.    You need some time to have fun and it is better to revise for a test when you are feeling relaxed than to exhaust yourself studying all day.  But don’t procrastinate or get too distracted.  20-30 minutes of study and then a 5-minute break is the most effective method.
  9. Think positive and work hard.  Be positive while you are studying.  Don’t brood over how much homework you have, how difficult it is, or what little time you’ve got to complete it. Use repeat positive words like “confident,” “success,” “capable,” and “accomplish” whenever you have negative thoughts.
  10.  Make time for yourself.  Studying and schoolwork are important, but they are not everything.  You need to make time for yourself, your family, and your friends too.   Play a sport and get some exercise, relax by reading a book for pleasure, watch your favorite TV shows, play video games (sparingly), and meet friends for a movie or lunch.   Do the things you enjoy, with people you love being around.  A well-balanced lifestyle is very important, not only while you are at school, but when you enter the adult world.


IMMORTAL means living forever, never dying or decaying.

ORNATE is an adjective that means made in an intricate shape or decorated with complex patterns.  Synonyms include elaborate, fancy, decorated, and embellished.

WRITHE is a verb that means to make continuous twisting or squirming movements of the body. Squirm, wriggle, and twist and turn are some close equivalents.

A TENDRIL is a slender, threadlike appendage of a climbing plant that stretches out and twines around an object or something that resembles it.

If something is INDEFINABLE, it means that it is hard to describe, explain, or understand.

A HEAP is an untidy collection of objects piled up, often haphazardly.  Pile, stack, and mound are some synonyms for HEAP.




The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

By Michael Scott


Josh realized that they were not speaking… and yet something was going on between them.  Both men were standing still, their arms close to their bodies, elbows tucked in, open palms turned upwards.  Nick was in the center of the shop, while the gray man was standing close to the door, his three black-coated companions around him.  Strangely, both men’s fingers were moving, twitching, dancing, as if they were typing furiously, thumb brushing against forefinger, little finger touching thumb, index and little finger extended.  Tendrils and wisps of green mist gathered in Fleming’s palms, then curled in ornate patterns and drifted onto the floor, where they writhed like serpents.  Foul, yellow-tinged smoke coiled and dripped from the gray man’s gloved hands, spattering onto the wooden floor like dirty liquid.

The stench rolled off the smoke, thickening the atmosphere with the scent of peppermint and sulfur.  Josh felt his stomach twist and lurch and he swallowed hard; the rotten egg smell was enough to make him gag.

The air between the two men shimmered with tendrils of green and yellow smoke, and where they touched, sparks hissed and sizzled.  Fleming’s fingers moved, and a long fist-thick coil of green smoke appeared in the palm of his hand.  He blew on it, a quick hissing breath, and it spun into the air, twisting and untwisting at head height between the two men.  The gray man’s short, stubby fingers tapped out their own rhythm and a yellow ball of energy spun from his hands and bobbed away.  It touched the coil of green smoke, which immediately wrapped around the ball.  There was a sparking snap… and the invisible explosion blew both men backward across the room, sending them crashing across the tables of books.  Lightbulbs popped and fluorescents shattered, raining powdery glass onto the floor.  Two of the windows exploded outward, while another dozen of the small square panes shattered and spiderwebbed.

Nick Fleming tumbled to the floor, close to the opening to the cellar, almost landing on top of Josh, who was standing frozen on the steps, wide-eyed with shock and horror.  As Nick clambered to his feet, he pushed Josh back down the stairs.  “Stay down, whatever happens, stay down,” he hissed, his English touched with an indefinable accent.  He straightened as he turned and Josh saw him turn his right palm upward, bring it close to his face and blow into it.  Then he made a throwing motion toward the center of the room, as if he were lobbing a ball.

Josh craned his neck to follow the movement.   But there was nothing to see… and then it was as if all the air had been sucked out of the room.  Books were suddenly ripped from the nearby shelves, drawn into an untidy heap in the center of the floor; framed prints were dragged from the walls; a heavy woolen rug curled upward and was sucked into the center of the room.

Then the heap exploded.

Two of the big men in black overcoats caught the full force of the explosion.  Josh watched as books, some heavy and hard, others soft and sharp, flew around them like angry birds.  He winced in sympathy as one man took the full force of a dictionary in the face.  It knocked away his hat and sunglasses… revealing dead-looking, muddy, gray skin and eyes like polished black stones.  A shelf of romance novels battered against his companion’s face, snapping the cheap sunglasses in two.  Josh discovered that he, too, had eyes that looked like stones.

And he suddenly realized that they were stones.


If you would like to learn more about Nicholas Flamel and the adventures of Josh and Sophie Newman, be sure to check out The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel from the KA library.


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