KA VOICECAST for Saturday, March 1st (2014)

KA VOICECAST for Saturday, March 1st (2014)

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IN THE NEWS with Dan Blasor



STORY TIME—To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee


KA NEWS for Saturday, March 1st

Please be reminded that all KA schools will be closed from Saturday, March 1st through Monday, March 3rd.  There will be no classes during these three days.  Classes will resume on Tuesday, March 4th

The KA Spring Event is scheduled for Monday, March 31st.  The location is yet to be decided but all students are welcome to attend on the day so please be sure to save the date.  It should be a fund day for all and a great opportunity to meet with students from other KA schools.  More information will be available soon.

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 officially opened its doors in September 2013 and applications for children aged 3-6 are still being accepted.  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.



Films nominated for Best Picture


With Dan Blasor

If you’ve missed the Golden Globes, Grammys or BAFTA award ceremonies, there’s still a chance to see your favorite Hollywood stars dressed in their finest as the 86th Academy Awards, which honors the best in film, happens tomorrow night, on March 2.  This year, comedian Ellen DeGeneres hosts the prestigious award ceremony and Grammy Award winning singer and actress Pink, as well as U2 and Bette Midler are scheduled to make special appearances.  The Academy Award ceremony is one event you don’t want to miss.

There are nine films up for the Oscar this year and there has been much speculation as to which film will take home the golden statue.  12 Years A Slave and American Hustle with ten Oscar nods each, took home Golden Globes in January for Best Picture—Drama and Best Picture Comedy or Musical, respectively, while Philomena walked away with the trophy mask for best film of 2014 at the BAFTAs in Mid-February.  The Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, and Her are the other films in the running, but we won’t know until Sunday evening, which of the critically acclaimed movies will be given the honor.

Actors nominated for Best Male Lead Performance

As far as performances are concerned, some of Hollywood’s most honored veterans are up for Best Performances—either leading or supporting—this year, including six-time BAFTA winner Judi Dench, three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, Silver Berlin Bear winner Bruce Dern, multi-award winning Cate Blanchet, and America’s film darling and Golden Globe and Oscar winner Julia Roberts.  A number of first time nominees, including Matthew McConaughy, Jonah Hill, Jared Leto, and Lupita Nyong’o will also be sitting at the edge of their seats anxiously waiting for their names to be read out.

Actresses nominated for Best Female Lead Performance

The Academy Awards is not just about honoring last year’s films and performances.  Every year, the Academy awards a Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the film industry.  Producers, directors, actors, engineers, screenplay writers, musicians—just about anyone who is involved in the making of film can be honored and it will be interesting to see who receives the award this year.

In addition, this year’s Oscar ceremony will honor the 75th anniversary of the film The Wizard of Oz.  The all-time classic, starring Judy garland as Dorothy, was nominated for six Academy Awards in 1939, losing Best Picture to Gone With the Wind, but winning two statuettes for Original Score and Song—Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia

The Academy also remembers all those Hollywood contributors who passed away the previous year in a very touching In Memoriam.  We said goodbye to some great Hollywood legends, including Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine, but also to some younger performers who still had so many years left to give, including Sopranos star James Gandolfini, Fast and Furious star Paul Walker, and actor Cory Monteith.  As each photograph appears on the screen, we remember, to never forget.

With fewer than 48 hours to go until the red carpet is rolled out in front of the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, all our favorite celebrities are probably at this very moment getting themselves ready for the big event.    Whether you watch the Oscars “live” as it happens or the following day when it is more suitable to your schedule, I’m sure this year’s Academy Awards Ceremony will be a feast for the eyes!




ADAPTED SCREENPLAY—A screenplay that is based on a previously written work—usually a book, either fiction or non-fiction.  The book is adapted to fit within the two or three hour frame of a full-length feature film.


Harry Potter series

The Hunger Games series

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

Twilight series

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Wolf of Wall Street

12 Years A Slave


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, was made into a film starring Gregory Peck way back in 1962, just two years after the novel was released.  The story, which tells of the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South during the 1930’s, is told through the eyes of six-year old Scout Finch.  In today’s passage, Scout describes her hometown, Maycomb, Alabama and its residents, the summer heat, and the cook Calpurnia, with whom she fights many epic battles.




The adjective SWELTERING means uncomfortably hot and humid.  Some synonyms for SWELTERING include stifling, muggy, boiling, and sultry.

To AMBLE means to walk or move at a slow and relaxed pace.  Saunter, stroll, and mosey are close equivalents.

Scout says that her father Atticus treats her and her brother with COURTEOUS DETACHMENT, which basically means that he treated his children with the same courtesy he showed everyone else and he didn’t try to control them the way many parents often do.

An UNKNOWN ENTITY is someone who cannot be named or described because he or she has not been seen or heard from by other people.


To Kill A Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it.  In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the court-house sagged in the square.  Somehow, it was hotter then; a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square.  Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning.  Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

People moved slowly then.  They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything.  A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer.  There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.  But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people; Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.

We lived on the main residential street in town—Atticus, Jem and I, plus Calpurnia our cook.  Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment.

Calpurnia was something else again.  She was all angles and bones; she was near-sighted; she squinted; her hand was as wide as a bed slat and twice as hard.  She was always ordering me out of the kitchen, asking me why I couldn’t behave as well as Jem when she knew he was older, and calling me home when I wasn’t ready to come.  Our battles were epic and one-sided.  Calpurnia always won, mainly because Atticus always took her side.  She had been with us ever since Jem was born, and I had felt her tyrannical presence as long as I could remember.

Our mother died when I was two, so I never felt her absence.  She was a Graham from Montgomery; Atticus met her when he was first elected to the state legislature.  He was middle-aged then, she was fifteen years his junior.  Jem was the product of their first year of marriage; four years later I was born, and two years later our mother died from a sudden heart attack.  They said it ran in her family.  I did not miss her, but I think Jem did.  He remembers her clearly, and sometimes in the middle of a game he would sigh at length, then go off and play by himself behind the car house.  When he was like that, I knew better than to bother him.

When I was almost six and Jem was nearly ten, our summertime boundaries (within calling distance of Calpurnia) were Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose’s house two doors to the north of us, and the Radley Place three doors to the south.  We were never tempted to break them.  The Radley Place was inhabited by an unknown entity the mere description of whom was enough to make us behave for days on end; Mrs. Dubose was plain hell.

That was the summer Dill came to us.


To read more about Scout, her brother Jem, and their new friend Dill, who is based on Harper Lee’s childhood friend and long-time companion Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Cold Blood) be sure to check out To Kill A Mockingbird from the KA library.


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