KA VOICECAST for Wednesday, October 15th (2014)

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KA NEWS

KA TOP PICKS! The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

STORY TIME  A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning  by Lemony Snicket

LISTENING COMPREHENSION/ VOCABULARY

 

 

 

KA NEWS for Wednesday, October 15, 2014

KA’s annual Halloween Week kicks off on Saturday, October 25th and runs through Friday, October 31st.   Students are encouraged to come dressed up in their favorite costumes and prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed.    So start getting creative and get in the spirit of this very spooky season!

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 his/her 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, 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: 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 28, scheduled to air on October 20, will cover various Halloween themed phrasal verbs and expressions so make sure you tune in!

 

 

KA Top Picks!

 

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

By John Green

The Fault in Our Stars, written by the author John Green and first published in January, 2010 is a novel that will make you laugh but also make you cry.  It was recently made into a movie starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Willem Defoe and was released in the UK on June 16th of this year.

The novel is narrated by a sixteen-year-old girl, Hazel Grace Lancaster, who is dealing with a diagnosis of terminal cancer.  At the bequest of her parents, she reluctantly attends a cancer support group where she meets Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player and fellow cancer sufferer who has lost a leg to the disease.  Augustus, who is in remission, is attending the meeting to support his friend Issac, who is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he is about to lose his remaining eye to cancer.  Issac is also a friend of Hazel’s, and in this way Hazel and Augustus become acquainted.  Augustus and Hazel are instantly attracted to each other and Hazel accepts Augustus’s invitation to his house where they watch a movie and share their cancer stories.  As they part they agree to read each other’s favorite novels.  Hazel asks Augustus to read An Imperial Affliction by mysterious author, Peter Van Houten. The story is that of a cancer-stricken girl named Anna.  Hazel’s interest in the book is clear as the story being told is so similar to her own.  To his frustration Augustus finds out that the novel has an abrupt ending with no conclusions’ leaving him unsatisfied as Hazel explains that the author disappeared to Amsterdam upon publication of the book never to be heard of again.

His curiosity piqued, Augustus makes contact with Van Houten’s assistant, and through her establishes an e-mail correspondence with Van Houten.  Hazel e-mails Van Houten with her questions over the ambiguous ending and waits impatiently for a response.  When Van Houten eventually replies, he claims he can only answer her questions in person.  With Hazel’s health deteriorating, she has a difficult job persuading her parents to let her make the journey to Amsterdam. However, they ultimately realize that Hazel must be able to make the most of the time she has left.  Augustus obtains tickets for both himself and Hazel to visit Amsterdam through a charitable organization.

As Hazel and Augustus become closer, Hazel struggles to come to terms with her feelings for Augustus, likening herself to a grenade, knowing that ultimately their relationship will end in heartache.  Whilst in Amsterdam, after a disastrous meeting with the rude and unpleasant Van Houten, Hazel and Augustus’ romantic relationship develops with both parties confessing their feelings for one another.

On their return to Indianapolis, Augustus health deteriorates as his cancer returns, and the couple agrees that whatever the outcome, they are both happy that they got to know each other and were able to spend time together.  Whilst having a tragic plot, the novel is essentially a love story showing the humor and joy that can be found in the most awful of circumstances.  The Fault in Our Stars novel is available for you to check out of the KA Library so you can easily read it for yourself and find out what happens next.  The film has not yet been released in Japan but the DVD is now available in US markets and can probably be purchased online.

The story deals with some mature emotional issues, and for this reason, the recommended reading age for The Fault in Our Stars is fourteen and above according to Common Sense Media.  Parents are advised to read the novel first and decide whether the content is acceptable for their younger child.

 

***

 

 

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

By Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning

 

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.  In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.  This is because not very many happy things happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters.  Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery, and despair. I’m sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.

Their misfortune began one day at Briny Beach.  The three Baudelaire children lived with their parents in an enormous mansion at the heart of a dirty and busy city, and occasionally their parents gave them permission to take a rickety trolley—the word “rickety” you probably know, here means “unsteady” or “likely to collapse”—alone to the seashore, where they would spend the day as a sort of vacation as long as they were home for dinner.  This particular morning it way gray and cloudy, which didn’t bother the Baudelaire youngsters one bit.  When it was hot and sunny, Briny Beach was crowded with tourists and it was impossible to find a good place to lay one’s blanket.  On gray and cloudy days, the Baudelaires had the beach to themselves to do what they liked.

Violet Baudelaire, the eldest, like to skip rocks.  Like most fourteen-year-olds, she was right-handed, so the rocks skipped farther across the murky water when Violet used her right hand than when she used her left.  As she skipped rocks, she was looking out at the horizon and thinking about an invention she wanted to build.  Anyone who knew Violet well could tell she was thinking hard, because her long hair was tied up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes.  Violet had a real knack for inventing and building strange devices, so her brain was often filled with images of pulleys, levers, and gears, and she never wanted to be distracted by something as trivial as her hair.  This morning she was thinking about how to construct a device that could retrieve a rock after you had skipped it into the ocean.

Klaus Baudelaire, the middle child, and the only boy, liked to examine creatures in tide pools.  Klaus was a little older than twelve and wore glasses, which made him look intelligent.  He was intelligent.  The Baudelaire parents had an enormous library in their mansion, a room filled with thousands of books on nearly every subject.  Being only twelve, Klaus of course had not read all of the books in the Baudelaire library, but he had read a great many of them and had retained a lot of the information from his readings.  He knew how to tell an alligator from a crocodile.  He knew who killed Julius Caesar.  And he knew much about the tiny, slimy animals found at Briny beach, which he was examining now.

Sunny Baudelaire, the youngest, liked to bite things.   She was an infant, and very small for her age, scarcely larger than a boot.  What she lacked in size, however, she made up for with the size and sharpness of her four teeth.  Sunny was at an age where one mostly speaks in a series of unintelligible shrieks.  Except when she used the few actual words in her vocabulary, like “bottle,” “mommy,” and “bite,” most people had trouble understanding what it was that Sunny was saying.  For instance, this morning she was saying “Gack!” over and over, which probably meant, “Look at that mysterious figure emerging from the fog!”

Sure enough, in the distance along the misty shore of Briny Beach there could be seen a tall figure striding toward the Baudelaire children.  Sunny had already been staring and shrieking at the figure for some time when Klaus looked up from the spiny crab he was examining, and saw it too.  He reached over and touched Violet’s arm, bringing her out of her inventing thoughts.

“Look at that,” Klaus said, and pointed toward the figure.  It was drawing closer, and the children could see a few details.  It was about the size of an adult, except its head was tall, and rather square.

“What do you think it is?” Violet asked.

“I don’t know,” Klaus said, squinting at it, “but it seems to be moving right toward us.”

“We’re alone on the beach,” Violet said, a little nervously.  “There’s nobody else it could be moving toward.” She felt the slender, smooth stone in her left hand, which she had been about to try to skip as far as she could.  She had a sudden thought to throw it at the figure, because it seemed so frightening.

 

***

 

LISTENING COMPREHENSION and KEY VOCABULARY WORDS 

 

1.  Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features…

In the sentence above, the underlined word resourceful is closest in meaning to

a) talented

b) creative

c) wealthy

d) functional

 

2. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

…but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery, and despair.

In the sentence above, the underlined word rife is closest in meaning to

a) devoid

b) alive

c) generous

d) full of

 

3. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Violet had a real knack for inventing and building strange devices, so her brain was often filled with images of pulleys, levers, and gears…

In the sentence above, the underlined word knack is closest in meaning to

a) aptitude

b) proneness

c) liability

d) weakness

4.  Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

…so her brain was often filled with images of pulleys, levers, and gears, and she never wanted to be distracted by something as trivial as her hair. 

In the sentence above, the underlined word trivial is closest in meaning to

a) significant

b) unimportant

c) profound

d) negligible

 

5. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

This morning she was thinking about how to construct a device that could retrieve a rock after you had skipped it into the ocean.

A synonym for the underlined word retrieve is

a) resolve

b) get back

c) restore

d) redeem

6. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Being only twelve, Klaus of course had not read all of the books in the Baudelaire library, but he had read a great many of them and had retained a lot of the information from his readings.

In the sentence above, the underlined word retained is synonymous with

a) employ

b) preserve

c) possess

d) remember

 

7. Listen to the following sentence form the passage.

“Look at that mysterious figure emerging from the fog!”

In the sentence above, the underlined word figure is closest in meaning to

a) silhouette

b) celebrity

c) proportions

d) effigy

 

8. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

“Look at that mysterious figure emerging from the fog!”

In the sentence above, the underlined word emerging is closest in meaning to

a) become apparent

b) transpire

c) come out

d) disappear

 

9. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Sure enough, in the distance along the misty shore of Briny Beach there could be seen a tall figure striding toward the Baudelaire children. 

In the sentence above, the underlined word striding is closest in meaning to

a) march

b) run

c) skip

d) crawl

 

10.  Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

“I don’t know,” Klaus said, squinting at it, “but it seems to be moving right toward us.”

In the sentence above, the underlined word squinting is closest in meaning to

a) scowl

b) inspect

c) grimace

d) glance

 

Now that you have completed today’s vocabulary exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did.

 

LISTENING COMPREHENSION and KEY VOCABULARY WORDS : ANSWERS

1. b) creative    2.  d) full of   3. a) aptitude  4. b) unimportant   5. b) get back

6. d) remember  7. a) silhouette   8. c) come out  9. a) march    10.  b) inspect

 

It’s always a good idea to keep a dictionary handy whenever you are reading so you can look up any words or expressions you are unfamiliar with.  It’s a good practice to get into because as you get older and start challenging yourself with more and more difficult reading material, you are more likely to come across terms that you’ve never heard before.  Once you learn how to use a dictionary properly, and efficiently, the easier it will be for you to look up unfamiliar words.

If you would like to learn more about what happens to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudlaire, A Series of Unfortunate Events is available in the KA Library, so be sure to check it out!

 

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