Kamikoani ES International Day
Kamikoani Elementary School has held an International Day each year since 2018.
- Expose children to foreign cultures
- Deepen international understanding
- Increase interest in English
|13:15 ~ 13:25||Opening Ceremony||10 mins|
|13:30 ~ 13:55||Workshop 1||25 mins|
|14:05 ~ 14:30||Workshop 2||25 mins|
|14:40 ~ 15:10||Free Session||30 mins|
|15:15 ~ 15:25||Closing Ceremony||10 mins|
|15:25 ~ 15:30||Group photo||5 mins|
All the students sit on the floor in the gym in class lines. The guest teachers wait outside the gym. A 5th grader leads them into the gym and up onto the stage to music and applause. The 6th grader homeroom teacher opens the ceremony. A 6th grader makes a welcome speech in English. The principal makes a speech (in English or Japanese). Then the guest teachers briefly introduce themselves, and their activity. At the end, 2 guide students go up to each guest teacher, introduced themselves and bring them to the workshop rooms.
In 2021, we asked ALTs who could speak two or more non-Japanese languages to introduce themselves in 2 languages. For example, one ALT introduced herself in both Chinese and English. Before they spoke, we announced the languages they would speak so the students could understand what was happening. This gave a nice International feel to the event.
Guest teachers prepare a 25 minute cultural workshop, to be used with 2 classes (1st & 2nd grade, 3rd & 4th grade, or 5th & 6th grade). Guest teachers are free to create workshops on any topic, but is should be fun and interactive. Cooking together, learning songs or dances, playing traditional games/sports are all good activities. If the students learn a few new words or phrases during the activity, all the better!
Examples of topics:
- 🇹🇹 Limbo
- 🇦🇺 Dot Art
- 🇭🇺 Advent Calendar
- 🇩🇰 Apples on a String
- 🇿🇦 Newspaper Hockey
- 🇺🇸 S'mores
- 🇸🇬 Capteh
- 🇳🇿 Taniwha masks
- 🇵🇬 Netball
- 🇵🇭 Tinikling Dance
- 🇺🇸🇨🇦🇬🇧 Halloween
- 🇷🇺 Doll making
- 🇰🇷 Kids games
- 🇿🇦 Color Game
- 🇲🇾 Baling Selipar (Slipper throwing)
- 🇮🇪 Hurling
- 🇷🇺 Culture
The 6 guest teachers sit at desks in the gym. Children go around in their prepared groups of 3 or 4. They introduce themselves to the guest teacher and ask prepared questions. The guest teachers answer the questions and ask a similar or related question in return. When finished the child says, "Sign, please." and gets a sign or sticker/stamp from the guest teacher. This activity ensures that each child has an opportunity to speak with each guest teacher. And their friends are there to help if they need.
To keep the level of the groups similar, 1st & 2nd graders are together, 3rd and 4th graders are together, and 5th and 6th graders are together. This effectively creates 3 levels; younger, middle, and older.
All the students sit on the floor in the gym. The guest teachers are led into the gym by a 5th grader (we use a different 5th grader to try include as many children as possible). Music plays and everyone applauses until they are up on the stage. The 6th grader homeroom teacher opens the ceremony. The guest teachers briefly introduce themselves, their activity, and their reflection of the activity. Then a 6th grader (again different) makes a thank you speech in English. Next 2 gift students go up to each guest teacher, introduced themselves, thank them, and give them a gift (Yamabuki Manju).
|Travel expenses||¥5,120 × 6||¥30,720|
|Teaching materials & supplies||¥15,000|
|Food & drinks||¥10,000|
- The budget for this event every year is ¥65,720.
- Kamikoani ES has about 8 children in each class, so 6 guest teachers is perfect.
- Kamikoani pays ¥40 per kilometer for travel expenses. Round trip to Akita City is 128km, hence ¥5,120.
- Guest teachers can purchase materials and be reimbursed (both prior permission and receipts required).
Note: Receipts should only list items to be reimbursed.
Note: Photos of the receipts need to be submitted 2 weeks before the event.
- Food & drinks money is used to purchase gifts for the guests, and pay for guests school lunches.
Guest teachers are essential to International Day. They are the window to the world for our students. They provide a glimpse into a country and culture that our students may never get to visit.
About 2-3 months before the event we will contact guest teachers directly to ask if they would like to participate. At this first step we just want to know if they personally wish to attend. If they do, our vice principal will contact the supervisor/school of the person and ask permission to formally invite them. The supervisor/school can check the schedule of the individual before giving the green light. Finally Kamikoani BoE will send an official invitation to the guest teacher's contracting organization (school/BoE) requesting their attendance.
Guest teacher who work in schools (JET Program participants or private ALTs) can attend our International Day as a business trip. This means it is part of your job, and you won't have to take a holiday or lose pay to attend. You will also be reimbursed for travel and material expenses. You also get a free lunch, and a gift for attending.
At Kamikoani ES, we try to find participants from various countries. 18 countries have been represented to date at our International Day.
- Interview card
- The interview card is the children's main resource for International Day. They write their question to the guest teachers as well as their group members. They use it to both learn about the guest teachers, and to collect their signs or stamps. After the event they will use it to write their reflection. Finally it becomes a keepsake of the event for the children.
- Created in Pages, printed on A4 card
- Scripts for representatives
- The speeches for the opening and closing ceremony change slightly every year depending on the level of the students delivering them as well as what topics have been studied. The guide scripts only need to change the location of the workshop. The gift scripts don't change.
- Created in Pages, printed on A4 card
- Free Session Questions
- Before the event we use 2 hours in each grade to prepare. In the first hour we write the questions the children will ask the guest teachers. We show them these questions on slides and the children change the appropriate part to make their questions original. These questions are based on English the children learned since April. The 1st and 2nd graders write in katakana, all other graders write in English.
- Guest teacher name tags
- These name tags include the guest teachers first name in English and furigana. It also includes their country's flag and name in both English and Japanese. On the reverse is a schedule of the event.
- Created in Pages, printed on card, inserted into Open's NL-21 name plate holders
- Guest teacher map
- This map is hung in the entrance of our school for about 2 weeks before the event and 2 weeks after. This helps the children become familiar with the guest teachers faces before the event. It also shows where they are from, and includes their self introduction.
- Created in Affinity Designer (dimensions: 176cm × 76cm), printed on poster printer (Canon iPF610), Political Map of the World
- We hang flags around the entrance of the school for about 2 weeks before the event and 2 weeks after. This helps create an international feel to the school. We also hang the flags of the 6 guest teachers in the center of the school. This helps the children become familiar with the flags and names of the countries beforehand.
- We bought the 20 flag set for ¥4,550. And buy other necessary flags individually for ¥2,000. Note: they can make any flag to order for the same price.
- This banner is hung on the stage where the opening and closing ceremony will be held. It makes a great backdrop for pictures, too.
- Created in Affinity Designer (dimensions: 1,000cm × 122cm), printed on poster printer (Canon iPF610)
- Workshop posters
- These posters are hung outside the room where the workshops will be held the day before the event. This allows the children see some imagery of the country beforehand.
- Created in Pages, printed on A3 paper
- Daily greetings
- In Kamikoani ES the children must come to the teachers room as they enter the school every morning and say ohayo-gozaimasu. When they leave after school they must come and say sayonara. For about 2 weeks before the event and 2 weeks after the children must use English instead of Japanese; Good morning and Goodbye. The older students must use English when they come to speak to the teachers; Excuse me. Mr. Tanaka, please. This helps both students and teachers to use English every day, and set an international mood.
- Created in Pages, printed on A3 paper
About a week before the event we have an after school meeting with all the teachers to talk through the plan. This meeting usually takes about 1 hour, and needs to be scheduled in a few weeks beforehand (as we want as many teachers present as possible).
The vice-principal contacts the following newspapers and local publication about 1 month before the event to let them know this event is coming up. Then about 1 week before the event they will contact them again with more specific details. The reporters come, take photographs and write articles in the publications. These articles in turn can then be hung around the school.
After the event, we give an English questionnaire to the guest teachers, and a Japanese questionnaire to the elementary school teachers. We use the feedback from these to improve the event the next year. We distribute these questionnaires immediately after the event and ask them to be returned within a few days. Note the 2 questionnaires follow a different format.
English (emailed to participants)
- How satisfied were you with International Day?
- What did you like most about International Day?
- What did you like least about International Day?
- How helpful were the homeroom teachers during your activities?
- Was there anything you needed for your activities that wasn't available?
- Prior to the event, what could have been explained better to help your preparations?
- Was the workshop/free time activity length too long, too short, or about right?
- How was the school lunch?
- Do you have any suggestions to make International Day better next year?
- Is there anything else you'd like to share about the event?
Japanese (printed out and distribute to teachers)
- Japanese questionnaire (アンケート)
After the responses have been collected, we produce a 2 page summary report, and distribute it to the teachers in the school.
- Summary report (2021 example)
|1.5 years||Explain event||ALT|
|1 year||Secure money||school|
|1 year||Choose a date||school|
|3 months||Find ALTs||ALT|
|1 month||Send official invites
(guest teachers, newspapers)
|2 weeks||Choose students/make groups
(speech, gift, guide)
|1 week||Teacher meeting||ALT/teachers|
- Explaining the event was required before the first event.
The following video shows scenes from the Kamikoani 2021 event. Faces and names have been blurred out for privacy reasons.
- Video (YouTube)
Participating ALT info
ALTs who wish to participate in our event will be asked for the following information:
|1||Your name in English and Katakana||We need to contact your supervisor|
|2||Your main school/workplace|
|3||Your supervisor's name (with their kanji if possible)|
|4||Your supervisor's workplace and contact phone number|
|5||Your current address area||For reimbursement. Example: "Kosawada, Kamikoani"|
|6||Do you have a car?||If not we can organize transportation|
|7||Home country and area|
|8||A picture that clearly shows your face|
|9||Self introduction||Example: "Hi! My name is Owen. I'm from Ireland. I like playing badminton.|
I can ski and snowboard well. Let’s enjoy speaking English!"
|10||Your email address||For correspondence|
|11||Your phone number||For contacting you on the day of the event|
|12||Do you have any food allergies||You will be provided a school lunch|
This page and all these files were created by Owen in Kamikoani. If you have any questions, or need some advice on starting your own International Day at elementary or junior high school I'm happy to help in any way that I can. You can easily find me on Facebook.