REaChing for the stars
Empowering English Language Learners
This is by far my favorite time of year in Japan. My husband and I just returned from a ten day vacation in Thailand, and both of us were feeling a bit depressed about a return to colder temperatures and rainy weather. But, outside our apartment there are two large sakura trees, and both were showing signs of blooming cherry blossoms. Our mood was lightened when we remembered that cherry blossom season was just around the corner!
In Kanazawa, there are some particularly lovely places to see cherry blossoms along the Saigawa River and in Kenrokuen Park. In the distance, snow capped peaks can be seen in the background of the petite light pink blossoms of the sakura trees. While these places become crowded with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) participants, it's a lot quieter than in the bigger cities at this time. In Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, hanami parties abound, and blue picnic mats crowd all available space in the popular sakura parks. No matter where you find yourself, observing this fleeting gift of nature is a delightful experience.
For the school bulletin board, I created an article about hanami in Japan and the cherry blossom forecast this year. This article teaches students "bloom" and "predict". As I read through Input-Based Incremental Vocabulary Instruction by Joe Barcroft (TESOL), I'm reminded that "the number of times a target word appears in...input is critical." With that in mind, I repeated use of these vocabulary terms throughout the article.