Music End of Year Reflection

As a member of the MS orchestra this year, I think I grew as a musician, actively participating and sharing ideas in class and becoming more observant and helping others by giving them advice on bowing or fingering etc.. In orchestra this year, not only did we play music, we also gained knowledge on history and other aspects of music through presenting about the Conquistadores (Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro etc.) and we are also currently working on a presentation about carribean music. Ms. Constantini also gives us life lessons such as the importance of greeting others during music class and I think this has also bettered me as a person. I have also participated in the G6 & high school orchestra and band and middle school choir repertoir. Through participating as a percussionist in MS/HS/G6 Band & Orchestra, I have discovered the joy of playing a wider variety of instruments such as the bells, vibes, tambarines and of course the chimes! One of the pieces I played the bells for was “In Flight” during the HS Instrumental Spring Concert. It was one of my favourite piece as it was so powerful and had such a strong impact on me. The melody of the bells really stood out and I realized the beauty of the sound of the bells. While playing, I felt such a strong sense of pride in being able to play with the HS Band and I just loved the music! I was also surprised and admired Stephanie’s skills when she was playing the xylophone beside me. She played the countless notes on her music sheet very accurately and I was awed. Although my head hurt a bit and I was exhausted after the excitement during the concert, I had a feeling of satisfaction and it was such a wonderful experience!

Another time when I had unforgettable memories I had was when I played the chimes for “Moscow, 1941”; the last piece of the MS band repertoire for the spring concert this year. It was my very first time playing the chimes and I was awed by the impact the sound of the chimes had. It added a very different mood to the music and made it much more powerful. The piece demanded quite a lot of attention as I had to play accurately and swiftly. To play the instrument, it required strength and I was embarrassed by Mr. Vest a couple times during rehearsal as I was still not accustomed to the instrument and was afraid of hitting the pipes of the chimes as hard as I could. However, Mr. Vest told me to hit it as hard as possible and maybe break a few bones and passionately encouraged me to play as hard as I dared and on the day of the concert, I was very confident and was able to play well.

As a violinist, percussionist and pianist this year, I have grown and become more confident and I feel like this year has been full of exhilerating experiences and I guarantee that my excitement and enthusiasm when I recieve new pieces to play has definitely grown since last year.

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Eco Club Semester 2

As a new member of Eco Club this semester, the activities we did such as the Wednesday Recycling, Tuesday Paper Sorting and Kibou no Mori impacted me greatly as I learnt that small actions such as sorting out pet bottles, caps, cans (aluminum and steel), paper (color and white) and trash can greatly reduce resources being wasted as by recycling, the resources can be reused over and over again. I also became more aware of the importance of contributing to preserving the earth.

Wednesday Recycling- 4 (8 times)

Kibou no Mori- 8 points (2 times)

Tuesday Paper Sorting- 3 points (15 minutes – 12 times)

Lunch Meetings- 1 point (2 times)

Total- 16 Points

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SBC Semester 2

Throughout semester 2 of helping out as a member of the SBC, we continued our effort of making middle school a better environment for everyone. We sent out surveys to students and discussed possible actions in response to the survey results and effective solutions focused on 1 or 2 problems such as bad language and bullying. In order to provide fun events for middle school, we are currently preparing for the Fun Bowl which will be held on the last day of school. The Fun Bowl is an activity where contestants (mixed grades) are given questions and if they get it right, they earn a point. The questions consist of both academic questions and non-academic questions such as “What is Ms. Nishizawa’s favourite color?” in which the obvious answer is green. As a member of the tech team, I will be helping out with audio/visual questions and tech work on the day and I am very excited about it! As a SBC leader, I think I have helped the MS community by providing a better environment for students and teachers and it has also positively impacted me as I learnt that listening to others via surveys etc. and brainstorming ideas to come up with good solutions can really bring change and help middle school be a comfortable and enjoyable place for students and teachers. My first year as a SBC Leader has been a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to sharing my ideas more actively next year.

Tech Team Semester 2

As a tech leader, semester 2 was very exhilarating and full of exciting events. In April, I participated in the Beyond Blogging Teachers Conference, where we used google hangout to communicate with students and teachers from international schools around the world. The questions the teachers asked were:

  • What types of spaces do students like learning in as a group? Individually?

  • What types of spaces do students like “hanging out in” as a group? Individually?

  • What are the characteristics of learning environments or opportunities that are engaging for you and invites you to learn?

  • What are the characteristics of learning environments or opportunities that are not so pleasant and engaging?

  • As learners of the 21st century, what are things that you want teachers to be aware of and understand?

  • How do students build and manage their digital identity since they started using social networks, Google Apps / Chrome, online tools provided by the school, etc.?

It was an interesting experience and it was cool using the google hangout app as the camera automatically switched between people and focused on whoever was talking!

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Another event was the workshop that was held yesterday in the library. Students shared what they were doing with technology with some visiting teachers and I shared my blog and the internet safety video and answered questions.

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Throughout this year, there were many events but the biggest project that I had put in a lot of effort and time was the video Masao and I had made for the Webranger project. Google Japan encouraged groups of middle school and high school students from schools all over Japan to create a campaign that promoted safe internet use and as tech leaders, we wanted to contribute and help spread awareness of the importance of using the internet safely. We focused on the topic “Internet Stalking” and through a music video, we portrayed a 13-year-old student being cyber stalked and shared ways to prevent that from happening. The process of making the video consisted of planning, acting, filming, editing and scripting and the last week before the deadline was the busiest as not only did we have to make the video for the campaign, we had to make a video that reflected on the impact we made on the viewers. To widen the audience, we also put subtitles in English and Japanese. We made a presentation to the middle school and spread the main message of the video; “Before you take action on the internet, think for yourself, be aware and make the right decision. “. We interviewed the students after showing the video and got positive feedback.

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Making the video took a lot of time and effort and sometimes, there were frustrating moments when there were technical problems or Masao forgot to press the record button and I had to climb the stairs from the first to fourth floor for the second time or the filming was challenging, but I think it was definitely worth it. Through cooperation, persistence and endeavour, we were able to complete the video and it was a fantastic experience for me as a tech leader to spread awareness of the importance of using the internet safely. Finally, I would like to thank Mrs. Lemley and Ms. Shigeta for giving advice and guiding us, Mr. Ashimori for acting, the interviewees, others who had helped us through the process of making the video and of course, my partner Masao for putting a tremendous amount of work in the creation of the video and keeping his humor even at frustrating moments.

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Through my role as a tech leader this year, I think it has made me more responsible and the experiences I had taught me the importance of cooperation, creativity and persistence. I have impacted the community by helping spread awareness of the importance of using the internet safely and sharing what students can do using technology effectively.

Kibou no Mori 2

On Sunday, Eco Club Members went to Kibou no Mori to cut the rapidly growing grass that hindered the growth of the trees we and other high school Eco Club Members had planted early in the year. We used shears to cut the long grass and dangerous branches with horns. The weather was pretty warm and there were wild berries growing. It was nice to go outdoors and have fun with friends while helping the steady growth of the plants and trees although there were spiders that I am not fond of. 😛

This activity was beneficial to the environment and it helped the community by providing oxygen to the citizens and it helped provide a beautiful landscape without long grasses and I felt good as I was helping the trees live in this world.

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