Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)
Theme meeting

An International Classroom and KIDLINK

Isamu Shimazaki, Rinkan Elementary School

1. Introduction

In 1995, we started the WWFAX project with a teacher named *Patty* from Delmar Elementary School in the US. In this project, we corresponded with each other using drawings. Spanish-speaking children in our school began participating in the project in 1997. The children have corresponded with many children from different countries on KIDLINK, the global network.

Our school has an international class for foreign students who aren't fluent in Japanese. They have to study Japanese very hard in order to follow what's happening in the regular lessons, so we teach them Japanese in this class.

We decided to introduce how students study Japanese in the international class to other children on KIDLINK, using drawings. We also decided to research how students understand each other when they speak different languages: English, Japanese, and Spanish.

We would like to report on our correspondence with other schools, conducted by drawings, to illustrate how children who speak different languages can communicate.

2. Teaching Japanese in the international class

We set up a Macintosh computer in the international classroom and gave students their own IDs and passwords, allowing them to use the computer whenever they wished. We also planned to use it for teaching Japanese. Last year, we taught Japanese to beginning students by the direct method, i.e. using only Japanese. This year, we decided to use the Internet and chose Spanish, their mother tongue, to teach Japanese.
1) Draw a picture using KIDPIX, write what they want, and then record the words spoken.
(hiragana, studying kanji (Chinese characters), composition, and picture diary)

2) Children accustomed to this process first write their messages in Spanish, draw a picture, and save it using KIDPIX. They then translate it into Japanese, then finally draw a picture to explain the content. (KIDPIX is very convenient for us because we can use English, Japanese, and Spanish.)

3. Communication with children on KIDLINK

We send drawings mainly as e-mail attachments. *Patty*, a teacher in the US, put up on her home page various letters and drawings sent by children from various countries. She also printed them, posting them on a bulletin board in her school. We also made a bulletin board in the corridor in front of the International classroom. The bulletin board is prominent, since children pass by it in the corridor when they go to the music room. We've even heard students read some of the posted messages out loud.

Children's art works were introduced on *Patty's* home page as follows:
Our sixth-grade students sent a drawing of a cat to show our support of the project.

4. Conclusion

The goals of our project were:
We learned that the drawings helped children understand what others wrote. Little by little, as the project progressed, children became interested in the native languages of other children, even if they couldn't understand them well. On her home page, *Patty* published a list of words in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese words. We are now thinking of creating a simple dictionary, illustrated with our drawings.

Recently I've been using an English-Spanish and Spanish-English dictionary when I teach Japanese. Some students think I understand Spanish, so they speak to me freely in Spanish. When I canUt make out the meaning, other children interpret for me. Letting children use their native language when studying Japanese makes them more relaxed and eager to study.

As children learn Japanese, they often start to forget Spanish. We wanted to teach Japanese while avoiding this and continuing to create opportunities for the children to use Spanish in the classroom. The Internet provided a perfect place to communicate and study with other children.

The teaching of Japanese in our international class will be helpful for children all over the world who participate in KIDLINK. Children from Peru were able to communicate with children in their home country via the Internet. By introducing this activity on the school bulletin board, other children became involved in promoting internationalization. We plan to continue using the Internet to help remove barriers between children who speak different languages.

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