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Did you know...?


Some interesting facts about American school life!

Do American schools have classroom pets like Japan?


Yes, they do. Small animals such as rabbits, fish, hamsters, guineau pigs are popular in classrooms. Some schools allow kids to take classroom pets home during weekends. You can learn more about pets in the classroom here.



What subjects do American kids study?


In elementary school, students usually learn reading, writing, math, science, social studies, PE, music, art, and occasionally foreign languages such as Spanish. English classes in the US (usually called Language Arts) are very different from those in Japan. While Japanese elementary students focus on building vocabulary, elementary students in the US focus on learning how to pronounce and spell words. Phonics is an important method for teaching such concepts in US elementary schools.

Many elementary schools in the US do not have clubs. Instead, there might be choir and/or band classes that have extra-curricular events. There may also be school plays that students audition and rehearse for after school. Other schools might invite outside educators to teach various lessons after school like cooking or dancing lessons.

Do schools have clubs?  If so, what kind?



How do parents get involved in their child's school life?


Although American parents are generally not as involved in school life as Japanese parents, there are local Parent-Teacher Associations at most elementary schools. In Japan, parent involvement usually means exerting direct influence over school rules and procedures. Teachers also visit students' homes while parents observe classes several times throughout the year. However, in the US, parent involvement means supporting teachers, communities, and laws in ways that benefit their students and schools. Parents in the US can also volunteer to be chaperones for field trips or school camping trips.

What do American kids do during recess?

Most American schools have a playground that students can play on. Another popular recess game is tetherball. You can find an image of a tetherball court here. Two people standing on opposite sides of the pole try to hit the ball to wind the rope all the way in their direction. 


Many American children also play on courts drawn on the ground. Most American elementary schools have squares, maps of the US, and other shapes drawn on the ground of the playground. Students can play tag, four-square, and other games with these shapes.

What is homework like in the US? 

The biggest difference between homework in Japan and in the US is the use of computers. Students access homework assignments online using a password or visit a separate website and complete a worksheet assigned by the teacher. Teachers - especially high school teachers - even post grades and report cards online for students and parents to review.

Have extra questions about American schools? Ask us here!

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