Lights! Camera! Action!

Making a JOEE Promotional Video

Artwork by
Satoshi Kitamura
Used with permission

On June 13th in Higashi Kurume, we were able to hold a sample JOEE lesson and shoot footage for a promotional video for JOEE.  Ruth Ingulsrud recruited children from Christian Academy in Japan, Honeybee English School, and local kindergartens to participate in the video.  Also, myself, Raku Dishner, was recruited as a fellow teacher for the JOEE organization, and (as I later discovered), a volunteer assistant for the video.

Shin Theodore Lewis, a recent graduate of Christian Academy in Japan, and talented cinematographer, volunteered his talent and camera to be director and also to film the lesson.

It was a sweltering start-of-summer day, but the children were excited and eager to dance, laugh and play with Ruth and Mehh-gumi the Lamb puppet!  Moms were also there and had a great time assisting and participating with their children. Each family signed a waiver allowing us to use their faces in the video.

“Pass the ball! Pass the ball!”

The theme of the lesson was “ball.”  Ruth read the story “A Ball for Daisy” by Chris Raschka, followed by Mo Willems’ well-loved “Elephant and Piggy” book, “Can I Play Too?”  I was surprised and nervous as Ruth called me up to manage a large snake puppet and participate in the story! She also passed around various sized balls and played the game “pass the ball”.  The children counted and passed and tossed and caught the ball while saying “Throw!” and “Catch!” 

 Many picture books were available at the lesson’s end for the children to read with a helpful grown-up.  They were all rather sad when the lesson ended. Ruth, the kind moms, Hiroko, Shin and I were sweaty, but satisfied with our hard work and the resulting happy, happy kids!

Having video footage of a JOEE lesson will help us to raise funds, introduce our program to prospective orphanages, as well as recruit volunteers and teachers.  We are grateful to all who participated in the sample lesson and to Shin Theodore Lewis for his grace and talent to help us with this project.

Blessings everyone!


Donating! JOEEに寄付する

For those of you who are wondering how to contribute via furikomi domestic Japanese bank transfer, here is the information regarding our Japan Postal account:


Japan Postal Branch Kanji: 〇一八
JP Branch: #018
JP Account: #10100-89960791
Account Type: Ordinary (Futsuu)



[店名]〇一八(読み ゼロイチハチ]

Jumping for Joy at JOEE


People of JOEE recently had the pleasure and privilege of presenting some of its program at the St. Francisco Children’s Home. Thanks to an introduction to the administrators of the home by Flavio Gori who volunteers through the Catholic Miserichordia organization, JOEE was invited to participate in a planned activity on June 1, 2019.


We were met by the very friendly nuns who run the home and were given a quick tour of the facilities. The home is quite large and has a lovely playing area with a quaint tree house giving the place a storybook feel.


There is a care facility for the elderly nuns connected to the children’s home staffed by gracious caregivers. The chapel, which is also accessible to the children, is beautiful and serene. I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful it would be to put on a puppet program there for the children to help them celebrate Christmas or Easter.

そこには優しい介護者がいるチィルドレンズ・ホームに繋がっている年配のシスター達のためのケア施設があります。また子供達が利用することができるチャペルは、美しく、静かで落ち着いた場所です。 そんな施設で子供たちがクリスマスやイースターを祝うのを手助けするために、子供達の為の人形プログラムを行うことができたら、どんなに素晴らしいだろうかと考えていました。

After the tour, we met up with other volunteers at the front entrance. The Italian ambassador’s wife was there with several friends and they had brought bags of artwork supplies.



While the older children played soccer outside with Flavio and his friends, the younger ones made beautiful puff-paint masterpieces in the large upstairs room. As the artwork dried, the children gathered for story time with Meh-gumi the Lamb. Learning English was fun and interactive with the puppet helping to explain and act out simple words and expressions. At one point, we needed help from the children in demonstrating the word, “under.” The storyteller was too big to crawl under the chair and so the children happily volunteered. One after another they went “UNDER” giggling the whole time.



Meh-gumi was a big hit with the kids. Everyone wanted to meet the lamb. The children loved talking with the puppet and gave her hugs and kisses before we left. Meh-gumi was thrilled! So many hugs! So many kisses!


I hope we will be able to return to St. Francisco again to teach joyful English to the young residents and to play another exuberant game of Duck-Duck-Goose. Thank you, St. Francisco Children’s Home, for welcoming JOEE!

私達はいつかセント・フランシスコ・チィルドレンズ・ホームに戻り、また小さな子供達に英語を楽しく教えること、そして、もう一度活気に満ち溢れるダック -ダック -グースのゲームを皆ですることができる様にと願っています。





Demonstration Lesson at the Mitaka “Free School”

cropped-JOEE_cheering_girl-512x512-1.pngOn May 25, at the invitation of the alternative school, the Mitaka “Free School,” JOEE arrived at their facility across from the Ghibli Museum. This school helps to educate students who have trouble learning in traditional Japanese classrooms. The people of JOEE arrived on a Saturday morning to give a two-hour lesson to the children of the school’s staff.

5月25日に三鷹市のジブリ美術館の向かい側にある施設『文化学習協同ネットワーク』のフリースクールにおいて、JOEEがデモンストレーションレッスンを行いました。この学校は、様々な理由により不登校になった子どもたちのために設立されており、勉強支援の為だけの施設ではなく、子どもたちが安心して過ごせる居場所になっています。 JOEEスタッフは土曜日の朝、フリースクールの職員の子どもたちに2時間のお試し授業を行いました。


The lesson began with a puppet-assisted reading of “A Ball for Daisy,” a Caldecott-Award-Winning wordless picture book by Chris Raschka.

著者:Chris Raschkaの字のない絵本「A Ball for Daisy」のパペットでの読み聞かせからレッスンが始まりました。

This book is particularly effective in helping to teach the word ball. The students empathize with the little shaggy dog who loves his red ball so very much and is heartbroken when the ball pops. His sorrow turns to joy when he receives a new blue ball.



Because we had a full two hours with the children, and because we had parents available to help, we were able to add an art project to our lesson. The kids had fun creating colorful finger-painted balls that turned out beautifully!



We met with the parents after the lesson to get their feedback. They had very positive comments. They encouraged us to offer some JOEE lessons to local families in the fall. We would love to come back to this vibrant neighborhood to teach more children!






JOEE volunteers have begun teaching immersive English lessons to children aged four to seven at a children’s home in Mitaka called Choyo Gakuen. Six children are delighted to meet puppets, hear stories and play games that teach a beginning set of English vocabulary.


Our lesson on January 10 was the second time we had met with students there. They seemed very happy to participate in every part of the lesson.


A college-aged volunteer joined our regular teaching staff, and she was a big hit with the kids.When a couple of the children became hyperactive and needed a little calming down, she paid special attention to them and they were soon ready to listen and join in once again.

子どもたちは、実際にパペットで演じた絵本の読み聞かせを最も楽しんでいるようでした。モ・ウィレムス著作の”Can I Play Too,”というお話の最後には、『ヘビさんの投げっこ』という場面があり*、子どもたちと実際にパペットを使って一緒に投げっこ遊びをしました。

The children especially enjoyed story time that was enhanced by puppets acting out some of the parts. They got to play “Toss-the-Snake” at the end of the Mo Willems’ story, “Can I Play Too,” where Elephant and Piggy try to figure out how to include a new friend, Snake, in their game of catch.

英語レッスンが終わる頃になると、子どもたちは『ボール/ball』『投げる/throw』『捕る/catch』のような英単語を覚えていました。レッスンの最後には、子どもたちが「ボールを下さい(Ball please!)」と英語で言うことによって、ボールの形をしたおやつをもらうアクティビティを行いました。私たちスタッフも、子どもたちと同様にレッスンをとても楽しみました。次回のレッスンが楽しみです。

By the end of the English lesson, the children had learned words like “ball,” “throw,” and “catch.” The very last activity was to have the children ask for a ball-shaped treat by politely saying, “Ball please!” The response was, “Yes!” and they got to eat their round snacks. We had as much fun as the kids and we look forward to our next teaching session.


On October 14, 2018, an intrepid band of JOEE supporters met together at the cafeteria of the International Christian University (ICU) in Mitaka to begin the adventure of creating a non-profit organization called JOEE or the Japan Orphan English Education initiative.We discussed structure, methodology, mission statement, timeline and took a look at the various skills that our group of volunteers brought with them. We plotted a course and then hopped to it.


We will be meeting for a second time on November 11, In the space of less than a month, we have made good progress in registering JOEE as a non-profit foundation, opened a bank account on behalf of JOEE, and visited a couple of places where we would like to share the JOEE experience.

The first lesson will take place at a Mitaka orphanage on November 29 and four of our JOEE members will be there to help out.


This web address,, has been secured and we will continue to develop and add to the website.


One of our next big hurdles includes the raising of funds to make JOEE a sustainable venture.


Thank you to everyone who has helped us to make such quick progress towards our goals! You make me want to jump for JOEE!


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