Here in Japan, the Heisei era is ending in April and May will bring in the Reiwa era. Era names change when a new Emperor takes the throne, and there haven't been many in recent memory. Most people alive today were born in the Showa Era, which lasted over 60 years, or the Heisei Era, which is concluding at 31 years. It's an unusual and lucky time to be in Japan, but you may have noticed that it creates quite the paperwork headache at public schools!

Since the start of the school year in April is often a time where students are meeting each other and their teachers for the first time, the Self-Introductions tag might have some handy activities to help break the ice!

One idea I had during spring break was to try season-based initiatives where teachers could develop and submit activities with a particular theme. The topic that came to mind for me was Lunchtime activities. This is something that varies a lot from school to school, but I think it's safe to say that lots of ALTs eat lunch with the students in their classrooms. In my experience, ALTs feel a sense of obligation to interact with students during lunch, but this can be challenging. Students often feel a little "switched off" during lunch and might not feel confident enough in their speaking skills to interact with the ALT in English. Both the teacher and students may be used to the more structured nature of English class and find it harder to communicate in a more open environment. I've been working as an ALT for a number of years and I'm still pretty bad at making conversation over lunch!

I thought that this would be as good a topic as any for everyone to put their heads together and see what ideas come up! The Lunchtime Activities tag will house any activities anyone comes up with. I'll put my own ideas in there as I think of them and test them out. Do you have anything you use? It can be a conversation game, worksheet, or anything else! Contribute your own ideas and help your fellow teachers out!

As I mentioned in the last update post, we archived a ton of activities from Englipedia and we're sorting through them and converting them to ALTopedia pages. As I write this, we have over 100 posted, with at least several hundred more to go. I'm not quite sure what the final count will be, but if you've got any old favorites that we haven't posted yet, let us know and we'll try and make sure it's in there!

ALTopedia is almost a year old now, and it's been really cool to see people sign up and share their own activities and ideas. I think I'll make another post again next week talking about the one-year anniversary and what's next. As always, let us know what you think!