Friday, September 19, 2008

Trying Something New

We have been studying different communities and cultures. It was a perfect lead in for introducing Japan. We have been working on a few words and phrases, but today we tried some calligraphy. Our reading series story this week was The Ballad of Mulan, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to introduce calligraphy. We watched a YouTube segment on how to hold the brush and the different types of strokes. I found some pictures of Chinese characters and the stroke order so I had a helper enlarge them. When we visited Inagi Dainana Elementary School in Inagi, the students had tracers under the paper to help guide their strokes. I wish I had found a pad of those when I was there, but we made due with what we had. I bought a bunch of brushes at the 100 yen store, and we used black tempera paint instead of ink. We also used white newsprint instead of the paper used at the school. First we practiced holding the brushes. Then we practiced tracing the characters. The students found the way they held the brush made it a little difficult, but they had a great time working on the characters. We wrote person, day, and above. They wanted to try more, but I told them we would practice another day. It was a fun activity, and the kids are more interested in Japan every day!

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