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Novel Unit - Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Compiled By: Mrs. G

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a true story about a little girl who lived in Japan when the US dopped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Below are some activities to go along with this story or a unit on Japan.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Posted by: Kermit

We will be doing haiku poems and making cranes. I was thinking of making a little journal and recording their thoughts after each chapter as well as doing some acting. Our school also has a set of calligraphy materials so I would like them to learn to do their names or a symbol of some kind.

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Posted by: Jenny

If so how about trying a bit of community outreach and getting the kids to do something nice for kids who are sick in the hospital (although you MAY want to avoid the dying child topic, but that depends on your community). the kids could make pretty pictures, or cards, or books for little kids - then take them in and share with kids in hospital. in fact your class might surprise you and come up with lots of nice things they can do!

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Posted by: shirley

I did a great activity with my class before even reading the book. I took about 20 parts of the book and printed them out one sentence at a time. I made sure that the twenty parts I printed out were sentences that went together. I passed these out to my students and they had to find a sentence that fit in with theirs. It gave them an idea about the book, but no specifics. We discussed the info. we found out from the sentences and then read.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Posted by: Judy

My third graders love it, but it's a little sad even though the story really happened. I do this in May because the story begins with the celebration of Japan's Memorial Day (which remembers the people killed during the atomic bomb). This is actually celebrated in August, and there are usually newsclips of the activities in Japan. Also it's a great tie-in with our own celebration of Memorial Day. We eat sushi, use chopsticks, and study culture as well as make an origami paper crane.
Have fun. This is one of my favorite units.

Posted by: Jennifer

After reading this story I had my kids make the origami paper cranes. They LOVED making them and sparked a new interest in some kids who needed a hobby.

As far as background, I just told them a little about Pearl Harbor and our retaliation against the Japanese. They asked a lot of questions and I did my best to answer them. I showed them Japan on the map and had them make and color a map of Japan. I also emphasized "Peace Day" and we had our own Peace Day where we were only allowed to say NICE and positive things. I had to remind a few!----Then the regular comprehension questions.

Hope this helps.

Japan Unit
Posted by: GoTeachers

I lived there for 4 years and this is one of my favorite units. I have tons of books such as Suki's Kimono (teaches about self esteem), Grandfather's Journey (past), The Paper Crane (doing good deeds for others), Yoshi's Feast (getting along with others, working together) and MANY more!

I teach them how to count to 5 in Japanese (we practice daily)... ichi, ni, san, shee, go (sometimes we go to 10, depends on class. I teach them how to say hello and goodbye... koneechiwa (sp.) and sayonara.

We learn about Tokoyo and Mt. Fuji (highest mountain-dormant volcano). We learn about chopsticks (get some disposable ones from chinese place and let them practice picking up things... like cotton balls or something.

We make a Japanese flag (red circle represents the motto- Land of the Rising Sun). I show them Japan on a world map and talk about how it's made of many islands but 4 really big ones.

I have a print off of some Kanji (Japanese writing) with their English meanings. I make a chart with some of the symbols on it (doesn't have to be perfect just write them the best you can), usually about 20. They choose 3 or 4 to copy and use on the project below.

In Japan you see carp (fish) streamers everywhere. If you Google carp I'm sure you can find one to print off. I give each kiddo one and a magazine, they are to cut out dime size colors and glue on their carp to make it colorful. Then they cut out and glue on a light colored piece of construction paper at the top with the construction paper being vertical. The carp will stick off the paper a little. Then they pick their 3 or 4 Kanji words to draw below, then you make a cylinder out of it (roll it, just barely overlapping) and staple. Then attach a string at the top to make a handle. Now, they have made their own carp streamers.

We also learn about Sumo wrestling. They love this. I show them pictures. Also, I have several things made of origami that I show them. Then they make a dog or cat... Google that to, those two are not too hard for them to make.

I love Japan... can you tell!!!!! Hope these ideas help.

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Japan Activities
Posted by: L.P.

For our Japan unit,we made fans from wallpaper samples and they turned out beautifully. Stores that sell wallpaper often give the sample books away when the line is discontinued. We also made carp kites that the students enjoyed flying, and cherry blossom pictures. For cherry blossom pictures simply place a drop of ink or runny black tempera on a sheet of paper. Have students blow gently through half a straw in one direction to form the tree. After it dries, use bits of pastel tissue paper for the blossoms. :o)

Posted by: mcgdogmc

We are studying Japan right now. We made traditional carp kites (I found the instructions on the internet), wrote haiku, did watercolor paintings of Mount Fuji, learned to make origami, read some Japanese stories and learned about what Japanese family life is like and what Japanese school is like. My students loved it. We are studying Mexico next.

An idea or two
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

We had a Japanese Intern this past year at our school and it was great.

The Japanese people very much enjoy their tea ceremonies. Perhaps you could do a cultural exchange with them.

Have your class or even the whole grade level prepare a tea party similar to how we would do it in the States or Canada.

Then perhaps your visitors if they are comfortable with the idea could share part of how they do the Japanese tea ceremony. They may not be able to do this if they don't have the right things with them. But you could ask.

Another way they could share with your class is to show each student how to write their names in Japanese.

Another idea would be for each student to make something in Origami. There are many books out there with instructions, you could choose a simple design or two for them to do.

From what I've seen of the Japanese people they are very gracious and would enjoy anything you'd present to them. You could have each class make a welcome card as well for them.

Another neat idea that all the classes could participate in would be to make a welcome box for your guests.

Each student could buy or find one item (small) that would be something about where they live or the country they live in. Ideas could be
pins, buttons, pens, a small flag, rocks, pictures of the area, stickers or things from some of the local companies, small containers of local candies or chocolates - or homemade items as well.
I'm sure if your class brain-stormed they could come up with tons of ideas and it would be a neat souvenir for your guests to take home with them.

Hope this helps!

Posted by: Third grade teacher

We watercolor our illustrations, using fairly small pieces of water color paper. Then, I take two strips of black construction paper for the top and the bottom. I glue there to the top and the bottom, so the picture looks like a Japanese scroll. I type the children's poetry in an elegant-looking font, and glue it to the bottom strip (it covers it slightly and hangs down below the strip). They look great hanging up, and are easy and colorful to do.

Posted by: cathy

You can make anything into a mobile. Just draw and cut out two copies of what you want like a goldfish my students made koi for a japanese unit. Then paint or color, staple the top partor 2/3rd of the the goldfish together and stuff with one piece of tissue paper then staple the rest, punch a hole on the top and string.

haiku art
Posted by: KT

We write our nature haiku next to a spring blossom branch the kids make on white paper. To make the branch I drip 5-6 drops of thin black tempura at the bottom of a piece of 8x11 white construction paper. The student then uses a straw to blow on the paint which runs across the paper forming branches. They love doing this after you demostrate the tecnique and stress the importance of blowing "dry" air and blowing across, not down.
The next day after they dry the kids apply tissue or crepe paper blossoms made from small squares wrapped around the eraser end of a pencil, dipped in glue or glue stick and stuck to the branches. it may sound complicated, but is very easy, fast and looks very showy and springy. The hsiku adds another creative touch, but they look good without also. Try it first yourself and have fun !