Read Aloud Assignment

Read Aloud: Round 1 I gave my first lesson today! I read the book Sadako by Eleanor Coerr. Through this book about a Japanese legend, my goal was to show the unique culture of the country. The book details the story of a young girl named Sadako Sasaki, who is diagnosed with leukemia after the atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. Through the japanese legend of called the Thousand Crane Project, she tries to heal herself by folding a thousand paper cranes. Sadly, the girl succumbs after she is only 2/3 of the way done. In a happy ending, her classmates fold the remainder of the cranes for her, and publish her writing while she was in the hospital. Her words spread all over Japan, and later a monument was erected in Peace Park (a monument to those ravaged by the atom bomb)of Sadaka; a girl holding a large, golden crane. Today, people from all over fold origami cranes and send them to the monument. The kids got so excited, one even suggested that their class should complete the thousand crane project. They also did very well picking up on the details of Japanese culture from the book, including paper lanterns being sacrificed at Peace Day, traditional kimonos for Japanese girls, a festival to commemorate those killed at Hiroshima called O Bon, and of course, the cranes. One even picked up on the symbolism the cranes held for health, healing, and life.
These are pictures of the Hiroshima Peace Park, mentioned above. The glass display cases contain the cranes people send in!
After reading the book, I ran through how to make their own origami cranes. It went really well, and I'm happy to say some (most) of their cranes looked even better than mine. After seeing how difficult it is to make one, they seem have to rethought the thousand crane project, though! These are the instruction the kids used...
And how their cranes turned out afterwards!
Read Aloud 2: On Monday, I gave my crane lesson to a different third grade class. It went really well; they made some very interesting observations on culture my other class didn't catch. One student commented on how the clothes they wear reflect their culture. Another one commented on a huge example of culture the other class missed; when Sadako's friend dies, she comments on his journey to a star island. We talked about what that meant, and how it might be the equivalent of heaven in our culture. Another student commented the cranes were a Japanese good luck symbol, and they drew connections to the good luck symbols we have in our culture (horse shoes, four leaf clovers). The crane making activity went really well with them, too. Instead of the students going back to their desks to make them, I kept them in a circle around the carpet and we folded the crane on dry erase boards. This made it a lot easier to help them if they had questions! Overall, their cranes turned out much better than the first time around with the other class. I believe it was the culmination of their location on the carpet with me and the fact I had a better idea on how to instruct the lesson a second time around. I'm really glad I got to do the lesson again; it improved a lot just from the first to the second time.

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