My students are high school teenagers who love learning about Japanese culture. They are second, third, and fourth year students of the Japanese language. We are a close knit group that laugh, learn, and lean on each other when the times get tough.
The first year focused on developing the foundation for the language, but as the second, third, then fourth year progresses, the students' focus becomes more about the usage of the language as well as the development in an understanding of Japan's culture.
We discuss the differences in their cultures and Japan's culture, then strive to experience the culture as much as we can.
Our school is not in a community that has a whole lot of experiences in Japanese culture available to my students. So, giving them the opportunity to experience Japanese culture in the classroom is imperative. After all, I want my students to take what they learn in my classroom and be inspired to continue their education in the language and/or culture in the future!
I try to provide as many opportunities as possible for my students learning Japanese to experience diverse components of the culture. These students, my year 2, 3, and 4 students of Japanese, have the opportunity to learn a bit about Japanese history and specifically the history of woodblock printing.
In my classroom there are several prints, or "hanga," that my late grandfather had created and they are one of my most treasured possessions.
My students have been exposed to this type of art through my story telling about my grandfather and his artwork.
I will be introducing my students to the history of woodblock printing including the ukiyo-e along with a research assignment where the students will analyze a famous woodblock print according to Japanese aesthetics. Then, with these materials, my students will be able to experience what it is like to actually create a print. They will design, carve, and then print their masterpiece. My students will not only learn about the important components of a woodblock print, but be able to use their creativity to create, hands-on, their own prints.
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