When we got to the restaurant, we all ordered beers plus one giant Keg-like thing that was delivered to the table. Budweiser. No complaints here! It was cold and tasty. There was a fan blowing on us from the next table over. So the beer and the fan worked together to keep us relatively cool.
You will notice that I don't give too much information in my plans. I feel like this allows for change and development in each day's activities. And allows for student input, like if they are feeling like one project speaks to them more than another project does. This also doesn't tie me down to a specific outcome in case the class goes in a new and different direction.
Monday – What is Community
Social Studies – Place as a Mirror of Self
Art Project – Collaborative Weaving Hut
Purpose: Defining community creates a strong foundation for individual, cultural, and societal growth.
Materials: Fabric scraps, classroom set of scissors, old maps for collaging, old magazines for collaging, white paper (18 inches x 24 inches), classroom set of black Sharpies, India ink, liquid watercolors, classroom set of colored pencils, manual pencil sharpeners for each student, construction paper.
- Facilitate a discussion about memory and place
- Show videos from Beijing Project
- Demo a small weaving project and discuss possible techniques
- Show the video of the book Same, Same But Different
1. Share answers on Special Places worksheet in small groups.
2. Create map collages of personal geographic places of importance (home, school, extra curricular, family, etc.).
3. Choose a space together for the collaborative weaving hut.
4. Begin weaving by tying strips of reclaimed fabric to various points and watch as the project grows and changes.
Tuesday – Elements of Community
Social Studies – Scouting Out the Elements of Community
Art Project – Felt Sashes with Community Patches
Purpose: Learning about the distinct elements that make up a community helps students understand collective variation.
Materials: White paper (18 inches x 24 inches), classroom set of black Sharpies, India ink, liquid watercolors, one bolt of green felt, classroom set of colored pencils, manual pencil sharpeners for each student, construction paper, one map of Chengdu (not for cutting), map pins.
- Take a walk around the neighborhood and take notice of the different elements that make up the community.
- In small groups, discuss parts of Chengdu that make it a special city.
1. Design patches for different elements of your community (family, school, grandparents, church, temple, etc.)
2. Sew patches onto felt sash.
3. Discuss community: what do they need, how can you contribute, what do you think makes a community successful?
4. Map out different areas in Chengdu that indicate important community hubs.
Wednesday – Community Helpers
Social Studies – Activist Heroes
Art Project - Superheroes
Purpose: People hold different roles in communities that help them grow and flourish.
Materials: White paper (18 inches x 24 inches), classroom set of black Sharpies, India ink, liquid watercolors, one bolt of blue felt, classroom set of colored pencils, yarn, string, manual pencil sharpeners for each student, construction paper.
- Discuss the variety of roles that people engage in throughout the community.
- What is your role? How will you take part in your community?
- What does a community hero look like? Who are your heroes?
1. In small groups, create a zine that tells the story of a hero in your community.
2. Swap zines with other groups to learn about their stories.
3. Draw a self-portrait of you as a superhero in your community.
4. Present superhero self-portrait to class and hang up for all to see.
Thursday - Contributions
Social Studies – Community Road Trip
Art Project – Clay Explorers
Purpose: Being an active participant in a community inspires students to think about how they might contribute to collaboration, organization, and service.
Materials: White paper (18 inches x 24 inches), air-dry clay, classroom set of colored pencils, classroom set of crayons, pencils, classroom set of Sharpies, manual pencil sharpeners for each student, a variety of paint colors.
- Using the information we gathered from our neighborhood walk on the previous day, the students will begin to map out the community directly around Max/Ivy.
- Watch community explorer video
3. Design an “explorer vehicle” on paper that can help you to navigate our community.
4. Create your “explorer vehicle” out of clay and paint it.
5. Once dry, play with your explorer vehicle on our hand drawn map, navigating the community.
Friday – Community RulesSocial Studies – Law of the Land
Art Project –Mural Painting
Purpose: Understanding community laws helps students to recognize the important role of rules in a communal environment.
Materials: Masonite board in 3 equal sizes (5 feet x 4 feet), pencils, classroom set of Sharpies, manual pencil sharpeners for each student, a variety of paint colors, India ink.
- Decide on the rules and community laws that we follow in our classroom and how they relate to the rules and laws followed in Chengdu.
- Look at a slideshow of murals created in and around Chengdu.
- In small groups, discuss ideas for a small mural and how it can relate to following the laws of our land.
2. Discuss our illustrations and how these community rules help guide citizens.
3. Enlarge and combine illustrations to create a composition on our mural boards.
4. Paint mural and hang up in classroom for fellow teachers, students and parents to see.
5. Reflect on the week’s activities.
Our weekend journey took us two hours outside of the city to an irrigation system, which was a massive park with beautiful scenery and a huge temple. From the Travel China Guide website, "Dujiangyan Irrigation System is honored as the 'Treasure of Sichuan', which still plays a crucial role in draining off floodwater, irrigating farms and providing water resources for more than 50 cities in the province.
In China, Chengdu is always praised as the Tian Fu Zhi Guo, which means 'Nature's Storehouse'. Over 2,200 years ago, the city was threatened by the frequent floods caused by flooding of the Minjiang River (a tributary of the Yangtze River). Li Bing, a local official of Sichuan Province at that time, together with his son, decided to construct an irrigation system on the Minjiang River to prevent flooding. After a lengthy study and a lot of hard work by the local people, the great Dujiangyan Irrigation System was completed. Since then, the Chengdu Plain has been free of flooding and the people have been living peacefully and affluently."
This was a really fun place to visit. There were lots and lots of people, lots of shopping, eateries, and hiking. It was touristy in spots, with people dressing up like monkey gods and pandas and then hoping you will pay them to take a picture with them. I just snapped a picture of them as I was walking past. The monkey god is known to be a trickster character full of pranks. You can read more about him here. I love, love, love these monkey god costumes!
A cream bun sold on the side of the street! So yummy! But I was hoping that it would be filled with minced pork--those are said to be the best. But I never found them! Check out The Food Ranger for more fun food from Chengdu . . .
This was a fascinating find. A completely Muslim restaurant, right on the corner. A very small percentage of Chinese people are Muslim, so I was excited to see this. It was funny, we found them because I recognized some of the things they were saying on the loud speaker.
All things panda!!
The weird things that make my legs wobbly as I get older . . . Walking on a very crowded extension bridge over rushing water. It was literally bouncing up and down as we got to the center of it. I was sure the whole thing would snap and that would be the end of us.
The views from one of the highest points of the temple were remarkable. I mean you could see forever! We were lucky to be there on a day with no rain. It is probably freezing cold there now . . . Chengdu is about in the same latitude spot as Chicago in the United States. So the temperatures are roughly the same.
On this day, I think I walked about 38,000 steps. We walked up and down steps, over bridges, up and down hills, all over!