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Lesson Plan for Sadako - by judy butzine

Lesson Objectives:

1. "Engage & Persist:" Teachers in visual arts classes present their students with projects that engage them. When they teach their students to stick to a task for a sustained period of time, they are teaching participants to focus and develop introspection.

This visual arts lesson plan is multifaceted integrating literary arts, music, art making and reflective writing.

Begin this arts process by explaining that the students are going to create a visual representation of what Peace means to many people including children around the world.

2. "Present the concept of art worlds:" (visual, literary, & musical) An Art world is a term defined by Dr. Mary Erickson and Dr. Faith Clover, art education professors, in an article titled, "Worlds of Art". Read the book Sadako, listen to the CD or show the video. The Sadako Story The paper crane has become an international symbol of peace in recent years as a result of it's connection to the story of a young Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki born in 1943. Sadako was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. As she grew up, Sadako was a strong, courageous and athletic girl. In 1955, at age 11, while practicing for a big race, she became dizzy and fell to the ground. Sadako was diagnosed with Leukemia, "the atom bomb" disease.

Sadako's best friend told her of an old Japanese legend which said that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako hoped that the gods would grant her a wish to get well so that she could run again. She started to work on the paper cranes and completed over 1000 before dying on October 25, 1955 at the age of twelve.

3. "Envision:" Generate conversation about what they cannot observe directly with their eyes.

First begin with the word "PEACE". Ask participants what symbols come to their minds that represent Peace, reflecting on their world of experiences and culture. DRAW THOSE SYMBOLS OR IMAGES

Political freedom for all in the statue of liberty may represent Peace. The importance of our families in our lives and the communities where we live brings many comfort of Peace.

Mural @ Hamilton School, Murphy School District, by artist Martin Moreno & students.

Awareness of traditional values, ideas and beliefs that guide others in their daily lives may present different symbols for Peace than what one is used to seeing. Note what those might be.

Now discuss the symbolism of the crane in Asian countries and in the book about Sadako.

crane symbolism

In China, the legendary crane which belonged to the philosopher Leonicus Thomaeus and which was commemorated by Itluffon, suggests that constant of Far Eastern symbolism, longevity, and, above all, unrivalled faithfulness... In Ancient China the Crane Dance suggested the power of flight and consequently of reaching the Isle of the Immortals. Humans on stilts copied the dance. Indeed, the crane may, like the tortoise, be the symbol of longevity, but it is supremely the Taoist symbol of immortality.

The Japanese believed that cranes (zuru) lived for thousands of years and old people were often given as presents paintings or prints of cranes, tortoises and pine-trees, all three symbols of longevity.

4. "Express:" Students are asked to go beyond craft to convey a personal vision in their work. A drawing teacher was quoted, 'Art is beyond a technique-I think a drawing that is done honestly and directly always expresses feeling.' Reinforce the concept that the drawings of Peace that each child has created come from that student's reflective experiences, unique in their cultural and community backgrounds.

5. "Observe:" The skill of careful observation is taught in visual arts classes and is not restricted to drawing. Students are asked to see with new eyes. Pass around examples of the different colored origami cranes, even those that have been threaded with beads to hang.

6. Art Making Instruction - critical inquiry, art history and reflection on the subject of Peace have occurred. Now is the time for the youth to create their visual creations. Demonstrate the origami technique slowly and repeat each step multiple times as all the students begin to replicate the many steps to the completion of the crane.

7. "Stretch and Explore:" Students are asked to try new things in their art making application. At this time the concept of problem solving is presented along with self-evaluation. The participant is asked to extend beyond what he/she has done. To step back and look at the artwork as it evolves and either add more color, designs, words or ornamentation like the beads for hanging.

One is not to be too critical of oneself. When the language of, "I messed up!" occurs, encourage the child to go back and repeat the steps correcting the point of construction that did not work. This kind of instruction and personal reflection can be related to real life. We never have all the answers to how to creatively solve a problem. But we can trial and critically rethink our choices until the right solution manifests itself. The solution may involve newly acquired ideas. School instruction may also be a means to guide students in the process of making critical choices that benefit themselves and the communities where they live.

8. "Reflect:" Students are asked to be reflective about their art making in two ways: teachers frequently evaluate students' artworks informally as they move around the room, as well as more formally in critique sessions. But more importantly in Process Focused Art Making Activities based on Universal Life Lesson Themes a reflective writing can be a good tool for determining the effectiveness of the lesson plan.

These Eight Habits of Mind that the Visual Arts Teach have been modified from an instructional text within the inaugural Arts & Learning Review Issue (Winter 2006) by Ellen Winter, pp. 6-7,
National Arts & Learning Collaborative at Walnut Hill. (NALC),
12 Highland Street, Natick, Ma. 01760
Phone (508) 650-5055,

Questions for a written reflection: Adhering to the Standards for Language Arts, each participant is to write at least one- two paragraphs on what she/he has learned from the lesson activities.

    This written reflection can serve as an assessment tool of learning for the overall project.
  1. Discuss the visual artwork you created:
    1. What symbols are in your drawing?
    2. What art making materials did you use: crayons, water color, pastels, and colored pencils?
    3. Had you used these materials before? If not, why did you select these particular art making tools?
    4. Do you have a name for your artwork? If so, what is it?
    5. If you were to redo your image, what would you change?
  2. Address the overall lesson plan: What did you learn from this art history, art inquiry and art making project:
    1. What did you learn about Sadako and why she died?
    2. What did you learn about the word "Peace" and how does Peace relate to your life?
    3. What did you learn about the crane?
    4. Did you enjoy creating the origami crane?
    5. What didn't you like about this activity?
    6. Will you discuss what you learned during this art making project with anyone you know? What will you say?
    7. Do you have anything else you would like to discuss in this writing?

Some of the vocabulary definitions taken from

Culture - the sum total of the behaviors and activities of any specific group of people, including their implements, arts, religious values and beliefs, traditions, stories and language.

Origami - The Japanese art of paper folding

Cranes - birds that symbolize longevity, good fortune and wisdom in Japan and China

Hiroshima, Japan - the city where the atomic bomb was dropped during WWII.

Peace - the state prevailing during the absence of war

  • harmonious relations; freedom from disputes; "the roommates lived in peace together"
  • the absence of mental stress or anxiety
  • the general security of public places; "he was arrested for disturbing the peace"
  • a treaty to cease hostilities; "peace came on November 11th"

Tradition - the passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication

Peace Pole and School garden located at Lowell School, Buckeye and 4th Avenue, has been in this community since 1993.

Celebration of International Peace Day, Sept. 21st, 2006, Icehouse, Phoenix, Arizona.