El Día de los Muertos

Last Friday, Lupita, Rene’s mom, visited our class to teach us about El Día de los Muertos. Rene helped to teach us too! Both Rene and his mom painted their faces for the occasion.

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We learned that in Mexico families celebrate El Día de los Muertos by making an alter to remember family members, who have died. On the alter you put their favorite food, drink or toy as well as candles and flowers.

After we listened to the presentation, Lupita taught us how to make our very own papel picado, which are colorful streamers used as decorations. She had a pattern all ready for us. Cutting the outside was the easiest part. The inside squares, circles and other shapes were a bit harder because we had to fold the shape in half and then cut. They looked so beautiful when we finished.

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After all our cutting, we shared a special bread that was a little bit sweet. We dipped it in hot cocoa before eating it. This special bread is made only for El Día de los Muertos, but Lupita brought us some early, so we could learn about their culture.

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French Impressionism

Valerie, Justine’s mom, recently visited 2C to teach us about the French Impressionists. She prepared a slideshow to show us examples of Impressionist paintings as well as pre-impressionist paintings so that we could understand the difference between the two.

Valerie taught us that before French Impressionism began, paintings were more realistic, highly detailed and used pale or dark colors. The subject of the paintings were generally of important occasions and portraits of wealthy or important people.

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On the other hand, bright colors and larger brush strokes were used in French Impressionist paintings. They were also less detailed, and their subject matter related to everyday life. These paintings provided an “impression” or feeling of a daily event.

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Valerie told us that a man named Claude Monet began the Impressionist movement and is probably the most famous impressionist artist. Monet created many paintings of waterlilies, and 2C had a chance to do the same.

Here are some examples of our own impressionist water lily paintings.

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Ning Teaches Kanji to 2C

Just after our Cross-Cultural Celebration, Ning, Kei’s mom, came to our class to teach us about Kanji. She prepared a slideshow to show us the history of Kanji and how it has changed over time.

We looked at some pictures of the oldest Kanji and learned that it was written on bones! These Kanji are around 3000 years old and are different from the Kanji of today.

We learned that over time, Kanji gradually changed. While listening to Ning and looking at the pictures of Kanji, the children began to recognize several characters that they painted during their calligraphy experience at the ICJC. They were very excited and pointed out the ancient and new Kanji that they recognized.

After watching the slideshow and a video, we tried writing some of the Kanji. Ning modeled how to write each Kanji and the children copied the sequence of strokes. She also showed us how the same Kanji are sometimes grouped together to form a new work. For instance, a forest is a combination of three of the Kanji for tree and three of the Kanji for person are combined to create the Kanji for public or crowd.