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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




The Grade 2s had a chance to visit the ICJC again to experience Sado.

In their Japanese classes, the children learned about the names of the tools used to make macha and some of the words that they would need to know when experiencing Sado. The EAL students also had a chance to join Ise Sensei’s class to learn a bit about Sado before their experience.

Yabumoto Sensei and his assistant Hiruma-san taught the children how to bow with a straight back. Guests bow to show respect to their Sado host and to greet them.

The children sat in seza position to share Sado.

Yabumoto Sensei chose some colorful sweets in the shape of flowers and different shapes especially for the Grade 2s. The sweets were placed on kaishi (paper napkins), which are used as a plate during Sado. When the children were ready to eat their sweets, they said, “O-saki ni” which means, “Thank you for letting me go first.”


Yabumoto Sensei used a chashaku to spoon the macha powder from the natsume into the chawan.

It was time to make the tea. Yabumoto Sensei and Hiruma-san added water to each student’s chawan. The hot water became very green.

To mix macha and make the foam, the Grade 2 students learned to move the chasen from right to left or up and down quickly, but not around in circles. They had to do this for a couple of minutes to mix the macha and create the foam.

They learned that you place the chawan (cup) on top of their left hand and hold the side of the cup with their right hand to drink.


After they took their first sip they said, “Taiiso kekko desu!” which means, “It is really yummy!” When they took their last sip, they slurped to let their host know that they were finished.

At the end of their Sado experience, they bowed to their host and thanked him, “Arigato gozaimashita!”

G2 Tea Ceremony

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.

Grade 2 Celebrates!

Click here to see a slideshow of Ed Lemery’s photos.

Tuesday, the Grade 2s hosted a Cross-Cultural Lunch to celebrate their learning during Unit 1 about how “People are enriched by their own cultures and the cultures the cultures they connect with throughout their lives”.

To begin our celebration, we shared a wonderful meal with the parents and teachers who supported our learning throughout the unit. Everyone brought a dish from a culture that they are connected with. We tried new types of food and saw so many dishes from other countries and cultures.


Isa…My most favorite part of the day was trying the food. I tried fairy cake, because trying food is fun.

Yutika…I ate mochi and it was my first time to eat it. I tried both of the kinds and i liked the second one. It had a brown powder on it.

We were very excited to share our songs and dances as well as show how we are learning to play different instruments.


Our first song was a welcome song called “People All Around The World”. It showed how some people around the world say, “Hello”. The languages in this song are: English, Japanese, Indian and Fijian. The students had to search for Fiji on the globe and it was very hard to find because the islands were so small! They also made up the actions for this song.

We have been practising using our gentle singing voices in Music. Gentle singing voices are better than shouting voices because they sound more in tune and don’t hurt your voice.

The next song was from Africa and was called Humelela. It is about having fun, singing and dancing with your friends. This is a fun song and dance, and the students really like the music that goes with it.

The final song was a Taiwanese indigenous song called Nuin Tapuskuan. It is about students were trying to catch fireflies at night. In the song, the students were are calling to the fireflies, trying to get them to come closer so they can catch them. Have you ever seen a firefly? Some of the Grade 2 students have! Some played the xylophone to accompany this song. Everyone had a turn during our Music classes and a few people were lucky enough to play for the performance. Some also played a ‘soundscape’. A soundscape is when you use instruments to set the scene or tell a story. Did you hear the fireflies in our soundscape?


Louis…I felt very nervous when I spoke on the stage for Nuin Tapuskuan because there were lots of parents in front of me. It was challenging because I had to learn how to say Nuin Tapaskuan.

With Miss Macdonald, the students explored dances from around the world. We learned that classical Indian dance traditionally tells a story and uses precise and controlled movements. We also learned that Bollywood dance has its roots in classical but is a much more relaxed form of the dance. The students experimented with a variety of moves and formations and learned about how to use their space on stage. In groups, the dancers created their own short Bollywood-style dances. 2C danced to ‘Chaiya Chaiya’ and 2M danced to ‘Chak Dum Dum’.


Sera…My favorite thing was the Bollywood dance because I did really well. I felt really nervous because there were lots of parents when I was on stage.

Vivi…For me, the Bollywood dancing was challenging because I didn’t really remember it that much and that is why I was a little shy.

Rene…I did well on the Bollywood dance. I need to practice the hip shake and horse moves that’s what I wish to be better.

In Ise Sensei’s Japanese class the stuents learned about obon-season in August. During Obon, family members get together. At that time, Japanese people believe that the spirits of the deceased come back to this world, so we welcome and entertain them. To show their learning, the students learned a Bon dance called Pokemon-ondo.

Andrew…At first, the Bon dance was hard because I didn’t remember the dance moves, but eventually I remembered them.

Yutika…The Bon dance made me feel happy because it was a lot of fun to do. Ise Sensei made it fun so we get interested in Obon.

Kei…I liked the Obon dance part because lots of parents and students and teachers joined the dance.

After our performances, the students shared their learning from Native Japanese, Art and their Culture Collections.

In the Native Japanese class, the students learned about “Keirou no hi”, which is a day to honor our grandparents, great-grandparents and all the elderly people in Japan. It is celebrated on the third Monday of September every year. Did you know that every year on this day the Japanese government honors people who have turned 100 with a silver sake cup? To show their understanding, students completed a short writing about what they had learned.

In Art class, students creating sculptures about a special person with whom they share a special cultural celebration such as: Shichi-Go-San, Children’s Day, Christmas, Ramadan, Halloween, and more. We just started our sculptures, so we shared our practice sculptures with our parents. We then explained the connection between the person we are sculpting and what they do to make a this important celebration so special to us.

Louie…The sculpture was challenging because we first used the playdough to practice. Then we used real clay.

Teo…I think that making the clay sculpture was the hardest because we had to make the eye, nose and mouth.

Finally, the children shared their Culture Collection’s with their parents and other parents who attended.

Yukei…I was a little bit shy at first to tell my mom about my Culture Collection, but I got a little bit not afraid.

Kouji…I was nervous when I talked to the mum’s and dad’s, but I see some kids talk, and I feel good.

Click on the photo above to see a slideshow of photos by Ken, Angela and Jacquie.