At the beginning of the school year the children inquired into forms of written communication. They drew links between Katakana and English. This exploration has been enriched through the multilingual parent and teacher reading sessions.
At the beginning of our unit of inquiry. “How We Express Ourselves” the children explored different art forms such as dance, music and the written word. We looked at many images of writing as art. We noted that many cultures use calligraphy.
The children quickly pointed out Kanji, Hiragana and katakana. An intense debate ensued as the children explained the difference between different types of Japanese writing. It became apparent that every child in the class could identify Japanese text. The children spent 20 minutes finding Japanese writing in the class. In the next engagement with this topic the children cut out Japanese text from newspapers and junk mail. They represented their finding in their own aesthetic style.
Henry: That looks like a Y. [points to Japanese]
Ophelia: I am learning hirogana, I have my own study book. I can write oni. [writes oni]
Mari: Oni. It’s oni
Mahajlo: It is one Kanji and English there are many to say a word.
Takafumi: Yes there are… you can write a word in hirogana and kanji and it is the same. Sometimes you can’t write it you can use the words. You have to use two words but not in Kanji.
Elly-Grace: I can’t read it but I can say sayonara.
Kai: I can write my name.
Amelia: It is fun to write. You can make Japanese writing out of it.
Takafumi: On no look… there is hirogana, katakana and kanji in this writing. They go together, I can’t take it apart.
Ophelia: Look… look there is Japanese on the glue!
Ms Yuka invited the children to view kanji as pictograms. Each child picked a character and build a picture the match it into the character. To build on the idea of design and calligraphy the children picked either a hirogana, katakana or kanji and used materials to design a version of it.
KP, in their own words.
田 – I feel like something… I am seeing the white chart. It is easy to write. I don’t know this is kanji or not, but I know this is a letter. – Mihajlo
の – It is “n”. It is like my name. It looks like “e” when you see from this way. Happy. – Henry
い – That is my name. That one is a little bit. I didn’t choose Katakana one. I don’t write my name Katakana. – Kai
ア – Happy. It’s in my name! – Amelia
マ – It is something. Do me write Hiragana is so tricky. Katakana is not tricky. – Mari
ふ – It is fun to write. I feel very happy. – Ophelia
え – This is for Elly. It is easier than Katakana. – Elly-Grace
ハ – It’s not difficult. – Mika
本 – I’m living in Hongodai. It is 本郷台. When I see it, I feel home. – Takafumi