Monday, August 6, 2012


Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and having lived in that city for 8 years it never passes unnoticed.

After the students' interest in my comments about the day last year, I was better prepared this time round.

While on holiday in Bangkok I found and purchased some origami paper- not 1000 sheets but a supply. Several months ago I asked a dear friend in Adelaide to mail me a copy of the book “Sadako and the Thousand paper cranes” and since then it has been circulating my class. Thank you Sue Gilbey. Every Monday it and about 6 other books I have supplied the class with are distributed to another class member. They are eager for their turn with this story and it has been returned early several times so more people can read it. Others who share their hostels have also borrowed it and read it so now I wish I had ordered a dozen copies not one!

Now almost all the class have read this true but simple story and we can refer to Sadako as if she is someone we all know. “Sadako was brave wasn’t she Madam?” among the many comments that have been made when we are discussing other literature in class.

A week ago when I knew this day was approaching we planned to meet today after the reading period, which follows period 7 on Mondays and so at 4pm I arrived back in the XC classroom. Law Club members had unfortunately been called away and some were there in our room hoping that they could master the skills required in 5 minutes, while others came to apologize for their absence, but most of the class was there eagerly waiting.

I distributed some practice paper and walked them through the process of folding a paper crane “en mass”. Some got it immediately and were eager to try again, while others got lost the first time round but were keen to have another go. The package of brightly coloured origami paper was the lure.

Those who were sure they could do it again, had to prove it by folding another bird while I worked with those who were lost. Once they had done it once on their own they could choose a coloured sheet or 5 and start on our 1000.

They worked so co-operatively helping each other and being so careful with the limited resource of our coloured sheets, that I was thrilled. Those who are not very academically talented were amongst those who got it quickly and were so pleased with themselves for being able to instruct others. Those who were not so good with their hands determinedly tried again and again until everyone present had folded at least one crane.

They were excited at being able to choose their own colours and many carefully stored 5 or 6 sheets in their books so they could fold them at a later time. I do hope that will not be in study this evening or tonight.

Having seen them all so stressed with the demands of the curriculum so often recently this was a lovely start to the week. Maybe we won’t fold 1000 and maybe they won’t get to Hiroshima or maybe they will, either way, it was great to see them so keen to learn something new and so willing to co-operate together and teach each other. I think it would be kind of fun to leave the book and their cranes in the library here in Rangjung HSS when our project is over but that is a decision they will make.

Before we knew it was well after 5pm and evening study starts at 5.30pm so I had to pack up my distractions with about 15 coloured cranes already in the collection and make my way home as the study group that uses our room started pouring through the door.

Yet again they refused to smile as the story is so sad!

Well done XC once again you have made my heart sing!

As always when I am in the classroom after school hours there is a group of boys who just have to see a dance clip on my computer a few dozen times. They watched it repeatedly while we folded. They are trying to learn the steps from constant viewing so I expect to see them doing the very same moves in the cultural show next weekend. 

Less than 24 hours later and the cranes keep adding up. I guess this was a great idea!

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