\ My Country ~ Your Country

A story about Reina, a girl who lives in Tokyo, gives youngsters an opportunity to compare their lives with hers. They research the Internet with grade five mentors to discover more information on Japan. Successfully connecting with a class in Tosashimizu, Japan, the children begin to e-mail their new friends and share information about themselves and their schools.

For more about this special from A Glimpse of Japan ~ From Our World to Yours e-mail Mary Rudder, author and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learning Standards
  • Recall major details of a story or narrative.
  • Gather photos, pictures and/or drawings of people or events from different cultures.
  • Make comparisons between their own and other cultures.
  • Dictate or compose simple stories.
  • Make observations and draw conclusions from information.
  • Classroom Activities
    After reviewing map skills and their Know, Want to Know, Learned (KWL) chart on Japan, youngsters:
    • Listen to a story about Reina a Japanese girl.
    • Make a Venn diagram based on similarities and differences between themselves and Reina.
    • Use software to illustrate four pages of autobiographical details: residence, family, favorite food, and holiday.

  • Incorporate pages into individual books: Illustrate title page, punch holes in pages, bind with colored yarn.
  • Work with grade five mentors to research Internet and find three facts about Japanese life for the KWL chart.
  • Connect to a class in Japan. With mentors' input, exchange e-mail messages about life in their respective cultures.
  • Community Activities
    As students learn more about Japanese customs and traditions, children prepare to invite family and residents of a nearby senior center to a Japanese tea ceremony.
    Mentors help with Internet research that leads to information on community helpers in Japan.
    Japan by Donna Bailey, 1990: Steck Vaughn; mural map, KWL chart, book making materials
    Students create book pages with Kidpix and an inkjet printer. They use the Internet to research life in Japan and to e-mail their new friends.
    Children and teacher check Venn diagram; continue to document growing understandings about a new culture and add autobiographies to "A Glimpse of Japan" folders.

    Web Sites
    Students research Japan at: http://www.jinjapan.org/kidsweb/
    Students research at Kids Web Japan.