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Home » Middle School Ideas » pre-2011 middle school ideas

Please use this forum to share ideas, materials, and methods for teaching about Asia that are appropriate for middle school classes. Please also note the social studies, literature, and other discipline-specific threads in the "Asia in My Classroom" forum.
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11/26/2004 9:38:51 PM

tnguyen
tnguyen
Posts: 32
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas - Silk Road
There are also a few videos (In Chinese) that explain and capture the spread of Buddhism through the Silk Road. I have watched a series of these Chinese movies which are translated in Vietnamese. If this series of videos get translated in English, i think they would make an incredible educational material to teach Buddhism.
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12/30/2004 10:43:18 AM

dbrittenham
dbrittenham
Posts: 20
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
This is a little off topic for Asia, but I have/ am creating a website for 7th grade teachers and students to discuss curriculum and other pressing topics. There is a writing section for each unit, and we are not yet to Asia, but there will be a China topic by February 1. The site also has a blog, with a thread for each unit. Students need to register for the blog, and I have all responses emailed to me, with blocking power, so it is pretty safe. We would like to have other students and classes join us. The site will continue to be improved and added to. especially the interactive parts. The address is: http://home.apu.edu/~dbrittenham/connections/
I also have a powerpoint on Japanese Castles at http://home.apu.edu/~dbrittenham/517/Castleleaf.htm
It looks best in Netscape, I have not been able to resolve a couple of problems in Explorer.
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1/2/2005 7:55:54 AM

Clay Dube
Clay Dube
Administrator
Posts: 1920
Subject: Brittenham -- Japanese Castles
Debbie's presentation on castles is quite helpful. It works fine in Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox. It includes photos (she took the Miyajima ones in 2003 when she participated in an NCTA study tour to Korea and Japan), diagrams, and lesson assignments. She also has helpful links to related books and more.

A reminder -- please follow Debbie's lead and share resources you create as well as those you find. You can copy and paste her web address into your browser or you can click on the link below to see it:

http://home.apu.edu/~dbrittenham/517/Castleleaf.htm
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1/7/2005 10:09:46 AM

rramirez
rramirez
Posts: 32
Subject: Three Beliefs System
One thing I did last year with my students was to introduce them to the three beliefs system (Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism) with some materials from the HIstory Alive series. The material was some condensed notes and you had to have the students highlight important features about each belief system.
As a followup, I gave them a homework assignment in which each student had to decide which belief system is most similiar to me as their teacher. They had to defend their answer by tying together the way I run my class and my discipline policies to the beliefs of either Buddhism, Confucianism or Daoism. Most kids thought I was a Daoist, because they said I go with the flow of things a lot and don't "trip" about little things like other teachers do. The troublemakers and the overachievers of the school said I was more of a Confucianist because I promote respect for elders, hard work and education.
The next day I had some of the kids present their point of view to the class and debate it informally for a few minutes. It was a fun way to present the Three Beliefs System and also to get the kids to think a different way.
Ryan

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Ryan Ramírez
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1/17/2005 3:55:00 PM

pdobkin
pdobkin
Posts: 33
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
Today while in class and discussing facets of "The Pillow Book," an idea popped
into my head from a passage that describes some outfits she hates. It would
be a great thing for students draw everything in their closets they hate and
want to get rid of, as one idea. Studentscould read the passage in English class, write about
clothes they no longer like, explaining the reasons why and tell what it is they would
like to have. Another idea for an art project would be for students could make a collage of items, no longer in vogue, at least in their minds, and compare it to the The Pillow Book. Thanks
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1/19/2005 3:16:29 PM

jchan
jchan
Posts: 31
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
Exploring Cultures Through Art China and Japan by Scholastic is a fantastic resource to have. There are 25 art projects and other activities that can be used as supplemental lessons to enrich student learning. Each lesson has background information as well as simple and clear directions. Some interesting lessons include name chops (China), calligraphy (China and Japan), woodblock prints (China or Japan), elevation map (China and Japan), scroll landscapte paintings (China and Japan) and Bunraku puppets (Japan). This book includes lessons focusing on geography, culture, cooking and field trips. Check it out for some great ideas![Edit by="jchan on Jan 21, 8:12:46 PM"][/Edit]
[Edit by="jchan on Jan 21, 8:14:10 PM"][/Edit]

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JChan
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1/30/2005 8:13:57 PM

jchan
jchan
Posts: 31
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
Make your own printing block

For teachers who are teaching Ancient China, here's a fun idea for you! The ancient Chinese carved printing blocks out of wood. You and your class can make printing blocks by drawing a design and tracing it onto several pieces of lightweight cardboard. Cut these copies and glue them on top of one another. Then glue them to a piece of heavy carboard so the design is raised above the surface. Cover your printing block with ink and start printing!

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JChan
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3/22/2005 11:29:38 PM

sperez
sperez
Posts: 74
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
I also think it is important to incorporate art in the teaching of different cultures since that not only reflects their aesthetic values but often is used to represent their philosophies and traditions as well. One of the forms of art I use to teach China is calligraphy because it is so highly valued in China, and because it allows students to, both figuratively and literally, translate their thoughts into Chinese. This makes it possible for them to more closely identify with, and appreciate this culture.

There are various sources for teaching some of the basic strokes and characters in Chinese calligraphy. History Alive has some very good lessons on this. I use handouts that I made from the book Long is A Dragon. The students make an English to Chinese dictionary of about 15 different characters (mostly the ones with th fewest strokes, such as Man, big, mountain, up, down, one, two, ten, etc.) Their homework is to write a simplified sentence using four of these characters.

In class the next day they work in pairs to choose one such four character sentence to write. Each practices writing two of the characters with a brush and black water colors as ink ( in a large class this avoids mishaps which might stain clothes.) Then, each pair is given a blank 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper which they fold in half, then folded two more times to the side to form eight rectangles about 2 x 5 inch. When they open it, they write their four character sentence in the top right rectangle, and trade it with another pair who has finished their sentence also. Each pair rights their sentence on the paper, starting on the top right, then middle right, bottom right, and likewise across the paper. Each also writes their names in small letters in the rectangle with their sentence. When the paper is filled, the last pair takes it back to the first pair whose job then is to translate all the sentences. In this way, each person gets a chance to write and read in Chinese.

This usually takes two to three days, but if you have extra time, more characters and more practice can be done before the paired writing. I've found that while some students think this is too difficult to do at first, they end up feeling very proud that they can actually read and write some in Chinese.[Edit by="sperez on Mar 22, 11:30:53 PM"][/Edit]

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steve perez
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3/22/2005 11:43:52 PM

sperez
sperez
Posts: 74
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
Another idea for China is to give student groups, either in twos or fours, information about the various inventions made in China, such as the compass, gunpowder, paper, porcelain, printing, etc. They must learn who invented it (if possible), when, where, how, and why, and what materials were used. Since none of these were known in the West, the students must then create a commercial, either as a live presentation, or a video, to introduce and sell this new invention to the West. Students watching the commercials must take notes on these same characteristics, and in this way they learn about all these inventions. I have found its best to have two or three different groups do each of these inventions so all the facts are covered.

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steve perez
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3/25/2005 1:55:55 PM

sperez
sperez
Posts: 74
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
I like to introduce medieval China (if I may use that term simply for chrononlogical reference) by showing parallels to the fall of Rome, and to the rise of feudalism in Europe. I also try to show common themes and methods of political, economic, and cultural development when I teach Islam, Africa, and other units as well. Of course, I also spend time on the unique characteristics and contributions of each culture. However, helping students see the common larger themes that are present in all civilizations not only provides a familiar schema for students to use, but also allows them to see the shared humanity of all cultures.

In Across the Centuries, this is particularly effective for its chapters on China. I cover China after I have covered Rome, Islam, Africa, and early medieval Europe (up to the rise of towns about 1100.) Hopefully, by then students understand the progression of creating order, then economic development which creates the time and wealth for cultural achievements. They can also predict problems which will lead to a collapse, since internal problems almost always precede invasions.

Starting on p. 192, I ask students to find similarities between the causes of Rome's and the Han Empire's collapse. They can see a corrupt, selfish, upper class, invasions from the north, landowners refusing to pay taxes, and army generals fighting each other. Of course, there were some other different problems, such as floods, which I also ask students to note down as well. Comparisons like this can be done in a Venn diagram, or the new "Y" chart, with similarites forming the bottom part of the Y.

On p.194, I ask students to compare the second paragraph under "A Period of Unrest" to the time in Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The paragraph is almost a perfect description of feudalism in medieval Europe. I ask students to use the terms they learned for feudal Europe as they write on their comparison charts (knights, lords, peasants, castles.) Since I spent time on the methods Charlemagne used to try to bring order and culture back to Europe (not all of these are in Across The Centuries) I also ask students to find parallels to these in Emperor Wen's policies (collecting and hand copying classics, regional governors, travelling inspectors.) Of course, here the differences are even more important (more organized system of administration, large public work projects, encouragement of different belief systems, etc.), and I ask students to explain how these might have affected the success and endurance of Wen's policies even after he died.

Students are often surprised to find so many similarities, especially if they had thought of China and other Asian civilizations as very strange and different from the West.[Edit by="sperez on Mar 25, 1:58:27 PM"][/Edit]

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steve perez
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4/10/2005 3:51:23 PM

bbrown
bbrown
Posts: 31
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
Because we have so many immigrant students with little or no knowledge of English, I have started using the comic book or storyboard method of students turning in some of their reports on different topics. They include all of the necessary information without stressing over the correct phrasing or vocabulary. I find that more students turn in work with this technique. It also helps with our mainstreamed special ed students who sometimes get lost on a research paper project.

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Bonnie B
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5/12/2005 6:24:56 PM

aarmas
aarmas
Posts: 56
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
I have taught Language Arts for the last 10 years, and I have discovered that students in Middle School react positively to images and graphics. While taking a look at the Pacific Asia Museum and their Buddha exhibit, I started thinking of a way to have them use the Internet Resources available on that website, which contains several excellent graphics and photos, along with some insightful and concise information on that spiritual figure. I haven't quite decided what to do for the final activity, but it could probably include some reflections on the images themselves, the themes, and might even put together a field trip to the museum's location. Our principal has expressed interest in developing more hands-on activities, projects, and multi-intellegences lessons. I need to explore and give the website more time to come up with an exciting and involving learning experience for my students. Take a look at it. It's very informational and with a nice design.
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7/27/2005 2:43:38 PM

aarmas
aarmas
Posts: 56
Subject: amazing
Thanks so much for sharing this resource with us. I will pass it along to my school's 7th grade teachers and will use it to show some of my Language Arts 8th graders how informational/historical presentations do not have to be dull.

The PowerPoint you put together is a work of art and love. Once again, great job.
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8/2/2005 9:08:03 PM

kmilton
kmilton
Posts: 28
Subject: East Asia and using wequests in the classroom
I put together a website which will help teachers at the middle and high school levels create webquests in which they can use in their classrooms. An example is given on the geography of East Asia. Please see:
http://international.ucla.edu/asia/lessons/kmilton/
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10/1/2005 3:12:49 PM

lmoakes
lmoakes
Posts: 9
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas
My middle school students have been working on creating and illustrating stories with ppt. We will start an expository unit in a few days and that is one I expect to to get online.

lm[Edit by="lmoakes on Oct 1, 3:14:58 PM"][/Edit]
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10/17/2005 9:04:28 PM

ccelis
ccelis
Posts: 31
Subject: Scrapbooking China
I also love implementing technology into the classroom. I've found a website in which students can utilize the Internet to create a multimedia scrapbook about China. The students' task is to surf through the net links to find pictures, text, maps, facts, quotes, or controversies that capture his or her exploration of China. The students will then put these items together in a multimedia scrapbook. This would prove to be a great introductory project to allow students to "get to know" China before actually beginning a unit. In my opinion, this task would serve as a great KWL chart. Check it out and see for yourself...

http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/China/scrapbook.html#intro

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Christine Celis Irving Middle School 323.829.8032
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10/18/2005 8:46:04 PM

dsenteno
dsenteno
Posts: 27
Subject: Re: Scrapbooking China
WOW!!! what a wonderful idea. I checked out the site and I will use this site and idea when I get to my China unit. Thank you very much for the heads up. This is a very innovative and fun way to introduce china to mIddle school students.
d senteno
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10/22/2005 1:46:07 PM

zarooum
zarooum
Posts: 42
Subject: Portraits of Emperors
This is a great website which has historical portrait paintings of all the emperors from the Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties


http://www.chinapage.com/emperor.html

Linda
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11/7/2005 3:54:55 PM

mhogan
mhogan
Posts: 31
Subject: Re: Scrapbooking China
Wow indeed! You've created a wonderful site, with many links to allow students to access what interests them. I've always wanted to create a more rich experience for the students to experience the silk road. Perhaps I'll borrow your idea and have them do a scrap book of a journey along the Silk Road. Thanks for all of your work. I'll be sure to refer back to your links. Your site is officially on my "favorites" list.

Malynn
Miraleste Intermediate School
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11/13/2005 1:56:51 PM

zarooum
zarooum
Posts: 42
Subject: Re: Middle School Ideas--Useful Websites to Supplement Curriculum
I rely heavily on websites to supplement the information supplied by my textbook, for teaching ideas, and to "hook" students. I think it would be useful to collect all of the recommended websites for Middle School teachers in one place so I will start and hope everyone will reply here.

For those of you who would like to join me in cataloguing your ideas, I will include Clay's notes about including websites: "In evaluating websites, provide details on who created the resource, what are its particular strengths and weaknesses, and how might it be used by teachers."

One of the earliest problems I have enountered in teaching Asia in my classroom is the fact that I am completely ignorant when it comes to pronouncing Asian names. In preparing to teach my first lesson, I realized that I was just making up pronunciations and that if I actually taught these words I would be doing a great disservice to my 6th graders. They might make my mispronunciations their own for the rest of their lives. So I became determined to learn how to teach these words properly.

One website has become my best friend. I practice with it in the evenings and sometimes I even check it out just before I "go on stage" in front of my kids. This website allows you to type in almost any word and hear the pronunciation of it.

Of course, it has a lot of other features like an online dictionary and thesaurus, a computing dictionary, a medical dictionary, a legal dictionary, acronyms, idioms, an online Columbia encyclopedia, and an online Wikipedia enclyclopedia.

It is great for kids because it has illustrations of the definitions of words and important people, places and facts from history. For example, in describing "cuneiform," I needed to know how to define "wedge-shaped" and the site displayed a wedge of cheese. The kids really got it from that. The information is very timely as well. If you look up the Taklamakan Desert, you will find a photo from space of a dust storm in the Taklamakan taken on June 25, 2005.

The website address is: http://www.thefreedictionary.com

Who created the resource and its particular strengths and weaknesses are described in detail on its homepage:

"Wikipedia is a Web-based, free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers and sponsored by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. It contains entries both on traditional encyclopedic topics and on almanac, gazetteer, and current events topics. Its purpose is to create and distribute a free international encyclopedia in as many languages as possible. Wikipedia is one of the most popular reference sites on the internet, receiving around 60 million hits per day.

The English section of Wikipedia has over 730,000 articles and is growing fast. It is edited by volunteers in wiki fashion, meaning articles are subject to change by nearly anyone. Wikipedia's volunteers enforce a policy of "neutral point of view" whereby views presented about notable persons or literature are summarized without an attempt to determine an objective truth. Because of its open nature, vandalism and inaccuracy are problems in Wikipedia.

The status of Wikipedia as a reference work has been controversial, and it is both praised for its free distribution, free editing and wide range of topics and criticized for alleged systemic biases, preference of consensus to credentials, deficiencies in some topics, and lack of accountability and authority when compared with traditional encyclopedias. Its articles have been cited by the mass media and academia and are available under the GNU Free Documentation License."
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