University of Vermont

Learning World History through Japanese Kamishibai

Grade 7 and 8 students in South Hero presented first-person kamishiba for their parents.

Grade 7 and 8 students at Folsom Educational and Community Center in South Hero presented first-person kamishibai, based on primary source documents from bombings Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for their parents recently. The students presented the stories of Americans -- among them, pilot Paul Tibbetts, physicist Robert Oppenheimer, President Harry S Truman and his war secretary, Harry Stimson -- and Japanese citizens -- among them Akira Onogi, who was 16 when the bomb droppped and Hiroko Fukada, who was 18 and working inside the Bureau of Post Communications at the time.

All of the stories help students better understand this period of U.S. and world history.

Students displayed their work in a gallery in their classroom, sharing their creativity and diligence: from primary source documents they used to create their kamishibai, to their story plot maps and storyboards, detailing the exposition, the rising and falling action of the story, and finally the resolution, their drafts and final product: their kamishibai slides and stories.

The project was a collaboration among Language Arts and Social Studies teacher Julie Pidgeon, Art teacher Jenn Hart, and Sharon Hayes, school library media specialist and technology integrationist. Sharon Hayes was among 10 Vermont educators who visited Japan as part of UVM's Asian Studies Program last summer.

Rich in the Common Core, the kamishibai project addressed Reading Literature Standards 1-7 and 9; Reading Informational Text Standards 1-6, 8, 9; Writing Standards 3, 4, and 5; Speaking and Listening Standards 1 and 6; and Vermont art standards.

Sharon was selected to present the kamishibai with the students at the 2014 Dynamic Landscaoes conference on May 15th. http://dynamiclandscapes2014.sched.org/