Fiction about Japan in the Elementary Curriculum.
Fiction about Japan in the Elementary Curriculum. This site gives ideas for teachign about with children's fiction.
From the site:
For many children, their first view of Japan comes from story books. Those books can entice, delight, inspire further study, and offer glimpses of a world previously unknown. They can foster open-mindedness and an awareness of other ways of thinking and living. For these reasons, selecting accurate and appropriate books has become a primary responsibility of teachers.
THE CHALLENGE OF CHOICE
Elementary teachers, often without any formal training about Japan, must make decisions about book purchases that will have a potentially life-long impact on students' attitudes. Choosing books that can meet this challenge has taken on new complexity and significance due to trends both within elementary education and in the world beyond the classroom door. In classrooms across the country, fiction is often the main source of children's information about Japan. Since both pedagogical innovations and inadequate school budgets have contributed to a decrease in the use of elementary school textbooks, teachers must consider the historical accuracy of the books they choose. Innovations such as the whole language approach to reading, new methods of assessing student learning, the encouragement of diverse and multicultural perspectives, the application of theories of multiple intelligences, and the integration of teaching across the curriculum often mean that a student in the primary grades hears a folk tale from another country, does an art activity based on that culture, uses the metric system in the art project, finds out a bit about the flora and fauna now living there, and writes a letter to an imaginary pen-pal. This kind of integration across the curriculum puts a teacher's choices of fiction at the crossroads of the whole curriculum.
Embedded in this integrated curriculum is the teaching of citizenship. Elementary teachers regularly wrestle with citizenship issues, including the relationship of the individual to the group. Many school districts teach citizenship to children who speak a variety of languages and dialects. A book choice can send either the message that "those kids" come from a weird place, or that those kids have a heritage about which we should know more. Books can stimulate empathy, compassion, and a search for solutions to problems we all face. They can teach us that contacts with others generate both conflict and cooperation. Books of fiction provide a safe place to explore life's troubling issues.