The 1,000 Crane Project.
With the help of Carol Lee and Naomi Murakami of the The Crane House, (a Japanese cultural center), and visual artist Susan Jaffe, we learned the art of making origami cranes. They also taught us the crane's history and legends. In addition, The Crane House donated a kimono which we decorated and dedicated in memory of Nathan. We created atmosphere by reading stories about cranes and kimonos, and we held a Japanese tea party.
We learned that in Asia, the crane is the symbol of long life and happiness, good health, hope, encouragement, and conveys good wishes to others. The crane also represents safety, luck, honor, respect, and strength. The birds are a reminder that miracles can happen. Our goal is to mail out 1,000 origami cranes in Nathan's memory to embody good wishes for health, hope, encouragement, and love. So far, we have mailed out over 350 cranes to our friends and supporters across the United States. We hope by sending out these cranes, Nathan's memory will touch the hearts of many.
Though constructing origami cranes can be very detailed and precise, there are other parts that do not require a great deal of precision. These steps make great activities for kids.
1. Let the children pick out the type of paper they want for their crane. Make it a game by placing different types of paper on a switch-operated spinner. The type of paper the children will use is determined by where the spinner lands.
2. Let the children cut the paper into squares with battery-operated scissors and a switch. With some help, the children can fold the pieces of paper into cranes and then string them together for decorations. We used ours in the classroom (right) and on the kimono.
We decorated our kimono with paint mixed with tea, and painted the kimono using tea bags. Other decorations can be used such as: ribbons, hearts, cranes, and fans. We strung cranes on the kimono in a "rainbow formation," which symbolizes peace.
After the kimono was completed, a crane-making party was held for Nathan's family, where they were taught how to make cranes. They also wrote personal messages to Nathan on rice paper. The papers were then folded into a fan and the fan was placed on the kimono. Both were mounted in a permanent place for all to see and enjoy.
Debby Entwhistle is a special education teacher at the Pediatric Convalescent Center; The Home of the Innocents, Louisville, Kentucky.
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|Publication:||The Exceptional Parent|
|Date:||May 1, 1999|
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