Wow! What a start to the school term! We have started studying the beautiful country of the Philippines and are very fortunate here at St Emilie’s to have many families that are from the Philippines and are happy and willing to share their life experiences, photos and realia from their home country with us this term.
This fortnight in Cultural Studies, we explored the fascinating and ever inspiring topic of food in Vietnam!
As always, our students were engaged and excited to learn about the variety and richness in Vietnamese foods and the regional differences throughout the country.
These are some of the facts we have learnt:
- Vietnamese food has two main ingredients- Rice, (which is not only steamed and fried, but also used in flour form to make rice flour rolls, rice cakes and noodles) and fresh vegetables and herbs.
- The students were surprised to learn that vietnamese food was also influenced by the French and such dishes as Banh Mi (Vitenamese sandwich) Banh Xeo (sizzling pancake) and snails- escargot are common meals in Vietnam.
- We then were able to discuss as a class the similarities and differences between our foods in Australia and Vietnam. One of the points of interest in the discussions was that many of our students with Asian influences, whether that be from their family’s culture, travelling or life experiences shared by their families: found many foods in Vietnam are familiar and cooked and eaten by their families.
Like Australians, Vietnamese food is fried, steamed, barbecued and boiled, but unlike western food, Vietnamese food is usually not baked or roasted, as small open air fires are more common than ovens.
It was lovely to see so many of our students wanting to go to more Vietnamese restaurants, with families emailing pictures of the children’s( and their own!) experiences trying Vietnamese food for the first time through the encouragement of their children!
We also viewed You-Tube clips of Luke Nguyen cooking snails on the Mekong River and saw the hilarious comedian Anh Do eating some exotic foods in Vietnam. ( this caused quite a few giggles!) But more importantly, the children are understanding that because a food is different or unusual, it is important to reserve judgement until they themselves have had a chance to try it. They are becoming more culturally sensitive and are learning that respecting a persons culture, their beliefs and their way of life is important.
This fortnight in Cultural studies we have been preparing for open night by creating original art pieces and learning about Vietnamese festival clothes and their customs.
Don’t forget to come along on Open Night in Week 8 to see all our hard work in action!
This fortnight in Cultural studies we have been reading and viewing youtube clips about Anh Do. Anh is a famous Australian who’s cultural background and heritage is Vietnamese.
The year 1-3 classes have read the “Little Refugee”, a book written By Anh and Suzanne Do, which beautifully describes the early childhood of Anh. It was wonderful to hear the students talk with empathy about the challenges of Anh’s family as they fled Vietnam as refugees and the inspiring way his mum and dad taught Anh and his siblings to always hope for the best and be positive.
The students illustrated their favourite part of the book and discussed in groups their choices and what characteristics of “The Little Refugee” inspired them to be more culturally aware of children coming to Australia with very little english.
Some common answers were:
“I would like to play with Anh at recess and lunch so he doesn’t feel lonely”
“We could help him to learn english while we play and make him feel included”
“By being kind and patient with him during games and when we are in class, so he can learn english faster and catch up!”
“To remember that different foods from other countries can be really yummy, so don’t laugh when someone brings something different in their lunch boxes!”
Here are some work samples of their lessons this fortnight:
The Senior classes, Years 4-6 viewed the u-tube clip “Pictures of You” in which the achievements and challenges of Anh’s life were discussed and we got to see photos of many significant people and events. I was particularly proud of the mature and sensitive nature of the students and the insightful questions the children had. We discussed the impact of the Vietnam War and the plight of refugees in Vietnam at the time of Anh’s story.The children then completed a reflective written activity about their views and what they have learnt from Anh’s experiences and how this impacts on their own cultural understandings. It was a pleasure to hear and read their thoughtful and sincere responses.
Below are some samples of their work:
This term we are exploring wonderful, exotic Vietnam and the amazing features the Vietnamese culture has to offer.
Weeks one and two have seen us navigating the map to find Vietnam and discussing the climate, geographical features and the distinctive main cities of this country.
We worked together to produce a collection of questions we would like to be answered as our learning progresses through out the term.
It would be safe to say, we are all excited to discover the beauty and diversity of yet another Asian country and are eager to understand more about Vietnam’s cultural origins and how we can relate to them!
The journey continues…
This fortnight the students are learning about Indonesian mask art and watched u tube clips about Wayung puppetry.
Javanese and Balinese dances are historically based in epic love stories, classical stories of heroes and monsters, tales of Gods and momentous events, with some stories dating back to the 11th century!
Some Balinese masks are considered sacred and are to be treated with great respect. Many Indonesian masks are used in Dance and Drama performances The word for mask is “Topeng” . These masks are usually made of wood then painted in with colours and designs.
We have made some amazing “Topeng” this fortnight!
This fortnight we are learning about the different foods in China, from Sichuan in the west, Beijing in the north, Fujian in the east, Hunan in Central China and Canton in the south.The children were surprised at the rich variation in the different foods in China!
This brought up some excellent questions from the students and developed the understanding that many differences and variations occur within cultures that are distinctive to their geographical position, their closeness to other countries and that even within cultures, there are distinctions that make us unique!
This fortnight in Cultural studies, all year levels from year 1-6 have been busy learning about the diversity and beauty of Chinese art, and exploring the legends and significance of dragons, cylinder and ball lanterns, traditional clothes and the history of fans within China.
We are all busy creating our own works of art to consolidate our learning of Chinese art for week 9!
Below is a selection of photos of the design and production process of our students creating china dolls with traditional clothes, decorating Chinese lanterns and creating fans for our open night presentation in years 4-6.
The students have all been surprised at the wealth of knowledge and cultural understandings that can be learnt from studying China’s art history.
In the last two weeks students at St Emilie’s have been exploring Chinese Folktales and traditional art and creative expression.
The Year 1,2 & 3 classes have viewed the you-tube clip animation of the 10 suns and reviewed the story with a rating and recreation drawing of their favourite scene. The year 2 & 3 classes, have written a retell of the story and a review of their favourite aspect of the story.
The year 4,5,& 6 classes have viewed the award winning animation of “The Legend of Shangri-la” and they were asked to write about what distinctive cultural aspects they discovered. They were then invited to describe the feelings and emotions that the incredible art work and creativity the story narration and historical features evoked within them.
Our Year 6 students were able to describe many ways diversity within cultures presents opportunities for new experiences and understandings. Their ability to develop empathy for and describe how the use of words, imagery and colour in interactions could have a variety of meanings for various cultural groups, was a key learning point.
In weeks one and two of this term, the children have been exploring the wonderful language of China – Chinese, and ‘having a go’ at writing characters and greeting one another!
As always, the children have shown great curiosity and respect for learning about a new culture and the challenges it poses to make the links between our cultural backgrounds in Australia and that of our focus country for the term.
We look forward to a learning packed term full of discovery and creativity as we learn about the fascinating traditions, arts,history,foods, belief and cultural systems that make China so unique and fascinating.