Wednesday, March 3, 2021

A Visit to Sofia's Kindergarten Class

 Sofia and I are very excited about today's school session. I was invited to speak to her class today about Japanese family traditions. Today March 3 is Girl's day in Japan. A day where families recognize and honor the daughters in our families and to greet Spring. I will be reading a book called "Thank you very Mochi". A book that centers on the New Year's tradition for Japanese families to make and eat mochi symbolizing good health and good luck for the new year. The book tells how one family works together to make mochi but more importantly the book teaches that no matter what is needed to make this special dish, the most important ingredient is "family". Being together, working together to make something good happen. An annual family tradition together. I will be zooming with Sofia's class at 9:00 this morning. Yesterday she was so excited and I told her "I'm so excited too!"


Here is how it went:

For those that asked how yesterday's meeting with Sofia's Kindergarten class went here's what happened. We started the zoom at 9:00 and ended about 9:35. Sofia's teacher welcomed me and introduced me to the class. I was not able to see the students but she was able to put the camera on Sofia who was seated at the teacher's desk. Sofia had been so excited and I could see she was very happy when we were on zoom. The teacher had the book there so she could let the students see the pages as I read on the big shared screen. There are about 15 students in the class and one or two distance learning in their homes. I first talked a little about myself, my grandparents and my mother. I told them my grandparents came from Japan a long time ago to make their home in America. I said they settled in Texas, the same state that they live. I gave them a little background on the Japanese tea gardens and I told them my mom and her 7 siblings were born in Texas like some of them. I then told a funny story about the monkey escaping from the zoo next to the tea gardens and ending up in their backyard. One of my moms sisters gave the monkey a piece of gum and he began to chew it. . Then the zookeeper caught the monkey and returned it to its' cage. Thereafter we were told that whenever the children cut through the zoo to get to school the monkey would look at them and mimic chewing gum. The kids loved that story and giggled. Then I talked about traditions and what that means. I gave examples of the way traditions are celebrated with pomp and circumstance or simply with certain foods, dressing up in certain ways and celebrating as a people, a country, a family. That led to Girl's day celebrations in Japan (yesterday was March 3 the day that holiday is celebrated). I then gave them a vocabulary lesson for a few things in the book. We learned "usu" is the big stone bowl the rice flour is pounded in and "kine" is the long wooden mallet used in the pounding. I taught them to count to four in Japanese as I would need their help counting when we got to that part of the story. I talked about things we put on mochi (the pounded rice) like furikake (seasoning, sho-yu (soy sauce) and red beans. Then I read the story. Just before I ended the teacher reversed the camera and she called each student up individually to say hi. They all looked so cute as it was picture day and they were dressed with pretty dresses, bows and super hero shirts. I said goodbye to all the kids and thanked the teacher for this special opportunity which meant so much to me. I blew Sofia a kiss. It was really a fun time. Thanks to all of you for your nice comments.


When I face timed Sofia after school yesterday she was very excited. She said because I was able to visit their class the teacher let Sofia choose something from a very special treasure box. She was so excited because she said "Gramma I picked a prize for both of us! It's a puzzle we can do when you come to visit. I know how you LOVE puzzles!". That really touched me and I told her that was so special and I can't wait to do it with her. She said she had a really hard decision because it was between a ring and this puzzle and she knows how much I love jewelry. (that made me laugh). "Don't worry gramma" She said. Next time I'll choose the ring for us.



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