Arts of Asia in Reach
Japanese Carp Kites/Children's Day
3. Strategies & Procedures


Engage (Motivation)

Begin with a discussion about carp. Ask students to list characteristics about the fish that they notice. Have them notice the details and textural qualities of its scales, gills, etc.

Introduce students to the symbolism of the carp in Japanese culture. Explain that each season the carp must fight with all its might and muscle to swim upstream against the current. This is why the carp represents strength abd courage in Japan and is used as a symbol, at first on Japanese Boys' Day, and now on Japanese Children's Day, and its image is made into kites that are flown outside homes, one for each child.

Talk about symbolism and ask students to compare the carp to other symbols of strength from other cultures.

Explore

Read students A Carp for Kimiko by Katherine Roundtree. Open a discussion with students about Rountree's story, point out that although it is now accepted that carp kites are flown for both boys and girls, Kimiko still struggles within her family to share this tradition with her brothers.

Ask students if they have ever faced discrimination, or been excluded from activities because of a physical quality they possessed and could not change. How did that make them feel? Do they think Kimiko felt the same way? Do students ever think or feel that they cannot play with certain toys because of their gender?

Create

Each student will create his or her own carp kite!

Have students follow the instructions below:
  1. Using a pencil, trace template of fish onto large sheet of colored construction paper (11" x 17") of students' choice.*
  2. Carefully cut along traced outline, cutting out the entire vase-shape and discard scrap paper.
  3. Fold shape in half lengthwise.
  4. Open shape up again and begin by drawing two (2) large circles for eyes at the top of the vase shape.
  5. Draw a horizontal line from one edge to the other, directly below the two (2) eye shapes.
  6. Draw scales on the fish below the horizontal line by making capital ‘U' shapes. Stagger them or draw them scattered around the fish body. Use lots of color so that your fish stands out!
  7. When finished coloring, refold fish shape and take to teacher for assistance.

Teacher instructions:
  1. Using the hole punch, punch a hole on the folded fish shape below the eyes and close to the fish mouth so that two (2) holes are made, one on each side of the folded fish.
  2. While fish shape is folded in half. Roll the shape so the paper curls slightly. This will allow the fish body to expand after stapling the ends together. Unroll and unfold, shaping fish gently.
  3. Refold fish while keeping its rounded shape. Place a staple connecting the two bottom curves of the fish. (see diagram)
  4. Cut a small piece of cellophane (about 9"x 12") and fold into an accordion fan. Group accordian fold with a few crepe paper streamers (allow students to select colors) and staple between the fish tale fold.
  5. Cut string (about one to two yards) and loop through the two punched holes near the carp mouth.
  6. Tie end of string forming a V-shape below the carp mouth. Allow ample room for the fish to expand.
  7. Finish by tying loose end of string to dowell end and securing with ta

* Teacher should make templates prior to studio activity. Templates can be made by drawing a large vase-shape onto construction paper, preferably using a color that will not be selected by students, (such as black) and label it 'template.'





Continue to: 4. Assessment & Closure