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2007 Unit C

Grade level: Intermediate
Discipline: Visual Arts

Teacher name
Email address
School or District
Rachel Book
Ben Franklin School
Lisa Gardner
Sporting Hill Elementary School
Diane Lavalais
Creighton Elementary
Elizabeth McKemy
Wilson Southern Junior High

Title of unit: Hand-made Book of Seasonal Japan
Overview: Students will learn about traditional two-dimensional Japanese art which in its subject matter focuses on the philosophy of Shinto. This art, inspired by deep-rooted appreciation of the seasons, will be viewed by the students along with Western art counterparts. The students will compare the Japanese botanical and landscape art with Western art counterparts and discuss the differences. The students will discuss their own connections with nature and offer their responses on the importance of the seasons. The concept of Shinto will be understood by the students and the art projects that the students will be directed to complete will emulate the Japanese traditional nature paintings. The students will complete a collection of four works of art, one for each season. Each work of art will be executed in a traditional Japanese art form and bound together in a Japanese stab-bound book.
Time needed to complete the unit: 15 hours

Essential learning(s): Students will understand the importance of the seasonal changes and the Japanese philosophy of Shinto through the exploration of historical two-dimensional Japanese art forms from the Edo time period. Students will know the historical, social, and cultural concept of Shinto, and know how if differs from modern Western cultural emphasis on the seasons.
Summative task: As the rich task outcome, students will create two-dimensional art emulating the two-dimensional Japanese art studied. They will create a separate piece of art each celebrating a season, based on the Shinto concept of the natural world, using various traditional two-dimensional painting, printing, and brush techniques. These works will be combined to create Japanese stab-bound books containing prints, Haiku, Sumi-e, and Kanji.

PA Academic Standards
Content Indicators
(What students will know)
Process Indicators
(What students will do to demonstrate knowledge of the content)
(1.a.) 9.1.8.C Identify and use comprehensive vocabulary within each of the arts forms.

(1.b.) R6.A.2.1.2 Identify and apply meaning of content-specific words used in text..

(1.c.) R6.A.2.4.1 Identify and/or explain stated or implied main ideas and relevant supporting details from text.

(2) 9.2.8 A Explain the historical, cultural and social context of an individual work in the arts.

(3) 9.3.8.B Analyze and interpret specific characteristics of works in the arts within each art form.

(4) 9.4.8 B Compare and contrast informed individual opinions about the meaning of works of art to others.

(5) M6.D.1.2.1 Determine a rule based on a pattern or illustrate a pattern based on a given rule (displayed on a table, chart or graph; pattern must show at least 3 repetitions).
(1) Students will know Japanese terms: Shinto, shikie, stab binding, haiku, sumie, kanji, kami, ukiyoe.

(1.b.) Students will know Japanese terms and names of time periods.

(1.c.) Students will know that the Shinto belief system and philosophy represents an appreciation of nature, embodied within the Kanji symbols.

(2.a) Students will know that Japanese culture deeply values nature and the cyclic changing of the seasons as imparted by the Shinto belief system.

(2.b) Students will know the Japanese have depicted this important relationship throughout their history in many two dimensional art forms such as painting, screens, fans, scrolls and books.

(3) Students will understand differences between Japanese and American cultural symbols of the seasons. (i.e., bamboo, cherry blossoms, snow covered mountain, ocean waves).

(4.a.) Students will understand their opinions regarding the beauty of nature differ from Japanese people whose culture is immersed in Shinto beliefs.

(4.b.) Students will recognize the differences between the "old Kanji" style and the "modern" Kanji style, and their relationship to nature.

(5) Students will know that there can be different patterns of Japanese stab binding and understand the differences in the patterns.
(1) To demonstrate understanding of book components, students will identify correct definitions of terms through a concept definition map.

(1.b.) Students will identify and apply the meaning of vocabulary in nonfiction.

(1.c.) Students will research information on Kanji symbols and select a symbol that represents their appreciation of nature. Students will create their own stylized version of the symbol on their stab bound book cover.

(2.a.) After veiwing PowerPoints and visuals and engaging in discussion of the Shinto philosophy, students will demonstrate their understanding through creation of individual works of art to be included in their Japanese stab bound art book.

(2.b.) Students will observe and identify examples of paintings and other two dimensional Japanese artworks which illustrate symbolic Japanese images of the four seasons.

(3) Students generate a Japanese stab bound book that illustrates the four seasons from different media such as Kanji and sumi e painting and printmaking. Students will compare Japanese and American symbols and discuss the differences.

(4.a.) Students will identify different elements within various works of Japanese and Western art. These elements include content and emotions (such as color, tranquility, simplicity) which will illustrate the distinct opinions and value systems. The students will emulate the Japanese art style in individual works of art.

(4.b.) The students will write an entry in the stab bound book that reflects the meaning of the symbol and its relationship to the four seasons.

(5) Students will determine a rule for placement of holes for sewing according to a basic pattern, and compare their designs with that of their peers.

Teacher materials needed:

Teacher created PowerPoint presentation showcasing natural photographs of the Japanese landscape. Examples of Japanese prints and paintings depicting the natural world and examples of Western landscape paintings are also in PowerPoint format.

Podcast of Japanese landscapes and gardens from PA Governor's School for the Arts for Educators.

Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Line. Timeline of Art History. Seasonal Imagery in Japanese Art.

Japanese Stab Binding by Gary Miller.

For printmaking:
Hokusai, Hiroshige print Reproductions
Hiroshige in Tokyo, Jilian Bickwell
Japanese Prints, Gabriele Fahr-Becker

For Kanji: kanji.php
Student materials needed:
Sumi-e Painting:
Natural leaves
Handout of botanical images
Bamboo brushes or round brushes
Natural craft paper
Watercolor paper
Copy paper
Black Sumie Ink
Watercolor paint or tempera paint

Kanji examples
Bamboo brushes or round brushes
Natural craft paper
Watercolor paper
Copy paper
Black Sumie Ink
Watercolor paint or tempera paint

Relief Printing:
Styrofoam plates
Printing Ink
Brayers and inking trays

Japanese Stab-bound Book:
Craft paper for cover
Dental floss for book binding
1/16" punch for sewing holes

Unit vocabulary:
The lower reaches of a tributary of the Yamato River, in Nara. Long famous for its maple leaves, it was a popular topic in poetry.

Paintings of famous locations around the Japanese capital of Kyoto at certain characteristic seasons, often showing aristocrats or local people engaged in seasonal or everyday activities.

Paintings of the four seasons. The term designates representations of Japanese landscape, flora, and people engaged in typical activities that reflect the seasons, usually in order from spring to winter. (Shiki-e became popular at the Heian court in the late 9th or early 10th Century with the burgeoning of Japanese-style poetry, waka, which relies on seasonal references to convey mood and emotion.) Paintings of activities of the twelve months are often tied to agriculture or to religious festivals in landscape settings.

An area in the Oomine mountains, Nara, most famous for cherry blossoms. Important not only as a place of great scenic beauty, but for historical and literary associations as well.

Pictures depicting activities associated with the months of the year.

A widely used descriptive term which has carried various nuances in different periods, but generally applied to paintings whose subject matter, format and/or style are considered "Japanese," as opposed to something "foreign," or "Chinese."

Japanese stab-binding
Ancient Japanese technique to bind pages together into the book form, Chinese in origin.

Natural spirit.

Believes that a kami dwells in everything in nature such as trees, rocks, and mountains and, to survive, the balance of these natural forces must be maintained.

Rolling tool in printmaking used to evenly spread ink.

Images of the floating world, depicting the common man in everyday life.

“Old” or ancient Japanese calligraphy.

kokotu moji
"Old” style calligraphy, a primitive natural form.

"Old” style calligrapy, less primitive, but more formal.

"Modern” style calligraphy, block print type.

"Modern” style calligraphy, a cursive brush stroke style.
Unit warm-up: After prior knowledge assessment, use the globe to discuss the geography of Japan and the isolation of the culture. Students will view the Podcast of Japanese landscapes and gardens from PA Governor's Institute for the Arts for Educators. Students will write a list of observations from the Podcast. Teacher then segues into group discussion by writing all of different observations from the Podcast on the board. The philosophical belief of Shinto should then be introduced, followed by the teacher-created PowerPoint presentation of Japanese two-dimensional landscape and botanical art, and the Western art counterparts.
Assessing Prior Knowledge: Class will break into four groups. Students will list facts about Japan, and students will list questions they may have about Japan.

Lesson 1

Instruction (Lesson plan)
Formative assessment
Sumi-e Painting - Views of Spring and Summer
Students will take a tour through the use of the iPod video Kinkakuji. This video shows the elegance, harmony, and the beauty of Japan’s environment. With the help of the video students will see the imagery and feel the essence conveyed in Japanese art and culture.

Students will learn about various vocabulary words of Japanese Culture.

Students will view artwork by various artisans that have successfully emulated Japanese sumi-e painting. (i.e.Hokusai Katsushika, Ando Hiroshige, Hiroshige II, etc.). Look at website as a good starting point.

Students will identify sumi-e paintings and discuss the harmony and simple beauty through teacher-led discussion.

Students will learn the technique and vocabulary of the sumi-e brushstrokes through teacher demonstration and then modeling of students. Students will have the opportunity to practice and simulate the style through these examples.

Students will complete spring and summer compositions reflecting the sumi-e characteristics and painting techniques.
After video Kinkakuji, the teacher will check for understanding with a word web on the board defining characteristics of the Japanese environment.
Students are required to start experimentation on Sumi-e brushstrokes onto several pages.
Word wall is designated with new vocabulary terms used in Japan (see Unit vocabulary),
and particularly in the Sumi-e process.

While making the Sumi-e process students are asked to use the proper terminology for the tools.
Sumi- the ink used
Sumi-e - drawings created with sumi
Suzuri – the ink stone with which sumi is made
Fude- the brush
Kami- the paper
Bokusho – abstract sumi art

After teacher has seen brushstrokes and consistency in imagery (i.e. bamboo, cherry blossoms, ocean waves, etc.) they come up with a lightly drawn design incorporating the spring and summer seasons. Ink is added to the composition and students will complete two paintings. Once finished the print will be added to the collaborative book of seasons each student creates. The imagery will clearly embody the Japanese style of Sumi-e painting.
Accommodations for special learners
Accommodations for ESL students
Enrichment for gifted learners
Make copies for students who need the imagery in front of them while they design the composition.
Allow more time for certain students and their completed compositions. (ADHD, learning disability)
Handout on a step by step process of a Sumi-e painting with images and directional arrows. (deafness, visual impairment, learning disability)
Student will pair up with partner and mimic the motion, or direction line of brush to achieve a certain stroke, image. (deafness, visual impairment, and learning disability)
Teacher will have notecards with the Sumi-e process words done in their language.
Students will use the flash words with an English speaking partner so they can enhance their sounds and pronunciations.
Students that excel in the Sumi-e painting and compose two separate seasons may work on a larger print called a shiki-e with various colors. The shiki-e painting is depicted in Japanese imagery and has a combination of all four seasons. This complex composition may be done with various colors but will simulate the Sumi-e style.
Books available for students to complete a presentation via poster, PowerPoint, etc. the selected successful Japanese artisans. (e.g., Hokusai Katsushika, Ando Hiroshige, Hiroshige II)

Lesson 2

Instruction (Lesson plan)
Formative assessment
Relief Printmaking – Views of Fall and Winter
Teacher will show Ukiyo-e images (reproductions) from Hokusai and Hiroshige with nature as the subject matter stressing the importance and symbolism of nature as believed in Shinto. Students will verbally contribute to a list of characteristics these prints share. Students will observe a variety of contemporary Western landscape paintings and then list differences between the two styles of art work.

Teacher will ask and list what students know about the printmaking process. Tools and technique will be verbally explained and demonstrated. Instruction steps will be on a handout including vocabulary with definitions. Important Japanese values (simplicity, subtlety, suggestive or symbolic communication verses direct, asymmetry, imperfection, odd verses even numbers of things, tranquility, quiet) will be reviewed.

Students will draw an image to represent Fall and Winter on 5x7 papers being reminded to consider composition, balance, positive/negative space and simple use of line for printmaking.
When teacher approves line drawing, image is transferred (traced) on Styrofoam. Groups of 4 will use ink trays, brayers and spoons to pull two prints of each image (fall and winter.) Student will choose which is more successful to insert into book.

Notes: Pine tree symbolizes longevity and happiness, black and red pines symbolize positive and negative force in the universe. Nature is a tribute to life.
Japanese aesthetic values: simplicity, naturalness, elegance, subtlety, suggestive or symbolic communication verses direct, asymmetry, imperfection, odd verses even numbers of things, tranquility, stillness, quiet, true essence of things, lack of color, silence,
Japanese art represents nature from a spiritual perspective and an inner essence rather than a scientifically realistic one. Negative space is as important as the positive space.
Class will brainstorm symbolic ideas for the fall and winter seasons based in nature compared to the material goods in our American culture; volunteer to write on board.

Teacher will review drawing for appropriate subject matter and composition.

Constant teacher interaction in classroom
Accommodations for special learners
Accommodations for ESL students
Enrichment for gifted learners
Review books with images (ADHD, autism, multiple disabilities).
Pair with peer for support and guidance (ADHD, autism, multiple-disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment).
Pair with peer for support and guidance.
Biography of Hokusai or Hiroshige.
Exploration of the importance of the garden in Japan.

Lesson 3

Instruction (Lesson plan)
Formative assessment
1. Two pictures will represent the old original style called Kokotu Moji (a
primitive and natural form) and Kin Bun (a less primitive and more formal style).
2. They will also read about and be shown two modern styles. The name Kaisho represents the block print style. Sosho is the name of the cursive style that was developed by using brushes.
3. Students will be asked to compare the old and new Kanji symbols and choose the Kanji that is most pleasing to them.
4. Students will write a reflection that describes why their Kanji is pleasing to them and its relationship to one of the seasons. They will also address their reason(s) for choosing either an “old” Kanji design or a “modern” Kanji design.

Students will create/paint versions of their chosen symbol:

5.Students will experiment with various ink values.
6.Students will experiment with various natural materials such as leaves, flowers, grass, etc. to be incorporated into the composition.
7.Students will experiment with various sizes and placement of their symbol within the composition.
8.Students will experiment with background colors and select the one that best expresses their feeling about the symbol.
9.The completed stab book cover design will reflect their feelings and appreciation of nature and seasons. The students will explain their final composition choices in the reflective entry in their stab book.
Reflection entry in their stab-bound book.
Accommodations for special learners
Accommodations for ESL students
Enrichment for gifted learners
Placement of their workspace in the classroom where there is the least amount of negative disturbances (serious emotional disturbance).
Place student where his/her sight line encounters the least amount of visual stimuli (autism).
Poster story board to illustrate each stage of the lesson process is placed in clear view around the room.
Student will experiment with both old and modern symbol versions combined within the same composition.

Lesson 4

Instruction (Lesson plan)
Formative assessment
Japanese Stab-bound Book
PowerPoint Presentation of Japanese stab-binding will be shown, and the teacher will model the entire book-binding procedure for the students.

Students complete each step of the sewing as a group in order to help all students successfully complete the task.

For specific procedures see Japanese Stab Binding by Gary Miller.
Discuss the PowerPoint through a question and answer session to check for understanding.

During the live demonstration stop to check for understanding of the book-binding process by comparing student work with sample.

During the binding of the book check that all students have successfully completed each step before moving to the next step.
Accommodations for special learners
Accommodations for ESL students
Enrichment for gifted learners
Allow additional time or simplify task (for students with under-developed motor skills and for students with no experience sewing.)
Check for understanding often. Pair with a peer if needed for additional support.
Students develop a more intricate sewing pattern and use the pattern to bind the book.


Below Basic
Sumi-e painting
*Subject matter clearly reflects qualities of Shinto philosophy; simple composition conveys a quiet serene natural environment in the spring and summer seasons.
*Brushwork emulates Japanese examples in line quality and ink density.
*Excellent design of seasonal imagery of the natural world.
*Space is filled as specified.
*Subject matter reflects qualities of Shinto philosophy; simple composition conveys a quiet serene natural environment in the spring and summer seasons.
*Skillful execution of sumi brushwork includes three line width variations.
*Subject matter clearly refers to the seasons in the natural world.
*Space is filled as specified.
*Subject matter somewhat reflects qualities of Shinto philosophy; simple composition conveys a quiet serene natural environment in the spring and summer seasons.
*Brushwork exhibits two line width variations.
*Subject matter refers to the natural world.
*Image is smaller than specified.
*Subject matter lacks qualities of Shinto philosophy; simple composition conveys a quiet serene natural environment in the spring and summer seasons.
*Brushwork exhibits inconsistant line quality.
*Image does not refer to the natural world.
*Space is not filled as specified.
*Subject matter clearly reflects changing quality and power of nature in the fall and winter seasons.
*Multi-print plates are used to produce highly consistant ink application, free of stray ink spots.
*Ink is evenly and solidly applied.
*High quality design clearly refers to the seasons in the natural world.
*Design occupies full page.
*Subject matter clearly reflects qualitites of nature in the fall and winter seasons.
*Single print plate is used to produce print free of stray ink spots as specified.
*Ink is evenly and solidly applied.
*Design refers to seasons in the natural world.
*Design occupies full page.
*Subject matter somewhat reflects qualitites of nature in the fall and winter seasons.
*Print plate is used to produce print containing stray ink spots.
*Ink is unevenly applied.
*Design refers to the seasons in the natural world.
*Image is smaller than specified.
*Subject matter lacks qualities of nature in the fall and winter seasons.
*Print plate is not complete or is used to produce a print containing several stray ink spots.
*Ink is not sufficiently applied resulting in an weak image.
*Design does not refer to nature.
*Image is smaller than specified.
*Design transcends original symbol.
*Intricate use and variety of ink values.
*Subject matter represents nature.
*Accurate placement within frame.
*Design is unique version of symbol.
*Use of a range of ink values.
*Interpretation of nature evident in subject matter.
*Design is a variation of original symbol.
*Some variation of ink values present.
*Some images of nature present.
*Design is a copy of symbol.
*Lack of value changes in ink.
*Few images of nature present.
Japanese stab-bound book
*Original, student-designed binding pattern executed with tight sewing.
*Pages evenly folded in half and cover precisely aligned with high craftmanship.
*Sewing is evenly spaced according to specifications and tightly executed.
*Cover and pages are precisely folded in half and evenly aligned.
*Sewing and folding are complete.
*Pages and cover are not aligned.
*Sewn binding is not completed or not completed as specified.
*Pages and cover are not aligned.

Unit accommodations for students not proficient on summative task: ADHD: allow extra time for completion of tasks, repeat directions often, adaptive seating per IEP, visual aids to complement verbal and written instructions
Autistic: allow for more quiet environment.
Visually impaired: magnifying glass to look at reproductions, instructions in large font, word wall in large letters
Hearing impaired: written instructions, allow to work with a partner, model steps in tasks, seating near teacher and so they can face teacher to lip read.
Mental retardation: break tasks into small steps, have student repeat instructions back, pair with capable peer.
Multiple disabilities: time extensions, special seating, adaptation of work area if needed.
Unit enrichments: Students who are able to finish with proficient or advanced level results will write a Haiku poem for a particular season, or a summary of the book-binding process.

Student Work Samples and Teacher Reflection

Rachel Book - The Japanese Art unit that I created was very intriguing to do with my inner-city students of Harrisburg. I chose to do the unit with 5th graders from my Math and Science Academy. I first introduced the culture to the students and all the background information. The images and artwork was all very new to them and when they saw the various prints of Japanese wood block art, they fell in love with this style. With the use of my iPod I could show the students Geisha dancers, music, and a Kabuki performance. We led discussions about the Japanese culture, food, dance, and art. I let the students know about the Institute and what I had experienced there. The students and I even experimented with dancing like Geisha dancers and the students really enjoyed this style of dancing and all its quirkiness.
The artwork was a book that was compiled of three different subjects all linking back to Japanese art and culture. The students sketched Kanji symbols in pencil, then painted the symbol with black and red acrylic paint. The symbol became the cover for our book and the others were placed throughout. The next project was sketching out three Geisha dancers and taking a real good look at their performance makeup. To apply the color we used oil pastels which worked really well for the students. They liked working with the medium and the students captured the style and physical characteristics of Geisha dancers. The last project was painting with black Indian ink and learning the brushstrokes for how to paint bamboo. The students really benefited from seeing and feeling the real bamboo I brought in. The painted bamboo turned out really unique and the students built confidence in their brushstrokes as they completed more and more bamboo chutes.
The overall book was then bound with black yarn in a stab bound format and looked very sharp when it was all completed. The students now have an excellent selection of artworks all compiled in their book. Although this book was complex in time and different mediums, it has a nice ‘simple’ way of reminding students their new experiences with the rich of Japanese culture.

Below Basic

Elizabeth McKemy - 1. I ensured success for all students by giving them a handout, showing a PPT of images, recapping all we had learned, multiple choice test at end of unit and worked with each student as they needed help. 2. I would change the format of our unit - the book is a wonderful idea in its own right as are the other art forms. I had them make a scroll seperately - the painting was too large to place in the book format. I would also have them make a fan as another Japanese art form still using the seasons as a focus for subject matter. Another form of assessment would be to show two artworks, one Eastern, one Western and have them identify each.

Lisa Gardner - This unit was introduced with a power point slide show that showcased the arts of Japan, the individual lessons, and the vocabulary for the unit. My students were excited about each part of the Hand-made Book of Seasonal Japan unit, because they had never before created a work of art that contained separate art forms, as this one does. I adapted each lesson within the unit, in order to provide an age-appropriate expectation for them. Even so, this unit proved to be a challenge for many of my fifth grade students, due to the different skills required to complete the lessons. Working with individual students to complete parts of the project ensured success for everyone. The next time that I teach this lesson, I may reduce the number of lessons in it.

Below Basic