Aftershocks 5

It’s Children’s Day in Japan, a holiday for rejoicing in children’s unique personalities and celebrating their happiness. It seemed appropriate to use this post to showcase some of the ways that children around the world have worked with their teachers to respond to the earthquake and tsunami in this country.

One Love

Jeremy Macdonald‘s elementary school students in Klamath Falls, Oregon wanted to show their concern and love. Jeremy explains a bit about the process his students went through in putting their project together on his blog. Here’s a video showing them creating their banner and origami pelicans, and the finished products, backed by one of my favorite songs.

Songs for Japan

Yoon Soo Lim teaches middle school music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In her blog, she explains that  her seventh and eighth grade students thought of songs that would bring “healing, encouragement and hope to people facing hardships in Japan.” They collected their song choices, and the reasons behind those choices into glogs. I was extremely touched, and think you will be, too.

Click here to visit the seventh grade glog.

Click here to visit the eighth grade glog.

Yoon has also set up a page of sticky notes for teachers and students who would like to contribute their favorite song to the Songs for Japan project.

Hope for Japan

Katie Gibson teaches Family and Consumer Science at a middle school in Olathe, Kansas. She created an animoto video to show her students, and they began by learning what happened and imagining themselves as the people in the pictures.

Students talked about the wants and needs of the people in Japan (which is part of their curriculum) and wrote a journal entry from the perspective of a person in the devastated area in Japan. They brainstormed ideas to find ways they could help, and decided to sew tote bags and iPod/phone covers. They’ve been selling them to others in their school community in order to raise money to help Japan. You can read more about their project on the Olathe District website.


Mary Fish and Kim Cofino teach at international schools in Japan. After the quake, they encouraged their students to share stories about their experiences on and after March 11th. They felt that the stories deserved to be shared beyond the limits of their classrooms. In a bit of serendipity, they met at a conference about the same time that the Quakebook project was getting started. They created the quakestories wiki to provide a central location to collect stories and to share them.  So far, students from five international schools in Japan have submitted stories for this project. Their stories are amazing!

These are just a few of the ways that students and teachers are turning their experiences into expression. If you know of other projects, I hope you’ll share them in the comments!










Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

About Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto has taught English and ESL in the US, and EFL in Japan. An EFL teacher and teacher trainer since 1985, she has conducted workshops throughout Asia, the USA and Latin America. Barbara’s motto is ‘Always try new things’, so these days, when she’s not teaching, writing, or giving workshops, she’s exploring the potential of new technologies for collaboration and professional development. You can often find Barbara online working with teachers around the world as Program Director for International Teacher Development Institute ( or on her new blog for English teaches who work with young learners, Teaching Children English.

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