“What’s the spirit in Zhu? It’s called Zhuzi. A clump of several broad steps, dozens of dense stems. Long stem or short stem, its ranches and leaves are unremarkable. Last year, it has grown, and this year, it has grown again.” This is the protagonist “bamboo” in our trip to Han culture. From ancient times to the present, scholars and poets use bamboo as their inspiration to personify their aspirations and express their feelings. Since “bamboo” has played an important role in the many-starred galaxy of Chinese culture, it is of great significance to explore “bamboo” as a symbol of Chinese cultural relics. Let’s take a look at how the teachers of various disciplines and grades show their creative powers to lead the children into the depths of a bamboo forest, in this delightful week of bamboo culture.
“For 40 years, I have been painting bamboo branches, drawing in the daytime and thinking at night. It’s a time to shave all the redundancy and thinness when painting comes to life. ” A poem “Inscribed Bamboo” tells us of Chinese literati’s persistent pursuit of painting bamboo. The teachers of our art group led the children to appreciate famous paintings of bamboo, exploring and learning the forms of bamboo in different periods, showing the grace of bamboo. Under the guidance of teachers, Grade 5 students learned to understand bamboo’s tenacity and fear of setbacks, and explored the life of bamboo at the same time. In group cooperative learning, they used mind maps to present their understanding of what they had learned. Some students like bamboo’s straightness, and drew graceful bamboo as the main part of their mind map. Some students like bamboo’s delicacy, and made bamboo tube rice with vividly delicate sections. Some students liked bamboo’s elegance and refinement, and drew the structure of a bamboo forest… They enjoyed “painting in poetry, poetry in painting”! The students also talked about this wonderful bamboo journey in English. It was a truly immersive experience!
Zheng Banqiao, a great literati, loved and declaimed bamboo all his life. He left many unique songs accompanied by bamboo for posterity. With the help of Chinese teachers, Grade 2 and Grade 3 went into the life of bamboo, accumulated idioms and proverbs related to bamboo, and deeply studied bamboo, feeling the origin of bamboo poets such as Bai Juyi and Zheng Banqia, as well as the profound Chinese culture and philosophy of life behind bamboo poetry. The children also used the most common paper cups and paper cards in their lives to make their own “bamboo knots” and penholders, and wrote down the idioms, proverbs and poems related to bamboo on the “bamboo knots” they had learned. Finally, they worked together to build their very own bamboo knots.
“Sitting alone in the dark bamboo, playing the ancient Qin and Whistling. In the deep forest where people don’t know, only the moon will accompany me.” With melodious music, the children of G1 and G2 sang a different charm of “Zhuli hall” written by Wang Wei. In music class, the teacher led the children in learning about many special bamboo musical instruments, such as thunder cone, rain stick and hollow drum. The children also use these musical instruments to create the sounds of nature, and take a walk into the bamboo forest.
“The folk dance and Li song have a lingering sound.” The Li people believe that bamboo is the wealth of their life and the support of their spirit. Sports and bamboo culture have a deep origin in Chinesse tradition. The PE teachers led children learn how to shake diabolo, walk on stilts, experienced the bamboo pole dance and felt the fascinating characteristics of the Li people and their appreciation of bamboo.
Bamboo is a gift from the earth and a tool of life. For children, a bamboo forest is a paradise for play. During the bamboo culture learning week, Grade 4 students used small bamboo tubes to hand-craft their own bamboo wind chimes, and inscribed poems and odes to bamboo on the outside of the wind chimes. The wind blowing by the windowsill, from the collision betwixt the small bamboo tubes elicited bursts of pleasant melodies. Under the guidance of teachers, Grade 1 students also explored Chinese characters with “bamboo lettering”, experiencing the brilliant intricacy of Chinese characters. After class, the students also translated their Chinese characters into English and made beautiful bamboo cards.
Through this week’s exploration of bamboo culture, the growth process and uses of bamboo became well-known to the students. The natural beauty of bamboo’s shape, color and sound, as well as the beauty of its vigorous, upright and open-minded connotation, have left a deep impression on our children. “A gentleman is like a bamboo”. We expect to bury the best “bamboo gentleman” seed for our children. In the future, we will continue to sprout, blossom and bear fruit!