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Teaching About Asia - December 2008

USCI's monthly e-newsletter on news and resources for teaching about Asia
December 1, 2008

Panda at play
(Photo by mirsasha, used under Creative Commons license)

We hope that you have had a productive fall semester and wish you a very joyous holiday and new year.

Taiwan received an early Christmas gift from China today in the form of Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, two giant pandas that arrived in Taipei directly from Chengdu courtesy of recently expanded transportation links. The pandas, whose names when combined can mean "reunion" in Chinese, are a goodwill gift from China and are viewed by many as a symbol of improving cross-strait relations. However, the 500-plus contingent of guards and armed police that greeted the endangered animals' arrival also signals the political tension that continues to exist between China and Taiwan. You can read more about the "panda-monium" in Taiwan and see Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan in all their cuteness via the International Herald Tribune, among numerous other news sources.

If you are looking to either spread or receive some goodwill in the classroom this holiday season, take some time to browse the "Philanthropic Resources for Educators" section below. lets teachers post funding requests online, Grant Wrangler and ISTE list funding opportunities specifically for teachers, and ING invites teachers to fulfill their teaching ideas through a grant competition.

You can earn a $500 stipend and $300 in library materials by signing up for our upcoming no-cost professional development seminar on East Asia. We will be holding the Spring 2009 "East Asia in My Classroom" seminar in conjunction with LAUSD from February to May 2009 at the UTLA building, and seminar details and applications will be available in January 2009. To be placed on our e-mail list for up-to-date seminar announcements, please e-mail Miranda Ko at

If you are planning ahead for future learning opportunities, see our announcements below for information on a Korean history and culture workshop in Los Angeles and summer study program in Japan. The Korea Academy for Educators will offer a workshop on history and culture in LA's Koreatown and the University of Coloraro will take teachers through Japan in the footsteps of 17th century poet Basho.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe (go to our newsletter subscription page and select the “K-12 Education” subscriber category).

In this issue:


♦  'Tis the Season... Philanthropic Resources for Educators

Whether you are seeking funds for projects in your classroom or seeking to help out fellow educators, below are some helpful sites to visit.


Choose from requests posted by teachere, donate, and receive letters and photos from student recipients. Search by state, or choose from those seeking books, kindergarten support or special needs support, or from projects that double your impact.

•  LOFT loves teachers


The Ann Taylor LOFT store hosts this site for educators that includes a discussion forum, style tips and store discounts.  Is currently partnering with to give away $5000 worth of GivingCards.


•  Grant Wrangler

Free grant listing service offered by Nimble Press for teachers, librarians, and parents seeking funding for arts, history, mathematics, science, technology and more.

•  ISTE Grants and Philanthropic Opportunities

Listing of no-cost funding opportunities by the International Society for Technology in Education's corporate members to further integrate technology in teaching and learning practice.

•  ING Unsung Heroes - 2009 Awards



Each year, 100 educators are selected by ING to receive $2,000 to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. Deadline is April 30, 2009.




♦  USCI/NCTA No-Cost Professional Development Seminar - Spring 2009 

The USC U.S.-China Institute (USCI) is committed to improving teaching about China and the rest of Asia. Together with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), we offer no-cost professional development seminars to help teachers bring more of Asia to their students.

For Spring 2009, we will be holding the "East Asia in My Classroom" seminar in conjunction with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) from February to May 2009 at the UTLA building (3303 Wilshire Blvd., LA, CA 90010). Additional seminar details and applications will be available in January 2009.

"East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" at a glance:

Duration: 36 hours
Eligibility: Open to all; priority enrollment for World History and Language Arts teachers
Class size: 25 teachers per seminar
Seminar focus:  1) Helping teachers address CA educational standards by exploring East Asian history and culture; 2)  Using new media resources to develop East Asia-focused lesson materials

Upon sucessful completion of seminar and follow-up requirements, individuals are eligible to receive:
→  $200 in East Asia-focused reference and teaching materials
→  $500 stipend
→  $300 school library grant for East Asia-focused materials
→  Two LAUSD salary points or six USC Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Seminar topics: Geography/Early East Asia, East Asia since 1900, Cosmopolitan East Asia, Women in East Asian History, Chinese Philosophy, Late Imperial China, Classical and Warrior Japan, The Meiji Restoration, Japanese Literature, Using Poetry

For additional information, including details on past seminars, speaker biographies and CA educational standards, please visit the Asia in the K-12 Curriculum section of our website.

Details for the Spring 2009 UTLA seminar are being finalized and applications will be available in January 2009. To be placed on our e-mail list for seminar announcements, please e-mail Miranda Ko at

♦  Asia in the Classroom - USC campus events

USCI and other USC research centers coordinate a range of on-campus programs exploring important issues and trends in Asia. For additional event details and to browse our entire event calendar, please click here.  Visitor information for the USC campus can be found here.  

•  Two-Day Symposium - The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games: Public Diplomacy Triumph or Public Relations Spectacle?

Date: January 29-30, 2009
Location: USC

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy brings scholars and practitioners together to share research on China's public diplomacy strategies, and on the impact of these games on global attitudes towards a rising China.  More information...



♦  Asia by the Numbers

Sometimes you can pique students’ curiosity with a simple statistic or statistical comparison. Use the following as discussion starters about Asia in your classroom:



•  OVER 90%



Percentage of South Korean households with broadband Internet connections

South Korea is the most “connected” country in the world - 73% of South Koreans use the internet, and a staggering  90% of adults have at least one cell phone. 

Source: Information and Technology Foundation


The amount of waste generated per person in Japan at its peak in 2000

Japan is one of the few countries where waste generated per person is declining. In comparison, per-person waste generation in the U.S. has only dropped to 4.6 pounds, or 2.1 kilograms, not quite twice as much as the per person average in Japan.

Sources: Japanese Ministry of the Environment; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


•  45%

Percentage of all Chinese exports to the U.S. that comes though the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

Most of East Asia’s trade with the U.S. comes in through California. Combined, Los Angeles and Long Beach are the fifth busiest port complex in the world, behind Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen.

Sources: US-China Today


•  14%


Percentage increase in empty containers being sent back to East Asia at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

We can see the impact of the economic downturn in the declining trade through the ports. In November 2007, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handled 44,932 containers a day. Last month, the two ports handled just 40,584 containers a day, a drop of 10%.

Sources: US-China Today 


•  Want more numbers?


Our website's “On an Average Day” feature provides many interesting statistics (the number of people from China who visit the U.S. every day, which cities are the richest, and the number of text messages sent are three examples). While there, you might also like to check out our book and film reviews and documents sections.



♦  Learning Opportunity for Educators



•  Korea Academy for Educators - Summer 2009 Workshop in Los Angeles


K-12 educators are invited to apply for "Korean History & Culture and the Korean American Experience," the Korea Academy for Educators' Fifth Annual Seminar for K-12 Educators, to be held from August 3-7, 2009 at the Korean Cultural Center (5505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036).

Participants will hear from prominent scholars, view engaging and informative films, explore Koreatown, visit a Buddhist temple, and learn about Korean arts. The program also includes daily breakfast/lunch, parking and course materials. Additional information and applications available here.

•  University of Colorado - Summer 2009 Program in Japan

In the summer of 2009, the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado is leading a four-week seminar in Japan on 17th century poet Basho’s Oku no Hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Interior). Participants will follow Basho’s route, visiting the historic, religious, and literary sites he visited, studying his writings, and meeting with contemporary poets and scholars of his work. 

Open to secondary teachers of World History, World Literature, and Japanese Language. Additional information and applications available here. Application deadline is February 6, 2009.



♦  Museum Exhibitions on Asia

•  LACMA - The Age of Imagination: Japanese Art, 1615–1868, from the Price Collection - Encore


Dates: Through January 4, 2009
Location: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036; exhibition shown at Japanese Pavilion
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 12 to 8 pm; Friday 12 to 9 pm; Wednesday closed
Admission: Adults $12; seniors (62+) and students $8; children 17 and under free
Education coordinator: Alicia Vogl Saenz, 323-857-6512

The Etsuko and Joe Price Collection is world-renowned for its collection of Japanese paintings of the Edo Period (1615–1868) featuring screens, hanging scrolls, and fan-format paintings and reflects the eclectic diversity of a remarkably creative span in Japan's history of visual art. 

View a video narrated by Joe Price here.

 •  Pacific Asia Museum - Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art

Dates: Through January 11, 2009
Location: 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Admission: Adults $7; students/seniors $5; free every 4th Friday of the month
Education coordinator: Amelia Chapman, 626-449-2742, ext.19

Features Chinese ink rubbings, folk paintings, silk embroideries and Japanese woodblock prints related to the ritual of honoring the ancestors, an important concept in Confucian ideology.

The museum’s website also offers an online exhibition:Rank and Style: Power Dressing in Imperial China

•  Mingei International Museum - India Adorned

Dates: Through April 19, 2009
Location: 1439 El Prado (on the Plaza de Panama), San Diego, CA 92101
Hours and admission: click here

Objects of worship, personal decorations, and items used in daily life are among those included. Many items can be viewed via the website.

•  Bowers Museum - Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China


Dates: Ongoing
Location: 2002 North Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; open late the fourth Thursday of every month until 8:00 pm
Admission: Adults $12; seniors (62+), students and children (6-17) $9; children under 6 free    
Education coordinator: Linda Kahn, 714-567-3679

Exquisite textiles and silver jewelry highlight the beauty and wealth of the Miao peoples of southwest China. Symbols of status and culture include finely pleated skirts, complex batik pattered cloth, intricate silk embroidery and shining textiles woven with metal.

♦  Teachers on Asia

•  Asia in My Classroom Discussion Forum

Teachers of all levels and subjects are invited to join our "Asia in My Classroom" forum. To become a registered user (enabling you to post to the board), please e-mail us your request along with your name, school, and the grades and subjects you teach.  What teachers have been talking about:

→  On Silk Road teaching resource: "...Saudi Aramco World provides an excellent interactive resource...titled 'Traveling the Silk Road.' The website provides an excellent map that lends to understanding the extent of this unique trade route. The article is made up of a variety of essays that focus on the various 'types' of Silk Roads that existed during the height of its use. Basically the members of this magazine set out on their own caravan to experience the Silk Road for themselves. Their essays reflect their experiences, and an integration of history on the area of the Silk Road they encountered... Overall, this site provides the viewer with some good contemporary and historical information of this great trade route."

- Manuel Mendoza, Pioneer High School

→  On using an online museum exhibition: [The Pacific Asia Museum is hosting an online exhibition titled "Rank and Style: Power Dressing in Imperial China."]  The students and I walked through and discussed each piece. Afterward students reproduced their versions of the design. They brought their court wear design to one kindergarten class and shared their knowledge of the Chinese court and court wear with the little ones."

- Minhua Gu, Polytechnic School

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USC U.S. - China Institute

3535 S. Figueroa Street, FIG 202
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1262
United States of America

phone: 213-821-4382
fax: 213-821-2382