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Teaching About Asia - January 2009

USCI's monthly e-newsletter on news and resources for teaching about Asia
January 1, 2009











Chinese New Year sweets platter
(Photo by hale_popoki, used under Creative Commons license)

January 26 marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox in the Chinese lunar calendar, and we want to wish you a happy and prosperous new year!  Many teachers already incorporate lessons about Chinese New Year into their curriculum, and below is a sampling of those ideas from the "Asia in My Classroom" web discussion forum.  If you are not a forum user, e-mail us at to join.

If you are seeking a no-cost professional development opportunity this semester, join us for our Spring 2009 "East Asia in My Classroom" seminar from February to May 2009.  Held in conjunction with LAUSD at the UTLA building, the seminar is open to ALL interested K-12 educators, including those from non-LAUSD districts and private and parochial schools. Participants successfully completing the seminar receive a $500 stipend, $200 in reference materials, $300 in library resource materials, as well as two LAUSD salary points or six USC Continuing Education Units.  Additional seminar details and application information are available below.

If you are seeking summer learning opportunities, see our announcements below for information on East Asia-focused programs for educators in Los Angeles and abroad.  If you have students who are interested in studying abroad, the Keio Academy in New York is offering both a summer program for bicultural studies, as well as a scholarship for the academic year - details are available below.

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:

♦  USCI/NCTA No-Cost Professional Development Seminar - Spring 2009  ♦
♦  Chinese New Year in the Classroom  ♦

♦  Asia in the Classroom - USC campus events  ♦
♦  Learning Opportunity for Educators  ♦
♦  Learning Opportunity for Students  ♦

♦  Musuem Exhibitions on Asia  ♦
♦  Teachers on Asia  ♦

♦  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.

We will be holding our Spring 2009 "East Asia in My Classroom" seminar from February 28 to May 12, 2009 at the UTLA building in Los Angeles (3303 Wilshire Blvd., LA, CA 90010).

"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


We will be holding a total of ten seminar sessions - eight Tuesday evening meetings from 5 to 8 pm and two Saturday day-long meetings from 9 am to 3:30 pm - from February 28 to May 12, 2009:

Session 1 - Saturday, February 28, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
Session 2 - Tuesday, March 3, 5 to 8 pm
Session 3 - Tuesday, March 10, 5 to 8 pm
Session 4 - Tuesday, March 24, 5 to 8 pm
Session 5 - Tuesday, March 31, 5 to 8 pm
Session 6 - Tuesday, April 14, 5 to 8 pm
Session 7 - Tuesday, April 21, 5 to 8 pm
Session 8 - Tuesday, April 28, 5 to 8 pm
Session 9 - Saturday, May 9, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
Session 10 - Tuesday, May 12, 5 to 8 pm

Follow-up session - Date to be determined


1. DOWNLOAD the Spring 2009 USCI/NCTA "East Asia in My Classroom" UTLA Seminar application form.

2. Print and complete the application and prepare the following supporting materials for submission:

  • A short résumé (curriculum vita) of 1-2 pages that provides contact information and lists your educational background and teaching experience.
  • A short letter or statement from your school principal on school letterhead confirming your teaching assignment.
  • A refundable deposit check for $50, made payable to "University of Southern California," to hold your registration slot. The check will be returned to you following seminar enrollment.

3. Send completed applications and supporting materials to:

K-12 East Asia Seminar
USC U.S.-China Institute
3535 S. Figueroa St., FIG 202
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1262

Fax: (213) 821-2382


We will be accepting applications until Friday, February 13, 2009, or until the seminar is full.

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 or call 213-821-4382.

♦  Chinese New Year in the Classroom

Happy Year of the Ox!  Below are some the ways teachers have engaged their students in learning about Chinese New Year:

→  Getting the basics:

"The Lunar New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday for ethnic Chinese and a time when many traditionally head to their hometowns to be with family. New Year's Day usually falls on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice. The New Year is celebrated with firecrackers, dragon dances and visits to friends and family. The 15-day New Year season ends with the Lantern Festival, when brightly colored lamps are strung up in parks around the country. Every year the rush of Chinese heading home for the Spring Festival sparks the biggest movement of people on earth, with an estimated 144 million traveling by train during the 40-day peak travel season."

- G. Maximilian Zarou, Hoover Street School

→  Going online for resources:

"...This site has some good information if you are trying to incorporate Chinese culture into language arts standards (my focus is on lower grades). In addition to the traditional folklore you could print there was also a link to a list of picture books about Chinese New Year and Chinese culture that I found useful. Although I've seen many of the titles before on, this was an easy list to print and take to my library."

- Lynae Rathman, Montemalaga Elementary School

→  Planting seeds of philanthropy:

"I think in the spirit of the New Lunar would be great for students to make gifts (cards, paper flowers, etc) and take it to a convalescent home...I had a chance to visit with students (in the past) at soup kitchens and organizations that packaged food for the needy and both parents and students came away revived and changed from the experience. I think it is important to plant ideas of service - that it is a gift that keeps giving."

- Sarah Eun, Larchmont Charter School

→  Taking a global approach:

"...we highlight Chinese New Year as part of our look at New Year celebrations around the world. For Chinese New Year, we share stories about China, decorate the library with paper lanterns, share fortunesthat the students write, make dragon masks, and practice writing Chinese characters."

- Susan Dubin, Valley Beth Shalom Day School

→  Global approach, cont.:

Check out the USCI feature on the mainstreaming of Chinese New Year.  Governments of countries ranging from Brazil to New Zealand celebrate the lunar new year via commemorative postage stamps, and companies have also been jumping on the bandwagon

Do you know of any lunar new year stamps and/or advertisements that we have missed?  E-mail us at with your submissions, thoughts and ideas.

♦  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...

•  Lecture - Professor Shen Dingli (Fudan University)

Date: Thursday, February 5, 2009
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Location: USC Leavey Library
Cost: Free

Shen Dingli, a physicist by training, is a professor of international relations at Fudan University.  He is the Executive Dean of Fudan University’s Institute of International Studies, and Director of its Center for American Studies.  More information...

•  Lecture - The Business of Human Rights: 20 Years of Dialogue with the Chinese Government

Speaker: Jon Kamm, human rights activist and founder of The Dui Hua Foundation

Date: Thursday, February 12, 2009
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Location: USC University Club, Pub Room

Cost: Free

John Kamm began working on human rights in China in the immediate aftermath of June 4, 1989, and has been doing so ever since.  Through a dialogue with China based respect and trust, Kamm has worked on issues concerning political prisoners, national security legislation in Hong Kong, capital punishment and juvenile justice.  More information...

•  Lecture - Siren or Stateswoman: Reconsidering the Ambiguous Legacy of Madame Chiang Kai-shek in US-China Relations

Speaker: Laura Tyson Li, author

Date: Thursday, February 19, 2009
Time: 12:00 to 1:30 pm
Location: USC University Club, Banquet Room
Cost: Free

Laura Tyson Li will discuess her acclaimed book, Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China's Eternal First Lady, the first English-language biography of one of the world's most influential, colorful, and controversial women in modern history.  More information...


♦  Learning Opportunity for Educators

•  CCSS 48th Annual Conference - Historical Literacy in a Global Society

The California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) holds its 48th Annual Conference on "Historical Literacy in a Global Society" from March 6 to 8, 2009 at the Ontario Convention Center.

Over 120 sessions and workshops for teacher, exhibitors, scholar series, featured speakers, special Friday night Economic Reception, local historical field trips, social events and more.

Discounted advance registration ends February 20.  Click here or contact Julie Weaver at 530-809-0290 for additional information.

•  Korea Foundation - Korean Studies Workshop for American Educators

For summer 2009, up to 60 U.S. secondary school social studies educators will be selected to travel to Korea for a 12-day workshop that will include lectures, tours to cultural and industrial sites, and a meeting with Korean educators and students.
Click here for online application. Additional information and promotional brochures are available by phone at 1-800-270-4317 or e-mail at  Application deadline is February 25, 2009. 

•  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.

♦  Learning Opportunity for Students

•  Keio Academy of NY - Bicultural summer program for 13-15 year-olds

Two-week program (July 25 to August 8, 2009) requires participants to live in English and Japanese bilingual bicultural dormitory; prior knowledge of Japanese language not necessary, just willingness to interact with students from different cultures). 

Click here or call 1-800-270-4317 for program details and application.  Program fee is $2,500 for those completing application before February 27th 2009. 

•  Keio Academy of NY - Scholarship for 9th or 10th grade admittance

The Aratani Foundation Nikkei-jin Scholarship will enable participant to enter and attend Keio Academy of New York as a 9th or 10th grader.  Scholarship covers first year of entrance examination fee, admissions fee and full tuition. 

Click here for additional details on the scholarship, qualifications and application process.   

♦  Museum Exhibitions on Asia

Upcoming exhibitions

 •  Pacific Asia Museum - Japanese Art: Recent Gifts to the Collection

Dates: February 8 to March 1, 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

Featured gifts to the museum, including those from from June Tsukamoto-Lyon, the Alschuler family, Margaret Moore, Wendell and Dorothy Coon, and Don Bierlich.

•  Pacific Asia Museum - The Samurai Re-Imagined: From Ukiyo-e to Anime

Dates: February 19 to August 9, 2009

Explores the roots of the popular Japanese art forms of manga (graphic novels) and anime (animation) in the traditional arts of Japan by examining images of the iconic warrior, the samurai.

•  Pacific Asia Museum - Ukiyo-e Re-mix Series: Fight or Flight

Dates: February 18 to April 19, 2009

Moira Hahn’s work fuses Ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world, iconography and style with images from contemporary culture and her own fertile imagination. 

Current exhibitions

•  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 - Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy

Dates: Through November 3, 2009
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

Curated by authorities of Chinese history and culture from the Shanghai Museum, the collection portrays the evolution of Chinese technology, art and culture utilizing rare examples of bronze vessels, mirrors, polychrome potteries, sculptures, porcelains, paintings, ivory carvings and robes.

•  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 comparing education statistics: "In 1900, 98% of all Japanese boys and 93% of Japanese girls received full grammar school educations. In looking for some extended statistics, I found this link... [that] shows such statistics as GDP growth and total years of schooling. Apparently both the USA and Canada led Japan in total schooling during 1900, but it would be interesting to compare these statistics with primary source information on the rigors and focus of schooling during 1900. Thought this might be useful, especially for Math and Economics teachers. "

- Michael Clancy, Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School

→  On the British Museum's Ancient China website: "I really enjoy this website and use it with my students for other civilizations. The webpage has five different topics such as crafts and artisans, geography, time, tombs and ancestors, and writing. Under each topic students can get a story, explore something relating to topic like a timeline or tomb, and finally a challenge. Its fun to use with the students and is really student friendly."

- Mari Montes, El Sereno Middle School

→  On discussing archetypes in film: "Although I have never shown Mulan to my students, I have used it as an option among a list of options when I introduce the concept of archetypes. We begin with a definition of archetype and then a presentation on the characteristics of the archetypal hero using the guiding question "What do Batman, Simba (from the Lion King), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), and Moses all have in common?" After outlining their similarities in detail, I assign for homework an explanation of how any other character in literature, film, myth, or even history fits that pattern of character. For students who have trouble coming up with one, I give them a list in which Mulan is one option.

- David Rivas, Highland High 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