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Teaching About Asia - September 2008

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

The Olympic National "Bird's Nest" Stadium in Beijing
(Photo courtesy of the Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee)

The talk of summer 2008 was surely the Beijing Olympics, held August 8 to 24 at the Olympic National "Bird's Nest" Stadium.  If you have, or are planning to incorporate discussion of the Olympics into your classroom curriculum, below are some suggested resources that offer a range of teaching ideas.  Our web feature of the month, "Air Quality at the 2008 Beijing Olympics," compares the air in Beijing during the games to that of Los Angeles and London, and the results may surprise you. 

Did the Beijing Olympics pique your interest in East Asia?  Then sign up for our Fall 2008 "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" professional development seminar.  We are holding the seminar at TWO locations in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, and spaces are still available.  Seminar overviews and schedules can be found below, and you are encouraged to visit the "K-12 Curriculum" section of our website for additional detail and application information. 

Looking for interesting ways to incorporate dicussion of the upcoming presidential elections into your Asia curriculum?  We can help.  Next month we will premiere Election ’08 and the China Challenge, a 40-minute documentary on key U.S.-China issues and positions staked out by Senators McCain and Obama. Produced by USCI and written and directed by Mike Chinoy, former Beijing bureau chief for CNN, the program will be available for streaming on our website, and teachers can contact us to request a free DVD copy* for their classroom.

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). As always, we welcome your feedback - please write to us at

In this issue:


♦  USCI/NCTA Seminars - Fall 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute (USCI) is committed to improving teaching about China and the rest of Asia.  For Fall 2008, we are holding the "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" seminar at two locations: the UTLA building in Los Angeles and Millikan Middle School in the San Fernando Valley. K-12 teachers and education professionals in the LAUSD, surrounding school districts, and private/parochial schools are all welcome to apply.

The seminars meet on six alternating Tuesday evenings from 5 to 8 pm, with three Saturday sessions from 9 am to 3:30 pm.  Priority in enrollment will be given to World History and Language Arts teachers, but all teachers are encouraged to apply.  Spaces are still available in both seminars.

"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: 20 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
Seminar topics
East Asia: 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; New Media: Web Research, Web Collaboration
Upon sucessful completion of seminar and follow-up requirements, individuals are eligible to receive:
    →  $500 stipend
    →  $200 in East Asian referene and teaching materials
    →  $300 school library grant for East Asia-focused materials
    →  Two LAUSD salary points or six USC continuing education units

Seminar schedules:

UTLA - Los Angeles
September 9 to December 13, 2009
    - Follow-up session on January 13, 2009

Millikan - San Fernando Valley
September 27 to December 16, 2008
    - Follow-up session on January 20, 2009


For additional information on the seminars, application directions and forms, click hereWe are still accepting applications, so if you wish to enroll, please submit your materials ASAP.



♦  Free DVD for teachers: Election ’08 and the China Challenge

China’s economic importance is evident on the shelves of our stores, in the containers crowding our ports, and in the statistics gathered by our government.  China’s government-owned banks hold more than $500 billion of our national debt and we had a $256 billion trade deficit with China in 2007.  Beyond trade and investment, the U.S. and China are also critical to addressing world problems such as climate change and stemming the proliferation of nuclear arms.  China and the U.S. are the two biggest producers of climate-changing greenhouse gases.  The two powers are seeking to curtail North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs.  The two countries have many shared interests, but also differ on crucial questions including the protection of human rights and the China-Taiwan relationship.

USCI has prepared a 40-minute documentary on the key U.S.-China issues and the positions staked out by Senators McCain and Obama.  Teachers can show students the entire documentary or simply launch discussion with one of the documentary’s seven segments.  The program was written and directed by Mike Chinoy, former Beijing bureau chief for CNN.

The documentary will be available for streaming via our website beginning in early October (our target launch date is October 1).  Teachers who have completed a past workshop or seminar with us may request a free DVD copy sent to their school by e-mailing  Other teachers may fax their request to USCI at 213-821-2382 on school letterhead (please provide name and e-mail, school, grade and subjects taught and school mailing address.  *DVD copies are limited, so priority will be given to seminar and workshop alumni, early applicants and those teaching Social Studies.  

♦  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.  Below are several events that highlight topics you may wish to cover in your classroom. 

For additional event details and to browse our entire event calendar, please click here.  Visitor information for the USC campus can be found here.  

•  Film Screening and Director Q&A - Chronicle of My Cultural Revolution

Date: Tuesday, October 7 and Thursday, October 9, 2008
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Location: USC, Taper Hall of Humanities (THH) 201
Cost: Free

RSVP: Yes, please e-mail

The USC East Asian Studies Center presents Chinese documenary maker Xu Xing's latest film, about the impact of the Cultural Revolution on people's lives in the 1960's and 1970's.  Film screens at 2:00 pm, followed by Q&A with Xu at 3:00 pm. 

•  Panel Discussion - Reflecting on Beijing: USC Olympic Athletes and Coaches Discuss Experiences in China

Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Location: USC, Taper Hall 202
Cost: Free

RSVP: Yes, please e-mail

USCI's student-driven online magazine US-China Today presents a panel discussion of USC Olympic athletes and coaches who competed for a variety of countries.

•  Film Screening and Director Q&A - Up the Yangtze

Date: Tuesday, October 7 and Thursday, October 9, 2008
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 pm; 2:00 - 3:30 pm
Location: USC, Taper Hall of Humanities (THH) 201
Cost: Free

RSVP: Yes, please e-mail

The USC East Asian Studies Center presents this dramatic documentary on the Three Gorges Dam, contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle. Film screening on October 7 and director Q&A on October 9.

•  USCI Conference - The Making of U.S. China Policy

Date: Monday, October 13, 2008
Time: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Location: USC, Davidson Conference Center, Embassy Room
Cost: Free

RSVP: Yes, please e-mail

USCI presents this day-long conference featuring top government officials, organization chiefs, and scholars discussing key issues in the U.S.-China relationship and how policies toward China are made. Speakers will identify who the key individual and institutional players are, what interests they seek to advance, and the tactics they use to shape policy.


♦  Reviewing the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Classroom

•  USCI Web Feature: Air Quality at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

In-depth article comparing this summer's air in Beijing with that in Los Angeles, New York, and London.  With statistics, photos and aerial map.

•  USCI Web Feature: Counting Medals - 2008 Beijing Games

Discussion on the different methods Chinese and American publications use to represent their countries' success in the games.

 •  US-China Today Feature: Have You Seen Me Yet?

Analysis of advertisements, corporate sponsorships and tie-ins with the Beijing Games by marketeers targeting the global and web markets.

•  Far Eastern Economic Review: Will the Olympics Change China?

USCI Executive Committee member and professor of Political Science Daniel Lynch discusses how the Beijing Olympics will, or will not, facilitate political change in China.

•  NYT Learning Network: China and the Beijing Olympics

Lesson plans for grades 6-12 on the Olympics, with related lessons on China's economy, government and politics, as well as life and culture.


•  Stanford SPICE: China and the Beijing Olympics

The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) has produced a teaching guide to accompany an NBC video on “the Road to Beijing” and another unit with Yo-yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Both accompany videos that are available via the web. You can purchase the guides and DVDs or download .pdf versions of the guides.

 •  TeacherVision: 2008 Summer Olympic Games: Beijing, China

Collection of free lesson plans, articles, slide shows and references on the Beijing Olympics, as well as resources on past political issues and medalists. 

•  Teacher Planet: Beijing 2008 Olympics Learning Resources

Collection of free lesson plans, worksheets, images, coloring pages and other materials designed for grades 6-8.

•  NBC: Beijing Olympics videos

A two-disc opening ceremony DVD ($30) and highlights DVD (includes portions of opening ceremony, $20) will be released September 29.

 •  Got a good tip on teaching resources? 

→  E-mail us and we will share it in the next issue

♦  Museum Exhibitions on Asia

•  Pacific Asia Museum - Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art

Date: September 17, 2008 to 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

Date: July 11, 2008 to 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.

♦  Teacher Learning Opportunities on Asia

•  Workshops on Korean History and Culture and the Korean American Experience for Public and Independent School Administrators and Teachers

Coordinating institution: Korean Academy for Educators (KAFE)
Location: Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles

Dates: Saturday, Oct. 25 and Nov. 15th, 2008, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 refundable deposit (payable to KAFE) to be returned at end of second workshop; $15 for one LAUSD salary point

Curriculum provides essential historical information, fosters an awareness of the rich Korean culture, clarifies how this culture differs from China and Japan, and makes available outstanding resources, including PowerPoint lectures, and Standards-based lessons suitable for K-12 classes. Workshops include breakfast, lunch, parking, books, lessons, and DVDs. 

Spaces are available for only 65 participants.  For additional information, contact program director Mary Connor at

♦  Student Learning Opportunities on Asia

•  SPICE 2009 Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP) - intensive Internet-mediated course on Japan for high school juniors and seniors

Coordinating institution: The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)
Dates: February to June 2009
Cost: Free

25 selected selected students will participate in 10 “virtual classes.” Students should expect to allot 3-6 hours per week to complete the lectures, discussions, readings, and assignments.  Curriculum covers Japanese history, literature, religion, art, politics, economics, and contemporary society, with a special focus on the U.S.-Japan relationship.

Students will develop individual research projects to be printed in journal format and lead two presentations on Japan at their schools or in their communities. All students who successfully complete the course will earn 3 units of Stanford University Continuing Studies (CSP) credit and a Certificate of Completion from SPICE, Stanford University.

Applications available at and must be postmarked by October 17, 2008.  For additional information, e-mail RSP coordinator Naomi Funahashi at

♦  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 teaching about stress management: "A film that I recently caught on the Independent Film Channel was Does Your Soul Have A Cold? about the lives of five people in modern day Tokyo who are battling depression...[The film] is an intriguing way to show young people's issues in Japan. Depression, along with rising levels of teen suicide (an oft-discussed topic in the film) and the phenomenon of hikikomori (chronic shut-ins) are issues that students can use to compare to their own day-to-day trials as pressures mount from parents, peers, and teachers."
- Alex Blackwelder, Scripps Ranch High School

→  On National Geographic piece "On the Poet's Trail": "Great article for teaching haiku...The [17th century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho] undertook [a 1,200-mile journey through central Honshu] as if it were a spur-of-the-moment walk to the corner grocery for a pack of cigs. The article enticed me to find Basho's Narrow Road to a Far Province...a mixture of haiku and prose, for a new experience in travel writing and reflection."

- James Wyss, Diamond Valley Middle School

→  On internet viral video series Where the h*ll is Matt? "I showed my students [clips] in order to introduce a geography assignment...I gave them a blank world map and had them write down all that they know...Unfortunately, some students this year could not even label the U.S. for me!!!  However, before I gave them the blank map I showed them Matt dancing around the world to get the students thinking globally. It definitely ignited a passion for geography, as well as humble the students because they realize how much they do not know. And about Matt dancing in front of the guard at the DMZ... those students who know what the DMZ is are amazed but in hysterics also!"

- Amanda Geisner, JFK Middle College 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