1,000 Cranes

1,000 Cranes
Posted on 06/24/2022
This is the image for the news article titled 1,000 CranesWritten by: Todd Houston, Art Teacher

Almost 1000 Cranes

As of April 2022, almost 400 children have been negatively affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

As a veteran, I have come to accept the costs of war for peace, but often that cost is calculated as human lives and not recognized by its true tragic nature. This is a way I have learned to cope with this loss, and I am almost certain I am not alone in doing so. I teach an origami unit every year, but this year something seemed different. When teaching this art form and explaining the expectations for the project, one student, Matthew Fisher, remarked about a book he remembered hearing about, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, a novel by Eleanor Coerr. I explained the story and the significance of the 1000 cranes and showed the class that there is a monument dedicated to peace on behalf of children in Hiroshima, Japan. That same morning I had driven I had also driven to work listening to the news coming from the war in Ukraine and it was reported that over 243 children had died as a direct result of that conflict. The combination of these events made teaching origami special and more meaningful this year. 243 lives lost… no, futures taken. Almost 400 children are dead, injured, or missing and that is only the ones that we know about. Thousands if not millions of children will never hold hands or play together, be embraced by their parents, or even grow up to have children of their own because of this conflict. Matthew decided he wanted to see what 1000 cranes looked like and send them to Japan. Matthew couldn’t do this alone in the 5 weeks of school we had left unless he had some help. Matthew went around and recruited staff and students outside of his art class to help fold cranes. We created a schedule for how many each student had to make in order for us to make it to that 1000 crane goal and offered students class participation grades for meeting those daily quotas.

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For those 20 days, students had to make five of the intricate cranes a day. We talked about things we would wish for and talked about how our proficiency increased over time as we compared the quality of the cranes made. Matthew Fisher, Traben Patterson,
Logan Breton, Jaydon Eastman, Chloe Harrington, Macey Mullen, Asher Cornwall, Rye Gallipeo, Kylie Parker, Katherine Hyatt, and Richard Fox Jr. all worked hard, but sadly we didn’t make it to 1000 and we were 162 cranes short. How close we came to the goal seemed almost poetic. Like the work, we have done to preserve peace for the sake of children. Almost, but not quite done.

cranes

As an art teacher I have the opportunity to teach students about themselves and the world through artmaking. Art is a universal language and can be used to bring awareness to important issues. Although we fell short with our 1000 crane goal, we did not fail to learn and experience being a part of something larger than ourselves and students were able to show empathy as they worked together on this project. My hope is that moving forward, my students will find ways to get involved and be a part of changing our world for the better.

crane