Inner Mongolia

With only a single day off after the Learning 2.0(08) conference, I left early monday morning for Inner Mongolia with 8 other teachers and 60 students. Our school takes the students on a "China Alive" trip once a year, allowing them to experience some of the wonderful cultural and historical treasures that China has to offer outside of our home in Shanghai. Inner Mongolia is a region of desert and grassland in northern China. Here we learned about traditional Mongolian ways of life, ate a specially prepared lamb feast, lived for a night in a traditional Mongolian Yurt, and visited a few Lamaseries - or temples where the lamas study and pray.  We visited a local school where the students were thrilled to practice their english with native speakers, and then face off against us in games of tug-o-war and basketball.  We also got to do a little sand surfing, camel riding, and dumpling making.  One fascinating thing that triggered my art-education buzzer was that the beautiful dragon sculptures that we saw in the temples were actually thousand year old paper mache sculptures.  I had no idea that paper mache lasted so long (or that it had originated in China, I always assumed it was France).   Well, shows how little I know - a little research on paper mache shows that this friendly kid craft was actually used to not only decorate temples, but make helmets!  Next time the invading hordes come to your classroom, make a quick stop by the elementary art room to prepare some armor.   Great resource for paper mache on that page I linked to, btw. 

Unfortunately, we were unable to take pictures inside the temple, but below you can see some exterior shots of the temples, as well as the desert, the grasslands, and the school we visited.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


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