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two teachers read Japanese paper theater book
two teachers read Japanese paper theater book to class
two teachers smile outside
Keio School Partnership with Bolles Extends to Lower School

As part of a partnership with The Bolles School, Keio School’s Masashi Otake visited the Bolles Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus on February 22 to teach third graders about Kamishibai, or Japanese paper theater. Bolles lower school librarian Christina Karvounis invited him to join in a bilingual storytelling and culture share during Library classes that afternoon.

Bolles upper school academic travel programs coordinator Kristin Hong connected Karvounis with Otake, who is staying in Jacksonville, Florida, as a chaperone for Keio School students during their exchange trip with Bolles upper school students. The Keio School group arrived on February 22 and will travel back to Tokyo on March 5.

Karvounis and Otake’s collaborative lesson provided Grade 3 students with an opportunity to learn about Kamishibai and ask Otake questions about his native country of Japan. Kamishibai is a form of storytelling that uses illustrated boards and a wooden, stage-like device for narrators to place slides and switch between them as the story progresses. The Kamishibai stories in the Ponte Vedra Beach Campus library feature captivating, colorful illustrations and text in both English and Japanese.

Karvounis began the lesson by introducing the third graders to Otake and sharing more about the origins of Kamishibai. Otake conversed with the students before reading stories, including “The Old Man and the Mice” and “Urashima Taro,” in Japanese, asking them to listen for words they could connect with the illustrations. Karvounis also jumped in to read the stories in English alongside Otake.

After the lesson, the third graders showed their appreciation by presenting Otake with a handmade book created in collaboration with several grade levels to provide him and his students back in Japan a glimpse of daily life as a Bolles lower school student. Grade 5 students used AI to translate their peers’ writing into Japanese, so both languages were represented in the book. Ponte Vedra Beach Campus students practiced cultural competency skills and communication skills during the creation of this book and are excited to possibly hear back from students at the Keio School in the coming months.

Thank you to Otake for taking time during his visit to connect with Bolles lower school students! #BollesGlobal