“Are you in peace?” (in Korean) is how Anne Sibley O’Brien greeted Charlotte Elementary School students, as she explained the different ways of greeting people based on their status in society.
Having grown up in Korea, Anne really grew up in two cultures and found human differences to be fascinating and beautiful. She shares her experience and gets kids thinking about what it’s like to be new and how wetreat people who are different and how smiling can go a long way. “Maybe a smile is a super power,” she says.
In the pre-K to first grade workshop, the teacher had connected animal migration to immigration and talked about the patterns of movement and why it happens. Annie was delighted by this very relatable idea for such young students. She was so excited to be working in a small school where she could take the time to connect to each kid individually. They had a great conversation about families and the wide variety of family structures. They then got some hand-on drawing time learning to create faces with various feelings.
Next up was a visit with grades 6-8, where a diorama of the escape scene from In the Shadow of the Sun was displayed. Annie was blown away by the thought and detail that captured the feeling of the story. They also had compared and contrasted The Legend of Hong Kil Dong with the story of Robin Hood and made a venn diagram. An intense discussion and Q&A ensued as these kids had some serious questions and were obviously very interested in the story. To Annie’s delight, they shared a video they made recreating some scenes from the book. Although not quite finished, they promised to share the final product when complete.
Walking into the grades 2-5 workshop was like walking into a Korean festival. We were welcomed with a song which Annie quickly joined in singing. They then proceed to share all the interesting projects they had done from a timeline put together by fifth graders, to Korean foods prepared by fourth graders; Korean language and music research by third graders, geography research by second grade, and kites made by all! After sharing and Q&A time, we were served some Korean inspired delights: egg rolls, soup, and a gorgeous rainbow crepe cake. The rest of the school was invited in to share for a festive wrap up to a terrific day.