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Comfort Dolls

Page history last edited by June Shanahan 4 years, 8 months ago

Our Friends in Japan


     Over the past several years, my class and Mr. Parker's class in Japan have collaborated on learning projects. One year we were learning together across the miles, and an earthquake struck off the coast of Japan, resulting in catastrophic damage just north of our friends across the sea. 

     The earthquake resulted in a treacherous tsunami which washed over parts of Japan on March 11, 2011. When the tsunami struck, it washed over several nuclear power plants, resulting in radiation leakage. My students read Mr. Parker's student blogs on their wiki, which echoed fear and sadness. Kids were not allowed to go outside to play anymore, many families moved back to the United States. I remember one little girl that was afraid to let her dog go outside because of the radiation in the air.  

     Instead of helping each other learn about nouns and verbs, our class began studying natural disasters together. Even kids who had moved from Japan continued to collaborate on the classroom wikis. We wrote poetry together online, we wrote news articles on Tween Tribune, and we collaborated with top children's science author, Janice Van Cleave.

     Our hearts ached when reading the student blogs, and my students felt very powerless to help. One day, children's author Sharon Creech sent me a picture of a group of knitted dolls she called Comfort Dolls she had knitted for orphaned kids in Africa. My little light bulb went on! A week later, we were knitting dolls for our friends in Japan! This was extremely challenging, given the fact that I had no idea how to knit! Luckily, Youtube tutorials were available, so all the teachers learned how to knit! The teachers, in turn, taught the kids how to knit and weeks later, we mailed off a big box of Comfort Dolls, in hopes of easing the pain and fears of our friends across the Pacific.  

    My hope for your children this year is to take learning to a different level. My goal is to create lifelong learners, to connect the curriculum to the real world, and to inspire kids to grow up and change the world.  




                    Knitted dolls - Propped up on Sharon Creech's couch.



Before & After Photos


San Antonio Express News Article




*adjust volume on all videos





 We Knitted Comfort Dolls for Friends in Japan

Every Stitch, a Stitch of Love




Our Friends Across the Sea Create a Video For Us!




Mr. Parker's Class Helps Japanese Families In Northern Japan


 NEW July 2011 Article

Look inside >
4 5
The True Meaning of Success
Look inside >
38 39
Knit One, Kindness, Too (Doll-making Project Benefits Victims).



Poetry Help Us Learn How to Knit


"In through the front door,
Run around the back,
Hop through the window,
Off jumps Jack."








Comments (33)

June Shanahan said

at 9:12 am on Mar 13, 2011

Dear Snow Angel and Fred,
Would you like to introduce this idea to the Student Council? Or do you want to talk with the other 5th grade teachers about it to open it up to the entire grade level? Or should we just do our own thing within our own classroom, to keep it personal? You guys talk and let me know what you think. This idea blossomed from the heart of our sweet friend, Sharon Creech.

Alex said

at 10:28 am on Mar 13, 2011

I think we should open it up to the whole fifth grade, that way there can be more dolls made for the kids in need in Japan. But maybe our class can make a extra special dol for Karin.

Alex said

at 10:29 am on Mar 13, 2011

Whoops. Spelled doll wrong. I means D-O-L-L, not D-O-L

patrickscobee said

at 10:36 am on Mar 24, 2011

maybe we should try and get pther classes as our friends and assign each 5th grade class a japanese class

elizabethscobee said

at 9:37 am on Mar 13, 2011

The dolls r sooooo cute I want one

Alex said

at 10:32 am on Mar 13, 2011

Since my mom is an interior designer, she will inquire with someone she thinks can help us. Hopefully, they will say yes!

Noel (Hawk) said

at 6:05 pm on Mar 13, 2011

oh! and i'll help! i can crochet and knit! my mom can too! this is sooo exciting

June Shanahan said

at 7:06 pm on Mar 13, 2011

Hawk, your sweet mom does so much for us! Are you sure she's up for it? If so, it's two thumbs up! I want a picture of you crocheting and knitting for the yearbook. Really.

Sarah said

at 12:40 pm on Mar 13, 2011

That would be so aweosme

June Shanahan said

at 6:22 am on Mar 14, 2011

Super Brains,
LOTS of other teachers around the country are picking up on Sharon Creech's Comfort Doll idea! We are a small part of such a good, good thing...
We are all connected in the great circle of life. xoxoxoxo

rachelscobee said

at 3:18 pm on Mar 20, 2011


Alex said

at 5:53 pm on Mar 20, 2011

I know right?

Sarah said

at 10:35 am on Mar 24, 2011

Hey guys I can make the comfort dolles to.I know how to nit

Riley :) said

at 10:37 am on Mar 24, 2011

Mabey we should make some for us when we we need comefort.

khalilahscobee said

at 10:43 am on Mar 24, 2011

Maybe we can pait pics.to raise money for the crisis like a girl did for the oil spill that i saw on t.v.

sanjanascobee said

at 11:05 am on Mar 24, 2011

so much depends upon
a new day
when the world is upside down
and the hope's run out of town
Keep your faith
If the road of disaster
Has overcome
Today is a new day.

June Shanahan said

at 8:29 pm on Mar 24, 2011

Mrs. Gorsche and Mrs. Chamberlain know how to KNIT!!!!! (And they REALLY want to help us!) And Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Bonilla want to help too! And Mrs. Cunningham was dancing around coming up with all sorts of great ideas!!!

Alex said

at 10:05 am on Apr 30, 2011

I can't wait to learn how to knit on Monday!!! I love helping and making a difference for people in need. =-)

Noel (Hawk) said

at 11:14 am on Apr 30, 2011

me too! I already know how to knit, but I still will need help because I haven't knitted for a while.

June Shanahan said

at 11:28 am on Apr 30, 2011

I'm glad you guys are excited because WE ARE SCARED WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TEACH YOU! (I grow more confident as my own Comfort Doll nears completion.)

Alex said

at 12:23 pm on Apr 30, 2011

Its okay! We all know with such awesome 5th grade teachers like yall, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

June Shanahan said

at 6:14 am on May 1, 2011

Guys! Guys! Bob had the sweetest idea! He thinks we should write poetry and attach a poem to each Comfort Doll. What do you think?

June Shanahan said

at 6:15 am on May 1, 2011

Mrs. Bonilla came up with the same idea!!! And she didn't know that Bob was thinking the same thing! Could they have been reading each others' minds?

Noel (Hawk) said

at 9:18 am on May 1, 2011


June Shanahan said

at 9:30 am on May 1, 2011

WHAT?! You too? Do we all share the same thoughts?

Alex said

at 9:59 am on May 1, 2011

Just like you always say: "Great Minds Think Alike."

Alex said

at 8:26 am on May 1, 2011

I TOTALLY love that idea! We should do it! =D

Plurby said

at 4:20 pm on Jun 4, 2011

for a graduation gift my gma got me a knitting set

June Shanahan said

at 5:11 pm on Jun 4, 2011

No way! That is the best, best, BEST idea ever!

Alex said

at 4:24 pm on Jun 6, 2011

Mrs. Shanahan, has Japan recieved the comfort dolls yet??

ronie cunningahm said

at 7:54 am on Jun 13, 2011

I was wondering the same thing! Let us know when you hear from them! So excited can't wait to hear about the arrival of the comfort dolls!

June Shanahan said

at 10:26 am on Jun 13, 2011

Yes, they received them and they are actually having a ceremony TODAY! Mr. Parker is supposed to send photos.

claudiascobee said

at 12:25 pm on Jun 13, 2011

when ever I get bored I start...Knitting!!!
and then when I start I just cant stop!!

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