One could say that Morrisburg Public School teacher Jim Lamoureux went the extra mile to bring the world to his grade 3-4 class.
In fact, Lamoureux delivered Japan to his class via an Art Miles Mural Project which linked his students to elementary students in Takasago, Japan.
The project began with an exchange of information on each of the students in the two classes.
“Throughout the project, we shared a lot of things about our schools and about our countries,” says Lamoureux. “We started with an exchange of pictures and information about ourselves and communities.”
The Art Miles Mural Project, is an international movement promoting global peace and harmony through mural art.
It was started to bring people closer together, to create an environment that fosters communication and understanding between cultures, promote literacy and to ultimately, through their own experiences, learn respect for one another.
The project began last September with the information exchange. After the decision was made between the two schools to have a cultural and nature symbols theme, collaboration was carried out on the mural layout.
It was decided the mural would include four large central circles, with smaller circles around the outside edges.
To these circles the students in the two countries would showpiece their cultural/nature artwork.
The mural was started last fall by the students in Japan who filled in every other outer circle with their artwork which includes their country flag, their animals, birds, fish and famous buildings.
In the two central circles the two countries join hands in friendship…the MPS students selecting the late Terry Fox as their ambassador.
After the Japanese students completed their half of the artwork, the mural was shipped to Morrisburg Public School where Lamoureux’ students set to work to finish it.
The MPS artwork features native Canadian animals…the polar bear, the beaver, the moose, our native birds and fish…the parliament buildings in Ottawa, Niagara Falls, the Canadian Flag.
Along the way, the students in the two countries kept in touch. The highlight was a video conference on January 23.
The Morrisburg students returned to their classroom at 6 p.m., on January 23, which was 8 a.m. in Japan.
“The students introduced themselves during the video conference, songs were sung and information was exchanged.”
The MPS artwork continued on the mural until two weeks ago, when it was declared complete and showcased at a school assembly on Thursday, February 28.
Following the presentation, the mural was packed for return shipment to Japan. It is destined to become part of a children’s exhibit that will be travelling and displayed around the world.
“They did a wonderful job, and they are really proud of it,” says Lamoureux, who recorded the students as they worked and posted it to a private YouTube channel. It’s an incredible video.
Many of the students were eager to speak about their contributions to the mural as it was being prepared for shipment.
“I worked on the Niagara Falls part,” explained Lilly Lewis. “We were supposed to make cars, so I drew the limo to make it really cool.”
Kayla Gillard, who provided her artistic talent to help paint the Mountie, said, “the best part of the project was the web conference. That was really neat.” And Airreanna Brown, who contributed to the fish painting, said “everybody getting to get to work together was the best part.” Leah Barkley agreed, adding that it was also neat to hear and then spell some of the Japanese words.
Breanna Kirkwood, whose artwork created the polar bear, thought it was great to have pictures and to learn about the Japanese children.