martes, 23 de febrero de 2010



Click HERE to read about my neighborhood.

Click HERE to play a game in my neighborhood.

Click in the following links to do some interesting exercises!!

Traditional toys and games around the world

Kokeshi and Matrioshka dolls are part of the Japanese and Russian culture respectively. I researched about them and found this article.

The Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi dolls featured in a Kurashiki ancient toy museum

Finishing a kokeshi

Kokeshi (こけし kokeshi?), are Japanese dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist.

History and naming
The origin and naming of kokeshi is unclear. In Looking for the Lost, Alan Booth suggests[2 that kokeshi may be fetish substitutes for unwanted babies killed after birth and the characters can be understood as "extinguish the child". While infanticide was commonly practiced in Japan until the 20th century[3], there is little if any evidence to support the theory The word kokeshi itself is originally Sendai dialect. Instead, a more plausible explanation is that kokeshi are simply wooden or small dolls
Kokeshi were first produced by Kiji-shi (wood artisans) at the Shinchi Shuraku, near the Togatta Onsen from where kokeshi making techniques spread to other spa areas in the Tōhoku Region. It is said that these dolls were originally made during the middle of the Edo period (1600–1868) to be sold to people who were visiting the hot springs in the north-east of the country.
The design of the Mii avatars on Nintendo's Wii video game console is based on that of kokeshi.[6]
"Traditional" kokeshi dolls' shapes and patterns are particular to a certain area and are classified under eleven types The most dominant type is the Naruko variety The main street of the Naruko Hot Spring resort is known as Kokeshi Street and has shops which are operated directly by the kokeshi carvers.
"Creative" kokeshi allow the artist complete freedom in terms of shape, design and color and were developed after World War II (1945). They are not particular to a specific region of Japan and generally creative Kokeshi artists are found in the cities.
The woods used for kokeshi vary, with cherry used for its darkness and dogwood for its softer qualities. Itaya-kaede, a Japanese maple, is also used in the creation of both traditional and creative dolls. The wood is left outdoors to season for one to five years before it can be used.

A matryoshka doll, also known as a Russian nested doll or a babushka doll, is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. The word "matryoshka" (матрёшка) is derived from the Russian female first name "Matryona" (Матрёна).

Church-themed matryoshka
A set of matryoshkas consists of a wooden figure which separates, top from bottom, to reveal another figure of the same sort inside, which has, in turn, another figure inside of it, and so on. The number of nested figures is usually five or more. The form is approximately cylindrical, with a rounded top for the head, tapering toward the bottom, with little or no protruding features; the dolls have no hands (except those that are painted). Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby, and does not open. The artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be extremely elaborate.
Matryoshka dolls are often designed to follow a particular theme, for instance peasant girls in traditional dress, but the theme can be anything, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders.


The original matryoshka by Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin
The first Russian nested doll set was carved by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter in the Abramtsevo estate of the Russian industrialist and patron of arts Savva Mamontov. The doll set was painted by Maliutin himself. Maliutin's design was inspired by a set of Japanese wooden dolls representing Shichi-fuku-jin, the Seven Gods of Fortune. Maluitin's doll set consisted of eight dolls -- the outermost was a girl holding a rooster, six inner dolls were girls, the fifth doll was a boy, and the innermost was a baby.
In 1900, Savva Mamontov's wife presented the dolls at the World Exhibition in Paris, and the toy earned a bronze medal. Soon after, matryoshki dolls were being made in several places in Russia.

Several Russian politicians depicted in matryoshka form
During Perestroika, the leaders of the Soviet Union became a common theme depicted on matryoshkas. Starting with the largest, Mikhail Gorbachev, then Leonid Brezhnev (Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko almost never appear due to the short length of their respective terms), then Nikita Khrushchev, Josef Stalin and finally the smallest, Vladimir Lenin. Newer versions start with Dmitry Medvedev and then follow with Vladimir Putin, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Joseph Stalin and then Vladimir Lenin.
Modern artists create many new styles of nesting dolls. Common themes include animal collections, portraits and caricatures of famous politicians, musicians and popular movie stars. Matryoshka dolls that feature communist leaders of Russia became very popular among Russian people in the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, some Russian artists specialize in painting themed matryoshka dolls that feature specific categories of subjects, people or nature.
Areas with notable matryoshka styles include Sergiyev Posad, Semionovo (now the town of Semyonov), Polkholvsky Maidan, and Kirov.

This is a power point presentation about kokeshi and matrioshka dolls. I did it to create activities and new techniques to teach english connected to social studies in my school according to the project "Creo, construyo y juego" ("Create, build and play").
To see this presentation click the link below:

There is a problem with the videos presented in the presentation, therefore I posted the videos:

This video was created to teach occupations and jobs to a basic English level. I used moviemaker to build it. I hope you like it.

Susan Lopez - Peru