Layton • Children are talking, fingers are fumbling and paper is folding as second-graders struggle to create origami cranes in April Moss' second-grade class.
Students are learning about the Japanese legend of a thousand origami cranes. The legend says if a person makes 1,000 origami paper cranes and strings them together, the creator will be granted a wish. Because of this legend, origami cranes are a popular gift in Japan.
Tomoko Hauck, a mother of students at Ellison Park Elementary in Layton, is sharing her origami skills with the students. Hauck offered to teach participating classes how to make origami cranes. Hauck's goal is to make 1,000 cranes and present them to children at Primary Children's Medical Center during the holiday season.
"I'm from Japan, and the culture in Japan is we make cranes for the sick to get better. The person who makes the cranes is granted a promise and we want to do this for the children in Salt Lake City," Hauck said.
Hauck has made cranes for children in her community before but she had never included the school.
Vice Principal Eve Bean was thrilled with the undertaking.
"Any time we have a service learning experience in the classroom it strengthens the learning. The children can apply the skill while at the same time doing something good," she said. "Mrs. Hauck is a very giving person. Not only has she given her time and talent, but she has also donated all the paper for the cranes."
The project was open to all the school's teachers, who decided whether the activity was appropriate for their students and whether they wanted to integrate it into their schedule. About 320 children at the school are participating in the project.
Ellison Park elementary has had several students treated at Primary Children's hospital, so the experience is a personal one for students. When second-grade teacher April Moss asked her students what they would wish for the children in the hospital one student replied "that they get their hair back." Another student responded, "No one cares if they are bald; we just want them to be healthy."
A patient instructor, Hauck taught a class of 25 7-year-olds to fold the cranes one step at a time as they clamored around her. Some of the boys became distracted when the incomplete crane took on the form of a space ship and a few cranes took flight. Another child put her head on the desk, declaring "It's too hard!"
The students, though, continue to work on their creations.
"If your crane breaks you have to start over," said Hailey Gardula.
And they are keeping their goal in mind despite the occasional frustration. Before Christmas, Hauck along with teachers from the school and the student council will go to Primary Children's hospital and present their gift.
"It's fun to make cranes," said second-grader Mason Padilla. "I like to make things and fold things and it is going to make the children in the hospital happy."