Carp Streamer

Carp Streamer lesson plan

Design and decorate a symbolic carp streamer in the Japanese tradition of Kodomonohi (Children's Day).

  • 1.

    Students research information about Children's Day, which is celebrated each year on May 5 in Japan. Large carp streamers are typically displayed outdoors by families with boys to symbolize their strength, determination, and success. Find out what symbols families display indoors, when a festival for girls is held, and how the arts are incorporated into these children's festivals.

  • 2.

    To make a carp streamer, sketch a carp on large white construction paper with Crayola® Colored Pencils. Cut out the fish with Crayola Scissors.

  • 3.

    Color several coffee filters with Crayola Washable Markers. Spread filters out on recycled newspaper.

  • 4.

    Spritz colored coffee filters with a spray bottle filled with water. The colors run to create an effect of shimmery fish scales. Dry.

  • 5.

    Cut filters into pie-shaped pieces. Layer the pieces like fish scales on the construction paper carp. Attach the scales with Crayola Glue Sticks.

  • 6.

    Draw and color the fish's mouth and eyes with markers. Attach colored ribbon to carp streamer and hang from tree branch or near a window so it can catch the breeze.


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • LA: Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.
  • SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.


  • Possible teacher resources: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say; A Carp for Kimiko by Virginia L. Kroll; Japanese Boys' Festival by Janet Riehicky; Chopsticks From America by Elaine Hosozawa-Nagano; The Bicycle Man by Allen Say
  • Invite a community member who is a native speaker of Japanese to speak with the class. Prior to the visit, have students compose interview questions for the expert. After the visit, students post their new learning to a class blog. Encourage students to focus questions on other Japanese holidays and vocabulary.
  • Create a learning center for the classroom that focuses on the Japanese poetry form of Haiku. Possible resources for this center include: Cool Melons - Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Iss by Matthew Gollub; Grass Sandals: The Travels of Bashby Dawnine Spivak; Haiku Picture book For Children edited by Keisuke Nishimoto. As students compose their original haiku poems, encourage them to also illustrate their prose using Crayola Colored Pencils. Provide a bulletin board in the classroom where students can display their work.