Japanese Lady Japanese Lady

Creating A Balance

      Inspired by the book "Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes"
Author: Eleanor Coerr

      In the Japanese Culture, The Crane is symbolic of health, hapiness, and peace. Legend has it that if you fold 1000 cranes your wish or prayer will be granted.

      In the times we live, every day human conflict spreads and grows more severe, the environment grows more threatened. There is an overwhelming need to establish harmony in our world. We have to "Create a Balance".

     The White, Yellow, Red and Black cranes were adapted from a different 1000 crane mobile created in 1992, as 1 of 10, for the Winnipeg International Children's Festival 10th anniversary by Children of the Earth School. They represent the North, East, West and South. The many-coloured cranes were chosen to represent all the people of the earth, the three levels of the mobile to represent, the air, land and water. The mobile to represent "Creating A Balance".

      With our world and environment in ever increasing chaos and conflict, we have folded these cranes as a symbol of our prayer, that though events such as these, that all the peoples of the world will try to "Create A Balance" so we may all enjoy "Peace, Good Health and Happiness".

Here flies 1000 cranes as a gentle reminder for all to do their part in "Creating A Balance"



     "Creating A Balance" is a 1 or 2 week long workshop that introduces students to the Art of Origami as a means of making a creative statement. Brian presents a history of the art of paper folding through storytelling and demonstrations. The students, through their creative efforts create a mobile sculpture. This brings the whole school together for a presentation focusing on the idea of "Creating A Balance" with nature, the environment and with each other.

     This workshop is ideal for grades 4 to 9. High schools would also work well. Up to 6 classes can be accomodated, each class having a minimum of 3 hours of class time. Friday afternoon there can be a final presentation where students involved in the project can show their collective creation to the rest of the school and community.

     There are variations of the 1000 crane mobile. Other animals such as insects, fish, reptiles, endangered species, featuring air, land, water, vegetation, life and culture themes can be utilized.

     The list of transfer skills to other activities is extensive, teaching and learning tool, mathmatics, geometry and construction of geometric shapes, counselling and observation, rehabilitative therapy tool, decorative themes, functional and as a means of communication with other cultures and countries through similar projects.


Goals and Objectives:
1. An awarness of the environment.

2. Introduction to the Japanese art of paper folding.

3. Develop fine motor skills, patience, attention to detail and sequential learning.

4. Develop listening skills, primarily as instruction and storytelling tools to focus attention and stimulate imagination.

5. Cooperative learning: Instruct individuals and teams to fold a model and then teach others how to fold the same model. I have also encouraged round table folding wherein a group each tries to fold the same model working out the folds together.

6. Follow diagrams and written instruction.

7. Build self-esteem and confidence. I have found that some of the most dedicated and often the most talented folders have been the least academically inclined students. These students succeed so well perhaps because they already have learned patience in coping in their daily lives.


Course Content:

Day One:
Introduction to the history of Origami.
Explanation of theme of 1000 crane mobile.
Display/hands-on experience.

Day Two:
Introduction to basic folds and bases. Specifically bird base.
Hands-on experience.

Day Three:
Continue basic folds and bases.
Start to focus on theme "Creating A Balance".

Day Four:
Start Constructing mobile.

Day Five:
Final Construction and flight of mobile.
Display and general assembly.

All materials will be supplied by the presenter.
The cost of supplies for this project is $1.00 per student.
Recycled paper can be used to reduce the cost and help "Create A Balance". (7.5 cm square)

Expectation of teachers:
1. Teachers to participate.
2. Teachers to help maintain discipline.
3. To reasearch the three areas, air land, and water, and identify problems in the environment.
Suggest possible solutions that would help "Create A Balance".

Pre-fold crane bases and cranes if possible.
Parents could be encouraged to attend the building of the mobile at the school.
Follow up activities could develop into the beginning of a continuous Origami club in the school or community.
Books and paper supplies can be available for the school library and individuals. A price list could be sent in advance.


For more information contact: The Whimsical Wizard - Email

To view project evaluation form Click Here


     I have been using Juggling, Magic, String Figures and Origami as a therapy, teaching, counselling tool in my employment and the community. This has been done with individuals and groups, from pre-school to seniors. I have been responsible for organizing many community projects, i.e. Children's festivals, folk festivals, origami clubs and displays. I have travelled extensively throughout Manitoba as a children's entertainer and with "Artist in the Schools" giving performances and workshops.

     My experience in these activities, as well as those in my daily activities as a youth counsellor in the Justice Department, have shown me their usefulness as counselling and teaching tools. Here are some examples of some benefits and observations of myself and colleagues.

     I would like to thank Carol Ball for putting the observations to words and her permission to use these words.

     It should be noted at this time that the following is focused primarily on Origami. Origami being the most requested workshop and is the most flexible in terms of depth, the transfer of skills and suitability in the classroom.

1. Developing Fine Motor Skills: Patience, Attention To Detail And Sequential Learning

2. Developing Listening Skills: as a storytelling tool to focus attention, follow oral instruction and stimulate imagination.

3. Cooperative Learning: I have taught individuals and teams to fold a model for a school theme, then, they teach the others. I also encourage roundtable folding where a group folds the same model working out the folds together.

4. Following Diagrams And Written Instructions:

5. Special Needs And Special Education Students:
     I have found that the most dedicated and often, the most capable folders, have been the least academically inclined students. My friends and colleagues Carol Ball, Dave Spiers and Paul Bourget have also observed, that these students already have the patience and attention to deal with coping in their daily lives, perhaps this is why they succeed so well in Origami.

6. Coping With Discipline Problems: Origami is a useful tool in gaining cooperation and acceptance from many of the more "challenging" students. They in turn, have found admiration and acceptance from their peers and others because of their skill.

7. Gifted And Talented: I have had students create their own new Origami models. I have also spent time helping more advanced students to work through some extremely advanced models. Roundtable folding works well here.

8. Making Attractive Displays: Use Origami for theme bulletin boards, classroom displays (ceiling & tabletop), banquet table centre pieces, featuring environment, math, geometry, sciences.

Multiculturalism: When grade schools are studying Japan, I am often asked to come give a brief history and use of Origami. This always includes some folding.

Incentive: Being able to fold after other work has been completed is incentive.

Resource To Teachers And Other Child And Youth Councillors:Inservice to other child and youth care workers and teachers on how I use Origami as incentive and motivation. I have also been invited to teach Origami in other institutions and classrooms.
Magic, Juggling, String Figures and Origami have many applications in many professions. With a hands on approach to learning, they can play a very useful role in the teaching, counselling, therapy and fun professions.

To date there have been more than 65 "Creating a Balance" mobiles created.



Brian Cox with a
The Whimsical Wizard holding a "Troublewitt"


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Last Updated July 15, 2003.