Sunday, July 21, 2024

# Dechen

0 comment
Ages: 7-11
Contributor:
Sam Collins

A thought-provoking film about a Tibetan Buddhist monk-in-training who tries to save a beautiful flower from a storm.

Watch this video with your children, and then try some of our teaching and activity ideas below.

## Teaching Ideas and Resources:

### English

• Write some dialogue between Dechen and his teacher.
• The name Dechen means “great happiness” in Tibetan. Why do you think the animator chose this name for the main character?
• Pause at 0:19. Make a list of descriptive vocabulary to describe the scene. Organise it into lists such as adjectives, adjectival phrases, similes, and metaphors.
• Write a diary from Dechen’s point of view.
• Make a storyboard of the story.
• Write a poem describing the rainstorm (0:31 to 2:14)
• Contrast the characters of Dechen and his teacher by making up a list of adjectives and adjectival phrases to describe each one. How are they the same, and how do they differ?
• Write a letter from the teacher to Dechen explaining his actions.
• Watch the film from 0:55 to 01:19. Write a description of Dechen planting the plant. Which adverbs could you use? Why does the teacher come into view at the end of this section?

### Maths

• Plant some seedlings and measure them as they grow. Plot their growth on a graph.

### Science

• Plant some seedlings and put them into a variety of different places. Which ones grow best? Why?
• Create a fact file showing what plants need to survive.

### Computing

• Make a trailer for the film.

### Art

• The film was made using paper animation techniques. Explore a few of these; for example, make your own thaumatrope or try making simple flip books using a notebook or post its.
• Stop the film (for example, at 1:06) and look closely at the way different coloured pencil strokes have been used to build up the picture. Have a go at making some yourself.
• Look at a range of different flower paintings with contrasting styles (for example, you could look at the word of Georgia O’Keeffe, Monet, Van Gogh and Diego Rivera) and discuss how the images differ. Draw a flower from life in the style of different artists, then display them together.

### Music

• Listen to some Tibetan music and try composing some yourself., for example, using hand drums, bells and cymbals.
• If you have a gong in school, show the children how it vibrates to make a rich sound.

### Geography

• The film is set in Tibet. Research and make a fact file about the region.

### Religious education

• ​Research Buddhism – these sites have some good, clear information for children to use:
• The film opens with a quotation from Dalai Lama. Visit this site to find out about his life.
• Dechen is learning to become a Buddhist monk. Explore ways in which people dedicate their lives to god in different religions.
• Pause at 0:02 and discuss the meanings of the sentences. (samsara is the  Buddhist cycle of death and rebirth).

### PSHE

• If you practice mindfulness or meditation at your school, link this practice to the practice of the monks in the film. Do the children find it useful? In what ways?
• Stop the film at 2:09. Do you think that Dechen is right to dig up the flower? What would you have done?
• Do you agree with the teacher’s actions?