Dossier of Discovery: From Newspaper to Menagerie

article by Anne Renaud , photo courtesy Hitotsuyamastudio

Learning intention:

I am learning to select relevant information to present with various interaction skills so that I can write a talk for a specified audience.


Success criteria:

  • I can take notes on relevant information from various non-fiction sources
  • I can write a talk for tourists with specialised information
  • I can present the talk using interaction skills to entertain my audience


After reading the article, explain that students are to imagine they have been hired as a tour guide by Chie Hitotsuyama. They will walk tourists through the studio, explaining the origins of the sculptures, some facts about the creator and creations.


Ask students to relate experiences they’ve had with tour guides. They may have had one visiting a zoo, an aquarium or another country. Ask them to define the job of a tour guide (to give history and information about places of interest to groups of visitors). Brainstorm what makes a good tour guide. Students may come up with answers such as:

- informative

- engaging

- funny

- enthusiastic


To give students a general idea of what a tour guide should sound like and the sorts of things they might say, watch the YouTube video Tour Guiding (a short training video without tourists). Note there is a three-second mention of prayer.


To start researching, visit the webpage Japanese Paper Art Like You Never Seen it Before as a class, reading the information and watching the included video. Students are to take notes on Hitotsuyama’s talking points, such as where her studio is located, why she started making paper sculptures and how she feels about it.


Students can also use Touchdown’s article and search for other websites and images to get a thorough understanding of Hitotsuyama’s work.


Once they have enough talking points, students are to write up their information as if they are a tour guide. They will need to:

- introduce themselves and welcome the tour group

- pretend to guide tourists around the sculptures, pointing out specific pieces of art as they go (they should mention pieces that actually exist)

- give a history of the studio

- give a history of Hitotsuyama


Encourage them to include jokes or a personal (invented) story relevant to the tour.


Students can practise and perform their piece in front of partners to get feedback. For their final presentation, they will need to use energetic speech, modulating their voice and emphasising where appropriate.