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Phoenix Third Graders Explore Chinese Culture, Diversity

PHOENIX – Chinese culture was in the air as Phoenix third graders recently learned about customs, diversity and selflessness during an arts-in-education performance.

Students are captivated by the Chinese folktale “The Magic Paintbrush” during a recent presentation at Maroun Elementary School.
Students are captivated by the Chinese folktale “The Magic Paintbrush” during a recent presentation at Maroun Elementary School.

Actors from Merry-Go-Round Playhouse were on hand to help students gain a better understanding of language, history and the arts through a performance of “The Magic Paintbrush.”

Through the play, students learned about plot points and story themes while expanding their vocabulary and delving into Chinese culture.

“This play gives students the theater experience and is a nice way to incorporate the arts in education,” said actor Jason Coppenbarger. “It ties into the curriculum, gives them a taste of a different culture and shows them the importance of selflessness and bravery.”

Students were captivated as they watched the folktale unfold in the cafeteria, which was transformed into a small Chinese fishing village for the performance.

They followed the tale of artist Xiao Yu, whose magical paintbrush makes her work come to life.

Although she uses her power to help her poverty-stricken community, Yu faces a moral dilemma when she is captured by the evil emperor and forced to choose between good and evil.