Tag Archives: Chinatown

Grade 2 Explores Chinatown

Earlier this week Grade 2 visited Chinatown. (This is a guest blog from Mattea, a student who went on the field trip).

Today was really, really fun! We got to go on a field trip to Chinatown. When we got there, we played on a playground until our tour guide, Ms. Lee, came. When she arrived, Ms. Lee gave us a little bit of history on how and why some Chinese people moved to California. She also told us about Chinese medicine and walked us through an herbal pharmacy. I liked all the interesting things that I saw. I never knew that something from a deer leg can help with joint pain!

Next, we saw a building that used to be a telephone company. We found out that Ms. Ching’s mom used to work there! She needed to speak many different dialects of Chinese to help people call or speak to others. She also needed to memorize over 2,000 phone numbers and addresses.

We then walked to the fortune cookie factory. I never knew that fortune cookies could be bought as flat cookies! We actually saw how the workers fold the cookies. I also learned that you only get fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants in America. It’s not really a Chinese tradition and was started by a Japanese man in America.

After, we went through the Stockton Street food markets. We saw a lot of interesting things people buy to eat including an armadillo! I would sort of want to try tasting an armadillo, but Ms. Lee explained that it could carry a disease called leprosy. That changed my mind!

Last, we explored a Chinese temple. The inside was really cool! I loved the decorations. Ms. Lee explained the meaning of the different things on the shrine. People pray to a doll that represents the goddess of the sea. Also, there were fruits that had different meanings. Outside, we found an address that was 20-A, so we took a 2OA class photo in front of it. We ended our day with having lunch at a Chinese restaurant.

San Francisco Storytellers Visit With Grade 2

Monday morning seven vibrant San Francisco natives gathered to speak with Grade 2 students. Our girls are learning about the history of San Francisco as part of their social studies curriculum. Speakers shared fond memories, describing how various neighborhoods have both changed and stayed the same.

Madeline Hancock, West Portal:

Ms. Hancock spoke about her parents buying their house for $26,000 in 1958, riding streetcars for 10 cents, and Shaw’s Ice Cream and Candy Shop (which is still there!).

Natalie Holland ’98, Bayview, Excelsior, Mt. Davidson, Outer Sunset, Lakeview, Inner Mission:

Ms. Holland spoke about taking ballet at the Bayview Opera House, gardening in the Sunset, and the murals in the Mission.

Helen Ortiz ’03, The Castro:

Ms. Ortiz spoke about how her neighbors were like family, going to the Castro Theatre for sing-alongs, and riding on the Seward Street Slides.

Judy Ching, Chinatown, The Richmond:

Ms. Ching spoke about the construction of the Broadway Tunnel, the Chinatown telephone company with switchboard operators (where her mother worked), and how Chinese people weren’t always welcome to purchase homes outside of the Chinatown area.

Charlee Underwood, Hayes Valley:

Ms. Underwood spoke about playing outside with all of her friends in the neighborhood, and how there are fewer families now in Hayes Valley.

Ann Kung, The Richmond:

Ms. Kung spoke about getting bread from the Boudin Bakery and playing softball with neighborhood kids in front of the library, she also mentioned that the Richmond has more Asian restaurants now.

Lisa Aquino, The Sunset:

Ms. Aquino spoke about how San Francisco has a small town feeling and that natives are often interconnected, she also mentioned that many people have moved out because of the high cost of living.

After each native spoke, Grade 2 students asked several thoughtful questions about San Francisco history, favorite landmarks, and neighborhood celebrations.