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Chinese New Year

Compiled By: Jennypie

Here are different ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year in your classroom. Children may create crafts, do a lion dance, and have snacks such as fortune cookies.

Chinese New Year
Posted by: Rebecca

Gung Hay Fat Choy ["blessings for wealth"]

I celebrated Chinese New Year with my third graders a few years ago. I had a Chinese student at the time.

Here are some ideas...........

*Eat Chinese foods--use chopsticks(our local *Chinese restaurant was wonderful to give us chopsticks(or try WalMart) and fortune cookies
*Dragon Parade--make a huge dragon and parade around the school
*Chinese Writing--my kids loved this!
*Lots of stories
*Make paper lanterns
For activities.........

We had a party to celebrate. Chinese believe that the house must be cleaned before New Years and all supplies (brooms, dust pans, etc. should be put away and NOT used on New Years) So I had my students clean the room really good(their desks, pick up stuff from floor, etc.) and made a big deal about this. Red is "the" color for the day. Also children and those that aren't married get little red envelopes with crisp one dollar bills in them for good fortune. You could do a money lesson with this somehow.

Chinese New Year
Posted by: pattyk

How I wish I could send you my folder on Chinese New Year...1)we make Chinese calendars...2)we find out what the animal for our birth year is and why we are like that animal (great creative writing)...3)we make a community dragon...36 feet long. For this one we each make a 12x18 accordian fold body section and fill each 1x12 section with a different design...attach with a head and tail, a very long group dragon, often breathing fire. I put the head at the principal's door and back track the dragon down the hall. 4)We try writing in Chinese with black watercolor and brushes (I have a few sum-ie brushes for the purists). 5) we make a shallow cone hat and decorate with signs of the chinese calendar. 6)we eat rice with chop sticks. 7) oragami folding after reading the Paper Crane by Molly Bang. I find that the local Chinese restaurant to be very helpful with the chop sticks and place mats with calendar on them. Hope this helps.

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Chinese New Year
Posted by: angel77

This is one of my favourite holidays to share with children. I tie it in with fairy tales usually and/or dragons. We look at the Chinese zodiak and they find theirs, we look at cultural places in China, we try chopsticks, make fans and dragons and read lots of books.

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Craft ideas for your theme
Posted by: Ally

A teacher I know shared these craft ideas with me:

1. A dragon...decorate dragon face on paper plate...she did it with paint but could be pieces of construction paper, pastels...and then she attached the plate to a popsicle stick, then got a piece of yellow construction paper (large) and folded it into a fan...attached the fan to the "head" of the dragon and added one more popsicle stick to the "body" of the dragon. They also used glitter and paint to decorate the made a great hallway display.

2. Pagoda laterns...cut two laterns out of red manilla tag paper (I don't have a scanner otherwise I could send you the template), then the kids fold each piece in half longways, then staple twice in the middle and fold out each will be able to stand on its own. Then you punch a hole in the bottom of each of its "legs" and attach tassles of yarn (red and yellow) It looks very nice hanging in the classroom.

3. has coloring pages for each of the animals in the Chinese calendar. I made these into a booklet and gave them to the kids to work on as an "extra" whenever they finished up their classroom work and had a few minutes to spare.

4. If everyone in your class is the born in the same year, you could make a display of "Year of the ____________" and a short write up of the traits of that animal...then the kids could draw a picture of themselves explefying a particular trait.

5. Have the kids bring in any items they have that relate to Chinese New Year or China and create a little classroom the display I have seen, there is silk pj's, a mug with Chinese Characters, jade, chopsticks, Chinese money, examples of Chinese writing...

The kids in this class really seemed to enjoy this theme...I am sure you will all have fun...Ally

Lion Dancer
Posted by: msharkey

I forget the author. It is the story of a little boy growing up in Chinatown and how he celebrates the Chinese New Year with his family. LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I teach first by the way.

It has great photographs of the lion dance. Not sure where I got it but I have a mask of a lion that they color in and decorate with tissue paper. We eat fortune cookies (from our local Chinese restaurant) (I have a colleague who makes fried rice with her group)

At the end of the book, there is a Chinese zodiac. their HW is to find out what year everyone in their households were born in.

I have another colleague that makes lanterns.

One of our Kindergarten classes last year "made" a lion dancer and paraded around the school. They basically had the kids paint old sheets.

Another K class had them make paper plate masks of the year we were in. They were very cute.

Oriental trading has the red envelopes (for the lucky money) if you are interested.

At the end of the day, we parade around the school chanting "Gung Hey Fat Choy"

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Don't forget Chinese New Year
Posted by: Rebecca

I had a Chinese student a few years ago. He came after Christmas as well(I didn't have a warning to get prepared though). He spoke very little English as did his parents. Our ESL teacher was a life saver! I basically did what Julianne posted. I sat him near some higher level learners and he basically copied from them. I posted things with labels and hunted for some Chinese words. He would interact with the kids and began to talk to them first (just like Julianne said). He became best friends with a little boy and I let them be in groups together.

Our favorite "theme" was Chinese New Year. I enlisted the help of a Chinese girl(who knew my husband and me from frequenting the Chinese Restaurant--as well as the boy's parents). She gave me lots of things and ideas to use. I found lots of wonderful Chinese stories to share. I incorporated these ideas into my Centers. The little guy was so excited to share things from his culture! He did get tickled at my Chinese writing but he was thrilled to help me improve on it! If you need any ideas, let me know. By the way, this was third grade as well. And...Chinese New Year is from late Jan. to Feb(can't remember exactly).

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
Posted by: jennifer balboni

Our 5th grader reading club just finished [In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord]. It was wonderful! We did a compare/contrast exercise on jackie and shirley, discussed immigration and cultural aspects of the book, found out our chinese horoscope and made Chinese horoscope bookmarks. we also ate Chinese food and answered questions about the book drawn from a Chinese take-out food container. it was great! Good luck!

Posted by: Kristen

I went to China about 5 years ago and it is a VERY different culture. One thing children enjoy is the Chinese New Year. You may want to do your study around that time. Find out what the animal of the new year will be. Also, what kind of decorations they use. Making Red Lanterns was fun for my class. Finding someone who could come in and show the class Calligraphy and then have them learn how to write their own name in calligraphy!
There is so much to do in a theme like this! Use the Net! Learning to speak Chinese will be quite difficult for the children. But learning how to say simple words like hi "Nihao" would be fun. Children need to understand that the Chinese have characters NOT letters.
We in the Us have a quite difugured look at how the Chinese really live in China. Our restuarants do not convey REAL Chinese food. For instance, I rarely found sweet and Sour chicken over there! Also, Fortune cookies are not a Chinese food either. China is well overpopulated and crowded wherever you go. Tons of people on bicycles and lots of buses and cars in the cities. WEll, I could go on, but I do suggest you do a deep study before teaching it. There is much not conveyed here in the US about China.
I hope this helps!

Chinese New Year Lanterns
Posted by: biz

You can make Chinese New Year Lanterns. They're pretty simple and look great. You take a red piece of construction paper and fold it in half. Then you cut about 10 1-inch slits in the half paper. Then you unfold it to full size and re-fold it into a cylinder shape (without a top or bottom) and staple it together. The last step is to staple on a yellow handle. There are probably better instructions for these online.

Demi has some fiction books with Chinese themes/characters. You can photocopy some of the pictures of dragons or phoenixs and have the kids either color them or make them "glitter." We had them trace the picture on plastic wrap with a black sharpie and then color it in with colored sharpies. We then taped this onto a piece of construction paper covered in tin foil. They look really great but take a couple of days.

I've had students make a Chinese New Year Dragon out of cereal boxes as well. You can have them each bring in a cereal box (or some sort of box about that size). You cover it in construction paper and glue on tissue paper and decorations (sequins, puff balls, etc.). You then line up the boxes on a bookshelf or on top of a cupboard to make the whole dragon. It looks really cool b/c each segment looks different so the whole thing is really bright and colorful.

You could make Chinese fans in a similar way with pictures of dragons or Chinese symbols.

If you're in the older grades you could do a timeline of the immigration of the Chinese to the US. The book Coolies by Yin is really great.

Animal and flower symbols are also really important in China. You could have kids research different animal meanings (Phoenix, Dragon, Lotus flower, etc.)

That's all I can think of - have fun!!! What a neat project!

I don't know how to spell it properly but Ni hao (knee how) is Mandarin for Hello and She-she (sh - a, sh - a with a long a sound) is thank you.

Chinese New Year
Posted by: Becca

I am planning to do a Unit on Chinese New Year. I have done several things in the past:

Make a big dragon and parade through the school.

Do Chinese Writings.

Make placemats and eat with chopsticks (I usually just have those Chinese Noodles, marshmallows, m-n-m's to see what they can actually pick up with the chopsticks) Of course we have fortune cookies too.

We look at menus from the Chinese Restaurant.

We decorate the room.

Read Chinese stories.