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Chinese New Year Lesson Planner and Unit
Unit with lesson plans on the Chinese New Year.
First, as with any good unit, it is important to give it a firm foundation in literature. And the Chinese New Year is a perfect place to find great literature. Click the preceding link to find children's' books specifically for the Chinese New Year. Here are also some recommendations for several ages and grades which can give us some insight into Chinese culture.
The Chinese Cinderella (Yeh Mah, Newbery)
The Story About Ping (Flack,Caldecott)
Yung-Fu of the Upper Yangtze (Lewis, Newbery)
Lon Po-Po (Young, Caldecott)
Mei Li (Handforth, Caldecott)
Shen of the Sea (Bowie, Newbery)
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (Simont, Newbery)
Yeh-Shen: A Chinese Cinderella Story Ai-Ling Louie)
Tikki-Tikki Tembo Arlene Mosel (Caldecott)
Depending upon your age level, designate some silent or read aloud time in class. I opt for read aloud at any age, or at least popcorn reading. Instead of large book reports or forms to fill out, give each student a one subject notebook for a reading journal. Assign a daily entry into the journal from a list of options posted the journal. This will assure a variety of writing response types. Students will also be able to make choices about how to write. Here are some sample writing options:
a haiku about a character (this is a form of Chinese poetry and does double duty as culture tool
What would you do if...?
Character map (show how each interacts with each other)
describe the conflict
cartoon or anime of the story or event
ten new words and definitions
Next, in social studies, explore China's regions:
Create a three-dimensional map by drawing out the features of China and adding color details (blue for water, green for forests, gray for populated areas). blue little figures to represent landmarks such as the Great Wall, , natural wonders, animals of the region, products made or grown. For geographical landforms such as mountains, hills, use salt dough, play dough or modeling clay. Be sure to label the map with locations and draw to scale.
Check the attached links for some Chinese drama, music and dance productions available to view.
Create some Chinese decorations for the class. Use the goldfish, coin, dragon, zodiac, fan, kite, lotus themes. Create a simple fish Chinese kite by folding a piece of brightly colored tissue paper or butcher paper in half. Cut out a basic goldfish design, with a large open mouth. Staple around the edge of the body, except for the mouth. Fill with tissue paper or other light weight paper. Place squares of assorted colors of tissue paper on the fish body and paint over the surface with a light glue wash. This is like the art of decoupage. The glue will dry clear and the colors will shine through each other. Open the mouth and attach kite string at four spots to hold it open. Gather the four strings into one and hang the fish around the room. Reinforce the mouth with tape if you wish.
Sample some Chinese treats: fortune cookies, Oolong or Jasmine tea, ginger or almond cookies, rice cakes, rice balls with chopsticks (available from any Chinese buffet), sushi (kelp wrapped rice with fish), rice or cellophane noodles, sliced ginger, wasabi (very hot and spicy), stir-fry, Chow mein hard noodles), lo-mien (soft -noodles), egg rolls, fried rice, egg drop soup, (very easy to make)
Egg drop soup: heat chicken broth on low flame. Beat egg until creamy and slowly drizzle over heated soup until eggs 'string' or 'curdle'.
Fried rice: In a pan, cook beaten raw eggs, cooked rice, frozen mixed vegetables, chopped onions, chicken broth and a little oil over low heat until crisp.