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Chinese New Year


 


Leeanne VanDurme

Unit overview
This month-long unit is designed for sixth grade students and
encompasses Chinese New Year.  Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival,
is the most important holiday celebration to the people of China and
those of Chinese origins who live throughout the world.  It is a unique
celebration, one that is steeped in tradition and family, and that has
as its underlying message peace and happiness for all.  The month-long
celebration is full of great excitement and joy and is as important to
the Chinese as Christmas is to those of western heritage.  The unit is
intended to be begun when students return from  Christmas/New Year’s
break; this timing is deliberate to help students really make
connections between their own personal New Year’s celebrations and those
of another culture.

Helping students learn about other cultures is an important goal of
social studies, a goal which will help create a more tolerant society.
Students gain respect and appreciation for cultures which may seem very
foreign at first. Studying important aspects of other cultures also
helps students eliminate misunderstandings and ultimately reduces
prejudices.  Students will be able to compare and contrast cultural
characteristics of China to their own cultures, fostering an
understanding of the interconnectedness of all humanity.  Although there
are specific differences, students will begin to understand that there
are many, many ways human beings are alike and will develop a healthy
respect for this knowledge.

Chinese New Year is an exciting topic and students really get excited in
learning about it.  While this unit will be great fun and stimulating
for the students to explore, it is also very educational in a variety of
ways.  The unit includes many cross-curricular activities, such as art,
math, technology, and a heavy emphasis on language arts.  It is intended
to be a unit that incorporates a lot of student self-directed
learning—much of the information and activities planned by the teacher
lead students to further explore the topics on their own.  Because the
traditions and activities associated with Chinese New Year are so
interesting, students will want to do this and will ultimately learn a
great deal about both themselves and another culture.

Learning Goals of this Unit
1. Students should be able to recognize key aspects of the Chinese New
Year celebrations;
2. Students will be able to appreciate the unique cultural aspects of
the Chinese New Year;
3. Students should be able to understand and relate to the
interconnectedness of humanity even though we experience different
aspects of life;
4. Students will acquire positive experiences with multiculturalism;
5. Students should be able to work cooperatively in groups to enhance
learning for all.

Instructional Overview of Chinese New Year Unit
This unit was designed, in part, for students to be active learners in
the quest for knowledge.  Using many enrichment activities that are
student-directed will truly “bring home” the concepts and goals of the
unit.  Students are intended to inquire past the introductory concepts
presented by the teacher in class and explore the traditions and
concepts of Chinese New Year further, both individually and in
cooperative groups.

This unit follows a deductive teaching sequence:  it proceeds from a
general concept of China and its New Year celebration to specific
traditions explored in depth.  Because it is my intention to provide the
students will generalizations and have them work towards the specifics
themselves,  many of the lessons involve direct instruction but a few
involve inquiry. The unit is thematic as it employs language arts,
mathematics, art, technology, music, and P.E., and has a heavy
dependency on literature.  The unit involves many, many activities which
will help to make the concepts come alive.  Much cooperative group work
is incorporated into this unit to help achieve the unit goals of
enhancing learning for all.  Learning logs play a huge part in this
unit—here is where all the important content of both Chinese New Year
will be accumulated and kept, writing about experiences, feelings and
content will help solidify knowledge and understanding, and allow for
reflection of topic and its impact upon the students.

The teacher facilitates learning in this unit in a variety of ways.  She
often presents a general concept or very generalized content and
provides many ways students can explore the concept or content.
Students are expected to investigate topics rather than regurgitate
given facts.  It is very much a student-centered unit.  Although a few
lessons start by being teacher-centered, most turn to student-centered.
The culminating activity of a classroom Chinese New Year celebration is
completely dependent upon the students.  They must take the knowledge of
Chinese New Year that they have obtained during their activities and
recreate it in the classroom.  Students will become responsible for
their own learning, but the teacher is there to facilitate, prompt,
redirect, etc.

The learning and activity sequence of this unit proceeds from general to
specific.  The first lesson involves learning about the country of
China, specifically its geography.  This will connect to prior learning
that students have done in units before this one, activating their prior
knowledge, connecting the unknown to what is known.  It also serves to
stimulate their interests in China.  Initial connections between the
similarities between the United States and China set up a learning goal
of the interconnectedness of humanity.  The second lesson then begins to
present a more specific concept about China—its language.  The emphasis
is on written language and because it is so different than ours, student
interest is immediately captured.  This lesson is great fun for the
students: it is almost like learning a secret code (appealing to this
age and developmental level). Due to the nature of this lesson, direct
instruction must be utilized in order to correctly model the
calligraphy.  It is inquiry-based—focusing on why the language is as it
is.  Students are active and involved in the lesson and end it wanting
to learn more.

Lesson three presents a general overview of the most important Chinese
celebration—New Year.  The festival is so important to the Chinese and
has so many traditions associated with it that an introductory overview
is necessary at first.  This lesson becomes the basis for exploration in
to the specific cultural components.  Lessons four, five, six, seven
(and the rest of the lessons still to be developed) proceed from this
starting point and focus on individual cultural aspects associated with
Chinese New Year.  These lessons allow for in-depth exploration of the
topic and allow students to translate themselves into a part of Chinese
culture.  Students begin to relate to those of a different culture,
respect the differences and the similarities and see the
interconnectedness of all humanity.

The culminating activity is a student celebration of learning.  Students
will plan and implement a Chinese New Year celebration in the classroom,
which coincides with the actual Chinese New Year.  This activity
highlights the students’ knowledge and what they think about Chinese New
Year.  Activities that they have worked on and concepts they have
explored are on display at this time.  The class will spend the
afternoon recreating Chinese New Year, sharing a cultural tradition
complete with food, traditions, activities, etc. This celebration is a
wonderful way to complete our unit.

Because we are working within a deadline (the unit runs from the
beginning of January until the actual date of Chinese New Year),
students will not have time to do their final project, a PowerPoint
presentation on Chinese New Year.  I intend it that way, especially so
that the students can address the classroom Chinese New Year and how
they were affected by it.  Digital cameras can be used to take pictures,
which then can be incorporated into the presentations.  Class time may
then be spent on the PowerPoint presentations and the students will
share their presentations shortly after, no more than a week or so.

This unit provides many opportunities for students to learn.  They learn
specific content about Chinese New Year; they learn to work together and
to be responsible for their own learning; and they learn positive
experiences about multiculturalism.  The progression of the unit allows
this learning to be sequential and to build upon prior lessons.  It is
facilitated by the teacher, not completely directed by the teacher.
Students become respectful of others and themselves in the quest for
knowledge, enhancing the learning experience for all.

Assessment Overview

During this unit, I will use a variety of means to assess student
learning.  Some means will be formal; other will be informal.
Assessment measures I plan to use include: lots of kidwatching and
listening to students at a variety of different times (during lessons,
during activities, when speaking to others about what they are doing in
school); student self-assessment, especially during cooperative learning
and learning log activities; grading homework, PowerPoint presentations
(will indicate depth of content learning and cooperative group work),
and activities that are appropriate for grading.  One major way that I
intend to assess student learning comes from the students’ preparing the
culminating activity.  Students will be required to plan and implement a
Chinese New Year celebration in the classroom.  The students will be
required to plan what they want to do at their celebration (based on
Chinese traditions), divide the preparations among groups, with each
group taking the responsibility to implement their part.  Student groups
will be assessed on their contribution to the whole.

Kidwatching and listening:
 It is my intention to informally assess both students’ learning of
content and students’ affective responses, including excitement of
learning, to this unit.  The unit was designed to help students reduce
prejudices, be more tolerant of differences, understand the
interconnectedness of humanity, and be respectful towards all.  Watching
and listening to the students as they interact with these lessons and
absorb the content will be a non-threatening, reliable method of
assessment.  Students will not be trying to “please the teacher with the
right answers”; instead they will be authentically interacting with
their peers.  This will allow me to develop an accurate sense of how
well these students are internalizing the goals of this unit.
Additionally, because of the environment of safe self-expression in my
classroom, students will freely express themselves as I pose questions
to check for retention of knowledge and how this knowledge is being
applied. These assessment means will not be computed to a grade but are
intended for myself to see how well the goals of the unit were met and
how the unit could be improved or changed.

Student self-assessment:
 Student self-assessments will often be made during cooperative learning
activities and through their learning logs.  Students will complete
assessment sheets on their contributions to the groups and how well they
think their groups are working.  The teacher will formally assess each
group working, not for a grade, but to see how well the groups are
applying principles of cooperative learning and interacting effectively.
Again, this type of activity and assessment will aid the students in
obtaining the unit goals of respect towards all and the
interconnectedness of humanity.  Learning logs will be places for
students to record both content of the unit and their personal responses
to the content and concepts.  Students will be told that this is a safe
forum for personal self-expression and will not be assigned a grade, per
say.  Learning logs were chosen to provide a place where all learning
about Chinese New Year stays centralized and to show depth of learning.
Pictures will be encouraged in the logs, as often students can express
themselves better with illustrations than words.  Spelling and grammar
will not be corrected, as I am more interested in what they are learning
and feeling than in the mechanics of writing. I will be reviewing the
learning logs to check for accuracy of some content, inclusion of all
activities that should be included, and to informally assess students’
learning and affect.  Again, these assessment means will not be computed
into formal grades but are intended to indicate if unit goals were met
and how the unit could be improved or changed.  Students will be asked
for comments regarding this unit (what they liked, disliked, how it can
be improved, etc.) in order to better change it for the next time
teaching it.

Grading (Formal) Assessments:
 As this unit requires a major time commitment and is part of the social
studies curriculum, grades will have to be given.  Students’ homework
assignments will be graded; activities that are suitable for grading
(Venn diagrams, comparison questions, etc.) will receive a formal grade;
the PowerPoint presentations will receive a grade as per rubric; and
student groups will receive a participation grade based on their
fulfilling their roles in planning and implementing the classroom
Chinese New Year celebration.
All grades will be averaged to compute a final grade for the unit.

Authentic Performance Assessment

As part of this unit, students will be required to plan, design and
present a PowerPoint presentation about Chinese New Year.  Students will
be required to work in cooperative groups of either two or three, with
each student contributing equally to the project.  Because of the length
of time required to create a PowerPoint presentation, students will be
asked to complete this project after the culminating activity of a
classroom Chinese New Year celebration.  Students will be shown
PowerPoint presentations during the unit, in order to have an idea of
what can go into such a presentation.  Students will be required to
sketch their presentation on 4x6 index cards, complete with information
and pictures, prior to beginning work on the computer.  The teacher will
meet individually with each group of students to check cards and give
approval for computer work.  Ideally, computer lab time will be set
aside for instruction of PowerPoint and  completion of this project.

Students will be given the assessment rubric at the beginning of the
project, along with suggested guidelines for information to include in
the presentation.  Assessment will be made, using the rubric, by the
teacher at the time the groups present their PowerPoint. The teacher
will be assessing the specific content in the presentation as well as
the presentation itself and cooperative group work.   Presentations will
be made to the whole class; the other students will be invited to share
their comments regarding the groups’ presentations.  Groups will receive
their grades and additional comments from the teacher.

Authentic Performance Assessment

As part of this unit, students will be required to plan, design and
present a PowerPoint presentation about Chinese New Year.  Students will
be required to work in cooperative groups of either two or three, with
each student contributing equally to the project.  Because of the length
of time required to create a PowerPoint presentation, students will be
asked to complete this project after the culminating activity of a
classroom Chinese New Year celebration.  Students will be shown
PowerPoint presentations during the unit, in order to have an idea of
what can go into such a presentation.  Students will be required to
sketch their presentation on 4x6 index cards, complete with information
and pictures, prior to beginning work on the computer.  The teacher will
meet individually with each group of students to check cards and give
approval for computer work.  Ideally, computer lab time will be set
aside for instruction of PowerPoint and  completion of this project.

Students will be given the assessment rubric at the beginning of the
project, along with suggested guidelines for information to include in
the presentation.  Assessment will be made, using the rubric, by the
teacher at the time the groups present their PowerPoint. The teacher
will be assessing the specific content in the presentation as well as
the presentation itself and cooperative group work.   Presentations will
be made to the whole class; the other students will be invited to share
their comments regarding the groups’ presentations.  Groups will receive
their grades and additional comments from the teacher.

Powerpoint Presentation Rubric
 Appearance Content Slides Presentation
5 Font style and size easy to read; special effects present on all
slides and enhance content; colors provide sharp contrast and are easily
readable 5 key elements of Chinese New Year present; at least 3 facts
about each key element included 10 or more slides present; 5 or more
different special effects used in entire presentation student presented
confidently; eye contact with audience; clearly audible; content
well-known; appropriate, in-depth answers to questions
4 Font style and size easy to read; special effects present on at least
half of the slides and enhance content; contrasting colors are used for
readability 5 key elements of Chinese New Year are present with less
than 3 facts about each element included 7-9 slides present; 3-4
different special effects used in entire presentation student presented
confidently; audible; content well-known; appropriate answers to
questions but lacking in depth
3 Font style and size difficult to read; colors do not have sharp
contrast and are difficult to read; no special effects used 4 or fewer
key elements of Chinese New Year present; less than 3 facts about each
element included 5-7 slides present; 1-2 different special effects used
in entire presentation student presented unconfidently; mumbles;
inaudible; unsure about content; content questions answered
inappropriately

    Scale:
20 A+      15 B-
19 A      14 C+
18 A-      13 C
17 B+      12 C-
16 B      Did not do presentation  F

Chinese New Year Unit
Geography of China Lesson
Grade 6
1 class period-60 minutes

Objectives:
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Use given longitude and latitude degrees to locate the geographical
locations of six cities in China;
2. Identify geographical formations and landforms of China on a map
provided;
3. Describe by writing in learning logs how China’s geography compares
to the geography of the United States.

Materials Needed:
Maps of China and the United States (must include latitudinal and
longitudinal lines: ones in textbook are ideal), list of major cities in
China, list of major geographical landforms of China, large chart paper
and markers.

Procedure:
Anticipatory Set: (15 minutes)
Have students review continents and major ideas of longitude and
latitude.  Explain to students that they will begin studying China and
its most important traditional celebration:  Chinese New Year.
Brainstorm with students what they know about China and its new year
celebration and what they want to learn.  Begin a class K-W-L chart on
large chart paper using students’ ideas.

Activity: (45 minutes)
Have students locate China on a world map.  Discuss what continent China
is located on.  Using maps of China and the United States, have students
list similarities and differences between the two countries.  Working in
cooperative groups,  have students locate different geographical
formations, such as mountains, rivers, deserts, plains, etc.  Have
students locate various major cities of China by sight.  Provide
students with several city names; have them locate the longitude and
latitude of each city.  To check for comprehension, give students
several longitude and latitude locations and have them locate the city
at these points.  Discuss interesting geographical features of China,
such as the Great Wall. Have students write in journals about China’s
geography and how it compares to the United States.

Enrichment:
1. Have students use the internet to locate Chinese cities and research
them.  Try http://chineseculture.about.com/culture/chineseculture/ and
http://solar.rtd.utk.edu/~china/tour/china_tour.html
2. Have students locate more cities and landforms using degrees of
longitude and latitude.
3. Have students investigate the Great Wall of China or other
interesting geographical formations.
4. Students explore the importance of the silk industry to China.

Assessment:
Assess the effectiveness of this lesson and check student comprehension
through asking students to plot geographical locations or locate a city
given the longitude and latitude.  In addition, review students learning
logs to assess comprehension and the affect of this lesson.  Check
comparisons between Chinese geography and United States geography for
accuracy.

Resources:
 Class textbook

 Fisher, L. E. (1995). The great wall of China. Aladdin Paperbacks.

 Kalnan, B. (1989). China: The land. England: Crabtree Publishing.

http://chineseculture.about.com/culture/chineseculture/

http://solar.rtd.utk.edu/~china/tour/china_tour.html

Chinese New Year Unit
Chinese Calligraphy Lesson
Grade Six
1 class period—60 minutes

Objectives:
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to
1. Explain the origin of Chinese calligraphy and how each character
developed from a picture when asked;
1. Correctly write basic Chinese characters, using the proper order of
strokes and placement on paper when shown the pictograph;
1. Differentiate between pictographs and an alphabet based writing
system, citing specific examples;
1. Compare Chinese writing to Standard English (or other forms of
written expression) orally or in writing;
1. Appreciate the unique cultural characteristics of Chinese
calligraphy, as evidenced by enthusiasm for learning and writing
characters.

Materials Needed:
Inkstone, inkstick, calligraphy brushes, black tempera paint, water,
paper
Samples of Chinese calligraphy
Chinese Writing Fun Fact Sheet
Long is a Dragon by Peggy Goldstein
Calligraphy worksheets

Procedure:
Anticipatory Set (20 minutes)
Read book Long is a Dragon to class.  Discuss the Chinese style of
writing (write from right to left, top to bottom, uses ink, system of
pictographs) with students.  Share samples of Chinese calligraphy with
class. Distribute Chinese Writing Fun Fact Sheet and discuss.

Activity (30 minutes)
Demonstrate to students how ink is made with inkstick and inkstone (add
water and rub inkstick on inkstone).  Set aside.  Pass out paper, paint
and brushes to students.  Model (direct instruction) Chinese characters
for students as they follow along, stroke by stroke.  Discuss origin of
each character and have students share their ideas of where each
character came from.  Allow students to practice characters.  Check to
see if students write from right to left, top to bottom.  Model both
words and numbers. Pronounce words in Chinese and have students repeat.
Collect student work, allow to dry, and hang around room.
Pass out Chinese Writing Fun Fact Sheet and calligraphy worksheets to
students.  Have students complete worksheet independently.  Provide
additional worksheets for homework or center work.

Enrichment Activities
1. Have students obtain Chinese names by linking from:
www.mandarintools.com
1. Have students create and maintain Chinese pictograph dictionaries.
1. Have students do math worksheets using Chinese numbers.
1. Use Chinese calligraphy to create welcome banners, signs identifying
common objects around classroom (door, window, chair, table, etc.).
1. Investigate the use of chops (Chinese name seals).  Have students
create their own chops.
1. Allow students to explore internet to research Chinese language and
to find more Chinese characters.  Copy into notebooks or dictionaries.
1. Students can read a variety of books about Chinese calligraphy.

Assessment
Ongoing assessment will be made during the lesson, as the teacher will
check to see if students are following rules of Chinese calligraphy
(correct order of strokes, correct placement of characters on paper,
etc.) Assessment will be made by viewing students finished samples of
Chinese calligraphy and student response (both cognitive and affective)
to teacher initiated questions regarding the Chinese style of writing.
In addition, students will be asked to write a short paragraph comparing
Chinese calligraphy to Standard English (or another standard language)
and differentiating between pictographs and alphabet based words. This
will be assessed by the teacher using a rubric.

Resources:

Goldstein, P. (1991). Long is a dragon: Chinese writing for children.
NY: Scholastic.

Haskins, J. (1998). Count your way through China. Carolrhoda.

Kalnan, B. (1989). China: The culture. Crabtree Publishing.

Lee, H. V. (1997). At the beach. NY: Henry Holt.

Lee, H. V. (1998). In the snow. NY: Henry Holt.

Krcah, M.S. (1997). D is for doufu: An alphabet book of Chinese culture.
CA: Shens’ Books.
www.chinascape.org

Chinese New Year Unit
Chinese New Year Lesson
Grade 6
1 class period:  60 minutes

Objectives:
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Identify correctly cultural characteristics of Chinese New Year
celebrations when asked;
2. Compare accurately, both orally and in writing, Chinese New Year
celebrations and traditions with New Year celebrations of a student’s
own cultural background;
3.  Analyze in their learning logs, the importance of the New Year
celebration to the Chinese people.

Materials:
Gung Hay Fat Choy by June Behrens,  legend of Nian, Venn Diagram
worksheet, worksheet of Chinese zodiac, chart paper and markers.

Procedure:
Anticipatory Set (15 minutes)
Begin by discussing with students that they have just celebrated New
Year.  Define tradition and have students describe their own personal
New Year traditions.  List students’ responses on chart paper.

Activity:  (45 minutes)
Have students brainstorm what they know and what they want to know about
Chinese New Year.  Chart K-W-L on large chart paper in front of room for
class to see. Read Gung Hay Fat Choy by June Behrens.  Lead students in
discussion of the unique elements that comprise the Chinese New Year
celebration.  Be sure to discuss that people of Chinese origin celebrate
the holiday very similarly no matter if they live in China or other
countries.  Reinforce the idea that the Chinese New Year revolves around
traditions and legends.  Have students reiterate the Chinese traditions
that compose the New Year celebration. Ask students to make predictions
about the legend of the Nian  and introduce the legend to students
(attached).   Explain to students that they will be creating a Chinese
New Year celebration in their classroom and ask them to work in
cooperative groups to think about what they would need to have as part
of their celebration.  List their ideas on chart paper and have them
copy them into learning logs.  Explain that they Chinese New Year is
not celebrated on the same date every year due to the Chinese following
a lunar, not Gregorian, calendar.  Do not tell students the date of this
year’s celebration as they will have to research this during center time
or for homework. Have students complete Venn diagram comparing Chinese
New Year celebration characteristics with their own New Year celebration
traditions and add to learning logs.  Additionally, have students write
in their learning logs explaining what the cultural characteristics of
Chinese New Year are and why the traditional methods of celebration are
important to the Chinese.

Enrichment:
1. Have students do research (computer, book, using calendars) to find
dates of Chinese New Year for this year and the next several years.  Web
sites to try: http://www.chcp.org/Vnewyear.html or
http://www.infoplease.lycos.com/ipa/A0192339.html.
2. Have students obtain Chinese internet pen pals and ask them about
their personal New Year traditions.
3. Survey classmates to ask about family traditions at New Year’s; chart
data and display in class.
4. Have students write legends for the origins of their own New Year
traditions.

Assessment:
Gather assessment data as to what the students have learned during
discussions.  Also, review both Venn diagrams and learning logs for
accuracy of what students have written.  Make sure students list the
characteristics of Chinese New Year and why these are important to the
Chinese.  At start of next lesson, have students discuss the dates they
found for New Year’s celebrations—orally quiz students as to why these
dates change and assess their answers.

Resources:
 Behrens, J. (1982). Gung hay fat choy. Palo Alto, CA: Children’s Press.

 Cheng, H. (1976). The Chinese new year. NY: Holt, Rinehart, and
Winston.
 Stephanchuk, C., & Wong, C. (1983). Mooncakes and hungry ghosts:
Festivals of China. San Francisco, CA: China Books and Periodicals.
 Stephanchuk, C., & Wong, C. (1991). Red eggs and dragon boats:
Celebrating Chinese festivals. San Francisco, CA: China Books and
Periodicals.

Chinese New Year Unit
Chinese Lunar Calendar
Grade 6
1 class period—60 minutes

Objectives:
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Correctly identify the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac when asked;
2. Correctly list characteristics of each animal sign and differentiate
between the characteristics in their learning logs;
3. Use the Chinese lunar calendar to correctly determine an animal sign,
given birth and other dates;
4. Accurately create a Chinese lunar calendar, given materials.
5. Confidently predict, compare and analyze the characteristics of a
specific sign to a specific person when given necessary information.

Materials:
Poster of Chinese zodiac, Cat and Rat: Legend of the Chinese Zodiac by
Ed Young, lunar calendar activity worksheet, zodiac fortunes, What Sign
are People in Your Life? worksheet, zodiac animal templates, compasses,
pencils, paper, colored pencils, powerpoint presentation entitled:
Chinese Lunar Calendar:  What Sign Are You?

Procedure:
Anticipatory Set (10 minutes)
Recall students’ prior knowledge about Chinese lunar calendar that was
discussed in lesson on Chinese New Year.  Show poster of Chinese Zodiac
and discuss the calendar with students.
Activity (50 minutes)
Discuss how the zodiac originated, how long it has been used by the
Chinese, and how important it is to the Chinese (relate to idea of
tradition).  Read Cat and Rat: Legend of the Chinese Zodiac to class and
incorporate the other creation legend (animal order determined by
arrival at emperor’s palace).  Help students’  determine what animal
sign they were born under and ask them to predict in their learning logs
what characteristics they think their animal sign will have.  Discuss
predictions. Show powerpoint presentation on Chinese lunar calendar to
class and have students compare their predictions to the actual
characteristics. Orally quiz students’ on the 12 animal signs and
according characteristics. Model making lunar calendars to class; have
students’ create their own.  Distribute worksheets and fortunes to
students’, explain, and ask them to do for homework.  Have students
write highlights from lesson in learning logs.
Enrichment:
1. Have students work in groups to  write their own creation legends.
2. Have students work in groups to do computer research on Chinese lunar
calendar and answer questions to worksheet provided by teacher.
3. Graph animal signs represented by students in classroom, entire 6th
grade, etc.
4. Students read a variety of books on Chinese zodiac.
5. Students design, draw and decorate the animal symbols, list with
corresponding years, and display around classroom.

Assessment:
Informally assess student learning while orally quizzing students on the
animal signs and characteristics of Chinese zodiac.  Review learning
logs for accuracy of highlights of lesson recorded by students.
Formally assess worksheets given as homework and student created lunar
calendars.

Resources:
 Behrens, J. (1982). Gung hay fat choy. CA: Children’s Press.
 Bernhard, E. (1996). Happy New Year.  Lodestar Books.
 Brown, T. (1987). Chinese New Year. NY: Henry Holt & Company.
 Chin, S. A. (1993). A dragon parade. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn.

Chinese New Year resource manual. (1992). New York: New York City Board
of Education.
Demi. (1998). A Chinese zoo. NY: Crown Publishing.
Demi.(1998). Happy New Year: Hung-his fa-t’s ai. Crown Publishing.
Grolier Educational. (1997).  Fiesta! China: portait of the country and
traditions. Danbury, CT: Grolier Educational.
Shufen, L. (1985). Legends of ten chinese festivals.  Beijing: Dolphin.
 Young, E. (1998) Cat and rat: The legend of the Chinese zodiac. NY:
Holt.

Chinese New Year Unit
Chinese New Year Traditions
Grade 6
1 class period—60 minutes

Objectives:
At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. List three traditions associated with Chinese New Year;
1. Outline the importance of these three traditions to the Chinese
people;
1. Accurately compare these three traditions to traditions associated
with holidays they personally celebrate, including 3 key points;
1. Follow written directions accurately to create one or more replicas
of Chinese lanterns, leisee, or papercuts;
1. Define orally the word kiragami.

Materials:
Patterns for leisee, papercuts, Chinese lanterns, scissors, tape, glue,
yarn, cardboard templates, crayons, markers, glitter, gold stickers, red
tissue paper, red paper, photocopies of Chinese money

Procedure:
Anticipatory Set (15 minutes)
Review elements of Chinese New Year with students.  Ask questions about
the traditions the Chinese follow and have them discuss in cooperative
groups.  Show examples of leisee, lanterns and papercuts.  Talk to
students about leisee, kiragami (the art of cutting paper), lanterns.
Relate to students how the Chinese use these traditional elements in
celebrating New Year.  Talk with the students about the characteristics
and value of Chinese money.
Activity (45 minutes)
Have students work in cooperative groups to create leisee, papercuts and
lanterns.  Give mini-lessons to groups if necessary.  Hang papercuts and
lanterns around room as decorations.  Have students list these
traditions, outline their importance to the Chinese, and define kiragami
in their learning logs.  For homework, have students complete chart

Enrichment:
1. Students create other leisee for giving away during the New Year
celebration.
2. Read Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn.
3. Have students study Chinese landscape painting.  Allow them to create
a landscape painting and turn it into a paper lantern.
4. Investigate origami (originally a Japanese art but is popular in
China).
5. Research the Chinese invention of paper.  Make paper in the
classroom.
6. Have students discuss how they would spend their lucky money.
7. Investigate other Chinese art forms and how they relate to Chinese
New Year.
8. Extend the lesson on lanterns to incorporate the Lantern Festival the
Chinese celebrate on the 15th day (last day) of the New Year
celebration.

Assessment:
Review learning logs to check accuracy of definition of kiragami, the
listing of the three traditional activities (leisee, lanterns,
papercuts) and their importance in the Chinese New Year celebration.
Assess whether students are following directions while in cooperative
groups and making items: did they follow directions or not?  Ask
students to orally define kiragami and assess.  Formally assess homework
(chart comparing the three Chinese traditions to traditional activities
or decorations they have for either New Year or other holidays.

Resources:
 Behrens, J. ((1982). Gung hay fat choy. CA: Children’s Press.
 Cheng, H. (1976). The Chinese New Year. NY: Holt, Rinehart, and
Winston.
 Chinese New Year resource manual. (1992). NY: NYC Board of Education.
Chinn, K. (1997). Sam and the lucky money. Lee & Low.
Stephanchuk, C., and Wong, C. (1983). Mooncakes and hungry ghosts:
Festivals of China. San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals.
Stephanchuk, C. (1991). Red eggs and dragon boats—Celebrating Chinese
festivals. San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals.
http://Chineseculture.miningco.com
http://www.chinapage.com/china.html
http://www.newton.mec.edu/Angier/DimSum/Chinadimsumaconnection.html

Chinese New Year Unit
Spring Couplets and Good Luck Signs
Grade 6
1 class period—60 minutes

Objectives:
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Identify spring couplets and good luck signs, both in physical form
and as an important cultural aspect to the Chinese New Year;
2. Follow directions to create spring couplets and good luck signs;
3. Define spring couplets in their learning logs.

Materials:
Legend of the red scrolls, templates for Chinese characters, long sheets
of red paper, black ink or paint, paintbrushes, spring couplets, various
couplet sayings

Procedure:
Anticipatory Set (10 minutes)
Review with students the importance of the color red to the Chinese and
the Chinese New Year.  Discuss the importance of luck to the Chinese and
ask students to brainstorm things they think bring good luck.  List
these on large chart paper.

Activity:  (45 minutes)
Read with students the legend of the red scrolls.  Talk about the use of
spring couplets today as part of the New Year celebration.  Show
students samples of couplets and have students restate, in their own
words, the meaning of the couplets.  Give directions on creating spring
couplets and good luck symbols to students.  Have pairs of students work
to create couplets or good luck symbols.  Have students share items with
class, and discuss why they chose the sayings they did.  Hang couplets
and good luck symbols around room.  Have students define spring couplet
and write in learning logs about the activity.

Assessment:
Review learning logs for accuracy of definition and students’ views on
the activity.  Watch students to see if they are following directions
while creating spring couplets and good luck signs.  Provide additional
samples of couplets and assess whether or not students can identify
them.

Resources:
 Behrens, J. (1982). Gung hay fat choy. Palo Alto, CA: Children’s Press.

 Cheng, H. (1976). The Chinese new year. NY: Holt, Rinehart, and
Winston.
 Brown, T. (1987). Chinese New Year. NY: Henry Holt & Company.
http://la.roc-taiwan.org/info/festival_c/html_e/slogans.htm
http://maxpages.com/lisaliu/Chinese_Couplets
http://members.aol.com/Stan517/newyear.htm

Chinese New Year Unit
Lion Dancers and Dragon Dance Lesson
Grade 6
2 class periods—60 minutes each

Objectives:
At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Differentiate either orally or in writing between Chinese dragon
dance and lion dancers, citing examples;
2. Choose a favorite by selecting either dragon dance or lion dancers
and defending their position in writing;
3. Participate orally in classroom discussions about the cultural
importance of these two traditional aspects of Chinese New Year and the
importance of family honor;
4. Diagram differences and similarities between the dragon dance and
lion dances, using a Venn diagram;
5. Categorize feelings about honoring your family and the responsibility
of performing traditional dances, in writing, in their learning logs.

Materials:
Chin Chang and the Dragon Dance by Ian Wallace, Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s
Chinese New Year by Kate Waters and Madeleine Slovenz-Low, Venn diagram
worksheets, learning logs, pencils, paper bags, butcher paper, crayons,
markers, crepe paper, glitter, feathers, sequins, etc., for making
dragons and lions, Chinese New Year music CD, video clip on dragon dance

Procedure:
Anticipatory Set: (20 minutes)
Pose question: How would you feel if you had the responsibility to carry
on an honored family tradition?  Have students break into cooperative
groups to discuss.  Bring groups together in whole group setting and ask
groups to explain their answers.  Discuss what it means to bring honor
to your family and the importance of honor to the Chinese people.
Activity (40 minutes)
Read both books to students and discuss cultural characteristics of both
dances, making sure to incorporate in the discussion how Chin and Ernie
feel prior to and after their respective dances.  Have students pose
hypothesize additional ways to bring honor to one’s family.  Distribute
Venn diagrams and break again into cooperative groups in order to
complete.
Assign two groups to be lion dancers and three groups to be dragon
dancers.  Have students work in groups to create paper bag lions and
paper bag/butcher paper dragons.  When finished, have students practice
dancing with their respective items.  Perform as groups for rest of
class.
Ask students to respond to the following question in their learning log:
What are the differences and similarities of Chinese lion dancing and
Chinese dragon dancing?  Which would you prefer to do (explain why,
citing at least 3 reasons)?  How would you feel if you were expected to
perform a traditional dance at New Year’s for the first time (give at
least 3 examples)?

Enrichment:
1.  Read a variety of Chinese folktales about dragons and compose a
report.
2. Read Eyes of the Dragon by Margaret Leaf; create a dragon mural
around classroom; create a different ending for the story.
3. Research via the internet about the dragon, its origins and the
importance to the Chinese.
4. Make paper dragons (see attached worksheets).
5. Enlist the aid of art and music teachers to create a classroom dragon
and perform the dragon dance for other classrooms, grade levels, the
school, or the community in general.
6. Create a play about a dragon and perform it for classmates.

Assessment:
Students will be assessed both formally and informally.  Formal
assessment included teacher assessment of written defense (using rubric)
of preference of dragon or lion dances and Venn diagram on the two types
of traditions.  Informal assessments will be on-going and include: oral
participation, cooperative group work, learning log review.

Resources:
 Behrens, J. (1982). Gung hay fat choy. Palo Alto, CA: Children’s Press.

 Cheng, H. (1976). The Chinese new year. NY: Holt, Rinehart, and
Winston.
 Brown, T. (1987). Chinese New Year. NY: Henry Holt & Company.
 Chin, S. A. (1993). A dragon parade. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn.

 Wyndham, R. (1971). Tales people tell in China. NY: Julian Messre.
 http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/3430/
http://Chineseculture.miningco.com
 http://www.chcp.org/index.html

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