Monday, February 16, 2015

Chinese New Year 2015

While Americans celebrate a new year on January 1, many Asian countries (China, Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia to name a few) wait until the first new moon comes around.  The Chinese, or Lunar New Year starts on February 19, 2015 this year.  

This story time explains and celebrates the Chinese new year: choose what you like from videos, games, books, crafts and songs and have your own Lunar New Year Party.  


Welcome Song:  Welcome to the Library (To “London Bridge is Falling Down.”)
Welcome to the library, library, library.
Welcome to the library, please come inside and read.
We’re glad to have you here today, here today, here today.
We’re glad to have you here today, today’s a special day.

Welcome Fingerplay: Rock, Scissors, Paper (To tune of Frere Jacques)
(sung)       Rock scissors paper, rock scissors paper, one two three, play with me!
(spoken)   Left hand paper, right hand paper, it’s Mickey Mouse
(sung)       Repeat refrain
(spoken)   Left hand rock, right hand paper, play catch with the ball!
(sung)       Repeat refrain
(spoken)   Right hand rock, left hand scissors, it’s an ice cream cone (scissors point up)

Library Rules: 

1: Keep a quiet voice (1 finger to mouth like “shh”)
2. Eyes on the story & speaker (make 2 with fingers, hold to eyes)
3. Be sure to listen (3 fingers, big ears on either side of head)
4. When we move in the library, use walking feet (4 fingers are the ground, other hand makes 2 fingers “walk.")

Mystery Bag Today’s mystery bag holds a STUFFED DRAGON. What words would we use to describe this dragon? (big, scary, fierce, brave, strong, fearsome)  The dragon is the national symbol of China, and the symbol of the Chinese New Year.

Word of the Week:  This week, a little change.  English and Chinese!
          English: Hello
          Chinese: Ni Hao (Knee-HOW.  Try to raise your voice at the end, like this:
                 To “ The Farmer In The Dell”
                              Let’s wave and say Ni Hao,
                              Let’s wave and say Ni Hao
                              Let’s say HELLO to all our friends
                              Let’s wave and say Ni Hao.

(Show globe) today we will learn a little about the Chinese culture and one of China’s biggest holidays, the Lunar New Year.  Most people in our country celebrate New Year on January 1, but in China and many other countries, the new year starts this Friday.  It’s also called the SPRING FESTIVAL and signals the end of winter.  

Chinese New Year by Terri Gleason, 2009.
Sam and the Lucky Money
Chinese New Year by Dianne McMillan, 2008.
D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compesine, 2006.
*Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year, Scholastic, 1990.

*My go-to favorite is Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year. 

a.  Pre-reading:   Video or shows dragon dancers.  What did you see?  Explain to students that these dances are thought to bring good luck to anyone who sees them.  May have to explain that the dragon and lion are modeled from the same concept, a fierce animal: the terms are used interchangeably in some of the texts we see today.
b.  READ:  The photos in this book are excellent for explaining what is a truly foreign culture to many children and connecting to their lives.  Look for similarities (school, clothes, foods they eat) and be prepared to explain things that may not be familiar (NYC Chinatown, Ancestor Altar in the home…)
c.  Reflection:  What do you think it felt like to be part of that parade?  Would you want to be a Lion Dancer?

d.  Extension Activity:  DRAGON, DRAGON  (to the tune of:  Twinkle, twinkle little star)
Dragon, dragon, dance around.
Dragon, dragon, touch the ground.
Dragon, dragon, shake your head.
Dragon, dragon, tongue so red.
Dragon, dragon, stamp your feet.
Dragon, dragon, coming down the street!
(match actions to words while singing)

Listen for rhyme, rhythm.  Note how events in poem were in Ernie Wan’s Lion Dancer, too (fireworks, red clothes., chasing lion.)  This poem is from

"Gung Hay Fat Choy!"
In China, Every Girl And Boy
Celebrates The New Year
In A Very Special Way ----
With Fireworks And Dragons,
Colored Red And Gold ----
They Welcome In The New Year
And Chase Away The Old!

(PebbleGo Social Studies: Holidays, Chinese New Year.  Accessed February 16, 2015.)

Pre-reading Now, we’ll look at an encyclopedia entry for this holiday and check how much we already know- maybe learn something new.
Reflection: KWL or other thinking map to express what we learned. 

Stretches/Movement Activity: Chinese Animal Poses  (

My favorite, easy thing to do: FU fun.  Have the children write the chinese symbol for good luck (FU) on piece of cardboard with a red marker.   Then, tradition says you sprinkle the FU over you for good luck in the year. Fu Characters

I've also had good luck with: Pin the Tail on the Panda, Make Paper Lanterns, Decorate a Dragon Mask (and wear it) and zodiac animal parades and streamers (instructions at end of post)

While they get their books, play Tumblebooks Red is a Dragon and Round is a Mooncake which reinforce Chinese culture theme and elements .

Conclusion:  Today we learned a lot about Chinese culture.  We learned that this week marks the Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, where we celebrate the end of winter.  We saw a dragon dance, learned that RED is a lucky color on New Year’s, and learned to say HELLO in Chinese, NI HAO.

Pet the DRAGON
High Five the Word of the Week on the door on the way out. The Word of the week, written or printed on a diecut hand, is taped at kindergarten eye level .  As students leave, they can gently high-five the word to increase sight word familiarity sheep.

Chinese New Year lesson-building sites:

Dragon Dance Videos: (astonishing amount of firecrackers) (montage of Syndey, Australia NY festival)

Draw a Fu Characters
Listen to a song about Chinese New Year:

Lunar New Year streamers:
Materials: popsicle sticks, roll or red and yellow streamers.
Directions: cut strips of red and yellow streamers, each about 5 inches long.
Each child can be given 3 strips of red and 2 strips of yellow streamers, along with a popsicle stick.  The child can use tape to attach the streamers to the popsicle stick.  The two colors symbolize happiness and good luck.

1 a, c, f, g        Print Awareness
2 b, c, e, i        Rhymes; Phonological Awareness
3 a                  Phonics
4 a, b              Prediction; Reading Strategies
6 a,                  Story Elements
7                      Poetry
8 a, b               Retell Stories, Story Elements
9                      Author’s Purpose
10 b, c, d         Predict, Evaluate & Retell Stories
12 a, b               identify various forms & techniques of media
18 a                 Oral & Written Conventions
19 a                 Generate Questions
20 a                 Whole Group Research
21 a, b             Library Procedures
RC(fig19) a,b,d,f,e       Read Assorted Literature, Generate Questions,Whole Group Research, Predictions/Inference,Pair Fiction & Non-Fiction, Retell and Summarize Stories, Reading Comprehension
 n/a                   Book Selection

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