Wednesday, February 3, 2016


February 8, 2016 begins the year of the Monkey, so let's entertain our little monkeys with facts and fun from one of the widest-celebrated holidays on Earth!

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.

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.

a.  Pre-reading:   Video 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)

                  Brand-new and amazing exhibition of Lion Dancing.  
                  Give the children a sample before reading Lion Dancer!

(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

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