Next Sunday, February 10 (Calendar | EDSITEment) marks the beginning of The Chinese New Year festival - it is The Year of the Snake! EDSITEment Lesson Animals of the Chinese New Year has background on the colorful customs associated with this red letter day. Our Animals of the Chinese Zodiac Lesson is also a favorite at this time of year with many activities for students to explore the following themes:
For Asian New Year, the website of the Asia Society provides a photo gallery of images associated with this celebration The Year of the Snake. This slideshow gives students a glimpse of the preparations underway as people in China travel home to celebrate. It may help to put this year's titular animal in context! Students may not be aware of the difficulties associated with traveling within China to visit relatives including long-lines, sold-out tickets, crowded trains and stations, and uncomfortable train rides that last days. The current state of air pollution in Beijing is also compounding the situation. The spring travel period in China, or chunyun, begins about two weeks before the Lunar New Year and is said to comprise the world's largest single human migration.
Asia Society Kids offers a number of activities, stories, games for you to explore Asian culture in your classes. Asia Society offers an array of educational resources that span the gamut of classroom applications from the Humanities through STEM disciplines: Tap these elementary lessons plans such as Twice Upon a Time: a Multicultural Cinderella as well as secondary lesson plans such as Water is Life.
What are some other ideas for celebrating this month?
Thanks for all of the great info! We celebrate Chinese New Year in our classroom and we have a local restaurant come in and serve lunch and talk about the true Chinese culture and traditions. It is really fun because our community is not very diverse, so the students get to experience a different perspective.
Thanks Amy! Your lucky students to experience such a neat celebration....a Chinese lunch and discussion of that culture!! As we all realize, ethnic cusine (or "cookery" as it appears in library cataloging) is a powerful way to bridge and encounter foreign cultures firsthand.,.Sharing (and/or making) traditional food opens the door to the culture in visceral (and yummy!) way by encouraging the students to actually partake in the festival.
Tradional food noted in the background notes in EDSITEment's Chinese New Year Lesson: Tables are laid with many foods to promote an auspicious beginning to the coming year. These include golden circular fruits such as oranges and foods like dumplings (jiaozi) that signify hope of wealth and prosperity. Fish (yu) is served as a symbol of plenty. Sticky rice balls (yuanxiao) are served in sweet soup as symbol of family togetherness and happiness.
Teaching with the Library of Congress has posted Chinese New Year Celebrations: Primary Sources Reflecting a Cultural Tradition out together by a teacher in residence there.
Chinese New Year has been observed annually in China for hundreds of years. Use Library of Congress primary sources to help your students explore this rich cultural tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. By analyzing primary sources documenting this holiday, students can examine important features of communities throughout the world and reflect on how traditions shape those communities.
Anyone using primary sources in their celebrations this year?
The growing Asian population in Cleveland has a number of great family events:
In our neighborhood we plan on sharing these books and crafting a linked snake with the preschoolers from Archwood Headstart.
This title is especially good at explaining the cross-cultural significance:
Thanks everyone for all the great resources...love the images from the Asia Society site!
Our school in Northern NJ has a large Asian population. For the past several years our Asian parents work very hard to plan an assembly program for our elementary students. Most of the Asian children participate in a variety of ways;
reciting or reading about the significance of the celebration
performing intricate dances
playing Asian instruments
wearing traditional clothing - Hambok Fashion Show
displaying Tai Kwando skills
singing traditional songs and so much more...
Parents sometimes accompany the children in these performances, and they ask other non-Asian children and teachers to participate in the Fashion Show...
It is a wonderful enriching program that our student body looks forward to each year!
So Happy New Year to all!
My 9 year old's best friend is from China so I asked my daughter how her friend celebrates Chinese New Year's and she told me that her friend spends all weekend cleaning. They sweep away all the old dust so they can have a fresh start for the new year. I am sure there is much more to their celebration, but this is what my daughter took away from their conversation. It actually was a great thing because my daughter came home from school and cleaned the kitchen and her bedroom as a surprise.