Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chinese New Year, Second Grade Variety

On Friday I did my Chinese New Year schtick for the three second grade classes at Zoe's school. We were helped by another adoptive mom and daughter from China, which made it doubly fun for Zoe and for me.

We did all the things I described previously:

Our usual routine is to take the kids through some of the traditions of Chinese New Year, like cleaning house -- I give out a few feather dusters, and some kids "clean" the classroom. We talk about wearing new clothes, and I bring silk pajamas and qi paos in larger sizes, and kids take turns slipping them on over their regular clothes. We talk about the special foods for CNY, and then we bring chopsticks and teach the kids how to use them (popcorn isn't Chinese, but it's a great thing to practice picking up with the chopsticks!) These days, since I am sans dragon, we use our a loong stuffed snake-like dragon (bought at IKEA!), and the kids take turns parading around with it, while other kids make loud noises on drums, etc., to chase away evil spirits. We talk about the Chinese zodiac and figure out what year each child was born in (not too hard since you've got only a couple of years in any given class!). And of course we give out lucky red envelopes -- we give one to each child, with chocolate coins inside.

We also did one new thing this year; a friend told me about a website that gives Chinese names for English names. I made a bookmark for each child with the name in English and in Chinese characters. We talked about Chinese characters, and Zoe wrote some on the board. And connecting it to Chinese New Year, we talked about hanging the spring couplets (Chinese good luck-poems/characters on red paper), and then we handed out the bookmarks. They were a big hit!

In fact, the kids seemed to enjoy it all very much. Zoe and her friend loved being helpers and showing off their knowledge of all things Chinese. I wanted them to feel special for being Chinese, and I think we accomplished that!

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Love it! I am copying your post - you had some great ideas that I didn't think of when we went into my sons class!