The 2017 Chinese New Year Celebration began on Friday, January 27 and continues for 15 days. The date of the celebration moves from year to year according to the Chinese calendar that uses the lunar calendar and winter solstice. It is important to talk to children about other traditions like the Chinese New Year. Not only will they learn new things, it will help to encourage students to share their traditions with others. Remember to talk to families ahead of time to see what they do for this special time of year. See if they want to send in items to share or if they will assist in a session one day.
2017 is the Year of the Rooster. This sign of the Chinese Zodiac represents fidelity, hard work, and punctuality. Those born during this year are usually beautiful, honest, independent, and kind. Take some time to look at a Chinese Zodiac to allow students to see what year they were born in. Allow them to read about their sign and discuss whether or not they think it may be true. Extend learning about the holiday with some stories about the holidays. A few popular titles include:
- Dragon Dance by Joan Holub
- Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
- Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
- Chelsea’s Chinese New Year by Lisa Bullard
- The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey
- Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin
- The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine
- Lanterns and Firecrackers – A Chinese New Year Story by Jonny Zucker
There are many symbols associated with the Chinese New Year. Some that are especially important are lanterns. Lanterns are used during the culmination of the Chinese New Year during the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Festival). If you read a story which includes the importance of lanterns, finish by making some of your own. To do this you will need paper, scissors, glitter glue, paint, and other items to decorate. While working on the lanterns practice speech and language goals. Go over modeling to focus on articulation, vocabulary practice, and confidence when speaking. An easy to follow lantern tutorial can be found on First Palette.
To include families in the celebration, make some paper fortune cookies to send home. These could include practice words, tasks to try, or anything else to work on specific speech and language goals. Use the tutorial on evite to make them ahead of time and send them home as a surprise for each child. Remember to include translations for any multilingual families who may benefit from them.
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