Celebrating the New Year in the Classroom!
Celebrating the New Year in the Classroom!Jenny Luo, Program Associate, Chinese Language & Culture Initiatives
The coming of the new year is a special celebration held at different times of the year and by different countries. Some communities celebrate the new year with bells, some do it by observing a moment of silence, and others do it with customs designed to bring nothing but good luck in the coming year. Although there are many differences among the celebrations, they all center around food, family, and best wishes for the months ahead.
Over the past month, in classrooms throughout the U.S., Chinese guest teachers have been working to design special activities focused on promoting student understanding about Lunar New Year and showcasing their own interpretations of these celebrations. Here are some of those experiences:
In Hui Hui’s class, students made a traditional dish commonly sampled during New Year banquets — dumplings. The students also learned why dumplings are shaped the way they are (to resemble a golden tael or currency) and how they are an expression of best wishes and good luck.
Students in Danhua Huang’s class were fascinated by the beautiful and elaborate colors of the paper lanterns they created themselves. Going step by step, students crafted their own patterns while learning about how the lanterns are used to mark the last day of the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Using the ancient writing style of calligraphy, students in Qiaoying Lou class were taught how to write messages that represent good luck and fortune on long pieces of red paper. Students practiced over and over using a maobi, a traditional brush and writing tool, to get their celebration messages just right.
Through the activities, the students were able to fully explore these traditions while building on their language skills and understanding of another culture. The teachers’ excitement and dedication spread to their students, and we want to congratulate them for all their work.
Happy New Year! 新年快乐!
Share new ideas and best practices in the fields of Chinese language teaching and learning and Chinese arts and culture at the ninth annual National Chinese Language Conference, taking place April 28–30, 2016, in Chicago. Read more about the conference and find out how you can attend.