I was inspired by Ash at Teaching Happily Ever After to incorporate the Chinese New Year into my Social Studies plans.
We began by reading Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year. This books tells the story of how a family in New York City's
celebrates the Chinese New Year. China Town
In the book Chinese Lanterns are hung for the festivities. I saw the lanterns on Teaching Happily Ever After, and knew my students’ would love to make their own.
I like to use fairytales and folktales throughout the year. One of my favorite fairytales is Cinderella. I have over 20 versions of the story from different countries around the world. For the Chinese New Year we read Yeh Shen: A Cinderella Story from China.
This book is beautifully illustrated. The image of a fish is incorporated into every illustration. The students loved finding the fish on each page. When they wrote about the story they incorporated a fish into their own illustrations. I wish I had taken pictures of their work.
I wanted to incorporate math into our activities. I found the perfect activity in a fairytale resource book. The activity included a reproducible for making Tangram puzzles, which originated in China, and directions for using the puzzles to make a fish and a shoe (both important elements from the story).
I copied the tangram pages on construction paper and had each student cut apart their own puzzle pieces. Manipulating the different shapes (Tangrams consist of 5 various sized triangles, 1 square, and 1
parallelogram ) to make the fish and shoe covered one of our math objectives.