Friday, November 17, 2006
I love the look but we make one every year so that people can see how each month of the Chinese calendar begins with a new moon. If there is a full moon, one knows it is the 15th of the lunar calendar. Children - and adults - always want to look at it when I take it anywhere.
The "opposite" or negative image can be seen on my Musical Mandarin blog.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I know I am wrestling more and more with the question of how much to tell my children about what is happening in the world, and at what age are they ready to see the newspaper and the front page daily.
Steve Whan still has weekly child-friendly China news in his Focus on Culture.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Screaming, soaring / seeking skyThe riddle above is by Eric S. Raymond. I learned a lot about Middle English-style riddles from his on Riddle Poems and how to make them ( http://catb.org/~esr/riddle-poems.html) . Maybe you can use it - or see how English and Viking riddle peoems compare and contrast with those by the Chinese used for Lantern Festival. Unless you are working with the originals, of ocurse, you cannot look at the meter and rhyme.
Flowers of fire / flying high
Eastern art / from ancient time
Name me now / and solve this rhyme
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I had no idea she had seven articles on Chinese New Year as well. I especially liked Greetings and Hand Gestures for the Chinese New Year. Perhaps when I add better graphics to this site I will be less impressed, but the photo was so helpful.
Monday, October 02, 2006
The Year of the Pig begins Saturday, February 18th, 2007.
This means that 12/20 lunar (Wednesday, February 7, 2007) should be set aside for the annual housecleaning and 3 days later on Saturday, the kitchen god will be going up to report, and that February 28th ‘should’ find you preparing for the Lantern festival, which begins on the 15th night, which is 29th this year. (This two-week period includes Valentine’s Day and if you plan on ‘teaching’ the holiday, you may want to consider that in your plans.)
I may be eyeing those candy pigs that sometimes show up around Christmas to see if they would last.
I like this origami pig for children to try. You can download the directions there.
As we get closer to the date, you should be able to a Chinese calendar for February 2007, at China the Beautiful: February 2007 calendar . It was not ready yet in September 2006. There is a special name for the first day of the new year - but you should be able to see the character for 2 (二), on February 19th, and for 3 (三) on February 20th.
If you would like a one-page 2007 calendar overlaid with the phases of the moon, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for my "lunar calendar".
For more on Chinese calendars see:
China the Beautiful's Introduction to Chinese Calendars
Scotland Online's Chinese New Year page
Saturday, September 30, 2006
She has her lesson plan, Fu for good luck, a song, and a set of handouts. (Pages 4 & 13 are specific to the Year of the Dog, but even those pages will be 'good' again in 2018.)
Introduction: Cambodian New Year by Laurie Fenton
Cambodian New Year Talk in School by Laurie Fenton
Celebrating Cambodian New Year (K-2)
Wikipedia on Cambodian New Year
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Maybe you will just happen to send in a special treat for them on October 6, 2006 for Mid-Autumn Festival to get them interested in our festivals. . . even if you are not going in for that this year.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
eQuilter.com has had nice fabrics for years, mostly 100% cotton for quilters. Right now she has some Chinese themed fabrics. I have done business with this company but have no other ties. Right now she has a number of Chinese (and Japanese) themed fabrics.
Chinese New Year fabric
Chinese characters fabric
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Spring paper cut project
According to the Chinese calendar, spring has arrived. Sunday in my backyard, it was 21 degrees.
* - a source for Chinese Children Books, Videos, Music, and Software that helps Children (and others) learn more about the Chinese Language and Culture. My only connection is as satisfied customer.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Dragon Dance Coloring Page
Pair of Chinese Lions (detailed)
Chinese New Year Lion Dance Coloring Page
Chinese Parade Coloring Pages
abcteach's Chinese parade dragon
This page includes a Parade Dragon
Coloring Page: Pagoda
Coloring Page: Panda
CNY Boy in Traditional CostumeZodiac Animals
Fu character - good luck
New Year characters
The 12 zodiac animals
37 coloring pages from amazing clipart - The images are not labeled, but my favorites include: fish (#11), pictures with characters (#19 and 20), dragons (#8, 16, 23), and the 12 zodiac animals (#26-37). Sadly, eight or ten of the images, including one dragon seem to be copies from the Chinese Parade coloring pages, and the parade dragon seems to come from abcteach.
There is more online if you are looking for Crafts for CNY, Chinese "games" for 3-9s, Chinese Games, Chinese New Years songs, or CNY lesson plans. abcteach.com, edhelper, and enchantedlearning.com all have more things - some free and more for their subscribers.
last updated: 2/2007
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Lantern Festival Origins
There are more crafts, including other lantern ideas at:
Other sites on the festival include:
Taiwan government's official site on Lantern Festival
Chinese Lantern Folk Festival site from about.com.
The Chinese mainland will be lit up by an array of lanterns.
Answers for those riddles
More lantern ridles
The Year of the Dog is supposed to be 'good for marriages', just as the Year of the Dragon is good for births.
It is a red-fire Dog Year. Some Feng Shui followers have suggested putting a sculpture or picture of a rabbit in your front door - so the dog will chase the rabbit out and take bad energy with it.
A dog's bark "wang" is the homonym to another Chinese character meaning wealth and prosperity. Barking dogs bring prosperity for New Year.
China brought back New Year's firework tradition (AP)BEIJING The old tradition of fireworks at Chinese New Year celebrations was back with a bang in Beijing on Saturday, as authorities lifted a 12-year ban during the Lunar New Year holiday.
New rules allow residents of the capital to ignite fireworks all day on Jan. 28 and 29 - New Year's Eve and New Year's Day - and from 7 am to midnight every day from Jan. 30 to Feb. 12.
Lunar New Year in China
Pictures of CNY from around the world
One person's CNY in Taiwan
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Xin nian kuai le, Gong xi fa cai,
Xin nian kuai le, Gong xi fa cai,
Xin nian dao.
For Gong Xi, Gong Xi ni, I teach the chorus and sing the verse myself. The chorus is:
Gong xi, Gong xi, Gong xi ni,
A, Gong xi, Gong xi, Gong xi ni,
Kiddy House has new English words for this traditional Chinese New Year Song titled Smile at everyone you see.
Chinese for Families has a pdf for a Chinese New Year song posted on their website but I can't find the tune.
To hear a lovely (although nontraditional) Chinese New Year song, visit.
Can Teach has English lyrics about Chinese New Year set to common American/English tunes at http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems54.html
Collections of Chinese New Year MIDI files - Some of these are good for parading!
Last updated: February 2007
Sunday, January 29, 2006
I think the educational version would have been better for us - I heard good reviews about that performance. (I heard that they 'taught' a bit of body percussion demonstration in that - although I don't know if that is what they called it.) I enjoyed much of what I saw - but even for me, as an adult, 'that' instrumental piece was quite long!
The “Year of the Dog” was not written up last time I checked, but I recommend their other study guides.
Since this more an educational site than really date specific, I have gone back and added information to past posts. You may want to see the new recipes in my Chinese Food entry, or just wander around.
Suggestions welcome. All the best for you and yours!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
"Hong bao" in Mandarin (or "lai see" in Caontonese) are the traditional lucky red envelopes. You can give them to children, or people in the generation younger that you for New Years and you can use them to present money to people on other occasions as well. Holidays - not for paying bills or the mundane!
"Fu" is luck and for Chinese New Year you want to post it upside down - because of the sounds of the phrase "Fu dao le" it is then read as "luck is here". This is the only time that I know where you can get away with posting the characters upside down. Care2 Greeting cards takes about it toward the end of their Chinese New Year page, and they have a "Fu" e-card that (yes) shows the stroke order, and then turns it upside-down for you. Luck to you in the coming year!
The stroke order really is important to create characters that look balanced. Even a beginner using a ball point pen will have a much better looking character if they follow stroke order. I have had people who know no Chinese look at two attempts at creating a character - they so far have always said that the one that used the correct stroke order looks 'better' or more balanced or more artisitic.
Chinese New Year characters is gold. (no stroke order.)
The Good Characters is a company specializing in the art and science of Chinese naming - they say they can create "good names" for you or your business in Chinese. I am not endorsing them, I don't know them and I don't usually link to commercial sites. I just love that you can see the character being created. They also have a page for the literal "Happy New Year" Xin Nian Kuai le.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Some couplets are written using simple characters, but I have nto yet found a complete pair that is good for beginners. I will keep loooking. You may be able to write these:
老 少 平 安 Lǎoshào píng'ān –All is well.
大 吉 大 利 Dà jí dà lì – Good luck and great prosperity; expression of good wishes.
大 地 回 春 Dàdìhuíchūn – Spring has returned to the land.
Watch your stroke order please - they will look so much better! Here's the glossary:
老 lǎo - old
少 shào - few, little
老少 lǎoshào - the old and young
平 píng - level, even
安 ān - still, quiet
平安 - safe & sound
大 dà - big
吉 jí - lucky, auspicious
大吉 - great, good fortune
利 lì - benefit, profit
大地 - earth, mother earth, world
回 - return
春 - spring (season)
回春 - bring back to life
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
As you might suspect, "body percussion" is the sounds that you can make with your body. You might be able to picture this more easily thinking of martial arts than of traditional Chinese dance. It has certainly been incorporated into modern Chinese dance. Think more of the sound of your hand hitting your chest or your foot, or your elbow on your hand, than the sound of your hands clapping.
This Chinese Lion Dance lesson plan for 4th grade, talks about percussion instruments and suggests that students try the rhythms using body percussion before trying the instruments. The unit was designed to cover 3 sessions.
Chinese dragons. Have them compare & contrast Eastern & Western dragons and draw them or do dragon origami. To help you, look at Eastern dragons and learn about dragons in general:
Origami covers lots of skills:(advanced)direction following, math: symmetry, geometric figures, ... Check out my Dog & Dragon, or Paperfold Pig origami. (If you think following directions is 'too easy' try having one child describe what to do and another attempt it.)
Make lanterns from "hong bao" envelopes - or any red rectangles. Ideas at:
Chinese Lantern Handicrafts for kids or my discussion of Hong Bao Lanterns.
Chinese knots. Use what is called "rat-tail", it is smooth and easy to use but stiff enough to hold a shape. You can show them knots - or if you have a bit of time, you can make the basic knot and have them "trace" it with a second thread. (I actually find it easier to tie the "double coin knot" myself than to trace it but it does take a while to figure out how to explain it!) For a diagram of 4 basic knots:
Have them try some Chinese Paper Cutting - and show them the possibilities. Chinese Papercuts includes a list of samples that you can see online. You may also want to read the story behind papercuts or a paper cut lesson plan for 5th & 6th graders and their example paper cuts. Paper Cuttings talks about the histiry of this art and describes the various forms with a few pictures. Chinese Paper Cuts divides the art into three categories.
Have them try Chinese Calligraphy: Chinese New Year decorations are a great excuse. Or find out what a Chinese Chun Lian (New Year's Couplet) is and have them try their hand at some. If that is too much, try one character, fu (luck) (when posted upside-down is "luck comes"). Care2 Greeting cards takes about it toward the end of their Chinese New Year page, and they have a "Fu" e-card that (yes) shows the stroke order, and then turns it upside-down for you. Or read more on Chinese writing or Chinese Calligraphy in general
Chinese New Year's Greetings (characters) to Color: Decorate your room with Chinese New Year greetings from Childbook.com. Students can color these jpg images for the classroom or bring them home for friends and family. (Stroke order is not given.)Happy New Year
or, really Write Chinese: Have students become acquainted with Chinese Calligraphy and Chinese ideograms or characters. (Please tell them about stroke order. In fact write a character following the stroke order and then in some other order and see if the students find that one just looks right, one more appealing.)
Not a craft - have them make/fold their own spring rolls, or wonton. You may want to take them home to cook & then run them back - depending on what facilites your school has. I bet you could fry the spring rolls in an electric fry pan but check with your first that it does get hot enough.
Not a craft - but focus on the lantern festival instead of Chinese New Year. Have them try to solve traditional lantern festival riddles (in English), or make their own.
Friday, January 20, 2006
After the show, we went out for dim sum, and then returned for an afternoon choerography session. Wow!
Enroute to lunch we saw a two lion "lion dance" dance for an association with drums, cymbals, and receiving 'hong bao'. As we were walking around I am sure I heard firecrackers as the lions went to other associations and businesses.
Check out pictures of the H.T. Chen's work at:
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Traditionally Chinese families had a good dinner to send him off with a good report, and might make an offering of sweets or smear honey on his lips so he will say sweet things to the Jade Emperor about the family, or he may be fed sticky things (like nian gao rice cakes) so that his mouth is stuck and he can not say much of anything! (Think about how much you can say with a spoonful of peanut butter in your mouth.)
Monday, January 16, 2006
The most authoritative discussion I have found of “what year is it on the Chinese calendar” is from The Mathematics of the Chinese Calendar by Helmer ASLAKSEN, Department of Mathematics at the University of Singapore. It seems that most overseas Chinese and the Chinatown of San Francisco will be calling the Year of the Dog starting in 2006, 4704.My summary: The Chinese started the year count with each emperor and did not use a continuous count for the years. There are several possibilities for what year it is. However, the one year issue – and why you may see 4703 and 4704 both as dates for the Year of the Dog starting on January 29th, 2006 – could be due to at least two different reasons. It could be due to starting with zero instead of year 1 for an epoch, or the difference may come from those who believe that the (mythical) Yellow Emperor started his reign with the Winter Solstice. (So less than a month later, the 2nd year of his reign would have started at the Chinese New Year.)
Origami (so what’s the China connection?)
Origami is the word for Japanese paper folding, but there is also a tradition of paper folding in China. Some historians believe that it started not longer after Ts'ai Lun invented paper in China in A.D. 105. Many say both paper and paper folding were introduced to Japan in the late 6th century by Buddhist monks. Unfortunately, there are no records of Chinese paper folding, and the oldest Japan records are from 1797 (in the 18th century). Separately paperfolding originated in Spain (Arabs brought the secret of paper to them in the 12th century).
Children can benefit from origami in many ways – the listening skills, sequencing, fine motor, attention, math skills (geometry, congruence, symmetry). I just saw a piece on the web about how it helps in using both sides of the brain. Whether you research it or not, Enjoy!
Look at these great origami dog sculptures, or this Grand Dragon (instructions are not available for it) - only if you will still be willing to try something simpler. Directions are available for the rest of the origami that is listed.
For a simple origami dog face you need only a square of paper and a pencil or something to draw the face. You can also make it "talk". (Or try a similar cat.) This dog's head uses a different approach.
If you are interested, learn more about Origami Basics.
To try this advanced dog you may also need to download the turkey instructions which is the base.
Dragons are generally harder to fold. My friend Lorna found some simple ones from Tammy Lee. One based on the fortune teller you probably learned in school and a basic dragon puppet. When you are ready, Marc Kirschenbaum’s Rearing Dragon (page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6) is a high intermediate dragon. This Eastern Dragon [PDF file of instructions] is a also high intermediate.
For more see my Musical Mandarin Paperfolding entry.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
- Create a Chinese New Year timeline of what happens when. The time line should probably go from lunar dates 12/16 (or at least 12/24) to 1/15. When does the Kitchen God go to Heaven? When are there Lion Dances?
- Compare and contract New Year celebrations around the world. Or Chinese New Year with their own celebrations.
- Research Lion Dances and Dragon Dances. Compare and contrast.
- Research Lantern Festival (1/15 lunar). It is also called “Yuan Hsiao Chie” (the Festival of the Night of the First Full Moon) although “Lantern Festival” is the English name. The Lantern Festival began during the Han Dynasty (206B.C. - A.D.220). Have students research important events that occurred during that period and make a time line. Resources include:
While these activities are split roughly into two groups, activities can be adapted for any age range. (Older students can do research to present themselves, more complex crafts just for upper elementary, or if the school has multiple grades and you start early older students can use any of these activities to set up stations for the younger ones.)
Preschool - ~3rd Grade
PBSkids online game to Countdown to the New Year (some require a Flash Plug-In)
Or, see a list of just Coloring Pages.
CNY Word Search: http://www.cstone.net/~bry-back/actpag126.html
Dragon or Lion Masks:The Lion Dance is performed during the Lantern Festival with performers wearing Lion Masks at the end of Chinese New Year. Lions are believed to bring good luck and scare away evil spirits. Have your students make lion masks —scary, cute, or funny—to help them celebrate. Or, make their own dragon puppets or a mask for a parade or for decorating the room.
Make a Dragon (html file)
Parade Dragon Puppet (html file)
http://www.kidsdomain.com/craft/chindragonhard.html (html file)
Read about it: I like Enchanted Learning's books – it seems worth subscribing just to get these. In 2006, the price was $20 for a year.
More craft ideas:
More for Upper Elementary grade levels
Chinese New Year's Greetings (characters) to Color: Decorate your room with Chinese New Year greetings from Childbook.com. Students can color these jpg images for the classroom or bring them home for friends and family. (Stroke order is not given.)
Red Gift Envelopes: It's traditional in China to give gifts of money in red envelopes at New Year's. Have your students make their own Chinese Gift Packet. Rather than money, have them write good luck wishes to send.
Firecracker, Firecracker! Make “firecrackers” out of rolled cardboard tubes to simulate Chinese New Year's Firecrackers.
Chinese Zodiac Word Finds (from eduplace.com):
Chinese Zodiac (PDF file)
Chinese Zodiac Answer Key (PDF file)
Write Chinese: Have students become acquainted with Chinese Calligraphy and Chinese ideograms or characters. (Please tell them about stroke order. In fact write a character following the stroke order and then in some other order and see if the students find that one just looks right, one more appealing.)
Chinese New Year Parade photosEnjoy photos from previous years' San Francisco Chinese New Year parades. Not from New Year's - but here is a video slip of a Parade Dragon.
Other photos:Lion dancers must show their courage by dancing close to the exploding firecrackers. The dancing unicorn is distinguished by its narrow horselike jaw. The feisty red-faced lion prepares to solve a ritual puzzle. The shaggy yellow costume of the northern lion totally conceals the dancers who perform an entertaining acrobatic show
Download CNY music: Popular Spring Festival songs in both MP3 and Midi formats. It is mostly in Chinese but the song titles and download links are also in English.
Study the Lunar Calendar: I can email you a copy of a 2006 lunar calendar. Write me at email@example.com
Make a Calendar for the upcoming year. Other important Chinese holidays include: Summer Solstice, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Winter Solstice. For more on Chinese festivals and holidays, see:
Printable Calendar pages (Western months, not lunar)