Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Crafts for Upper Elementary

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
Good Fortune/Prosperity

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.


Andrea R said...

We made wontons today! We make them (and spring rolls) all the time.
Thanks for letting me know about your blog. :)

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