Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping by! I'm a first grade teacher in New York, but am currently on maternity leave with my first child until April. I THOUGHT I would have time to set up my own blog since I've been home since last June, but what was I thinking??! I have less time now than when I am working! Sooo, I am really grateful for the opportunity to be part of a blog group (thanks, Hilary!).
I LOVE staying home with my daughter, but I do miss being in school right about now because it’s almost time for one of my favorite events of the year- Chinese New Year!
In our school, each first grade class makes a gigantic dragon and we parade around our building while everyone sits outside their classrooms cheering us on, many of them waving mini-dragons or paper lanterns. We also borrow the music teacher’s instruments to bang, beat, shake and cause a lot of ruckus on our journey.
Unfortunately, since I am on maternity leave, I don’t have my school files to access all my pictures, but I managed to find this one in my home archives. We reuse the head each year and each child makes a section of the dragon using a brown paper bag and construction paper ‘scales.’ We staple them all together (we parade around with staplers for on-the-go fixing, as you can see here!). You can also see a fellow classroom’s dragon behind us. We have about 7-8 first grade classes a year so it’s a long parade!
After the parade, I usually ask the class moms to join us for a fun celebration in the classroom, which I decorate with a big sign and paper lanterns. We make our own paper lanterns and play the chopsticks game:
Finally, we have a little Chinese food (egg rolls, fried rice [no pork], and fortune cookies) and I give the kids red envelopes with plastic golden coins inside (from Party City). From their reactions, though, you’d think it was real money!
Of course, before this fun day, we learn about Chinese New Year- important beliefs and traditions. We read many books, visit websites, (you could see real lion dances on YouTube- the kids LOVE it!) and even had a student go to China and tell us all about it! Here is one of my favorite books. I love it because the last half of the book slowly unfolds into a beautiful long dragon and the kids are always amazed by it!
Just for you, I made this freebie from my new Chinese New Year pack. Great for a writing center! Hope you and your students enjoy!