One of my favorite activities in my classroom is to do activities and projects that study another area of the world. Even though those are my favorite kind of lesson, my students have always seemed to love them as well.
Since Chinese New Year is coming up, I thought I would come up with some activities that you can do in your classroom to celebrate Chinese New Year.
1. Try some Chinese calligraphy!
Print out some basic Chinese characters and let students try their hand at writing Chinese characters. You don't need special supplies - markers or watercolor paint and brushes work fine. Check out some of the Chinese characters at this website to get started.
For a language arts link, you could have students translate spelling words, write poems and write some words in Chinese characters or have them write characters that represent themselves.
2. Create Chinese lanterns.
Create beautiful Chinese lanterns. I have a watercolor lesson plan that can help you create beautiful Chinese lanterns in my TPT store. It includes everything you need such as informational sheets about Chinese New Year, step by step directions, a rubric, template and more!
3. Learn about the Chinese zodiac.
One thing that was always a hit in every classroom I've taught was when my students got to read information about their zodiac sign. It's fun to read things about yourself, even if you don't believe it. There are many writing prompts that would be fun for students that they could write about after reading about the Chinese zodiac. For a math tie in, you could have students calculate when each zodiac sign will come around again in the future. Check out some information on the Chinese zodiac here.
4. Check out some Chinese proverbs.
Proverbs can be used as discussion or journaling starting points. Check out some Chinese proverbs with your students. If you are reading a book in class or discussing a time in history, try to find a proverb that relates. Students could also take their turn at writing bits of wisdom.
5. Play a Chinese game!
I love playing games in class and tangrams is a great game that combines both math and art. You can have students easily make their own tangrams set. (I have done this before in class and it is quite easy - just be sure to use thicker paper for stability.) Then, either print out or post different puzzles to try. I would start with an easy puzzle to encourage students and try more difficult puzzles later.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to celebrate Chinese New Year in your classroom. Remember, the official day is on 1/31/2014 and this year is the year of the horse!