Chinese New Year is a wonderful opportunity to bring engaging learning into the classroom! There is plenty of time for you to gather materials and make your lesson plans come alive for your students. The books shown above are wonderful books to teach your students in k-2 key details about Chinese New Year. The Dancing Dragon pulls out to show a huge 4' long Dragon Parade. I've yet to find another book that captivates students the way that The Dancing Dragon does when you pull out the dragon pages.
Legend states that Buddha called all of the animals together to meet on the new year. Twelve animals showed at the meeting and Buddha named a year after each one. People born in these years are said to have the traits of the animals from their year.
During the new year, people wear red and celebrate. One of the celebrations is the lantern festival. People join together with family, friends and their community to celebrate the lantern festival. There you will find beautifully decorated lanterns lit in a night parade.
The highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. Elaborate dances are put together with dazzling costumes. Firecrackers are lit to celebrate the new year.
Every year we read books about Chinese New Year in my class. After we read about the new year, we make our own red lanterns and then we put on our own parade. One student is selected to lead the parade with a paper mask that I made. The rest of the students line up behind the leader with their arms on the person's shoulders in front of them. I throw my red blankets over them. They don't care that there are snowmen on them. We dance through the classroom stepping on bubble wrap for firecracker sounds. This is an excellent engagement activity. Afterwards the kids are ready to read more books closely and respond to text dependent questions. I only wish that we could teach this way every day!