Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year, 2nd Grade Style

I talked to Katherine's class about Chinese New Year today.
I first did my Chinese New Year presentation when Katherine was in kindergarten.  There was a story about Chinese New Year in the little weekly newspaper the kids read.  Katherine is the only Asian child in her school and no one was at all familiar with the holiday, so her teacher asked me to come and talk about it.  Katherine was all for the idea.  And the kids loved it.  They loved seeing items from China.  They loved learning about red envelopes full of money and dragon dances and luck.  They loved eating noodles with chopsticks.  They loved admiring Katherine's beautiful silk clothes.  They loved everything about Chinese New Year.  As other teachers saw how excited the kids were, they asked me to come and talk to their students.  This year, I am doing Chinese New Year with both kindergartens, both 1st grades, and the 2nd graders.  Eventually, the whole school is going to celebrate Chinese New Year.  And that's a good thing.

When I started the Chinese New Year events, I was just trying to expose the kids in my school to a different culture.  I never realized how good it would be for Katherine, too.  Katherine loves having me visit her room (I'm sure that will change someday...).  Chinese New Year has been a good way to affirm her history without making her the center of unwanted attention.  And because of my visits, Katherine has become the envy of everyone 8 and under at her school.  She gets to wear those fabulous silk clothes.  She has real Chinese things in her house.   She has a cool lion puppet.  She knows how to use chopsticks.  She has a Chinese name.  She gets to watch a real dragon dance. Her whole family celebrates Chinese New Year.  At least for today, she is a star.

Today we looked at hong bao (red envelopes) and some of Katherine's silk clothes.  Then we read a story about dragons and made dragon puppets.  The kids thought it was grand.  And Katherine?  She was one happy girl.

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