Teaching

Big Picture 3: Holiday Tradition

Check out Grace Lin‘s website.

Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year and so I present you with Grace Lin’s book, Bringing in the New Year. Published in 2008, this book really lends itself to teaching about the Lunar New Year in the early elementary grades–think preschool/kindergarten.

If you haven’t heard of Grace Lin, please visit her website. She has books, videos, multiple podcasts, and amazing resources to complement her books. Check out her activities for Bringing in the New Year here. Another bonus for preschool teachers: her new set of board books for Charlesbridge’s Storytelling Math series.

At first glance, this may seem like a simple story about a holiday celebration, but as with any good book, the more you read it, the more layers it reveals. Yes, readers learn how a Chinese family prepares for the New Year, but they also see how the whole family works together to make the holiday special. The text is simple, yet it hints at the why behind the traditions. For example, “Ma-ma makes the get-rich dumplings” alludes to the fact that dumplings are made because they represent good fortune in the new year.

I hope you enjoy this post. Gōngxǐ fācái! May you have happiness and prosperity in the new year!

Essential Questions

  • Why do you celebrate (the new year)?
  • How do you celebrate (the new year)?
  • How do others celebrate?

Standards

Since the Common Core Standards start with Kindergarten, I am referencing the Illinois Early Learning Standards.

  • ELS 1.A Demonstrate understanding through age-appropriate responses.
  • ELS 1.B Communicate effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience.
  • ELS 1.C Use language to convey information and ideas.
  • ELS 2.A Demonstrate interest in stories and books.
  • ELS 2.B Recognize key ideas and details in stories.
  • ELS 2.D Establish personal connections with books.
  • ELS 5.B Use writing to represent ideas and information.
  • ELS 18.A Explore people, their similiarites, and their differences.
  • WIDA Early Language Development-2 Multilingual children communicate information, ideas, and concepts for learning and development in the content area of early language development and literacy.

Vocabulary

  • jie-jie (big sister)
  • ba-ba (dad)
  • ma-ma (mom)
  • mei-mei (little sister)
  • qi pao (traditional Chinese dress)

Lunar New Year Theme Suggestions for Pre-School

  • Fill your sensory bin with rice.
  • Serve oranges as a snack. They symbolize happiness and good fortune.
  • Gross motor activities might include a lion or dragon dance or using a broom to sweep out the old year.
  • Fine motor activities could be picking up objects with chopsticks as seen here or ripping paper for the good luck character signs I’ve included below.

Teach Sheet

Here is your FREE worksheet for Bringing in the New Year.

Comments

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Have you used this resource or read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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