There is quite a lot of reading material here. First there
is a lead in with a discussion about some fortune cookie sayings.
Then there is a general article about the Chinese New Year,
followed by an introduction to the Chinese calendar where
stds find out which animal represents their birth year. Then
they read & discuss an interpretation of their animal
Before beginning, 'the Chinese believe
the animal ruling the year in which a person is born
has a profound influence on personality, saying: "This
is the animal that hides in your heart." Find out
which is your animal by typing in your birth year in
the first box, click on the 'My animal, please' & there you go!
Time: 75- 90 minutes??
Level: Intermediate upwards
To give extensive & intensive reading practice - stages
2, 3, 4
To give freer speaking practice - stages 1, 4
To review & expand vocabulary connected to describing
character - stage 4
That the stds will be interested in the topic.
That the language in the text will not be too difficult.
Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging, especially
in the last text >> pre-teach essential items or a word
building task to begin with - dictionaries while they read.
Chinese cookie sayings & texts with permission from Scotland
Online & Qi
Stage 1 - Intro to
China & the Chinese New Year & Fortune
tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Brainstorm all the stds know
about China - geography, culture, politics, fave Chinese food
etc.. get the stds to shout out ideas.
2. Elicit what 'Fortune Cookies' are
- have they ever got any when in a Chinese restaurant?
3. Instructions for the activity - that you are going to give
one out per person, they have to look at it & think about
what it means & then discuss it in small groups.
4. Handout the sayings - go round & help out with any
5. Put the stds into small groups & discuss the sayings.
6. Feedback - which was the best saying - & any language
you picked up on when they did the task.
Stage 2 - reading: the
history of the Chinese New Year
tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Elicit the date & what
is happening on ??? - check this out before starting! - the Chinese New Year. Elicit anything
they might know about this event.
2. Reading - the Chinese New Year - the History - set the
task & explain
|A few questions:
1. What do people do to their houses in preparation for
the New Year?
2. When do the celebrations begin?
3. What happens on New Year's Day?
4. How do the celebrations end?
1. they clean their houses
2. on the eve of the New Year
3. Hong Bao
4. with the Festival of Lanterns
3. Stds read individually & find the answers - give a time limit to encourage faster reading,
getting them away from reading every word.
4. Stds compare answers.
6. More detailed reading task
- stds find all examples of things connected to the New Year
that have a symbolic meaning e.g.. the cleaning of the houses
are to rid the house of any bad luck. Other examples are the
foods, dress, the Red Packet tradition.
7. Response to the text - ask
the stds; which was the most interesting part for them, any
similarities with their New Year celebrations etc.
Stage 3 - reading: the
10-15 mins tch<>stds,
1. Tell the stds that the new
year is the year of the ??? - see the material to find which year it is - do they know anything about
2. Cut up the two paragraphs - handout & stds put the
text in order. You might want to jog their memories about
language they might need: this goes first, And then this,
I'm not sure about that one etc....
3. Pairwork ordering - go round & help out.
4. Feedback - go through the correct order helping the stds
to see the right order if they had problems & also pick
up on the content, ending with the 'animal that hides in your
5. Handout the animal calendar - stds find their own.
Stage 4 - reading/speaking
- interpretations of their animal signs 'Check
your personality type according to Traditional Chinese Astrology'
tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
Careful with the vocabulary
- there's a lot connected to character. You might want to
look at these before beginning.
1. Handout to stds their own
animal interpretation - read.
2. Combine stds with the same signs & they discuss whether
the characteristics are true of them or not. Go round listening
& taking notes. You could give out dictionaries for while
3. Feedback on content & the language.
You could bring the character
vocabulary together in a chart for stds to complete & go away with.
If you want to make more of
this last reading you could ask them to rank the animal signs
in order of 'positiveness', which would mean them reading
all of the outlines or mingling & orally exchanging a
summary of their animal, each taking notes & then putting
in order. Small groups could then compare & have to agree
on an order. Class feedback could then bring an order together
on the board. All are positive anyway - careful.
The Story of the Chinese Zodiac
Many people have wondered over the years how it was that the rat, the smallest of all the creatures, was given the honour of having the first year of the Chinese Zodiac named after him. This is the story I have heard.
A very long time ago, the Jade Emperor, who ruled the heavens of China, sent a message to all the animals asking them to come together so that he could give each of them a year, which would make it easier for the people of China to keep track of time. The cat and the rat were good friends and decided to travel to meet the Jade Emperor together.
When it came time to leave, however, the cat was taking a nap. The rat, realising that he would have to use all his cunning to be noticed by the Jade Emperor, left his friend sleeping, and set off on his own. This is why there is no year named after the cat, and also why cats have hated rats ever since.
When the rat arrived, the Jade Emperor welcomed him and the other animals and told them that they should all take part in a swimming race. Once again, the rat realised that he would have to be very clever if he wanted to win the race. He found the largest, strongest animal, which was the ox, and pleaded with him to let him ride on its head. The ox was kind and strong, and agreed that they would swim across together. The rat travelled safely across the river on the ox's back, but, just before they reached the other side, climbed over the ox's head, jumped onto land, and reached the finish line first. The rat had proved its cunning, and the Jade Emperor named the first year after the rat and the second year after the ox.
Apart from a straightforward reading text, this might be suitable to cut up, every three lines, & logically order, use as a live listening or use as a dictation, a traditional one or a running dictation (see: Running around - http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips30.htm ) - for both younger learners & adults.
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