Friday, February 27, 2015

Volcano Craft DIY

We have been getting creative learning about Chinese characters that are pictographs. This week we learned how to write the characters for fire (火, h) and mountain (山, shān)I loved watching their little eyes light up as they realized that when you combine these characters, you get the word for volcano (火山, huǒshān ).

I was inspired by ShaoLan's fire and mountain graphic illustrations (on her Chineasy website) to create this simple craft to help the kids remember these characters.

What we used for this project:

  • cardstock or construction paper
  • scissors
  • gluestick
  • markers

What we did: 


I prepped the project by cutting out the three pieces:
    1. the backgroundan 8 X 11 cut in half (width-wise)  
   2.  the mountain: We used cool rock-looking 8 X 11 paper cut into quarters 
            (snip off edges to shape into a volcano).


       3. the flame: I just free-hand drew a template and then traced/cut out copies.

The kids wrote the character for fire on the flame and mountain on the volcano, and then pasted the two pieces on the card stock background.

  


One more thing...
don't forget the smoke and lava! 

Don't you love their creativity??




What art projects with Chinese characters are you creating?


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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Year of the Goat Fun: Craft and Book Review

This week I've been exploring some great resources for celebrating 羊年 (Yáng nián), the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram. The New Year begins on Thursday, Feb. 19 this year and ends on Lantern Festival, March 5.

Here are two we've brought into our home this year:

1. Artsy Craftsy Mom's Year of the Goat Car Hanging Craft 
Our version of Artsy Craftsy Mom's Year of the Goat Car Hanging Craft 
I saw Artsy Craftsy Mom's super cute, super simple Year of the Goat Car Hanging Craft on Pinterest and decided to adapt it for my elementary Mandarin class. 

How we adapted it: 
  • We used strips of red card stock for the bottom part of the character (because we were out of craft sticks) and glue stick'ed them together. 
  • We used card stock for the yellow pieces (so they would stick to the red pieces) and then layered them on top of each other (3 in all: horns, ears, and head). 
  • We added some jeweled nostrils to make our goats fancy. 
  • We wrote the pinyin pronunciation on it. 
Why this craft is great: 
  • It familiarizes kids with the Chinese character for sheep/goat (), while reminding them of the character's meaning (the horns of the goat are the two strokes at the top of the character).
  • Kids love googly eyes--After adding googly eyes, my students' goats came to life, and before I knew it, the goats were introducing themselves to each other (in Mandarin!)

Artsy Craftsy Mom posted this as part of Multicultural Kid Blogs Chinese New Year Series. Check the rest of the series for more CNY crafts, book reviews and recipes.

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2. The Year of the Sheep: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac, written by Oliver Chin and illustrated by Alina Chau (published by Immedium)
The Year of the Sheep: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac
The Year of the Sheep: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac is the tenth book in Oliver Chin's Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series. He publishes one new book each year, coordinating with the Chinese Zodiac. 

This book tells the story of the little lamb Sydney whose curiosity leads her, along with Zhi-- the shepherd's daughter, to discover a logjam that threatens the local ecosystem after a storm. Sydney brainstorms a creative solution to the problem, and the twelve animals of the zodiac work together to restore the flowing river. 

Why this book is great:
  • The little lamb saves the day through her creative thinking.
  • Zodiac animals appear on almost every page. Can you find them? 
  • Alina Chau's beautiful, whimsical watercolor illustrations. 

Check out Immedium's website to download free coloring pages of Sydney and Zhi.

How will you be celebrating the Year of the Sheep in your home?



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