Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chinese New Year Recaps + A freebie

In my last post, I talked about my first Chinese New Year holiday without my family, living in China, and how we celebrated this awesome holiday at the international school I teach at.  Today I will share some of the crafts and activities we did to celebrate CNY.

In our ECC lobby, each student decorated a paper plate to add to our dragon body.  I love how it turned out.  Our principal and her husband (an art teacher) created and designed the head.  We got this idea from this site.
 We punched a hole at the top of the paper plates and used a paper clip to attach the plate to a wire string hanging on the ceiling.
I gave my students a bunch of different materials to decorate.  They could use markers, crayons, feathers, glitter, stickers, pipe cleaners, etc.  I let them use both glue and tape since the tape could hold the bulkier things down.

Since it is the Year of the Horse, we made CNY horse signs to hang up by our door.  The Chinese like to surround their door with good luck and well wish signs for the new year.  This always reminds me of the Bible account where people would paint their doors with blood during the Passover.
This craft was simple.  You can download the horse templates {here}.  Print the big octagon on red paper and the small octagon on white paper.  Add yarn or ribbon with some beads (I used yellow and red to match the Chinese color schemes) and glitter.  The Chinese character above the horse is called "ma" in Mandarin.

Another day we made a famous Chinese snack in our city and many others called Tanghulu.  Tanghulu are sugar candied fruits on bamboo skewers.  The most famous fruit the Chinese use are hawthorns.  But you can also use small oranges, strawberries, or kiwis.
Hawthorn berries are very tart and sour.  The candied sugar coating helps sweeten the fruit.  When biting into the Tanghulu,  sometimes the hawthorn is still sour causing your face to squish up.

Here's how to make this easy, yummy treat. First get 1 part sugar and 1 part water (I believe the TAs used about 1 cup of each ingredient) and let it sit and boil in the pan.  DO NOT STIR the mixture.  The mixture bubble up.  I think we waited about 10-15 minutes.
As you are letting it boil, start skewering the fruit.
 Then dip the skewered fruit into the pan and let the sugar harden.  The sugar should be hard like a lollipop.  It might take another 10 minutes to completely dry.  Use a Styrofoam ball or vase to stick the skewers in or the sugar will get stuck on the plates.
Tanghulu is typically sold on the streets as a snack.

Another famous Chinese snack we made were homemade dumplings or in Chinese it is called Gyoza.  Our kitchen staff made the meat filling and dumpling dough.  Then we had one of our ayi's (school helper) teach us how to roll, fill, and wrap a dumpling.  It is a lot harder than it looks.  
Here's a YouTube to show you how to do it.

Here are some pictures of my kindergarteners folding their own dumplings.  We boiled them and ate them when we were finished make them!

Link back and let me know if you tried making Tanghulu or dumplings at home or in school!  Many of my students (including some Chinese students) never had this before until we made it. 

I linked up with TBA's Freebie Friday!

Freebie Fridays

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How we celebrate Chinese New Year in China

Xin Nian Kuai Le! (Mandarin)
Gong Hay Fat Choy! (Cantonese)

Happy Chinese New Year!
The month of January has been a very busy for me because it is sandwiched by two important holidays, Christmas and Chinese New Year.  At the international school I teach at, we get two weeks off for Christmas, then 3 weeks of school, and then another two weeks off for Chinese New Year.

 I feel very blessed to basically get a double holiday break.  Since I am Chinese American, this Chinese New Year was a little strange for me.  This is the first Chinese New Year I spent without my family.  I miss eating my mom's homemade Chinese food and the big banquets we would have in Ohio.  Sadly there is only a handful of good Chinese restaurants in my hometown state.  I miss collecting all of my red envelopes from relatives, family friends, and church friends.  On Skype, my Mawmaw (grandma) in Hong Kong teased me by flashing my red envelope on the screen saying I had to come visit her to receive it. 

Instead, I went to the Philippines with two of my co-workers to relax on the sunny beaches and away from the wintery weather of Northern China. 
Laying by the pool among the coconut trees

I didn't want to leave the Philippines!
Below are a few pictures I did with my Kindergarteners on the Friday before Chinese New Year break.  Our school had "China Day" where everyone was encouraged to dress in traditional Chinese clothes and/or wear red if they didn't own any.  I wore my mother's Qi Pao (Woman's dress) that she wore at her wedding banquet.  :)

Photo booth

Making rice cakes with different flavor jelly on top

Chinese calligraphy

Listening to Chinese stories and folktales

This man is creating beautiful pictures made out of melted candy sugar

Lion dance

Some of the kindergarteners performing a Chinese song.

Watching the firecrackers in our school's courtyard.

Kinders played with ribbon streamers while dancing to Chinese New Year songs.

Lion and Dragon dance in the auditorium. 

If you visit my TpT and TN stores, check out my Chinese New Year Thematic unit that is on for sale for 50%.  Many of the activities and crafts in the unit I remembered doing as a child when my mom would visit my classroom to share about Chinese New Year and Chinese culture.  The links are on the right sidebars.

Come back later this week to see what else I did in my classroom to celebrate CNY. 

I hope you will have a "whinny-ing" year!