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February 12, 2018

Lunar New Year Lantern Activity

By Genia Connell
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Each year, Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated on the twenty-third day of the twelfth lunar month on the Chinese calendar, falling sometime in January or February. For many of my Asian students, this is the biggest holiday of the year and one that their classmates always enjoy learning about as well. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had students’ parents who’ve come from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam volunteer to come in and share their traditions with the class.

    This year, one of our moms who grew up in China, visited the third grade to tell us all about Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival. Shortly after her visit, I was excited to see an activity in Scholastic News that was the perfect accompaniment to the presentation we had just seen: easy Chinese New Year Lanterns. This week, I’m excited to share with you my class’s take on this traditional craft, along with a few other ideas for celebrating Lunar New Year.

    In my third-grade classroom, fun and crafty projects seem to be a rarity these days with our jam-packed curriculum, but I knew this one was a winner as soon as I saw the insert in my latest Scholastic News bundle.

     

     

    The directions were clear and easy for my students to read and follow independently. All I needed to do was supply the materials!

    Here’s a quick look at the craft, along with a couple of ways to embellish the lanterns.

    Materials:

    • 12” x 18” red paper
    • Pencil
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Tape/stapler

     

    Step One

    My students used their rulers to draw a line and cut across the top. They immediately figured out that this would be the handle.

    Step Two

    Fold the paper in half lengthwise, or “hot-dog” style as my kids call it.

     

     

    Step Three

    Students used their rulers to make cuts about one-inch apart the length of the paper, stopping about one inch from the top. Many students drew lines before cutting to help make their lines more even.

     

     

    Steps Four and Five

    Students unfolded the paper then joined them together with tape or by using the stapler at the top and bottom.

    Step Six

    My students attached the handle from step one with tape or a glue stick, which is more readily available in their supply boxes.

    Adding a Little Extra Pizzazz

    At this point, the lanterns were ready to hang — almost. They were beautiful, just the way they were, but with four students in my room who can speak and write Mandarin, I thought it would be nice if, with their help, we added some writing on the lanterns. These students were excited to become “experts” teaching their classmates how to write symbols for “Happy New Year” and “dog” since 2018 is the Year of the Dog.

     

    The kids had great fun trying their hand at writing the symbols. While some were writing, students took turns adding gold glitter to their lanterns for a little extra sparkle. When one student asked if there was a way we could light them, my mind went to the easiest thing I could think of — I provided yellow paper that students added to the inside. I provided sheets of 9" x 12" construction paper to the kids. In hindsight, I’d have them use bigger pieces next time, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.

     

    Chinese New Year begins on February 16 this year and the festival runs until March 2, so if you are looking for a quick activity this week or next, these lanterns are a wonderful way to brighten your classroom. If your fire marshal doesn’t allow things to hang from your ceiling, they look just as lovely sitting on window ledges or strung from a string across the front or back of your classroom wall.

     

    I’m so glad I carved a little time out of our daily schedule to do these lanterns. I hung them up while my students were in music class, and I just loved the oohs and aahs when they returned and saw their handiwork hanging from the ceiling. I’m already thinking about next year, and how we could add tassels! 

    Take care and thanks for reading,

                                Genia Connell

    Follow me on Twitter @geniaconnell.com

     

    Scholastic has myriad Lunar New Year resources you can use in your classroom.

     

    Check out some of these books you can add to your classroom library.

                                                                                                     

     

    Each year, Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated on the twenty-third day of the twelfth lunar month on the Chinese calendar, falling sometime in January or February. For many of my Asian students, this is the biggest holiday of the year and one that their classmates always enjoy learning about as well. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve had students’ parents who’ve come from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam volunteer to come in and share their traditions with the class.

    This year, one of our moms who grew up in China, visited the third grade to tell us all about Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival. Shortly after her visit, I was excited to see an activity in Scholastic News that was the perfect accompaniment to the presentation we had just seen: easy Chinese New Year Lanterns. This week, I’m excited to share with you my class’s take on this traditional craft, along with a few other ideas for celebrating Lunar New Year.

    In my third-grade classroom, fun and crafty projects seem to be a rarity these days with our jam-packed curriculum, but I knew this one was a winner as soon as I saw the insert in my latest Scholastic News bundle.

     

     

    The directions were clear and easy for my students to read and follow independently. All I needed to do was supply the materials!

    Here’s a quick look at the craft, along with a couple of ways to embellish the lanterns.

    Materials:

    • 12” x 18” red paper
    • Pencil
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Tape/stapler

     

    Step One

    My students used their rulers to draw a line and cut across the top. They immediately figured out that this would be the handle.

    Step Two

    Fold the paper in half lengthwise, or “hot-dog” style as my kids call it.

     

     

    Step Three

    Students used their rulers to make cuts about one-inch apart the length of the paper, stopping about one inch from the top. Many students drew lines before cutting to help make their lines more even.

     

     

    Steps Four and Five

    Students unfolded the paper then joined them together with tape or by using the stapler at the top and bottom.

    Step Six

    My students attached the handle from step one with tape or a glue stick, which is more readily available in their supply boxes.

    Adding a Little Extra Pizzazz

    At this point, the lanterns were ready to hang — almost. They were beautiful, just the way they were, but with four students in my room who can speak and write Mandarin, I thought it would be nice if, with their help, we added some writing on the lanterns. These students were excited to become “experts” teaching their classmates how to write symbols for “Happy New Year” and “dog” since 2018 is the Year of the Dog.

     

    The kids had great fun trying their hand at writing the symbols. While some were writing, students took turns adding gold glitter to their lanterns for a little extra sparkle. When one student asked if there was a way we could light them, my mind went to the easiest thing I could think of — I provided yellow paper that students added to the inside. I provided sheets of 9" x 12" construction paper to the kids. In hindsight, I’d have them use bigger pieces next time, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.

     

    Chinese New Year begins on February 16 this year and the festival runs until March 2, so if you are looking for a quick activity this week or next, these lanterns are a wonderful way to brighten your classroom. If your fire marshal doesn’t allow things to hang from your ceiling, they look just as lovely sitting on window ledges or strung from a string across the front or back of your classroom wall.

     

    I’m so glad I carved a little time out of our daily schedule to do these lanterns. I hung them up while my students were in music class, and I just loved the oohs and aahs when they returned and saw their handiwork hanging from the ceiling. I’m already thinking about next year, and how we could add tassels! 

    Take care and thanks for reading,

                                Genia Connell

    Follow me on Twitter @geniaconnell.com

     

    Scholastic has myriad Lunar New Year resources you can use in your classroom.

     

    Check out some of these books you can add to your classroom library.

                                                                                                     

     

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