This module is about symbols and legends associated with Chinese New Year celebrations. Students have the opportunity to make Chinese lanterns, a Chinese dragon or lion, and perform a dance.
Danielle Gernandt's insight:
This unit of study should be taught in the lead up to Chinese New Year so students experience references to Chinese New Year in their daily lives.
Through this series of four activities, this unit will integrate HSIE with creative arts so students will become more familiar with the traditions and culture around Chinese New Year. Students will learn the stories behind the celebrations they may see or hear about during this time and build their awareness of the beliefs behind this holiday celebrated by so many. Importantly, students will learn that Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries across Asia and the world, and that it is not a Chinese holiday.
This video would form a part of a unit on Chinese New Year. The video tells the story behind Chinese New Year traditions. With lovely images and the text printed on the screen, a narrator explains that the loud firecrackers and the colour red are the two things that would keep away the evil monster Nian when he tried to terrorise a Chinese village every year on the last night of the Lunar calendar. Since then, it has become a tradition for Chinese people all around the world to light firecrackers and decorate their houses with red paper, all to ensure that Nian doesn’t return.
First, the class will discuss what they know about Chinese New Year. Students will begin to get an understanding of the belief system that sits behind this annual event and will learn to question the traditions and stories behind many of their own holidays. Also, with the text written on screen students can follow along and practice reading in their heads.
A short documentary about an Israeli kindergarten class celebrating Shabbat together."
Danielle Gernandt's insight:
Bondi Junction has a large Jewish community, and Shabbat is a weekly tradition that kicks off at dinner on the Friday and lasts through Saturday night. Within the Jewish community there would be varying degrees to which Shabbat is recognized.
This video is narrated by a young Israeli kindergartener, and she shows how children in her class practice the celebration and then how she celebrates at home with her own family. I deliberately chose a video narrated by children younger than Stage 1, to give the children in the class with knowledge of Shabbat the confidence to speak with authority about their practices. If this video had been narrated by an adult and about adults, it may be more daunting for a young Stage 1 student to offer up their own personal perspectives and experience.
As part of this lesson we would review new vocabulary words including Shabbat and Challah. In class we would do a theatrical production recreating a Shabbat meal using candlesticks, grape juice and challah.
To bring each child’s cultural perspective to the classroom we can discuss if students have any family traditions that they regularly practice. i.e. Friday Pizza Night. And what are the traditions around that occasion and why are they important for your family?
In India, one of the most significant festivals is Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. It's a five-day celebration that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.
Danielle Gernandt's insight:
Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is a beautiful five-day festival celebrated in October across all of India and the rest of the Hindu world. In this video, Stage 1 students will gleam a great deal about the festival, and will be able to compare it to festivals that may be more familiar to them.
In a lesson I would split the video into 2 or 3 sections and discuss what we saw before moving on. First, we would focus on what the students noticed, later moving on to how this festival is similar or different to the festivals they celebrate.
To further explore one of the symbols of Diwali - the lotus blossom - students will draw their own lotus blossoms and display them in the classroom as symbols of welcome. They can also use chalk to draw them on the pavement at the entrance of the school to welcome students, parents, teachers and visitors to the school.
I plan to arrange a meeting with an Aboriginal officer from Aboriginal Elders Consultative Society to explain that I would like to bring an Aboriginal perspective to my classroom, and am looking for guidance and help. In this lesson I want to introduce the belief systems of the Aboriginal people in the Bondi Junction area. As outlined by the Board of Studies in "Working with Aboriginal Communities" (Board of Studies, 2008, pp. 8-14), I would first need to spend time building relationships in the Aboriginal community. Through this network I would try to find an individual who could visit my classroom to speak about Aboriginal belief systems such as Dreamtime and what this means for Aboriginal people in our area.
To prepare for the visit the class would discuss what we know about Aboriginal people in the area. We’d be sure to know the name of the people our visitor descends from, the name of the language spoken, how to greet our visitor in their language and also how to thank them.
Students will think about what questions we would like to ask about Dreamtime. We would read Aboriginal stories about Dreamtime and pay close attention to how our visitor’s perspectives may be the same or different from the stories we read. The focus would be on learning something new from our visitor.
To incorporate a literacy strategy, each student will write a short letter thanking our visitor. Each letter must include a sentence starting with ‘Thank you for telling me about…”. We will send these thank you letters by post.
Board of Studies (2008). Working with Aboriginal Communities: A guide to community consultation and protocols. Sydney: Author.
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