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Chinese New Year, Year of the Goat/Sheep

 We really do enjoy celebrating Chinese New Year and this year was no exception. This is our first big unit in months as our work on Thanksgiving and Christmas was much more worksheets and stories than actual research. This is also our first unit trying a more Notebooking sort of theme. Though after working with the twins I definitely want to try and put more lapbook aspects into our notebooks – the folded little booklets and the like – to add to the look and the ease of use.

So in 2015 I am trying to over view a month which was working with the blog when I got behind instead of daily reflection. But with big units I still want to make these individual blog entries to share our resources and the like. Bear with me we LOVE covering China and Chinese New Year so there is a lot to share!!!IMAG1500


IMAG1508Links of Specific Interest:

  • We had Zander choose two famous Chinese people and write a few sentences… he used a general list HERE thanks to Buzzle, and then to further our knowledge about the more contemporary individual used Wiki to learn more about basketball player Yao Ming HERE.
  • 10 Good Luck Foods thanks to Chow HERE. I admit it, we did do some Wiki peeking when we found things we were not totally familiar with but I am sure you can figure that out!IMAG1510
  • Something on the more traditional side I was assured by my experts… The Kitchen God HERE thanks to about.com. For a picture to include in our notebook we used Activity Village’s picture HERE.
  • Learn more about the Lion Dance (sometimes mistakenly… ok OFTEN… called the dragon dance) with HelloKids.com HERE, and on Wiki HERE.
  • We learned all about the meaning and history of the Chinese flag on the site A China Family Adventure HERE. With a little additional information HERE thanks to Facts.co.
  • We get TONS of information from Activity Village. Their printables are amazing… HERE.
  • For interesting landmarks we used the top 10 attractions listed on ChinaHighlights.com HERE.
  • China’s phyisical geography thanks to About.com HERE.
  • General country facts on Science Kids HERE.
  • An excellent map on iLibrarion HERE.
  • When you think of animals you inevitably come to the Giant Panda. Science Kids has a fact page HERE.
  • We discussed tea and China… totally Gavin’s idea on that one! You can find 10 interesting facts about tea at the Food Network HERE. For its history and cultural connotations in regards to China you can read China Highlights HERE.
  • Zander researched the couplets you put around doors during Chinese New Year. There is a great example (that we copied into our notebook) HERE thanks to China Page. And a bit more of a description and a way to purchase some for yourself HERE thanks to China Sprout.
  • Of course we did a page on goats… I basically looked up goat facts and let the twins at it. You can read up on what we found HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE. Thanks to Lively Run Goat Dairy, Edelweiss Acres, One Kind and Animals by Pawnation.
  • Of course we had to cover some animals found in China. Each child chose an animal and wrote a few facts for us to include along with an illustration. Trinity chose the Chinese Pink Dolphin. We used the WWF page HERE for hers. Gavin chose the Golden Monkey (Golden Snub-Nosed  Monkey) and while he just sort of wandered the zoo and such sites this is the one I found that I liked thanks to Konica Minolta HERE.
  • While watching Wild China I heard mention of an amazing bridge… so of course I had to find the way to spell it and look up some OTHER bridges. Check out 4 HERE on Vision Times.
  • Introduction to Buddhism for kids thanks to World Religions HERE.
  • A good topography map thanks to Ilibrarian.net HERE.

Craft Ideas:

  • Dragon Parade Puppet thanks to Crayola HERE.
  • New Year’s Dragon paperbag puppet thanks to TeacherVision HERE.

Resources to Purchase:

  • Teachers Pay Teachers has a great mini unit for K-3 gr. You can find that HERE. Super thanks to creator Emily Nutt Bynum for an amazing file that both Trinity and Emanuel enjoyed and learned from.


Animal Books (We did not use many and was mostly online with our looking but here are the ones we used):

We covered Origami this year. While commonly known as a Japanese art, it originated in China! You can check out our informational links HERE and HERE thanks to Origami with Rachel Katz and About.com and also check out the books we got to play around with:

Movies and TV Shows:

  • Celebrate with Kai-Lan! a Nickelodeon Show
  • Wild China Mini Series. We watched this series on Netflix. There are listings where you can purchase it. Though not new it is AMAZING in images and cultural history. A must watch if not for anything but the imagery.

Not so much because the kids needed it, but I decided to make dividers for each of the sections of sheets we had to go with our notebook project. I have confirmed these are the correct words… enjoy

  • China HERE thanks to NamesOnline.org
  • Book HERE thanks to a dictionary site
  • Schoolwork HERE thanks to the same dictionary site
  • Drawing or picture HERE thanks to above dictionary site

IMAG1512IMAG1514Hopefully I have included most of the resources we used. It was a lot of fun to take our usual China and Chinese New Year study a little further than we have in the past! Here are some pictures of our Notebook! Enjoy!







Chinese New Year Resources

So I figured I would make a companion post of links and such for our poster and its contents. I mainly took from Activity Village and Education.com. These are amazing sources that I would recommend every time.

General information about China


Year of the Snake


I got our Happy Chinese New Year Characters from THIS site. I got it verified by Xinny so I was sure it was the correct ones. For all ideas crafty check Activity Village HERE. For our fortune cookie recipe go to the Food Network. The collection I have for Chinese New Year on Education.com is HERE, I will review all the resources and leave comments on some. I plan to every year add to these collections so I will try and link them.

So Long, Farewell… Hello… Oh… Good-bye… AGAIN

February 8-9

And… Ted ALMOST gets on his plane and home on schedule. There is weather a coming apparently and it hit Toronto (his stopover) closing down the airport before he could get in the air here in Minnesota. So Ken and Sean dropped him off, got mostly home and had to turn around and come back. This is AFTER they had lunch, shopped a little more AND went to Top Gun in 3D at Imax! That left me and the kids home alone for the bulk of the day. So of course  there was school work to do…

Breakfast with Uncle Ted

Sneaking in an extra night

BOTH boys got 100% on their main words and Gavin even got Reinsch right. I am tossing it on the list but not counting it toward their totals as it IS tricky. So even if they get it right we do it the next week too, memorization!! In celebration of words well done they headed outside to play in the snow.

The tests

It was actually a rather decent day so the kids went out multiple times throughout the day.

The great white outdoors… American version

The poster was an all out success… we all had a hand in it. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed doing the Chinese Characters.

So proud of our work

We also assembled our fireworks. Note the characters on those too… Gavin helped Ken and I with those! You can find the instructions on Activity Village under Chinese New Year crafts (the link for the site is on right).

Gavin and our work

We also spent some time with a paper pack I got on sale at Michaels to make some special Valentines. Sadly the post office has been hard to get to so I have a bit of a stack of mail to add some of these too!

Special Valentines

A Saturday is always a bit slower, except when you add in even MORE company!

Best buddies

Teaching Quinn to play Skylanders

Bree and I worked together to create, from scratch, fortune cookies!

Finger burning perfection

I love it when Echo gets a chance to hang out with her American God Mommy! It was too bad Scott was busy. 


We actually had Steven here as well, he brought Quinn over and then Bree picked him up. So we had a full house! Of course the men were more… boring and thus no pictures… but the kids kept us entertained!

About the same size!

We finally got Bree and Quinn to open their gifts from Christmas! I promise pictures of Quinn in his scarf later!

Opening presents

So we had company coming and going… Now we are slowly slipping into real life – soon Sean will head home too and then… Ken goes OUT to work and it is just the 5 of us! Can we do it??? 

Why so serious???