Last week, the Mustangs and the Heroes asked to learn how to write Chinese words. Writing Chinese can be difficult for an untrained eye or a non-artist. The spacing, lines, dashes, and location of each stroke makes a complete character in each Chinese word. In English, words are written from left to write. In Chinese, words are written from top to bottom and left to write with intricate attention to detail. There is a specific order to write a character and I shared with students that it is like writing the letters in an English word. You may write all the correct letters and if they are out of order, you get a different word and it looks different. The journey of writing each character is specific and looses some of its meaning if strokes are written out of order. I have included photos of a Chinese scroll template with number directions to follow to write more Chinese words.
Today in each class, I spent a bit of time going through the strokes of each of the four characters to write “Happy New Year.” With each stroke, I gave a description, such as, “hat on top”, “tail”, and “line, hook.” Back in Chinese school, my teachers used such language to teach students how to write the characters. T. Mustangs created one a new one for me to add to my toolbox, “letter T.” With a few extra minutes of class, the Heroes learned to write the character “dragon.”
By looking at all the students’ first Chinese words, we can understand a student’s spatial awareness, size concepts, left-right/up-down concepts, ability to follow visual and auditory instructions, fine motor skills, creativity, detailed awareness, and final picture awareness. Many of the students were so excited that they wrote Chinese words and wanted their picture taken with their paper.