In addition to music and videos to learn about Chinese New Year, I have been reading a book called The Dancing Dragon. This book talks about cleaning, red scrolls, cymbals, gongs, singing songs, masks, lion dance, dragon dance, and the parade. As we read through the book, the elementary students and I talk about how we have done each part in music class or in drama class. Halfway through the book, many of the elementary students realize, “Hey, we’ve done everything!” And it’s true, we have celebrated Chinese New Year and covered it all in our class. The students are so excited to learn that we celebrated just like the story. The story does mentions food, and students ask about food. I inform them that we are having food at our Culture-in-Focus: China party on March 7th. It will be delicious!
The Dance Dragon is a great book because of its accordion pages that unfolds into a long surprise dragon on the backside of the first half of the story. We have a small discussion that this is a “long” book and it gets “longer” with each page I unfold. Many students have not seen a book this long before. With such a length, all students can see and name the colors of the dragon. A. Bears said, “It’s a pattern!” G. Mustangs saw and labeled the man carrying the ball on a stick in front of the dragon, “He is the leader and the dragon follows him.”
For preschool students, this brings their learning of the lion dance and dragon dance to another sensory level. They watched videos of the dances, they have tactile visuals of the lion head, they danced with the head with Chinese music, they played the music (drums, cymbals, gong), and they now seen it in a book. The preschoolers are going to watch the elementary dragon dance parade and I am preparing them to have some understanding of what they will see. Over the past several weeks, some of the preschool students have become less anxious with the lion head and some are no longer scared. J. All-Stars: “It’s okay, it’s not scary.”