Zhōngqīujié, Mid-Autumn Festival, is around the corner. As the second largest celebrated traditional holiday in China, it is often widely introduced in schools. The obvious challenge, linguistically for Zhōngqīujié, is that it is a fall holiday. It usually happens shortly after school resumes. Novice level students are not ready to hear the legend in Chinese using traditional teaching method. Even higher level students, who could comprehend jargons, loaded idioms, proverbs and citation of ancient poems? If only making it into tasting mooncakes, making art crafts or reciting ancient poems, it seems to be superficial. Therefore, I received quite a few inquiries regarding how I could teach this holiday in a comprehensible input way.
Here are my lesson plans:
- For novice level students, I only have them for two weeks so far. Therefore, Friday in class, I’m going to use a combination of pictures, gestures, body language and exaggerated facial expressions to make the legend in a comprehensible way and tell my kids the story. The goal is for them to comprehend the story in Chinese and have a good time together. No expectation of writing nor speaking of anything. Then, we will taste some mooncakes, drink some tea, look up some mooncake recipes, sign up for China Light field trip, and get ready for their mooncake baking contest.
- For my intermediate low level student. I will refresh their memory with the story. During my storytelling process, I will pause, point, go slow, shelter the vocabulary, personalize and incorporate music and video clips as well. I will also repeat this process as much as it is needed. Then, I’m going to ask students to look at a story worksheet. I have divided the whole story into 6 panels. Their arrangement is random. I will describe a panel and ask students to find out which one I am describing. I could ask them to put the story into the right order. I could also ask them to add caption for each panel. Then I’ll lead students to read an embedded reading which is appropriate for their level. Lastly, we will engage in the cultural related aspects: mooncakes, baking contest and the field trip, etc.
- For my intermediate mid level, they will receive the extended the Legend of Mid-autumn Festival reading to refresh their memory. They will also read the story of Jade Rabbit as well. I have blogged about Jade Rabbit before. My intermediate mid level students will read about the Jade Rabbit together. Without a single doubt, if I take away any cultural related experience from them, there would be a riot. I do tea ceremony in class serving them different types of tea upon their request as long as we all stay in Chinese.
Here is the embedded reading which I wrote. Mid-Autumn Embedded Reading Intermediate
Here is the story worksheet which I have designed: 中秋节的故事图画
Bellow is the slides I have created for story telling. They match the third version of the embedded reading. I also use this version to tell the legend to my novice level students. If you’d like to create matched versions for all embedded reading, I’d suggest that you rearrange the slides in the way you’d prefer.
Happy Mid-autumn Festival!!