Thursday, February 18, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year

Peace and Good Luck!

Each year my 5th graders make a Chinese New Year hanging medallion.  
Here are the "I Can" statements that I post in the room for this project:

I can:
  • Explore the art of Chinese calligraphy.
  • Demonstrate carving in clay.
  • Demonstrate good craftsmanship in constructing, carving and glazing.
We begin by talking about some Chinese New Year traditions and the differences and similarities of our New Year celebrations and those in China.  The students practice writing Chinese symbols on red paper.  I provide handouts of symbols of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac and some other chinese words for prosperity in the new year.  
Constructing a clay disk:
The students each receive a piece of clay that they shape into a ball.  The ball is then flattened by pushing it down with the palm of the hand onto the student's work mat (burlap).  The student smooths out the rough spots and when they are happy with their disk they copy a Chinese symbol onto the clay by lightly scratching it into the surface.  Then the symbol is carved using a clay wire tool over the lines that were scratched, making them deeper.  The students then create a design around the symbol with clay tools and other objects that can be used to push into the clay to create texture.  A hole is made at the top and the bottom and the student writes his or her name on the back and their class code.  
The students use red glaze because red is the color of the Chinese New Year and it is a symbol of good luck.  After the clay pieces are finished I show the students how to make a tassel with yarn and they tie it on the bottom.  

Make a tassel:
1.  Wrap yarn around a piece of 6" cardboard 15-20 times.  
2.  Tie a piece of yarn around all the strands on one side of the cardboard.  
3.  Turn the cardboard over and cut through all of the pieces of yarn.  
4.  You will have something that looks kind of like a mustache.  Make the mustache into a ghost by gathering all of the strands together.  Tie a string around the top part so it looks like the "ghost" has a head.  
5.  You are finished making your tassel!

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