среда, 18 декабря 2013 г.

Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Here is a little video inspiration I found on youtube to teach during this period of winter holidays - the story of the Chinese zodiac. It fits well together into the topic Christmas, New Year and winter holidays. This story can be taught to children of all ages starting from 8 or 9 years old, and even adults. You students are supposed to know some basic grammar rules and some English.

There are fun things to do and here is a lesson plan.

1. Preparatory stage. Find a picture of the Chinese zodiac, with animal signs and years. Find descriptions of the Chinese zodiac animal signs. Watch the video and read the story.
2. How to introduce the topic. Ask your students the question: We are now in the year 2013. Which year is the next? (The students are supposed o answer 2014).
Keep on asking:
What animal symbolizes the next year? (Some of them may guess or know - The Horse). You may say: The Horse is an animal sign of the Chinese zodiac. What other animal signs do you know? How many animal signs are there in the Chinese zodiac? 

Show your students a table with years and animal signs. Ask them to find their zodiac sign.

Ask them: What is your Chinese zodiac animal sign?

Later You may use this table to give the hometask. For example, they may ask their family members about their year of birth and write about their zodiac signs.
My mother's Chinese animal zodiac sign is Rooster. She was born in 1969.

Now it is good to practise some fast reading. You may write down a sentence and ask your students to read it fast one by one:
Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig are twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac.

You may organize a contest and set the timer to see who is the fastest to read.

3. Practise\explain the vocabulary: Chinese zodiac, animal sign, symbolize, race, call for, participate, China, to measure time, to pass through, to give a ride, to push into water, to jump ahead, to come in a close second, to struggle across currents, to put down the fire, to designate, to be about to finish, to raise back on one's legs, to slither, horse's hoof, bark, to bounce, to resist playing, last but not least, to trot, to take long, to take a nap, to drown, to betray, enemy.

4. Before watching. Announce:
We are going to watch the story of the Chinese zodiac. Watch it and say:
1) How many animals are there in the Chinese zodiac?
2) Why did the emperor organize the race?
3) What did the animals have to do?
4) Who was the fastest in the race?
5) Who was the slowest in the race?

You can write down these questions if necessary.

5. Now watch the video.

6. What to do after watching.

To practise ordinals you may have your students do the following exercise. Say the order of the signs in the Chinese zodiac.
Example: The first Chinese zodiac sign is Rat. The second...

7. You may run the video for the second time and do a matching exercise. Tell students to watch and match who did what.

- gave a ride to the Rat and the Cat.

- stopped the fire.

- raised back on her legs.

- couldn’t resist playing in the water.

- slithered through the finish line before the Horse.
Rooster, Monkey and Sheep

- took a nap.

- struggled with the strong currents.

- won the race.

- helped each other to win the race.

For example:
Rat won the race.

7a. If students are advanced you may ask them to retell the story.

Optionally you may ask them to arrange the events in the chronological order. Make sure you write out several sentences from the story first.
For example:
Rat pushed Cat into the water.
Rat and Cat were friends and asked Ox to give them a ride.
The Jade Emperor, the ruler of the heavens called for animals to participate in a race.
Cat and rat became enemies, because Cat nearly drowned when Rat betrayed him.
Rat jumped ahead of Ox and won the race.
Ox came in a close second after Rat.
Rooster, Monkey and Sheep played as a team.
Tiger struggled with strong currents and came the third.
Dragon took the fourth place.
Horse raised back on her legs and took the seventh place.
 Near the finish line Snake slithered before Horse.
Pig was the last.
Dog was a good swimmer and runner but he couldn’t resist playing in the water, so he came just before Pig.
Pig first felt hungry during the race and then he felt sleepy.

Snake travelled on Horse’s hoof. 

9. You may ask your students to read about different animal signs of the Chinese zodiac. Then ask them what sign they like the best and explain why.
For example:
I like Rat people the best because they are inventive, popular and artistic./ My favorite Chinese zodiac animal sign is Tiger because it is courageous, deep-thinking and brave.

 Teach and have fun.

Do you have any comments? suggestions? Please write them in the comments below.

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