Horses and Goats and a Dragon – Oh My!

Posted on March 17, 2011


Today we viewed our China field trip video; we really liked seeing ourselves on the screen. One boy thought the music I selected for the “running through the airport” scene was really good.

We also viewed 5th grade’s “Onomatopoeia” movie.  Next we learned how the Chinese calendar is different than ours. The Chinese year starts in either late January or early February every year. We also learned that eacy year is named after one of 12 animals. Then we used a website and found out which Chinese year we were born in.

I was a dragon, and their teacher was a rabbit. Three students were born in the Year of the horse.  All of the others  were born in the year of the goat or sheep. Next we discussed why we got two different results, even though they were all in the same grade. People born in 2003 were mostly goats; people born in 2002 were mostly horses.   We also talked about whether the description for each animal fit us. Some things did, and some things didn’t.

Finally we read Dawn Casey’s The Great Race : The Story of the Chinese Zodiac.  This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of how the Chinese Zodiac came to be. Many years ago there was no calendar in China; thus, nobody could tell one year from the next. So the Jade Emperor decided to call 13 animals and have them race across the river. The winner would be the name of the next year. 2nd place would be the year after that, and so on.

Before we read the story we predicted who we thought would win. 5 of us picked Rat. 2 of us picked Dragon. 2 of us picked Snake. 1 of us picked Dog. Want to know which animal won?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Posted in: Lesson Plans