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Celebrate the Chinese New Year in your classroom

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Alan Haskvitz

Teaching the Chinese New YearThis year, the Chinese New Year is on the last day of January. Below I've listed a handful of resources I've found helpful throughout my years of teaching.  You can use them for elementary, middle and high school levels and they provide possible lesson ideas for numerous topics.  

No matter what level you teach and what subject you're working on, you're sure to find something that you can use in your classroom.  


Sample lesson plan:

  • Have students use these sites to research New Year's celebrations around the world.
  • Next, give them baseball-card-sized blank construction or heavier paper. On one side, they trace or draw the country; on the other, they list interesting things about that land's celebration.
  • They place these cards on a blank map of the world complete with time zones.
  • Finally, they compare and contrast the celebrations with their country of origin, the country where they currently live, and China.
  • Teachers can add age-appropriate craft projects.

Start your multicultural New Year's lesson by choosing from:

China Lesson Plans

  1. ABC Teach -- China - Explore this general site about China -- very complete. It includes work search, Venn diagram to compare China to another country, panda cutouts, Chinese similes and lots of printables.
  2. Ask Asia - A very large site for K-12 materials on Asia from the Asia Society.
  3. China Online - Find Your Animal Sign - Chinese Animal Signs and Characters.
  4. The Chinese Zodiac - A fun look at how Chinese calendar symbols came to be.
  5. Chinese Zodiac Matching Game
  6. History of China
  7. Teach-Nology: China Lesson Plans - A link site with several lessons, including those dealing with modern China.
  8. Yahoo Directory - China Maps

Chinese New Year Lesson Plans

  1. Asian/Chinese New Year Holiday Craft Activity and History Lesson - Chinese lantern pattern -- download these two printable pages with illustrations, instructions and background information for a holiday lesson plan.
  2. Chinese New Year 15-Day Celebration - Get Chinese decorations, recipes and an overview of this 15-day celebration.
  3. Chinese New Year Grades 2-3 - A very large and complete unit of study.
  4. Chinese New Year - Kristy Ambrogio - Try a lesson from a teacher who uses literature.
  5. Chinese New Year’s Traditions
  6. Laba Zhou and Traditions of Chinese New Year
  7. A Multicultural Study: Chinese New Year
  8. How to teach Chinese New Year

Chinese Study Abroad

As teachers, we get a deduction for educational travel. These sites offer possibilities for China. As always, to gain first-hand knowledge, ask for the names of teachers who have completed the tours. I recommend those associated with a university first.

  1. Internet Guide for China Studies - For higher level resources.
  2. Inter-university Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua

New Year's Celebrations around the World

These offer opportunities to develop compare-and-contrast lessons, as well as a starting place for studies on time.

  1. New Year's Around the World
  2. New Year Traditions - New Year's Around the World
  3. Two Jewish New Years

Related Topics

  1. Basic Chinese Grammar
  2. Chinese Cultural Studies: Chinese Logographic Writing
  3. Chinese Ink Painting Lesson Plan
  4. Chinese-English Dictionary
  5. Geography Lesson Plans and Resources: Asia - Some maps.

Time Zones

  1. Celebrate New Year's Around the World - This one has a short quiz on time zones.
  2. Earth Cam New Year's - And while you're teaching time zones, have students check out these Earth cams that show what's happening in those areas (need fast connection).
  3. A Multilingual Happy New Year - Explore how to say "Happy New Year" in a variety of languages. Good luck, there's no pronunciation guide.
  4. When New Year's Starts Around the World - A great way to teach time and time zones.


Pinterest ideas for younger students:

Picture books celebrating Chinese New Year for classroom

Picture Books for elementary students

Chinese New Year crafts for kids

Crafts, books, games & free printables


Alan Haskvitz teaches at Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, Calif., and makes staff development presentations nationwide. He serves as an educational consultant, curriculum developer and author.

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