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Item description

These 3 language arts tasks introduce students to Chinese New Year and the Chinese Zodiac. There are 2 reading passages which are print-and-go activities and the writing activity requires only minimal preparation. A bonus poster of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac is also included in this resource. In 2023, Chinese New Year (also called the Lunar New Year) begins on January 22nd.

Resource at a Glance:

What will students learn?
* What the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac are and their order in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar.
Who is it for?
* All students and teachers learning about China.
How does it help teachers?
* Students get practice in writing opinion paragraphs.
* Students develop reading information texts and answering questions about them.
* Differentiated model paragraphs provide writing models for students.
* The 3 model paragraphs help meet the needs of students at different writing levels.
* The included rubric makes it easy to assess students’ work.


What you get in this product:

★ A Table of Contents for easy reference (2 pages)
★ A Notes to the Teacher section with background information (2 pages)
★ A list of ELA Common Core standards addressed (1 page)
★ 1 8.5″ x 11″ poster showing all 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac (1 page)
★ An information text about the Chinese zodiac, with comprehension questions and an answer key (3 pages)
★ An information text about the Chinese New Year, with comprehension questions and an answer key (3 pages)
★ 3 differentiated model paragraphs for the opinion writing task (3 pages)
★ Student pages for an opinion writing task about the Chinese zodiac, including a blank lined page if more space for writing is needed (13 pages)
★ An evaluation rubric for the opinion writing task (1 page)

More Info:
You can start teaching about China with the 2 reading passages in this resource:
* A short information text about the Chinese Zodiac that can be read aloud to students or which they can read themselves, depending on their reading level.
* A 3-paragraph information text about the Chinese New Year holiday.

Comprehension questions accompany each reading passage on a separate page and can used for discussion or as a writing task. Both texts include answer keys.

Then let your students practice opinion writing with the animals of the Chinese zodiac activity. For each of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, there is 1 page with a photo of the animal and a short description of the characteristics of people born during that animal year. Every page also lists the years that each animal rules so you can easily find what animal year your students were born in. The task for your students, which is given on all the pages, is to write a paragraph stating whether they agree or disagree that the characteristics accurately describe them. Three model paragraphs at different levels of writing are included as guides for students. A rubric is provided so you can easily assess their students’ work.

The last part of this Chinese New Year product is an 8.5″ x 11″ poster that shows all 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. You can display it on a bulletin board, an interactive whiteboard or computer, or just use it as a cover page for these materials. The photos of the 12 animals were taken by me and come from an artifact I purchased in Xi’an, China, when I taught in China. The animals were created by a local artisan in a style of folk art from that region of China.

Although aimed at upper elementary and younger middle school students who are English Language Learners and native English speakers, these reading and writing activities have also been used successfully with students in higher grades as well.


Thank you and happy teaching!

Common Core Standards © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved. Any claims of correlation or alignment to the CCSS Standards or WIDA ELD standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the NGA. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the CCSS or WIDA standards.