Monday, March 2, 2015

Magic Chinese Writing

We learnt about Chinese writing today, as we continue on our quest to discover and learn about Chinese culture. A great way to introduce this was to read The Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann. It has some great examples of Chinese symbols and has a lovely story line. It was a big hit with Bee (and me)
Instead of just experimenting writing Chinese symbols with felt tip pens, we decided to make it fun by using a 'magic' crayon and paint.

Who can play?
Children 3 years and above, depending on their age and stage of development.

What do you need?
  • Example of Chinese writing. We chose to look at the writing in the book, The Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann, however you can download images of Chinese writing from online.
  • Paper
  • Red Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Candle
  • Newspaper to protect table surface
  • Apron to protect clothes
What did we do?
  1. We snuggled up on the sofa and read My Pet Dragon and discussed how Chinese words look different than English. We talked about how they looked like drawings rather than a group of letters, that make a word. The book was a great example as it actually placed the Chinese symbols into the pictures.
  2. Whilst looking at the Chinese symbols we tried to replicate them on a piece of paper with a candle. We talked about the shapes of the symbols and tried to read the English word underneath. At first Bee did not think that this would work as she said "I can't really see my writing"
  3. Once we had finished making our marks on the paper, it was time to unleash the magic. Taking the paint brush, that she had dipped in the red paint, Bee made horizontal sweeps over the marks she had made with the candle. She looked so surprised with the results. The paint did not adhere to the wax that the candle had left behind on the paper...revealing her magic writing!!! 
  4. Bee continued to cover the paper with the red paint, until all her symbols were revealed.
Possible Learning Outcomes:
Literacy- Writing for a reason. Mark making. Learning about the different forms of writing in other countries.
Communication and Language- Reading stories together and recognizing familiar words. Talking about what they are writing. Answering questions about the book.
Physical- Fine manipulative skills when writing and painting. Hand eye coordination. 
Mathematical- Looking at the different shapes of the Chinese symbols. Spacial awareness.
Personal, Social and Emotional- Fun and enjoyment. Pride from finished product. Enjoying being with someone special and having quality time when reading the book together.
Knowledge and Understanding- Learning about the Chinese culture and how they use a different form of writing for communication.
Art and Design- Creating their own masterpiece. Using tools for a purpose and experimenting with different media, such as paints and wax.

Possible next steps;

  • Depending on your child's age and stage of development you could try to write a sentence using the Chinese symbols
  • Practice writing skills and write a letter for a friend with the candle. Add a note asking the friend to paint the paper (using watery paint) to reveal the message.
  • Look at other written languages such as Arabic and Egyptian hieroglyphics and compare the differences. 

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