#131 Chinese New Year Activities

Published on January 20, 2009

English Teachers in Russia & Elsewhere, E-textbook — Issue #131

Contents
=> News: Chinese Consider New Zodiac Animals
=> The Year of the Woodpecker: text
=> The Year of the Woodpecker: Creative writing activity
=> Chinese Zodiac Animal Songs on English Teachers Everywhere.com

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News: Chinese Consider New Zodiac Animals
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The Chinese new year is coming on January 26. 2009 is the year of the ox.

Each year belongs to a different animal of the Chinese zodiac. These are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. People born in each of these years have certain personality traits.

But diid you know that the Chinese are considering adding more animals to their zodiac? Apparently 12 is not enough to describe all the varieties of people there are in the modern world.

The woodpecker is one animal under consideration. The following passage describes the characteristics of people born under the sign of the woodpecker.

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The Year of the Woodpecker - text
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Key vocabulary:
are prone to + noun = have a tendency, are inclined to
are fond + noun = like to do
can’t refrain from -ing = can’t stop from -ing
garrulous = talking a lot and about trivial stuff
they have been known to + verb = they occasionally + verb
sulk = mope; be silent or withdrawn

Those born in the year of the woodpecker are diligent, hardworking, and persevering. They will knock their heads against a problem for a long time, sometimes even knocking themselves unconscious before they can solve it.

Woodpeckers are attractive and flashy; they like to dress up. They are garrulous and can’t refrain from chattering during moments that call for silence, reflection, or sympathy: for instance, in church, at a funeral, or after someone has fallen off a bicycle.

Woodpeckers are fond of dancing and shopping, and they will often dance while shopping if they hear music in a store. However, they are prone to sudden fits of grumpiness, and have been known to sulk behind trees and bushes, or at the edges of ponds.

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The Year of the Woodpecker - creative writing activity
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You are right. The above paragraph was nonsense. Made up. Invented. Balrderdash. Lies. The Chinese, as far as I know, are NOT going to add new animals to their astrological calendar. But that doesn’t mean that you and your students can’t.

So here’s your activity. Give your students the above text. Or play them the audio below, and use it as a model for writing.

In pairs or small groups, they should write their own text. It should be about a NEW zodiac animal—crocodile, cockroach, owl, javelina, clownfish–and how people born in this year reflect traits of that animal. (Use your imagination though–no need to be too serious).

Begin with, “Those born in the year of the ….”

Incorporate, if possible, these phrases:

are fond of
are prone to
have been known to
can’t refrain from

Afterward, why not create wall calendar with your student’s new zodiac?

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Chinese Zodiac Animal Songs on English Teachers Everywhere.com
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Go to www.etseverywhere.com for some young learner activities about the Chinese New Year. Click on “holidays” or “new” under the Categories menu.

Copyright 2009 Kevin McCaughey, I.M. Poosheesty, and Javvy Javelina

icon for podpress  The Year of the Woodpecker [1:18m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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