Making the Chinese dragon collages was one of my favorite projects! I loved how they learned to make their artwork an extension of learning about different cultures and their celebrations.
We started it off with a PowerPoint intro I made for this project. We discussed what Chinese New Year celebrates, and talked about the different things you would see at a Chinese New Year celebration (the lion dance, the dragon dance, drumming, fireworks at the end, lots of red for good luck, etc.), and what the Chinese families do during the month of celebration before Chinese New Year’s Day (clean their houses for a fresh start, have a family reunion dinner, decorate doors and windows with red color cut-outs, give red envelopes filled with money to their children,etc.) We also talked as a class about when it’s celebrated and why it’s also known as the Lunar New Year Celebration.
I showed them a couple of dragon dance parade clips on YouTube. We discussed how the Chinese Dragon has elements of other animals (camel’s head, rabbit’s eyes, deer horns, etc.), and how Chinese dancers hold poles connected to the dragon. These dancers move the poles up and down while running with the poles in their hands, making the dragon dance. A Chinese dancer holds the pearl of wisdom in front of the dragon, and the dragon (dancers dancing while holding their poles) tries to catch the pearl of wisdom during the dragon dance.
We created our collages by printing pre-cut dragon-shaped bubble wrap onto red paper, cutting out the printed body the next class period when after it dried, and cutting out and gluing other parts of the dragon to our construction paper backgrounds. After the dragons were completed, the students chose to create fireworks with strips of paper or glitter.
I can’t wait to teach this again. The kids loved it, I loved it, and everyone’s project turned out amazing.