I am always amazed at the level of joy and engagement the exploration of the Chinese New Years brings to the classroom. It is richly embedded with academic learning (for example see Chinese Counting Set ) in a way that addresses multiple learning styles and needs. Fan dancing is another great math activity.
I am an Arts-Infused teacher to the core. While I love to bring pieces of Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio to my classroom – I am arts-based at the most basic level.
Yesterday we painted fans. I found a great deal at Oriental Trading (just $25 for 48 fans – and they are a nice size).
The children painted the fans with basic watercolors. (I cut off the black and brown from my watercolor palettes as I find these two muddy the colors).
We then danced with the Chinese Fan Dance (click Here).
I guided their movements (we did not follow the dancers — just had it playing as background inspiration).
I set the boundaries by saying our fans may not touch each other and we keep our fans in our own space.
We worked on positional/spatial words – an important math concept in PreK:
“Wave your fan above your head.”
“Wave your fan below.”
“Wave your fan in front.”
“Wave your fan behind”
“Wave your fan under your legs.”
“Wave your fan beside yourself.”
“Wave your fan to the left.”
“Wave your fan to the right.”
“Wave your fan in front five times.”
“Wave your fan to the left 10 times.”