Xin Nian Hao 

Xin Nian Hao, pronounced shin nee-an how, translates to New Year Good. A traditional greeting for our peers to welcome the new year and bring good wishes to those around us. Working with students that originate from other countries is always an eye opening opportunity. I always walk away with some new fact, history, or foreign word the students have shared with me. And the students love to correct me and ensure that I’m doing their culture justice.

In many Asian countries, specifically China and Vietnam, they celebrate the “new year” at the lunar new year. Depending on the area, the lunar new year is also the start to a sixteen day long Spring Festival. Although it’s still winter, the new year brings hope, prosperity, honor, love, peace, and good fortunes to all in the coming year. Wishing for a good and prosperous spring ahead.

The students, ELL teacher, and I have been working all week on decorations and celebratory activities in honor of the lunar new year. Our older Chinese students made traditional new year banners while our Vietnamese and Korean students also made large posters to ring in their new year. Each poster is adorned with their home language. The main and secondary halls are decorated with beautiful paper lanterns that the entire school helped make during their art time. Beautiful calligraphy banners dressed the doors in the main hall and every classroom door welcomes peers with a sign of peace, love, good fortune, prosperity, and honor. It’s truly been an honor to learn from our students and to help celebrate with them the traditions of their culture and engulf the school in these new ideas and cultural diversity.

This is a video I compiled of the students working on their banners and our decorated school.




We the (Acorn) People

The ELL Teacher did this project the year before and the kids loved it, so we did it again this year. Her yard gathers acorns every year and she decided to make art with them. Adding some beads, pom poms, pipe cleaners, felt, yarn, popsicle sticks, and a lot of hot glue to embellish these acorns and create little people.

Depending on ability, students were asked to name and write about their acorn person. Our little learners stuck with naming and one thing their acorn person liked. Whereas older students wrote biographies about their people. The kids had a blast creating their own friend. The students would greet and dismiss their acorn people every day when being pulled for lessons they loved them so.

We took the project a step further this time by adding some technology. We spent another week recording each student with their acorn person. Students would first introduce themselves then their acorn person and share their writing. I took portraits of each individual acorn person to add along with the kids’ videos. In a matter of days….and 49 videos later, students and their families were able to access the videos on a private Youtube account.

Once the videos were completed and the photo shoot backdrop came down, all of the acorn people got reunited with their creator and taken to their forever home.