Thursday, October 9, 2014

Writing the Four-Character Chinese Idioms

Along with memorizing the dates of the development and standardization of the Chinese writing system, I wanted the kids to get a little practice with Chinese calligraphy. They watched several of this animated series of cartoons illustrating Chinese four-character idioms (quite similar to our Aesop's fables and their morals), and then used this Chinese idioms worksheet to practice writing them.

I gave the kids small round paintbrushes and black craft acrylic paint to write with (although how cool would a real calligraphy set be?!?), and had them first use tracing paper to simply trace the four-character idioms, which fortunately are printed very large on the worksheet:

We didn't fuss about the proper order of brush strokes, but I pointed out the varying thicknesses of the strokes, and asked the children to recreate each character as accurately as possible.

I also asked them to set aside the tracing paper at some point and make an effort to copy the characters by themselves:

The kids spent ages doing multiple copies of these four-character idioms (yay!), and were really pleased with how they turned out. I added their best copies to our Ancient China wall display, which I actually have to move somewhere else, on account of our HUGE map of China (Thank you, Red Cross Book Sale Free Morning) won't fit there. 

I seriously thought about ordering silkworms for our lesson on silk next week (did you know that you could do this? Crazy!), but I just do not want to support a population of silkworms indefinitely through the winter, so I think I'll let the kids paint play silks, instead. 

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