Celebrate Chinese New Year 2022 in Second Grade

Let’s celebrate Chinese New Year 2022! This is the Year of the Tiger for this Lunar New Year. Chinese New Year falls on February 1st this year. It’s a holiday that celebrates the New Year in China. Much like the New Year in the West, it is a time for fresh starts, reflecting, family, hope, and traditions. We can celebrate Chinese New Year with our students!

Our celebration of the Lunar New Year is out of a desire to share the culture and traditions of Chinese and Chinese Americans. It is such a joy and privilege to share a world beyond our classroom with my students. Learning about other people has always been so exciting and intriguing for me. It opens up a greater sense of understanding and allows for the unfamiliar or unknown to become common and known.

A few years ago, I had the idea of bringing Chinese New Year to life in my classroom. Thinking back, that was one of my favorite years and those were some of my favorite students. You ever have those years where you really like your students? They were just really great human beings. I can’t tell you how glad I was to celebrate Chinese New Year with them. They learned so much and we had the best time together!

The Shopping or To-Get List

Okay, let’s prep to celebrate Chinese New Year!

Here’s a list of items that I used:

  • red butcher paper
  • red construction paper
  • Ramen Noodles
  • chopsticks
  • forks (as a back up)
  • styrofoam bowls
  • Crockpot (to keep your noodles warm)
  • Green tea bags
  • A kettle or way to heat up your water
  • tangerines or oranges
  • bowls to put the oranges in
  • coins
  • Candy like Sweet Tarts

Preparing to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Quick To-Dos

Red Butcher Paper– You will need to get 2-3 long strips of red butcher paper to lay on the floor. My school calls it butcher paper. It’s from the paper roll that you use to cover bulletins boards.

I used this paper on the floor for my students to sit/eat on. I kept it a secret and placed over our classroom carpet while the kids were at Specials. If you can’t have this element of surprise, it’s okay. Your kids will still be in awe when they see it go down on the floor.

Red Construction Paper– The red construction paper is for your money envelopes. I used the square template from my Chinese New Year resource to trace and fold the envelopes. These will be your money envelopes. They are super easy to make and once you have them put together, you’ll add some coins to them. Then, leave one on the desk or seating space for each student.

Items to Purchase

Chopsticks– You can probably ask for enough for your students from a Chinese restaurant that you might frequent. Publix also has a Sushi area in the store (Kroger does, too). Ask if you may take enough for your class. If you tell them why you need them, they will likely be more than happy to share. If this is not the case, you can order some from Amazon. Here are two affordable options that you might like. RG Paper Premium Bamboo Chopsticks Sleeved (set of 25) or Briout Fiberglass Chopsticks (set of 10- washable/reusable) if you would like to let students have them as a keepsake.

Tangerines or Oranges and Small Candies– Which of these you purchase might depend on how you will use them. If you are only going to display them in bowls or baskets, oranges will work well. You can even just place the fruit around the room without using bowls or baskets. If you are going to also give fruit for the students, tangerines are easier to peel. Cuties would be great for the students. You’ll also need to place candy around the room. The candy is meant to ensure that your year is sweet.

Send a Reminder

Email parents– Remind parents/guardians to dress students in red. Red is considered a lucky color in Chinese culture. If families are scheduled to send any items in, remind them of this, as well.

What to Do Before the Big Day

Provide Background Knowledge and Build Schema

Read books on Chinese Year or complete an activity on the holiday with your students prior to your official Chinese New Year 2022 celebration.

Here are a few books that you might enjoy sharing with your class:

Home for the Chinese New Year: A Story Told in English and Chinese

Luna New Year

I created a resource that tells about the holiday, the customs and traditions, and explains what each action/event is and means.

If you need a resource to use with your students, you can purchase Chinese New Year 2022 here.

The Night Before You Celebrate Chinese New Year

Ready the Room

Place your oranges or tangerines in bowls or baskets. Now, put the baskets of fruit in various places around the room. Display them in places that are easy for the students to see. Lay one money envelope on each of the students’ desks or seating spaces. Lastly, sprinkle candy in various places around the room, too. I believe that I gave each student a roll of Sweet Tarts on their desk. Also, if you haven’t cut the red butch paper yet, you’ll want to do that, too.

I cut two long strips of the red butcher paper. You will need enough paper to allow students to sit around the perimeter of the paper, facing one another.

Cook the Ramen Noodles

This may be something that you want to do early the morning of your celebration. It will depend on the flexibility of your schedule. Don’t cook them too thoroughly because you will need to heat them again at school. You won’t want to serve soggy noodles. Store them for the night. You may want to go ahead and transfer them to your crockpot.

Pack Your Car

  • Crockpot (If the noodles are not already inside of it.)
  • chopsticks and plastic forks
  • styrofoam bowls for noodles and styrofoam cups for hot tea
  • bowls for oranges, oranges/tangerines, and candy (If you did not put them out the night before)
  • kettle for heating up water for tea
  • green tea bags

On Chinese New Year Celebration Day

Clean the Classroom

Begin your new year with a clean space. Sweep out the bad spirits to allow room for blessings and good energy to flow in. Make sure that everything is cleaned and organized. Share this information with your students. Then, allow them to take over the process. They will love that you entrusted them with such an important task!

When the students came in, we talked more about celebrating Chinese New Year. They knew that they had to begin the day by cleaning up the classroom. We had to sweep and clean the old year and any bad vibes out of the room. They were so excited to celebrate Chinese New Year!

This was my sweet class from 2017.

I had my students clean their cubbies and organize the classroom library. I did this for the first time when I was teaching First Grade a few years ago. It was one of my best days of teaching. Their reactions were so rewarding. They jumped right in and put everything into making their space and our shared space spotless. Seeing how absolutely delighted they were to do it was priceless.

Read another book to celebrate Chinese New Year or allow students to color a coloring sheet on the holiday

Here’s an image of the book that I shared with my class. One of my students brought it in. Today, it is out of print.

An image of a book to use with your class to celebrate Chinese New Year. The cover is red with 2 Asian children carrying the Chinese Dragon. The little girl has ponytails and is dressed in red.  The little boy is dressed in blue.

I found another book that you might like to use to celebrate Chinese New Year. You can find it here on Amazon.

This is a photo of students preparing to celebrate Chinese New Year.  There are 3 male students and 1 female student sitting on the floor next to red butcher paper.
The paper looks orange in this photo. You can see the red envelopes and the Sweet Tarts on the table. One of the pages from my Big Book on Chinese New Year is displayed on the screen.
Chinese New Year 2022

When Students Leave for Specials or Recess

Now it’s time to get into Teacher Ninja mode. Ready. Set. Go.

  1. Lay the paper on the floor. Remember to make two rows so that the students can look across and see their classmates.
  2. Begin putting noodles in the bowls a little before the students are set to return to class.
  3. Pour the hot tea into the cups, if you have time to do this before the class returns. Give some time for the tea to cool down just a bit.

Put the red bulletin board paper on the floor when the students leave the room

Heat the water for tea and warm up the noodles

If your schedule does not give space for the students to leave the room, allow the students to color, read quietly, or continue with their work or learning stations while you prep for the Chinese New Year celebration.

This is a video clip of an IG Story that I did that day.

Let’s Celebrate Chinese New Year!

Once you’re ready, have your students remove their shoes and place them near the classroom door.

An image of 14 students standing near their cubbies in a classroom.  Most of them are dressed in red to celebrate Chinese New Year.  They have removed their shoes as a part of the Chinese custom.
Shoes off. Ready to share our New Year Noodles and hot tea.

Give directions for seating. Tell your class that they will sit on the perimeter of the paper. They will not sit on the paper. They will have their bowl, cup, and chopsticks on the paper. Students can see their classmates like this.

Share a few words about this special day and/or allow your students to share. You could talk about the holiday briefly and comment about eating the long noodles for a long life. Mention not breaking the noodles as you eat them. Don’t make that scary. LOL. Sometimes students take things to heart and you don’t want them to be fearful.

Encourage your students to use the chopsticks. It’s so fun to watch.

A photograph of 3 female students dressed in red and sitting on the floor.  They are sitting near red paper and eating noodles with chopsticks as they celebrate Chinese New Year.  There is a little boy dressed in a blue shirt sitting next to them.

I hope that you and your students had the time of your lives and that your students learned more about Chinese culture and traditions!

Come back to this post and leave a comment to let me know how your Chinese New Year 2022 celebration was. I would love to hear all about it!

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Hi, I'm Tania!

I help creative and time-conscious teachers plan student-centered lessons that interest and motivate student learning so that lesson planning takes less time and is actually enjoyable! 

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