Celebrating Culture & the New Year

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During a special in-school event, first-grade students in Tammy Santora’s class at Academy Street Elementary School in the Bayport-Blue Point School District not only celebrated the traditions of the Chinese New Year but also the culture of the countryside, thanks to a personal connection had by one of their classmates. With the help of her family, Jillian Kaler spoke with her peers about how she came to the United States at 18 months of age and discussed a bit about her native country’s culture – in particular, the items surrounding the Chinese New Year.

Throughout the workshop, the students learned about the different animals in the Chinese calendar, how 2013 is the Year of the Snake, and that red is a color representing good luck. They also had the chance to create colorful paper lanterns, dance a traditional dance alongside a giant dragon and sample some traditional Chinese dishes.

“As part of our social studies curriculum, the students learn about the different countries in the world and we go through a mini-unit specific to China,” stated Ms. Santora. “Today’s hands-on workshop brought those lessons to life and will help these students develop a greater appreciation of other countries and the cultural differences that exist within their community.”