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Celebrate good times

Approximate duration: 2 lessons

Key competencies:

  • Thinking
  • Relating to others

Effective teaching:

  • Creating a supportive learning environment
  • Making connections to prior learning and experience

Links to social inquiry processes:

  • Finding out information
  • Exploring values and perspectives

Conceptual understandings/learning intentions:today we are learning that...

  • (Level 3) The cultural practices of Chinese New Zealanders and other New Zealand cultural groups do vary but they often reflect similar purposes.
  • (Level 4) Chinese New Zealanders and other New Zealand cultural groups pass on and sustain their culture and heritage in different ways and for different reasons.
  • (Level 4) The passing on and sustaining of culture and heritage has consequences for Chinese and other cultural groups in New Zealand.

What customs and traditions are associated with celebrations and why do they continue?

Print off the "People Hunt" and give one to each student. Students find people in the class who can answer a question in the square. They record the answer and the person’s name in the square. Remind students that they cannot use the same person to answer more than one square. Check the answers as a class and list all the celebrations that featured in the people hunt. Add any more celebrations that the class can think of.

In groups of 3, students complete the "Same as me?" chart. Share the charts as a class and focus in on the different ways that people celebrate the same occasions. Consider whether there are some traditions that will never change and discuss why this is. Create a wall display to communicate the similarities and differences in the way that people enjoy celebrations.

Ask the students to choose two or three celebrations that their grandparents or an older friend will know all about. The students write some interview questions to find out how their grandparent or older friend celebrated these occasions when they were children. Talk about interviewing techniques like asking open ended questions – the ones that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Emphasise the need to ask specific questions like “How did your family go about opening presents on Christmas Day?”

Students interview their older person and publish their findings in a “question, answer” format for discussion and display. Students consider what customs and traditions they share with their older person and discuss why and how these have been passed on.

Where do celebrations come from?

Choose some celebrations from this list as well as any more that reflect the cultures of your class and community. Print each celebration on a card and put them into a hat. In groups of 3, students pick three celebrations from the hat. As a group, they carry out a mini inquiry using the learning tool "Around the world". Students will need to access books and the internet for this activity.

The students consider why many of the festivals/occasions are celebrated in New Zealand even though they did not originate from here. The teacher encourages students to understand that New Zealand is a multi-cultural nation with many migrants and that people like to retain their culture, traditions and customs wherever they live.

Extension Activity - The students can find out where their family’s country of origin is and identify an important celebration, festival, tradition or custom that originated from their homeland. A wall display could be made from the information found. Include a photo and brief profile. For example:

Mele is from Samoa, the home of the Teuila Festival. Choirs sing and people dance with fire-knives and race fautasi (long boats). This happens in September.

A world map could be included in the display and as children find out about their heritage they can pin a string between their country of origin and New Zealand.

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