Magazine article School Arts

Magical Chinese Dragons

Magazine article School Arts

Magical Chinese Dragons

Article excerpt

Each year, our kindergarten classrooms celebrate the Chinese New Year. In the artroom, we carry over this cultural enrichment by having our students study and create their own magical Chinese dragons.

After reading The Four Dragons: A Chinese Tale, to our kindergarten classes, we discuss what we know about dragons. The dragon is a make-believe creature that has been a part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. The Chinese think that a dragon will bring wealth, good luck, and rainfall for the crops. Chinese New Year parades feature a fierce dragon with a large gold and red head and a very long costumed body. Underneath, men dance and move so that the glorious dragon comes to life.

The dragon occupies a very important position in Chinese mythology. It shows up in the arts, literature, poetry, architecture, songs, and many aspects of Chinese life. The Chinese dragon is looked upon as the ultimate symbol of good fortune. Traditionally, the nine major characteristics of a Chinese dragon include the head of a camel, horns of a deer, ears of a cow, eyes of a hare, a neck of an iguana, belly of a frog, scales like a carp, and the paws and claws of a tiger.

After learning about dragons and observing dragons in paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and murals, students are ready for the challenge of creating their own mystical beasts. Our eager young artists select the color of the 18 x 24" construction paper they will use for the background. You could also use Chinese newspapers instead of construction paper.

With black tempera, students paint large outlines of imaginative dragons. …

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