The Tale of the Chinese Zodiac

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Our fall 2012 play is hot off the press! (And this is important to note, since the Chinese did invent movable type!)

This fun multicultural folk tale reveals how twelve special animals got their places in the Chinese zodiac. It's long ago in ancient China and the Jade Emperor has a great idea: he'll set up a race across the river, and the first twelve animals to cross the finish line will represent the years in the Chinese zodiac. Will the Dog and the Pig ever make it across? Why is the Horse so annoyed at the Snake? How did the Rabbit arrive before the Dragon? Can the Rat really be the winner? And why is the Cat all wet?

The Tale of the Chinese Zodiac is a great complement to your curriculum resources in elementary school language arts. Students will act out the folk origins of the Chinese zodiac as they learn some light curriculum about Chinese culture and contributions:

  • The Zodiac: what it is, what animals are in it and why
  • Animal symbolism (e.g. significance of the dragon, pig, dog, snake, rat, panda, tiger, etc.)
  • The Jade Emperor and his Guardian Lions
  • Topography: Yellow River (and the Hung-He Valley), China Sea, Yellow Sea, Himalayan Mountains, Taklamakan and Gobi Deserts
  • The Seven Necessities of Life: rice, tea, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, firewood
  • Yin and yang
  • Confucius
  • The Great Wall
  • Chinese inventions and discoveries: crossbow, horse harness, paper money, wallpaper, pasta, tofu, tea, ink, compass, kite, silk, porcelain, paper, wheelbarrow, collapsible umbrella, bristle toothbrush, moveable type, ice cream, rice cooking, fishing reel, gunpowder

Read the script, listen to the songs, read reviews, and view the standards and vocabulary

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