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What Chinese Zodiac Animal Are You?



Gulou Experimental Primary School

Matthew and John

Reporter: Darby Easy

In March of 2018 JESIE held its first open day of the New Year at Gulou Experimental Primary School. The theme was, of course, Chinese Zodiac. And the two teachers, Matthew Van Orden and John Davis, approached this subject with enthusiasm and passion. 

John Davis' approach was nothing short of excellent. Mr. John brought energy and spirit to his classroom while teaching the students about the many animals of the Chinese Zodiac. They slithered like snakes, ran like dogs and oinked like pigs, creating a lively classroom full of fun. The students learned all the animals of the zodiac and talked about the animal's colours, what the animals can do, andpracticed saying these sentences with Mr. John. Overall Mr. John created a fabulous lesson full of fun, excitement and an enthusiasm unlike any other. We look forward to many more open days from JESIE!



Langya Road Primary School

Val and Amber

Reporter: Matthew Van Orden

On Friday March 9th 2018, two of JESIE's finest teachers, Amber and Val, excited two lively 5th grade classes at Langya Road Primary School with JESIE's new OPEN DAY theme called The Chinese Zodiac.


After Amber introduced herself, and asked some students to volunteer to give some answers to some basic questions, she taught the class the names of six of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Some interesting games were then employed by Amber to drill the animals into the supple minds of her obedient class. Next, Amber introduced some simple sentences using the 6 previously taught animals. For example, "A horse can run far." and "A monkey can climb well.". Next on the agenda was the Chain Mime Game, which has become universally loved by both teachers and students alike. Five students were first lined up in the front of the room, then the student in the back of the line was shown one of the sentences on a sheet of paper, and was tasked with acting out the sentence without using any words. The gestures used were then passed along to the first person in the line who then needed to guess which sentence was being acted out. After this game, Amber taught the class to answer the question, "What does it look like?" followed by a hidden picture game. The final game of the class was a writing game which required two teams to compete to write down the answers to the two questions of the day, "What does it look like?" and "What can it do?". Cheers of joy and groans of disappointment were heard from across the courtyard as several rounds of the game were played before the closing bell of the class.


On the floor beneath Amber's class, Val was winning the hearts and minds of his eager 5th grade students with his OPEN DAY lesson. After some introductions and laying out of the classroom rules, Val introduced the class to six animals of the Chinese Zodiac. He then used the Chain Mime Game to drill the six animals into the minds of his class. Every student in the class was smiling and laughing from their seats as their classmates at the front of the class attempted to pass along the gestures for each animal. Val then taught some adjectives associated with the six years of the Chinese Zodiac closest to Zodiac year of the students in the class. The next activity was are view game with a twist, which Val calls, "The Mystery Box".  Teams took turns to answer questions related to the previously taught material and then had a choice to "keep" or "give" whatever was inside the mystery box. The fateful choice did not always result in the outcome the student was hoping for, and the suspense and gamble of this activity drew the attention of the class to the lesson in a way that was magical to witness.


Overall this was another amazing OPEN DAY, and students not only learned some valuable English, but had a great time in the process. See you next time! 



Wangzhuang Experimental Primary School

Julie and Tim

Reporter: Davean Sowards

On March 15, teachers Julie Levesque and Tim Sowards taught English lessons about the Chinese Zodiac to Grade 5 students at Wangzhuang Experimental Primary School in Wuxi. 

Teacher Tim kicked things off with "Good Morning," "Happy New Year", and "How are you?" Next, after introducing the class rules and expectations, the students learned humorous gestures for several animals on the Chinese Zodiac. This activity was followed by a fun race with boys versus girls "swatting" the picture of the animal named. Finally, after teaching the class sentences to describe each of the animals, Teacher Tim gave the students a large stuffed toy to pass around the classroom while music played. When the music stopped, the student holding the toy had to answer the question, "What is a _____ like," for points. Teacher Tim's class had a close competition, but the boys beat the girls by one point! 

Teacher Julie began her lesson by introducing vocabulary describing characteristics of people born in different years on the Chinese Zodiac, along with entertaining gestures for the words wise, strong, impatient, arrogant, greedy, curious, brave, and clumsy. Next, the students competed in an entertaining game with boys versus girls creating mime chains to act out one of the vocabulary words using the gestures learned, then identifying the vocabulary word shown on the board. After Teacher Julie taught the names of four animals from the Chinese Zodiac along with the sentence frame, "The ____ is_____ but _____," the boys competed in an exciting timed relay race to label the pictures of the animals on the board with the correct characteristics. The boys finished the race with a time of 57.4 seconds. Next, the girls competed in the relay race to try to beat the boys' time. The girls did beat the boys with a time of 55.91 seconds! Teacher Julie's lesson was fun and competitive, and the girls were declared the winners in the end!



Fangqian Experimental Primary School

Sam and Warwick

Reporter: Paul Counter

On the 15th March 2018, grade five students at Fangqian Primary School had lessons from JESIE teachers Samantha Bartlett and Warwick Midlane. From grunting pigs to barking dogs, the smiles never stopped as students acted out the Chinese Zodiac signs, and worked together to make sentences about their meanings. Hilarity ensued and everyone had fun, with a superb afternoon of teaching complemented by a great photo of everyone involved.



Lasa Road Primary School

Jaf and Darby

Reporter: John Davis

The 23rd of March saw the dynamic duo of Jaf Abbas and Darby Easy descend upon the grade 5 students of Lasa Road Primary School. The theme of the day was "Chinese Zodiac animals." Both teachers started off the lesson by introducing themselves and getting the students to start thinking about animals. As soon as the animals were introduced, the students were chomping at the proverbial bit to participate in the amazing games that our teachers provided.  

Jaf quickly had teams competing to name zodiac animals and shoot the corresponding picture with a NERF gun, while Darby got the students moving in a running dictation game. In between the active starts and finale finishes, both teachers calmed the students down with some thinking activities. Jaf used a Transformers-themed PPT presentation to test the students' ability to combinevarious pieces of zodiac knowledge, while Darby led the students through a word association activity.  

As the closing bell loomed, Jaf and Darby transitioned to a grand finale finish. Jaf produced a questions-from-a-hat game that included a "flaming asteroid" card. As if by fate, the last card from the hat before the bell rang was the dreaded Flaming Asteroid- it wiped out all the points from the board and any hope for victory from any of the teams. Darby's final activity was slightly less drastic. It consisted of a word search that the students raced to finish before the bell rang. Unfortunately, the bell won the race and Darby had to end the lesson also without a clear victor. The competition might have ended inconclusively in both classes, but I can confidently say that the students loved learning and speaking about the Chinese Zodiac with Mr. Jaf and Miss Darby. 



Jiangxi Primary School

Danny and Davean

Reporter: Jennifer Morgenthaler

The open day this month was on the Chinese Zodiac. Danny and Davean chose to focus on different vocabulary and grammar for their lessons. Davean taught 4 animals and one characteristic for each animal according to the zodiac. Danny taught 6 animals and the sentence structure: The (animal) is faster than the (animal). Both teachers had very different teaching styles, however the students from both classes genuinely enjoyed themselves.

Davean began her lesson with a warm up dance where she had everyone stand up and do the hula-pokey. The students loved dancing and singing along! Danny warmed up his lesson by introducing the zodiac and asking the students what their animals were. He made fun of them for being pigs and mice, which, set the mood for the class. Both of them played a game of heads up where two students stood at the front of the class and the teacher held a flashcard above their heads. The rest of the class had to act out the animal (in Davean's case the animal and it's characteristic) and the students at the front had to try and be the first one to say the sentence associated with what their classmates were acting. Danny also played a sticky ball game as a "fill-in-the-blank" for his sentence structure that the students were really enthusiastic about. Both lessons were great and I could tell that the students had a lot of fun learning. Nearly all of the students seemed to pick up on the new vocabulary and grammar by the end of the lesson with few hick-ups.



Wangzhuang Middle School

Lara and Theard

Reporter: Steven Parry

This month's topic was "Chinese Zodiac" with JESIE Teachers Lara and Theard introducing the names of Zodiac animals in English. Junior 1 students at Wangzhuang Middle School were introduced to the English names of 12 animals and used them in sentences to discuss their Zodiac. 

After learning the names of the names, Lara and Theard introduced students to the sentence "I was born in the year of the ____ ". Theard used an exciting spinning wheel games to encourage students to speak. Once students correctly used the sentence they had the opportunity to spin the wheel and collect points, or in some cases, lose them! Lara played an equally exciting game with her students – a mime game. Two students from each team faced their teammates and had to guess the Zodiac animal based on their mime, which led to some hilarious monkey and rabbit impressions.  

Lara and Theard challenged their students for the day further by introducing them to more complex sentences such as "People born in the year of the ____ are ____.". Theard rewarded brave students that could use the sentence structure correctly by giving them the chance to throw a ball at a bullseye to collect their points. This was met with lots of excitement and laugher! Meanwhile, Lara used a great spinning wheel game with her students to not only collect or lose points but also to steal, swap or give points to the opposing team! 

There was lots of fun had and the students of Wangzhuang Middle School enjoyed learning the new vocabulary and showing off their skills!