A middle school made certain that a Chinese New Year celebration included a dragon parade, where sixth graders showed off masks that they made. The dragon parade is an annual event at the school, celebrating Chinese New Year and teaching about Chinese culture.
“This is an interdisciplinary unit centered around Chinese New Year. Each school subject will teach some aspect of Chinese culture, history or science,” said sixth-grade social studies teacher Richard Leitner. “We like to have the children more involved with creating these masks for our parade, and then … they are given an opportunity to look and share everybody’s efforts.”
The school has been celebrating Chinese New Year with a dragon parade for over a decade. The sixth graders show off their creations to older students by parading in the gym.
Students who create the top 20 masks are rewarded with “dragon coins” which can be used for admission to extracurricular events all year.
“Each year amazes me. Each year you think that you’ve mastered the aesthetics of these masks, then they outdo each other one year after the other,” said Leitner.
“I think there is a different individual touch that’s going on with each of these masks,” Leitner said. “Some people created puppets, some people created a two-headed mask, which is neat.”