Thursday, December 6, 2012

K is for kǒng zǐ 孔子

I didn't expect a lesson about Confucius full of laughters and questions! I had thought it's hard for them to understand because it's the curriculum for midlle or high school kids. 
I started the class by asking if anyone heard of Confucius. Believe it or not, in China, not many kids know who he is and what Confucius teaches and his book Analects is not popular in China at all. Then one girl answered, "Is he one of the presidents of China?" OK, need to show them something. I took out a fortune cookie, cracked it and read a fortune. Then I told them most of these sayings are from Confucius, who is a great thinker, politician and teacher from 2,500 years ago. Then I was bombarded with questions with shocked look.

"You mean a person from 2,500 years ago actually wrote these fortune?"
"So these sentences are actually truth instead of our luck?"
"How can a person from centuries ago know what would happen to us?" 
"Is he as nice as Mrs. XX?"

I showed them this short video and read some of Confucius' sayings. Another animation of Life of Confucius really helps them to know more about his life, from when he was born to his death. 
Then I asked them to give others good advice, just like what Confucius did and they came up with many good ones.
 "Do not give up. Work at your best."
"Be happy everyday. Play everyday!"
"Never be selfish to others. If you do, someone does that back to you."
"Be nice to dogs."
"Think good."
I have brilliant kids! These advice are so helpful, even for adults, aren't they?
We then made some paper fortune cookies and put Confucius' saying into it.
What a fun class we had today! Confucius would probably laugh out loud to find that snippets of his wisdom are stuffed into fortune cookies, which were invented in America and have never been popular in China.
What I learned today? No matter how hard the concept might look, as long as we can find something in life that kids can relate to, it can be an informative and fun lesson!

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