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Home and Family in Mandarin 4

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Diana Corey
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Home and Family in Mandarin 4

Lesson Plan: Home Life

1. A rationale for the proposed unit


Mandarin 4 students will gain a deeper understanding of the history and perspectives that shape family values in Chinese culture while learning vocabulary related to household rooms, furniture, and extended family members. 


2. Skill and content objectives


SWBAT name, recognize, and write the characters for extended family members in Chinese

SWBAT engage in discussion about family values and memories in Chinese

SWBAT compare and contrast Chinese family values with their own


3. Detailed lesson plan


Day 1

  • Ask students to work with a partner to define “家” three different ways. Each student shares one definition with the class. 

  • Project and pass out “家是什么?” from 每日头条

  • Give 10 minutes for students to work with their partner to read and interpret 2-3 lines from the article, then share with the class. 

  • How were these definitions of “家” different from or simliar to the answers you gave at the beginning of class?

  • Explain that during this unit we will focus on two of their definitions (家是家人;家是你住的地方) while exploring the history of family values in Chinese culture. 

  • Watch the “Complicated Chinese Family Tree” video by Off the Great Wall

  • Homework: Sketch your family tree and label each family member in Chinese characters and pinyin

Day 2

  • Students present their family tree sketches. Ask who lives together in one house, where grandparents live, etc. 

  • Ask what students know about traditional Chinese families. 

  • Introduce Confucian principles of hierarchy and ask students to list the members of their immediate family in order. Discuss how Confucian principles continue to influence Chinese family values. 

  • Ask students about their relationships with their grandparents, then discuss the roles of gender and generation in Chinese culture. 

  • Show clips from Crazy Rich Asians and discuss the role of the mother, grandmother, and other family dynamics. 

  • Homework: Preview the vocabulary and read the introduction from Chapter 1 of Shifting Tides (Jin Xu)

Day 3

  • In groups, students read one of two texts from chapter 1 of Shifting Tides (memories of the authors’ mothers). 

  • Groups remix, teach key vocabulary and summarize their stories. 

  • As a whole class, students share answers to these questions, projected on a slide: What is something you can relate to from either story? Where do you see elements of traditional Chinese family values in either story? What stood out to you in either story? 

  • Homework: Practice writing the new vocabulary words.

Day 4

  • Introduce and practice key grammar points from the texts.

  • Present Ban Zhao’s lessons for women in both Chinese and English. Discuss where in the texts from lesson 1 you can see the mothers living up to or trying to live up to these lessons. Discuss where you see these lessons coming into play in the clips from Crazy Rich Asians. 

  • Homework: Grammar exercise (incorporating new vocabulary and sentences about Chinese family values)

4. A plan for assessing student achievement

Day 5

  • Students will write an essay in Chinese summarizing and reacting to what they have learned about the role of gender and generation in the traditional Chinese family model and comparing and contrasting their own family structure and values with those of the authors of the texts or characters portrayed in Crazy Rich Asians. Students will use required target grammar patterns from the lesson. 

  • Students will label or match family member vocabulary words with images of characters from Crazy Rich Asians laid out on a family tree.