Old Monster Dog:YEAR 1-English-Engage

Little J is initially scared to approach the ‘monster’ in the back yard. Encouraged to face his fears, he vows to catch the frilly-necked monster and sets about building a monster trap with the help of Levi.

Engage - Discuss characters and events in a range of literary texts and share personal responses to these texts, making connections with students' own experiences


Ask students about their prior understanding and experiences of Chinese New Year and why they think a dragon is the symbol of New Year. As a class, view the next three versions of the story of Nian.

Each of the animations have common elements to the story of Nian, and each of the three animations have differences. Ask students to suggest what they perceive as the differences in how the story of Nian was portrayed and list these on the IWB/board.

Have students suggest whether these differences were a result of:

  • information – the facts of the story
  • imagination – how the story was told
  • persuasion – how the filmmaker wanted the audience to feel about Nian.

Discuss the difference in these three different purposes of a text.

View: Fortune Tales - The Legend of Chinese New Year 

Ask students to note what they identify as the three things that Chinese people need to do at New Year to protect themselves from the dragon monster, Nian. The students should be able to suggest:

  • the colour red
  • fire/fireworks
  • loud banging/clanging sounds

Show students a video clip of a Dragon Dance, such as:

Have students list the ways that the three protective elements are evident in the dragon dance.

As a class, design and construct a paper dragon that would represent their local environment. Suggested resource: Make a Chinese dragon

  • The class should agree on the three elements they would adopt as essential for protection, and the construction of their dragon should include all three.
  • The head of their dragon could be modelled on an Australian animal prevalent in their local environment. The body should include a support stick for each student. The body could be decorated with colours, words and symbols. Once constructed, the students could perform a dance through the school.