Old Monster Dog:YEAR 1-English-Explore

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.

Explore - Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning about key events, ideas and information in texts that they listen to, view and read by drawing on growing knowledge of context, text structures and language features


There are many children’s books that are written about Chinese New Year, such as:

  • Rippin, S. (1996). Fang Fang's Chinese New Year. Norwood, S. Aust.: Omnibus Books
    Fang Fang's mother encourages her daughter to invite Lisa, her non-Chinese friend, to share the family celebration of Chinese New Year. Fang Fang feels embarrassed about her different culture and is reluctant to do so, but eventually she does. To her amazement, Lisa is delighted to be a part of this celebration.
  • Cheng, C. & Wu, Di. & National Library of Australia, issuing body. (2016). Canberra, ACT: NLA Publishing
    The narrative weaves facts about Chinese culture into the story and illustrator, Di Wu, uses a traditional colour palette resembling Chinese brushes on rice paper.

Using informational references about Chinese New Year available to the class, have students start a list of everyday traditions that Chinese people complete at this time. They should investigate the special food that is eaten, decorations used in the houses and on the streets, the festival activities and events, e.g. dances, music, etc.

Investigate other celebrations of New Year

Ask students to also investigate how other Asian cultures (Korea—Seollal; Vietnam—Tet; Tibet—Losar) celebrate New Year/the Spring festival.

  • 11 Cultures that don’t celebrate New Year’s Day on Jan 1
  • Refer to number 11 in the above SBS reference, ‘Aboriginal Murador New Year’.
    The Murador people from Western Australian celebrated the New Year on a date that is close to the end of October. It was an important celebration and marked a time for friendship, reconciliation, and giving thanks to the year gone by. Murador culture and history lives on through found artefacts and written accounts.
  • Bunya festival
    Many groups of Aboriginal peoples would meet to share stories/food/language etc. and celebrate (not a new year’s celebration but a very large celebration held since ancient times). Suggested resource: Bunya Mountains Gathering

Discuss how families in Australia celebrate New Year and what activities characterise this celebration. Ask students to list ways in which their family celebrates New Year. Find the similarities and differences in the manners of New Year celebrations.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is also the start of the new lunar year. Have students find out when the next lunar year will start and which zodiac sign will be featured. Find out which zodiac sign corresponds to the birth year of each student and identify the zodiac signs of each year between their birth and the current year. Ask students to select which animal sign they would like to be of the 12 zodiac signs and have students find out which human behaviours characterise each sign. Ask students to find a picture of the animal that corresponds to the zodiac animal and create a class poster of the zodiac signs, the names of the signs and one word that describes the sign. Students can refer to books and websites on the subject such as:

Compare the Chinese zodiac signs (with Five Elements – wood, fire, earth, metal, water) with other astrology systems (such as Hindu and Mayan), as well as the Western zodiac system which has 12 signs belonging to four elements:

  • Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  • Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
  • Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
  • Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Have students develop their own questions about the different versions of zodiac signs. Direct these questions to why the zodiac is divided into four/five elements and what the four/five elements might symbolise about cultures of the past. Have students examine the symbols for each of the Zodiac signs: why were animals used to indicate months of the year and years of birth? Introduce students to the concept of a calendar and show students examples.

Access the NITV web page, and scroll down to find Dreamtime animals associated with birth dates. Compare the animals of the Dreamtime against the Western and Chinese zodiac animals: