The teaching plan for open class (1)

Teaching Plan for “Chinese Zodiac” (Grade 1)


Teacher: Zheng Xuan


Course Introduction

“China” is a course specially designed for the deaf students in Confucius Classroom at MDS. Based on physiological and psychological characteristics of deaf students, we choose CSL (Chinese Sign Language) and ASL (American Sign Language) as the main teaching languages with the goal to learn Chinese language, history and culture. This course is taught by a Chinese deaf teacher and the students are almost from every grade in the school. The teaching frequency is once a week.


Class Introduction

The teacher in charge of this class is Sara. There are 5 students in the class, including 1 deaf-blind student and 1 autistic student (He is absent for this class). There are also 1 assistant teacher and 1 resource teacher for the deaf-blind student.


Teaching objectives

  • Students can understand that Chinese zodiac signs are similar to the western zodiac signs and play an important role in Chinese traditional culture. They should know the Chinese zodiac signs are mainly used as the year makers and can find their zodiac sign corresponding to the birth year.
  • Students can recognize the eleven kinds of animals in the nature and one animal as national totem: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
  • Students learn the Chinese signs for the 12 animals and understand its motivation, then compare them with the ASL signs.
  • Students can understand the characteristics of the images and behaviors of these 12 animals.

Teaching materials

  • A PPT for “Chinese Zodiac”
  • A set of Chinese Zodiac hand puppets
  • A whiteboard
  • A black marker pen


Teaching process

  • At first, the teacher shows the twelve western zodiac signs and asks students how much do they understand them, which leads the topic to Chinese traditional Chinese zodiac.
  • Introduce that everyone has his own zodiac sign according to his birth year, then ask the students to find their own zodiac on the screen. The teacher will timely affirme the results they seek and repeat in ASL words to strengthen their memory: “tiger boy”, “ox girl”, and so on. As the students are very young, this step needs to be supported by the assistant teacher.
  • Display the pictures of Chinese zodiac signs and lead the students to review the American sign language.
  • Teach each CSL sign for Chinese Zodiac one by one and guide students to think and understand the motivation behind the words. The teacher will use the teaching aid when needed, for example, when teaching “snake” sign, the hand puppet for snake will be showed to the students so that they can observe the tip of the tongue and get to know why we use V handshape to represent the snake.
  • Games: Give out the hand puppets of the Chinese Zodiac randomly to the four students. Every students will get three placing in front of them. Then the teacher sign the CSL words for some certain animal and the student involved should immediately put on the hands puppet and raise his hand. After repeating for several times, the teachers replace the hand puppets and then continue with the game. In the second half of the game, the teacher offered a chance to the deaf-blind boy so he can act as the teacher—He signed in front of others and the other students gave him feedbacks. It looks like he love the feeling of leading the game so much.


Experience Summarization and Teaching Reflection

  • It is very essential for low-grade teaching to use interesting teaching aids and to design activities appropriately. The hand puppets greatly enhance the effect of classroom teaching and make the atmosphere more active.
  • I haven’t expected that the first-grade students may know nothing about western zodiac at all. Perhaps the comparative method may only be suitable to the high-grade students.
  • It can be considered that we put each animals’ English name and Chinese name at the same time on the screen to maximize the visualization and to make the students have an intuitive experience of the visual beauty of Chinese characters and some opportunities to practice English fingerspelling.
  • Since the students are too young, the teaching progress can be even slower in the future, which can save more time for practice and exercise. For example, the “Chinese Zodiac” can be divided into two classes so that each animal can be described more exactly and introduced deeply.




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