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«Curriculum Unit—Beijing Opera By Kaishan Kong Setting and Students: 1) The setting is university level and the students from different disciplines ...»

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Curriculum Unit—Beijing Opera

By Kaishan Kong

Setting and Students:

1) The setting is university level and the students from different disciplines are interested in learning Chinese. Chinese

is a selective course. It is a small class size of no more than 10 students in one class. The teacher and the

students meet for 60 minutes Monday to Friday.(e.g. Macalester College, University of Wisconsin-River Falls)

2) The learners are expected to be university students aged between 18-20. They have one year Chinese language background in university, and they have mastered the daily conversations in Chinese, such as greetings, selfintroduction, shopping, hobbies and weather.

Rationale and Reasons:

1) We develop this unit because we want to introduce some essential Chinese culture to the students. Chinese Opera, especially Beijing Opera (aka Peking Opera) is one of the cultural treasures of China and we want to expose our students to this important cultural aspect.

2) University students are adults and they enjoy talking about more mature and profound topics. When they talk about entertainment or art, they can draw connection and distinguish differences between western opera and Chinese opera. When they have a chance to visit China, they will be able to appreciate Beijing Opera better.

3) When teaching this unit, we will engage the students in appreciating, drawing and performing, which shall be interesting and inspirational to them. At the same time, through this culture introduction, they will be learning some relevant vocabulary and language points.


Relationship to the National and State Standards:

The five Cs will be reflected in this unit throughout the whole teaching process, but three main standards are selected to be the focus of our teaching results.(The three main standards will be listed in the following STAGE 1.)

1) Communication: When we introduce the opera masks, we will be teaching some Chinese adjectives in describing the personality and emotions. Then the students will learn to use this vocabulary to share their own personality and emotions.

2) Cultures: By using Vicki Galloway’s theory, the students will understand the Products, Practice and Perspectives of Beijing Opera through our introduction, so that in the future, they can appreciate Beijing Opera with a new and clearer understanding.

3) Connections: We will encourage the students to draw connection between this unit with other subject Performing Arts and try to understand our unit art.

4) Comparison: The students will be required to compare the opera in their own culture with Beijing Opera, to find out the “bridges” and the “boundaries”, in Vicki Galloway’s theory.

5) Communities: The in-class activities and assignments will involve the students to use the Chinese vocabulary to share with others what they have learned beyond the school setting.

–  –  –

Stage 1-Identifying the desired results

•Established goals:

Standard 1.1 “Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, exchange opinions.”   Standard 2.1 “Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures of the Chinese-speaking world.” Standard 2.2 “Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures of the Chinese-speaking world.”

•Desired Understandings:

Students will understand that—

1. Beijing Opera is the cultural treasure of China and it reflects a wide variety of Chinese culture, ranging from history, classic literature to daily life.

2. Opera is a cultural product and a unique performing art to mirror its authentic culture. Appreciating different operas requires certain cultural knowledge background and open-mindedness.

3. Even though not every student may like Beijing Opera, it is expected that everyone is willing to accept its existence and learn to appreciate the difference.

•Essential Questions:

1. What is the function of opera?

2. What was the origin of Beijing Opera and why was it popular?

3. Do you find Beijing Opera very noisy and hard to understand? How do you deal with that?

4. What are the differences between different regional operas in China?

5. How do opera performers convey their story plots and their emotions?

6. What is the connection between Beijing Opera and Chinese culture?


•Knowledge and Skills:

Students will knowVarious aspects of Beijing Opera, history, development, characters, make-up, masks, movements, costumes.

2. Some special Chinese terms used in Beijing Opera, such as the names of different characters and movements.

3. Some grammar and vocabulary to express their emotions and simply discuss their appreciation or understanding of Beijing Opera.

4. How to compare Beijing Opera and the opera from their own culture.

Stage 2—Assessment Evidence

•Formative Assessment

1. Play different regional operas and distinguish whether it is Beijing opera or not.(cultural aspect) Evidence: This assessment aims to find out whether the students have very preliminary awareness of Beijing Opera. It will be conducted in a simple way. When we play these video clips, students will put a ‘check’ or ‘cross’ to identify whether the video is Beijing Opera or not. They will not be required to identify which regional opera it is.

Then the teachers will count how many students can make the right identification.

2. Each student has 1 minute to share what they have seen in the movie ‘Mei Lanfang’.(language respect) Evidence: Students can use basic Chinese to explain what they have seen. Also it is a good way to find out whether students have questions about Beijing Opera after watching the movie.

3.Matching words and pictures(language aspect)   Evidence: Students will be able to follow the teacher’s instructions to match the costume and characters pictures with the proper Chinese terms.

4. Interview and report (cultural and language) Evidence: Students will be able to use Chinese language to ask and describe the masks they have painted with your partner and explain the personality the mask represents. Then each person will have one minute to introduce their partner’s mask and personality.

5. TPR (culture and language) Evidence: Students will work as a pair to come out for the assessment. Student A will pick a written instruction of a series of actions and read it out loud to student B. Student B will perform the actions. It tests Student A’s reading and speaking abilities and student B’s listening and understanding. Then these two students will exchange roles.

•Summative assessment: Combination of Paper and PowerPoint Presentation

1. Students will be assigned to write a paper in English comparing Beijing opera and western opera on one aspect.

It can be one of the aspects covered in class or any other aspect the students have discovered after their own research. Students can work on the final project as an individual or with a partner.

2. Based on the paper they finished, the students have to bring out the highlights and create a short PowerPoint Presentation in Chinese.

Evidence: This assessment aims to guide the students to review all the cultural aspects covered in the class, and encourage them to develop more knowledge and understanding of Beijing Opera. The students will do more research to finish the paper and draw comparison between Chinese culture and their own culture. The PowerPoint Presentation is a test of their language proficiency.

 Stage 3—Learning Plan

Learning Activities:

1. Show video clip of Beijing Opera to lead in to the theme.

2. Ask questions to provoke thinking.

3. Use TALKING POSTER (有声拼音挂图)to display differences in different regional operas in China, and the different musical instruments used in Beijing Opera.

4. Use explanation, TPR, matching game, role play to practice the language words and grammar taught in this unit, such as the vocabulary on emotions, colors, clothes, movements, body parts.

5. Paint a Beijing Opera mask to better understand its underlying personality and to practice their expressions in Chinese.

6. Use prediction game to introduce the Beijing Opera movements and the meanings.

7. Teaching pop songs that integrate Beijing Opera and show various cultural products to help them understand the intertwined relationship between this traditional culture and pop culture.

–  –  –


3.characteristics of Beijing Opera: 生旦净丑,基本功(说唱念打),音乐 Language 1.复习以往学过的生字词和句型。Students will be able to review the different names for Chinese places.

Objectives 2.Learn some new terms about “剧”, such as 戏曲/徽剧/京剧/川剧/豫剧/越剧/粤剧 Teaching 1. Lead-in: show videos of Beijing opera Procedure & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDbIyhsAKRk&feature=related 

2. Introduce the different regional operas in China and learn their Chinese names (use the TALKING POSTER Activities 拼音有声挂图)

3. Students learn “name of a place+剧”and practice.

4. Students review other vocabulary about places.

5. Use two Chinese sentences to test if the students can find out some information about Beijing Opera.

“京剧形成于北京,时间是在 1840 年前后,盛行于 20 世纪三、四十年代,时有“国剧”之称。现在它仍是 具有全国影响的大剧种。” 

6. Introduce the characteristics of Beijing Opera: 生旦净丑,基本功(说唱念打),音乐

7. Appreciate the video clips of classic Beijing Opera performances ‘贵妃醉酒’‘霸王别姬’and help the students identify the characteristics of Beijing Opera in these clips.

8. Introduction of Mei Lanfang,one of the most famous Beijing Opera performers in Chinese history.

Assessment Play different regional operas and distinguish whether it is Beijing opera or not.

Assignment Watch the movie “Mei Lanfang”(Chinese dubbing and English subtitle), and be prepared to retell some highlights of the movie.

  Teaching -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDbIyhsAKRk&feature=related  Materials or -拼音有声挂图 Talking Poster Resources -several video clips of various operas.

-audio-visual materials about Mei Lanfang (Confucius Institute) DAY 2 Cultural Students will understand the characteristics of costumes and different characters of the Beijing Opera.

Objectives Language 1.Students will review the Chinese vocabulary about clothes.

Objectives 2.Students will learn some special terms for the opera costumes and props, such as 冠,盔帽、髯口、 头面、翎子、靠旗.

3.Students will learn the Chinese terms for Beijing Opera characters. 生,旦,净,丑 Teaching 1. Assessment of last assignment: Each student has 1 minute to share what they have seen in the Procedure & movie Mei Lanfang.

Activities 2. Review the Chinese vocabulary about clothes with the students.

3. Introduce the Beijing Opera costumes and teach their Chinese names (with pictures or/and real costumes).

4. Compare the different names of the same type of clothes in daily life and in Beijing Opera.

–  –  –

Assessment Matching words and pictures:

Students will be able to follow the teacher’s instructions to match the costume and characters pictures with the proper Chinese terms.

Assignment x Teaching -Pictures and video clips of costumes and roles in Beijing Opera.

Materials or -Real costumes used in Beijing Opera.

Resources -Prepare flashcards with the Chinese words.

DAY 3 Cultural 1.Students will learn about the extravagant make-up in Beijing Opera.

Objectives 2.Students will understand different meanings of colorful masks in Beijing Opera.

3.Students will understand the relationship between product and perspectives in Beijing Opera culture.

Language 1. Students will review the vocabulary of colors.

Objectives 2. Students will learn a list of adjectives indicating personality and emotions.


3. Students will use the vocabulary to make simple conversation and introduce their mask.

Teaching 1.Lead-in questions Procedure & ¢你听过京剧吗?你喜欢不喜欢? Activities ¢2、京剧是意大利的文化吧? ¢3、你觉得京剧有意思还是意大利歌剧有意思? ¢4、你知道中国有名的京剧演员是谁吗?(if the answer is Mei Lanfang)你看过关于他的电影吗?你认 为那个电影怎么样?

2. Guess the word according to the picture, and introduce make-up in Beijing Opera.

3. Distinguish the different make-up for different roles.

4. Introduce masks and the roles they represent: 净,丑。

5. Activity1: Watch video ‘说唱脸谱’and answer questions.

6. Show different masks and ask the students to review their vocabulary of colors, and ask them to guess the meaning of each mask. The teacher will give the correct answer and explain more.

7. The students will learn the adjectives for personality and the language structure.

8. Activity 2: Student chooses a famous character and draws a mask for her/him and ask their study partner to guess who the character is. The student also has to explain why choosing that color on the mask.

9.Introduce the characteristics of masks.

Assessment Interview and report (cultural and language) Students will use the Chinese language to ask and describe the masks they have painted with their partner and explain the personality the mask represents. Then each person will have one minute to introduce their partner’s mask and personality.

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