Today, in honor of Chinese New Year, my students began working on their plum blossom paintings. I like this project because the black paint for the branches look somewhat like Asian characters. Students use a small, thick paintbrush to create this project. I had the students paint the branches with black tempura paint and they dry overnight. The next day, I place a small blob of glittery red tempera paint on a paper plate with a smaller blob of white tempera paint in the center of that red blob. The students simply poke their paintbrush into the center of the two colored blobs and then poke paint dots in small clumps on the branches. When this project dries, it looks like the petals have a small, shiny red coloring around the white-pink center. I have them paint on cream-colored paper to mimic rice paper. I also cut it sort of wavy on the sided. I then mat them on white and then mat those on black. The students write their names from top to bottom on either side of the branch. These look really beautiful in the classroom. Plum blossoms are collected and used as decorations during Chinese New Year because they celebrate new life coming from seemingly dead branches at the end of winter as spring comes on the horizon. The two books below are excellent resources to read with younger students. They explain a lot of the symbols that surround Chinese New Year. Thanks to my wonderful friend, Lori Lee, a Pre-School teacher at my school for this idea.