ROUND IS A MOONCAKE
Round is a Mooncake
Author: Roseanne Thong
Illustrator: Grace Lin
A Chinese girl tells in a poetic style about the different shapes she sees
Study by Michelle Armstrong; additional lessons by E. Rekamah; LA lesson extensions
by Ami Brainerd
View this book on-line!
Several different types of Chinese are spoken, but the most popular
dialect or kind is called Mandarin. The Chinese do not have an
alphabet. Their written language is a system of symbols or pictures
called hanzi. This is how to count to ten: yee (1), uhr (2), sahn (3),
suh (4), woo (5), lyo (6), chee (7), bah (8), jo (9), shur (10).
Worksheet for writing Chinese numbers
China is home to the Giant Panda, South Chinese Tiger, Takin, Yak, Sun
Bear, Red Panda, Golden Lion Tamarin and the Chinese Alligator.
Culture- Holidays: Chinese Moon Festival:
The Moon Festival is a very important day in the lives of the Chinese.
It is as important as Christmas or Thanksgiving for us. The festival
marks the end of one harvest season and the beginning of another. On
this day, the moon shines brighter and bigger than any other night.
Children are allowed to stay up late to watch the moon rise while eating
their mooncakes. Some will have them with tea.
There are several legends surrounding the Moon Festival. One includes a
story of a woman who drank a potion and floated to the moon. Another
tell of rebels who used the mooncakes to pass secret plans to overthrow
the oppressive government. Another tells of a man who wanted to live
forever but did not have the patience to listen and learn.
Just like the turkey is important to thanksgiving, mooncakes are
important to the Moon Festival. Mooncakes come in different flavors.
Some are sweet. Some are not. Since the cakes are labor intensive,
many choose to buy them at local bakeries.
Here is a recipe of
Since the recipe might be a little overwhelming,
here is an easy recipe
for moon pies, just for fun:
Arts: Poetry- Rhyme
Look for the rhyme patterns in the poem. Roseanne Thong usually rhymes
the second line with the fourth. What other rhyme patterns does she use?
If your student is old enough, you may want to type up the poem and let him
label the rhyme scheme (A, B, C, B, etc.).
You may also have fun writing some of the rhyming words down on a separate sheet
of paper and see how many MORE words you and your student can think of that
rhyme with the word from the poem. For example, Ms. Thong uses the word
moon to rhyme with room. What else rhymes with those words?
(spoon, doom, tomb, balloon, tune, noon, dune, soon, etc.).
Language Arts: Poetry- Mimic the Poet
We often encourage our aspiring artists to imitate the
illustrator to learn a new art technique; we should also encourage our aspiring
writers to imitate the author’s style to learn more about writing.
Your child may want to try to write a poem similar to Roseanne Thong’s. There
are a few different options to do this (prepared pages are provided for you if
you click on the link).
#1 Simple (fill in the blanks with things
that are round)
#2 Difficult (fill in the blanks with
things that are round AND keep the same rhyme scheme as Ms. Thong’s).
#3 Advanced (fill in the blanks keeping
the same amount of words as Ms. Thong AND keep the same rhyme scheme). You
could also add an extra challenge for your older student by requiring that he
keep the same amount of syllables.
If your student enjoys this exercise, consider letting him try to mimic the
lines about squares or rectangles, too.
Language Arts: Compound Words
You may want to introduce your student to compound words-- two words joined
together to form a new word. Many examples of compound words can be found
in the text and illustrations of this story. You may want to make a list
with your student, or you may want to play this
prepared Concentration Game
(instructions included) with your student.
Here are some of the examples from the book (the ones used for the game
Concentration Game Instructions
Print one copy of this file
(preferably on cardstock) and cut the cards out or make your own cards using
index cards. Place the cards on a table face down (don’t peek as you place
them on the table). You may want to place them in rows.
Player #1 gets to turn over 2 cards. If the cards make a compound word
(from the story—the colors should match), then he gets to pick them up and
add them to his pile. If no match is made, the cards get returned to their
spots (facing down). Player #2 takes a turn following the same
instructions as Player #1.
Players keep taking turns until all the matches have been made. The player
with the most matches wins the game.
Language Arts: Memory/Listmaking
The little girl in the book has a lot of pets! Can your
student remember the pets she has? (goldfish, mouse, kittens, crickets).
Make a list with your student of animals that are kept as pets; write down
as many as you can think of! This may also lead into a science
lesson/discussion about pets and the care of pets.
Language Arts: Unknown Words
Write any unknown words on a
piece of paper (or in a notebook).
Abacus: A traditional Chinese "calculator" that uses beads to add,
subtract, multiply and divide.
Dim Sum: small steamed or fried treats. The word means "a little heart"
Inking Stones: Flat stone trays for grinding ink for Chinese paintings
Mooncakes: Round cakes with sweet fillings eaten during the Mid-Autumn
Name Chops: Wood or stone stamps carved with a person's (Chinese) name.
A few more not defined by the book:
Paintbrush racks: For hanging special brushes used in Chinese writing
Jasmine Tea: tea that has been infused with the fragrance of the Jasmine
Radish cakes: a white steamed cake that is popular to eat during the
festival. These cakes are usually steamed as many homes in China do not
Poh Poh: grandma
With your young student, introduce the shapes and definitions.
With your older student, review. Use the following
activities as appropriate.
Rectangles have four sides. Two are short and two are long.
Draw a rectangle for your student and let him copy it.
Look around the room (or wherever you are and find some
rectangles-- the front door, the power outlet, light switch
plate, crib, speaker, phone, cereal box, window, etc.)
Squares have four equal sides. Draw a square or let your
student draw one. Now, draw a line from one corner of
the square to the opposite corner. Now you have two isosceles
triangles. Again, wherever you are, find squares-- blocks, board
books, CD Case, etc. If you're ambitious, let your student
tell you things he thinks are square and then measure them to
check (all sides should be equal). After you've found a
true square, find the 2
triangles in the square.
Circles never end. Put a dot in the very middle of the circle.
Draw a line from the edge of the circle straight across through
the dot to the other side. This line is the diameter. Draw
another line from the middle of the circle to the edge. This is
Parallel lines never cross. Draw several sets of lines on a
sheet of paper. Have some of them intersect. Draw some of them
You could also define each shape in a mini-book. Add
pictures cut out from magazines (or simply let your student draw
Look around your house or in your community like the girl did in
this book for the same shapes. Then look for other shapes. Are
there any you do not know? Count how many sides you see on any
new shapes and learn the names of shapes with more sides.
Shape Song: (sung to Jingle Bells)
Tri-an-gles, have three sides
Rec-tan-gles have four
Pent-a-gons, have five sides
Hex-a-gons one more, OH
Sep-ta-gons have seven sides
Octa-gons have eight
Now I've learned all these shapes
And I think they're great!
For your younger learners, you may
want to pick a shape
book to make from Enchanted Learning
Science: Astronomy (Moon's Orbit)
The moon orbits around the earth. An orbit is a circular path around an
object. The moon’s path around the Earth is elliptical (oval).
1. Draw a circle on a sheet of paper that takes up most of the paper.
Have the child draw or color things that are on the Earth in the
circle. (Trees, water, animals, children, houses, etc). Cut out the
2. Draw a tiny circle (about the size of a half dollar) on another sheet
of paper. Have the child color the moon/draw rocks. Cut out the
Discussion: Why is the earth full of different colors, but the moon is
not? The moon doesn’t have the things people, animals, fish, insects,
plants need to live: water, air, food. Also, the moon at times is too
hot and at others too cold.
Have one person stand in the middle of the room with the earth. Have
another walk around the earth with the moon. The moon is now orbiting
We cannot live on the moon but we have visited it. The men and women
that have been there have had to take their own water, food and air to
Links to space travel sites:
Science: Biology-- Living vs. Non-living
Unlike the moon, the earth has both living and nonliving things. Living
things are classified by several characteristics:
1. Living things are made of cells.
2. Living things obtain and use energy.
3. Living things grow and develop.
4. Living things reproduce.
5. Living things respond to the environment.
6. Living things adapt to the environment.
For young children, you can simplify the classifications to three
1. Does it need food/water?
2. Does it grow?
Go through Round is a Mooncake and classify things from the
illustrations into two categories (living and non-living). You can also
make a nature journal of living and nonliving things.
There are four treasured Chinese arts: painting, poetry (see
Rabbit Trails), calligraphy and seal carving
In the book, we see the little girl using a paintbrush and
ink. She is creating calligraphy. In China, calligraphy is an
art and those who master it are recognized as artists. The
brush is held straight up and down and doesn’t touch the palm of
the hand. At this website, there are instructions on how to use
the seven basic strokes and gives a few easy examples of Chinese
symbols to practice:
Art: Seal Carving or Name Chops:
The seals or name chops are used to sign documents or
artwork. Usually the chops are made of wood or stone. It
took a talented carver to accurately carve the symbol. Try
making your own chops. An adult will need to do the
carving, but the child will have fun stamping his mark on his
paintings and calligraphy drawings. Use the first letter
of the child’s name or a number to represent the child’s age.
You can use a potato.
The brush for painters is similar to a watercolor brush. The
Chinese word for brush is pi.
The ink is a dry cake that is placed on an inking stone where
water is added to it. The Chinese word for ink is mo.
Traditionally, the Chinese painter would use paper or silk to
paint on. The paper ranges in thickness. Try using a variety of
paper and inks. You can use anything from watercolor paper,
notebook paper, construction paper, rice paper, or even tissue
paper. Show how the difference in paper demands a reduction or
addition of water in the ink.
Other characteristics of Chinese painting: never have a crowded
composition, water always is seen with it’s source, trees never
have less than four branches, far and clear need to be clearly
distinguished, paths should lead somewhere. There are many
others defined in the 13th century by artist, Jao Tzu-jan.
Art/Language Arts: Poetry
This "story" is written in poem form. Read some
Chinese poetry with your student. Often the
technique used in literary works is lost when translated but
here are a few links to read and/or hear Chinese poetry.
Just For Fun:
Have a jasmine tea party!
Make a square pizza
Color Shi Shi Lions
Have a money tree for a special
event (birthday, anniversary, holiday)
Find a recording of traditional Chinese music to listen to
Shape Word Pieces Puzzle
a Puppet Show!
Rabbit Trails and Resources
Study about crickets (what they
eat, where they live, how they make sound, etc). Then if possible, capture and
For cricket lesson plan ideas see A Song for Lena
or The Very Quiet Cricket (other HSS units)
More Abacus Links
http://www.geocities.com/learner_center/abacus.html Gives instructions to
make your own abacus;
This tells much of the same as prior link with a practice “session”.
The Chinese have fashioned instruments out of clay,
metal silk, bamboo, wood, gourd, animal hides and
stone. Just like an orchestra, the Chinese orchestra
has different sections: plucked strings: liuqin, yangqin,
ruan, yueqin, guzheng, guquin, sanzxian; bowed strings:
erhu, jinghu, gaohu, gehu, banhu, matouqin; blown
woodwinds: dizi, xiao, guan, xun, souna, sheng; and
percussion: bangu, bo, bianzhong, tanggu, muyu, luo,
Go along books:
Grandfather Tang’s Story
The Story About Ping (FIAR Volume I)
Daisy Comes Home by Jan