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Primary students bringing Chinese Idioms alive!

For the last three weeks, Primary students have had lots of creative fun in their form classes as our Mandarin teachers worked with them on a Chinese culture project. The challenge we gave to students was to understand and bring alive, through short plays or picture stories, some well-known Chinese idioms.

Chinese Idioms

By Fiona McConnon, Head of Global Languages

Our students were amazing, using a variety of ways to remember the characters – Year 3 children learnt the character for bird before creating a jigsaw game with the character.

Children in the Year 4 Native Mandarin class used matchsticks to remember the Chinese characters of the idiom 井底之蛙 (jǐng dǐ zhī wā) - the frog at the bottom of the well.

Children then learnt about the story behind the idiom 井底之蛙 (jǐng dǐ zhī wā) - the frog at the bottom of the well and produced a story book where they analysed the characters in the story and described what they liked best in the story. They explained the importance of being more open-minded and knowing that there is always more to explore in the world, rather than having your sight restricted like a frog  at the bottom of the well who has only a narrow view of the sky. The children then used their creativity to create an alternative ending. 

Chinese Idioms

In Years 5 and 6, students learnt the story behind the Chinese idiom 鹬蚌相争, 渔翁得利(yùbàng xiāngzhēng, yúwēng délì) -when the sandpiper and the clam are locked in a fight, it is the fisherman who will benefit! Some students in Year 6 acted out a short play to show that when two parties fight, the third party will gain the reward. Others made and used leather shadow puppets to show the moral of the story. 

At BISS, we always encourage children to adapt and develop new ideas.

At BISS, we always encourage children to adapt and develop new ideas. Some students created short plays and adapted the moral of the story to create ‘The Flamingo and the Crab fight’. 


They added their own twist to the story at the end showing a fantastic understanding of the idiom. Others  produced a stop motion animation with wonderful sound effects showing how the sandpiper and the clam came to an unfortunate end.  

All in all, the final pieces of work were of a very high standard and the children had a wonderful time creating their works.


All in all, the final pieces of work were of a very high standard and the children had a wonderful time creating their works.

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The British International School Shanghai, Puxi

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金光路111号华漕镇上海市 闵行区201107

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