Thursday, March 19, 2020

A Brief History of the Dragon Boat Festival

A Brief History of the Dragon Boat Festival The Dragon Boat Festival is called Duan Wu Jie in Chinese. Jie means festival.  The most popular theory of the origin of the festival is that it was derived from the  commemoration of a great patriot poet,  Qu Yuan. Since some of the well-known traditions of the festival existed even before Qu Yuan, other origins of the festival have also been suggested. Wen Yiduo suggested that the festival may be closely  associated with dragons  because two of its  most important activities, boat racing and eating zongzi, have ties to dragons. Another view is that the festival  originated from the taboo of evil days. The fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar is traditionally considered an evil month and the fifth of the month is particularly a bad day, so a lot of taboo had been developed. Most likely, the festival was gradually derived from all of the above,  and the story of Qu Yuan adds to the allure of the festival today. The Legend of the Festival Like other Chinese festivals, there is also a legend behind the festival. Qu Yuan served in the court of Emperor Huai during the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC). He was a wise and erudite man. His ability and fight against corruption antagonized other court officials. They exerted their evil influence on the emperor, so the emperor gradually dismissed Qu Yuan and eventually exiled him. During his exile, Qu Yuan did not give up. He traveled extensively, taught and wrote about his ideas. His works, the Lament (Li Sao), the Nine Chapters (Jiu Zhang), and Wen tian are masterpieces and invaluable for studying ancient Chinese culture. He saw the gradual decline of his mother country, the Chu State. And when he heard that the Chu State was defeated by the strong Qin State, he was in such despair that he ended his life by flinging himself into the Miluo River. Legend says after people heard he drowned, they were greatly dismayed. Fishermen raced to the spot in their boats to search for his body. Unable to find his body, people threw zongzi, eggs, and other food into the river to feed fish. Since then, people commemorated Qu Yuan through dragon boat races, eating zongzi and other activities on the anniversary of his death, the fifth of the fifth month. Festival Foods Zongzi is the most popular food for the festival. It  is a special kind of dumpling usually made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. Unfortunately, fresh bamboo leaves are hard to find. Today you may see zongzi in different shapes and with a variety of fillings. The most popular shapes are triangular and pyramidal. The fillings include dates, meat and egg  yolks, but the most popular fillings are dates. During the festival, people are reminded of the importance of loyalty and commitment to the community.  Dragon boat races may be Chinese in origin, but today they  are held worldwide.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Individualized Education Programs That Support Self Esteem

Individualized Education Programs That Support Self Esteem Self-esteem has fallen from the pinnacle of academic and scientific practice.  There is not necessarily a direct link between self-esteem and academic success. Resilience is getting a great deal of attention because the culture of coddling children for fear of injuring their self-esteem often discourages them from risk-taking, which has been shown to be related to success in school and life. Still, children with disabilities do need some extra attention paid to activities that will build their ability to take those risks, whether we call that resilience or self-esteem.   Self Esteem and Writing Positive Goals for IEPs The IEP, or Individualized Education Program- the document that defines the students special education program- should attend to ways in which instruction is mediated and success is measured that will enhance a childs self-confidence and lead to further success.   Certainly, these activities need to reinforce the kind of academic behavior you want, while at the same time pairing the childs sense of self-worth to success in school activities. If you are writing an IEP to ensure that your students will be successful, you will want to make sure that your goals are based on the students past performance and that they are stated positively. Goals and statements must be relevant to the students needs. Start slowly, choosing only a couple of behaviors at a time to change. Be sure to involve the student, this enables him/her to take responsibility and be accountable for his/her own modifications. Be sure to provide some time to enable the student to track and or graph his/her successes. Accommodations to Develop and Enhance Self-Esteem: Academic expectations will be reduced to ensure success. Be very specific about the exact curricular expectations that will be omitted or modified. Recognize and reward quality performance.Student strengths will be highlighted by recording and sharing evidence of growth.Honest and appropriate feedback will occur on a regular basis.Opportunities for the student to demonstrate strengths will be maximized as often as is possible. This could include, oral presentation and opportunities for the child to share his responses as long as the child is ready and can be successful.The student will be encouraged to become involved in extracurricular activities that support his/her interests and strengths.The student will use a form of personal expression which will include teacher response/feedback through a journal, one to one, or computer entries. Goal-Writing Tips Write goals that can be measured, be specific as to the duration or the circumstance under which the goal will be implemented and use specific time slots when possible. Remember, once the IEP is written, it is imperative that the student is taught the goals and fully understands what the expectations are. Provide him/her with tracking devices, students need to be accountable for their own changes.