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Foundation – Year 2: 'The Magic Pumpkin' – Halloween and Ghost FestivalBookmark

Learning area: Geography, Health and Physical Education, History, Language: Chinese
Year level: Foundation, Year 1, Year 2
Country: China
General capability: Intercultural understanding

This learning sequence explores celebrations, holidays and festivals that are known and/or celebrated in the classroom, focusing specifically on Halloween. It is also aligned to the 'Magic Pumpkin' episode of the Australian Children's Television Foundation series Hoopla Doopla and explores different ways of moving, focusing on circus dance and gymnastics, culminating with a final movement performance piece.

The Hoopla Doopla: English & Chinese Language Resource contains the English and Mandarin language versions of 13 selected episodes from the Hoopla Doopla! TV series. They are available for purchase and download from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation at: Hoopla Doopla:  English & Mandarin Language Episodes for Download

Episode Synopsis: Episode 43 - The Magic Pumpkin

Squidgie has planted pumpkin seeds so they will grow into Halloween pumpkins, but her pumpkins are not growing and it will soon be Halloween. Luckily Jango has a tricky plan.

Hoopla Doopla Background

In the town of Hoopla live six extraordinary characters each with their own amazing physical skill: Mimi runs the café and looks after everyone in town while juggling muffins and milkshakes; Ziggy, the shop keeper, does magic tricks which go in surprising directions; Zap, the town messenger, delivers packages in the most acrobatic manner possible; Bop, Mr Fix-It is able to lift almost anything; flexible Squidgie looks after the town garden and can often be found inside a pot-plant, finally Jango, the street sweeper, is always playing tricks and causing mischief.

Hoopla Doopla! is a unique and ground breaking show for 3-7 year olds, using physical action and comedy to drive the story. They tumble, juggle, leap and somersault in and out of trouble. However, whenever anything goes wrong - and it usually does - they always have each other to fall back on.

Hoopla Doopla! is a co-production between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and China Central Television.  There are 52 x 12-minute episodes with both English and Chinese language versions. It was filmed in in Beijing with a mix of Chinese and Australian crew and performers.

Related resources


This learning sequence has been developed in partnership with the Australian Children's Television Foundation

Australian Childrens Television Foundation logo

Images: Lampion-chinese-lanterns-autumn – Pixabay

Activity 1: Engage

Cast on set

  1. Students work in small groups using the Visible Thinking Routine 'Think, Puzzle, Explore' to record initial ideas on VoiceThread or GarageBand about Halloween:
    • What do you think you know about this topic?
    • What questions or puzzles do you have?
    • How can you explore this topic?
  2. Elicit birthdays as a kind of celebration and ask students to share when their birthdays are. Students make a 'five-finger list' (one item per finger on one hand) of celebrations, holidays and festivals they know. Students share ideas back to the class and record them on Padlet. Brainstorm as a class and highlight any that are specific to a culture, e.g. Chinese New Year and the Thai water throwing festival of Songkran.
  3. Students write and draw on a shape template their name and/or a small image to represent a celebration, holiday or festival which reflects a time of personal significance to them. As a class, order them on a class timeline, across a year. Students then discuss the events on the timelines, using time phrases such as before, after, next, and then. Students then share their sentences with the class and the teacher records them on the board, e.g. Hassim's birthday is before Susan's and Tony's birthday is after Mike's. Christmas comes after Susan's, Tony's and Mike's birthdays.
  4. Introduce the festival of Halloween. Students share their own experiences celebrating Halloween (personal or films watched and books read), and brainstorm what they know about Halloween on Padlet.


Images: Hoopla Doopla - Australian Children's Television Foundation

Activity 2: Explore

  1. Watch Hoopla Doopla! episode 43: 'The Magic Pumpkin', which is about Halloween. Elicit what the characters did to celebrate it (hang decorations, etc) and add answers to the class brainstorm as necessary.
  2. Explore more about how Halloween is celebrated as a class using the Halloween PPT.
  3. Elicit where students think the Hoopla village is set and where the characters are from; explain that some are from Australia and some are from China. Look at Australia on an interactive map. Discuss the different colours and what they can see and identify the difference between land and sea; islands, states and cities. Students practise zooming in and out to see closer and further perspectives on the country. Using Scribble Maps on a class board or individual devices, make some initial observations about geographical divisions, e.g. countries they know, the equator, oceans and land. Students find where Australia and China are, discuss how close or far they think they are from one another. Ask: how long would it take on a plane to go to China? Has anyone in the class been there on holiday, is anyone originally from there or does anyone have relatives there?
  4. Elicit where Halloween 'comes from' (America). Students locate America on Scribble Maps, assist as necessary. Ask: how long would it take on a plane to go to America? Has anyone been there on holiday, is anyone originally from there or does anyone have relatives there? Review/teach concept of north, south, east and west. Ask students to make sentences (writing or speaking) using north, south, east and west using Scribble Maps (or a globe) and the three countries: China, Australia and America. Students share their sentences with the class.
  5. Elicit any countries in the class where the students have connections, e.g. they were born there, their parents were born there, they have been there on holiday, their parents go there to for work, etc. Find or ask students to find these countries on Scribble Maps. Ask students to make sentences (writing or speaking) using north, south, east and west using Scribble Maps and focusing on any countries covered so far. Students share their sentences.

    *Ask students to research further connections they or their families might have globally.

  6. Ask students if they think Halloween is celebrated in China. Explain that it is not a Chinese festival, however, it is becoming more popular and some Chinese people like to celebrate it. China, however, does have its' own 'Ghost' festival. Split the class into two groups; Group A and Group B.

    Group A watches What Halloween Is song to introduce Halloween. 
    Group B watches The Hungry Ghost or Gui Jie Celebration video.
    After watching, students work with a partner from the same group to identify key points on how the holiday is celebrated, drawing five images with or without key words on cards to represent that holiday. Students then join another pair from the other group and share and compare their two holidays and visual representations. Use the Venn Diagram Maker to document their ideas.
  7. As a class students share their new learnings about Halloween and the teacher adds these onto the class Padlet brainstorm.
  8. Refer to the episode 'The Magic Pumpkin'. Ask: what did Mimi want to do and how did Jango help her achieve it? Why did she want to grow the pumpkins? Did everyone else have to pay to take part in Halloween festival? (Yes.) Why did Jango help her? (So she could also take part in the festivities and achieve her aim of growing a pumpkin for pumpkin carving.) Ask students to remember their first day and think and discuss how they felt and if people helped them. If so, how did people help?
  9. Discuss which emotions the characters experienced in the episode. (Fear of the scary costumes, and worry that Jango's secret might be revealed.) Discuss how and why Mimi felt at the end when the pumpkin had grown. (Happy, excited.) Brainstorm emotions together as an Inspiration mindmap. Then students work in pairs and make a face to express an emotion; partner then guesses.
  10. Emotion 'Bus Stop': have posters around the room with different emotions on them and images that convey the emotion. Students work in small groups and complete the bus stop activity, walking around the room and stopping at each poster on a sound signal. At each poster they should discuss what situations they feel that emotion in. Walk a second time round and discuss how they can respond appropriately when someone is feeling that emotion. (What can they say and do?)
  11. Provide a list on the board of Halloween characters, e.g. cat, witch, zombie, ghost and vampire. Students work in small groups, choosing a character and moving like the character (without dialogue), while the rest of the group guesses which character they are. Discuss as a class: how did students determine the differences between the ways the various characters moved? Discuss different ways of moving and using different elements of movement, e.g. slow, fast or jerky.
  12. Do a quick warm-up together. Students make a movement piece in small groups about a Halloween scenario using different elements of movement, e.g. visiting a haunted house or going trick or treating. Perform to each other.
  13. Students re-watch the opening sequence of Hoopla Doopla, focusing on how the characters move and identifying adjectives to describe this. Discuss what style of movement they use, e.g. gymnastics, circus or dance. Students now rework the same piece and try to include some elements of gymnastics or circus movement, e.g. cartwheels or using hoops.

Activity 3: Reflect

  1. As a class, discuss the movement pieces. How were they different from the first set of performances, when they tried to include elements of gymnastics or circus movements?
  2. In small groups, students share how their bodies felt after doing the movement pieces and identify ways we can look after the body after it participates in physical activities, e.g. drink water, rest and wear warm clothing.
  3. Students share and discuss their own experiences in gymnastics, circus or dance in small groups. Discuss if they have participated in and/or seen these kinds of performances and what kinds of movements different types of performances make, e.g. gymnastics uses flips, twirls and leaps. Share their ideas with the class.
  4. Review the countries Australia, America and China on a world globe using Scribble Maps.
  5. Lead a discussion around helping. Ask: why should we help others? How do we feel when we help others? How do we feel when others help us? If a new student started in their class, what could be done to make them feel welcome?
  6. Students re-listen to their initial thinking recordings on Halloween in pairs using the Visible Thinking Routine ‘Think, Puzzle, Explore’:
    • What do you think you know about this topic?
    • What questions or puzzles do you have?
    • How can you explore this topic?
    Students see if they can answer any of their initial questions on the topic now.

Activity 4: Chinese – Second Language Pathway list:

Access to Scootle digital content

Digital content has been incorporated into these learning sequences to support student learning. A link is provided to open each of these Scootle digital resources.

To access the Scootle digital content in these learning sequences you will need to create an account or login.

  1. Show the world map on Google Maps to the class and highlight China. Ask the students which language/s is/are spoken in China. Watch the video Real Chinese: Basic Greetings from 2:30 to 3:00. Ask if anyone in the class speaks Chinese or if they know anyone who speaks Chinese. Highlight that many people in Australia speak Mandarin or Cantonese (the 2011 Census showed 1.6% of Australia's population spoke Mandarin and 1.3% spoke Cantonese1). Give an overview of the difference between the two languages, e.g. Cantonese is a dialect spoken in Guangdong, a southern province in China and is also used in Hong Kong. Mandarin has four tones but Cantonese has six to nine tones. Identify which other languages are spoken in the class. Together as a class or as individual students, find the countries those language come from on Scribble Maps, if you didn't find them in the first part of the lesson.
  2. Discuss: What do you notice is different to English? (Tones, characters and order of sentences.) Introduce the difference in tones: show Fun Fun Elmo Episode 1 (2:20) to introduce the four tones and copy the model of sounding out the first tone.
    For a more detailed explanation of tones, watch Chinese with Mike Tones. Practise the different tones with the Tones Song (2:00 onwards).
  3. Introduce the different written form from English that Chinese uses, characters: Chinese with Mike: Writing Characters.
  4. Show an image of 10 items and explain that we want to count them in Chinese. Listen to the 1-10 Chinese number rap video: what do they notice about the language? Refer to the tones and character form covered already. Teach and practise saying the numbers one to 10, show both the Pinyin and the characters using the Chinese Number Lanterns video.
    Students check their understanding using the counting calculator and practise counting objects in the room, e.g. pencils and chairs, etc. Using character flash cards for numbers one to 10, students practise ordering them. Students practise and check their knowledge of the written form using the Number Train Chinese 1-10 (Level 1).










    Teach hand signals for Chinese numbers 1-10 from the Elmo video (5:27-7:30).

  5. Review that the village of Hoopla is set in China. Ask: how might you say hello in Chinese? (Nín hǎo, 您好.) Watch the video: Chinese with Mike: Basic Greetings (0:00-7:00) or Real Chinese: Basic Greetings (0:00 to 2:30). Students learn and practise everyday greetings (videos cover various):
    Nǐ hǎo
    Hello (very polite)
    Nín hǎo
    Good morning
    Zǎoshang hǎo
    Good afternoon
    Xiàwǔ hǎo
    Good evening
    Wǎnshàng hǎo
    Hello everyone
    Dàjiā hǎo
  6. Students watch the introduction video for the root word for country, explain that this is the 'traditional Chinese' and show the simplified Chinese character for country (Guójiā国家).  Learn country names for China, England, America and Australia, also teach any other relevant countries for students in the class:
  7. Students watch the What's Your Name? song.
    Review the usage of the phrase 'My name is...' (Wǒ jiào, 我叫.) Learn how to say where they are from and practise asking and answering with a partner, then practise by mingling around the room with an A4 sheet of paper pinned to their front with the name of a country in Pinyin and characters on it, and ask and answer where they are 'from' according to the country on their A4 sign.
  8. Students should imagine they meet someone in the street in China. What question/s might they ask them? Watch the 'Nǐi jiàao shéenme míingzi' song. Elicit what students think the song is about. What question is being asked? How do they know? Learn and practise how to ask and answer the basic questions: what is your name? My name is... What is his/her name?
    What is your name?
    Nǐ jiào shénme míng zi?
    My friend
    Wǒ de péngyǒu
    I am called...
    wǒ jiào...
    Who are you?
    Nǐ shì shéi?

    More able students can use the more difficult phrases and watch the video.

    Practise and review with Quizlet.

  9. Introduce the vocabulary: like/dislike Wǒ xǐhuān 我喜欢/ Wǒ bù xǐhuān 我不喜欢. Show on flash cards a series of Halloween vocabulary or images in English. Students each have a flash card of the two new vocabulary items: Wǒ xǐhuān 我喜 欢/ Wǒ bù xǐhuān 我不喜 欢. They hold up the cards to indicate their feelings for each of the Halloween vocabulary items (candy, pumpkin, witches, vampires, ghosts and scary movies).

    Students make a simple story book about celebrating Halloween, cutting and pasting the key vocabulary and/or simple sentence-starters with the vocabulary to make their own small storybooks, e.g. I like candy. I don't like witches. Include the vocabulary sentence-starters I like/I don't like as suitable Wǒ xǐhuān 我喜欢/ Wǒ bù xǐhuān 我不喜欢.

  10. Review the Chinese vocabulary learned and review the differences in Chinese language compared to English (tones, Pinyin and characters).

1 The Australian Bureau of Statistics

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