Lesson 03 Tadpoles In Search of Their Mother 小蝌蚪找妈妈

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In class today we read one of the most famous and beloved story for Chinese people called 小蝌蚪找妈妈 “xiǎo kē dǒu zhǎo māma” or “The Little Tadpoles In Search of Their Mother”.  After learning about this famous Chinese story, the children read their own short Chinese book based on the story.  I made the little book that they are reading with repetitive phrases to reinforce vocabulary and give them confidence in reading Chinese.  Watch the children read in the video below.

Video of my students reading in Chinese!

Click on the picture below to download the little book used in the video.

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Every child in China knows the beloved story of 小蝌蚪找妈妈, xiǎo kē dǒu zhǎo māma.  小蝌蚪找妈妈 “The Little Tadpoles In Search of Their Mother” is a short Chinese animated film produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio in 1960 under the artistic guidance of Te Wei.  It is a water-ink animation done completely by hand painting.  The narrated film describes the adventures and misadventures of a group of tadpoles in search of their mother.   In the story, a school of tadpoles were born. These tadpoles start on their journey to search for their mother.  After mistaking goldfish, crab, tortoise and even a big catfish for their mother, the tadpoles eventually found their real mother: frog. The story teaches children that where there is a will there is a way. It is also a great film to teach about life cycles (Science curriculum in elementary school).  Because of its simple story line and repetitive script it is ideal for children who are beginning their study of the Chinese language.  It is truly a treasure in the Chinese animation field!

The original movie produced in 1960

You can read the story in Chinese with pinyin (standard romanization for modern Chinese) and the corresponding English translation by clicking on the document.  This document was created by www.chinesepod.com for learning Chinese.

Read it ==> The Little Tadpoles In Search of Their Mother

This is a flash video of the story in English.  The animation is not the original film and the video is used in China to teach children English.  Watch the video below.

Watch it ==> 玩动画学英语  小蝌蚪找妈妈-The Little Tadpoles In Search of Their Mother

The children practiced reading their small Chinese books by themselves and with their friends.

Simone practice reading Chinese


Tessa practice reading Chinese







Milo and Simone reading to each other in Chinese

After reading this cute story, each child created a pond for our tadpoles searching for their mother.  Each child created a tissue collage with lighter blue and darker blue to make the base for the water pond.  We then used black clay to make the tadpoles with our hands.  We rolled an 1 in piece of the clay into a ball for the tadpole body.  We then rolled a smaller piece of clay into a longer piece for its tail.  Each child drew and cut out lily pads using green colored paper and glued silk flowers for the water lilies to the pond.

Kids working hard to make the pond for their tadpoles!


Alexia and Tessa working hard!









Jude making tadpoles with black clay

  Look at our finished works of art!

Kaya happy with her creation

Bohdi, Julien, Simon, and Jachin proudly holding their tadpole pond and origami frogs


Brooks, Katrina, and Mila with their tadpole habitats


Simon and Logan proudly holding their habitats

Annabelle is very excited to show her work of art

How to fold a frog with 6″ square origami paper

Thank you to B. Li Chinese teacher for sharing the following simple rhyme video for beginner Chinese learners and activity worksheets for the story!



小蝌蚪找妈妈 worksheet 2 小蝌蚪找妈妈 worksheet 1

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