Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

China Olympics & Forbidden City book

The official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in English is  With only 130 days to go, it’s not too early to be planning for the 2008 Olympic Games to be held in Beijing, China. On March 31, 2008 the Olympic torch will land at the Beijing Airport to begin its Chinese portion of the Torch Relay. You can follow along in English on the Official Torch Relay site. 

I have already begun planning lessons and webquests for my students. Perhaps you won’t be back in school for the Opening Ceremony, but it is important to educate your community on the significance of 08-08-08 in Chinese culture so they are sure to tune-in no matter where they are.

Bearport Publishing has produced Forbidden City: China’s Imperial Palace as part of their Castles, Palaces & Tombs series. 32 pages, reinforced library binding, written at a third grade reading level but of interest to grades 2-7. With 100 words or less on each two-page spread this title meets the needs of my elementary students and I’ll be sharing this as part of my Olympic Unit on China.

Series Listing

The Complete Castles, Palaces & Tombs Series includes:

Castle Dracula

Palace of Versailles

Edinburgh Castle

Taj Mahal

Forbidden City

The Great Pyramid

Hearst Castle

Tower of London

Himeji Castle

Windsor Castle 

King Ludwig’s Castle

Let me know what titles you are purchasing now in preparation for your 2008 Summer Olympics unit.

Wondering what the Olympic song will be? So am I! While I am waiting, I can follow Jay Chou, a popular Chinese singer (see his Wikipedia entry) who acted in and sang the theme song from the movie Curse of the Golden Flower. Curse of the Golden Flower is an amazing movie FOR ADULTS. It’s rated R for very good reasons beyond the violence and stars Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li. 

I watched this movie not knowing what to expect and found myself fascinated with the sets and backgrounds. I even watched every bit of the description on how they built the sets. I wish the producers would consider releasing that section on YouTube or TeacherTube so I could show that to my students. If you cannot go to China, watching this movie can help instill a sense of the wonder, corruption, grandeur, protocol, affluence, and more of this dynasty.  I noticed that some American reviewers were harsh on the martial arts scenes of this movie and some of the essential Chinese cultural magnifications of emotion, but the focus is on the deceptions, betrayals, and quests for redemption and revenge. 

I found this explanation of 888 on
The Chinese certainly think that August 8, 2008 is a very special day because the digits "888" is believed to be very lucky number to be born or get married on. It is not surprising then that the 2008 Olympic Games will be held in Beijing, China with the opening ceremonies held on Aug. 8, 2008 or 8/8/8. As East meets West and our society encourages cultures to intertwine, many non-Chinese couples have adopted the significance of the numeral 8 especially in multiples, and decided that it is meaningful enough to be chosen as their wedding date. According to Chinese culture, 8 is a Lucky number that stands for prosperity and good fortune. Triple it and you got a lucky 888-wedding day. When you take the numeral 8 and turn on its side 8, it becomes the symbol for infinity – forever. This is a symbol most fitting to represent love and the beginning of a marriage. 

I’ll keep up-dating my Beijing Olympic information and you be sure to let me know what you are doing.


  1. The London 2012 Olympics