January and February Highlights
As Chinese New Year lasts for two weeks and was celebrated from January 28th to February 11th this year, we devoted January and February to learning Chinese culture. We did many festive activities: singing new year songs, watching famous new year concerts, eating Chinese food, making dumplings, and writing spring couplets, etc. We also spent quite some time learning Chinese calligraphy.
What made this Chinese new year special was the coming of visiting students from China, who came to RSA to experience the life of middle school students in America. Some of my students were assigned to be "buddies" of the Chinese students. Both the visiting Chinese teachers and students were amazed by the wonderful learning environment of RSA. "RSA students are so lucky! They have so much fun in school!" "We see arts integrated in all the classes here." Some Chinese students came to visit our classes. They did calligraphy, watched new year shows, and ate Chinese food with us. I heard cheerful conversations between the Chinese students and my students. Later the Chinese students told me that they felt very welcomed and loved by the RSA family. "RSA students encouraged us by giving us high fives." "They found out we got lost so they brought us to the right place." After a week's stay at RSA, the Chinese teachers and students left with tears and beautiful memories. "We want to come back again." "America is a beautiful country, I want to live here," students wrote in articles posted on WeChat.
During these ten days, many of my students had the opportunity of speaking to native Chinese students. I found that my students, especially those "buddies," have become more confident in speaking Chinese as a result. What a pleasant surprise!
November and December Highlights
- We wrote thank you cards to our dear family members.
－We sang Chinese Christmas songs (We Wish You a Merry Christmas 我们祝你圣诞快乐)
These couple of months, we studied a few famous Chinese ancient stories: 狐狸与乌鸦（The Fox and the Crow） 岳飞学写字（YueFei Learned to Write）马虎的故事（The Story of Mahu）东郭先生和狼（Mr. DongGuo and the Wolf). We played games (riddles, bingo, code) that help us learn new words. We translated stories into English. We retold and rewrote the stories in Chinese. We discussed the morals behind the stories. Finally, we acted out the stories in Chinese.
The stories were so interesting that we had lots of fun reading and discussing the details. "Why did he draw a horse body below the tiger head?" (Weird, huh?) "Why did he kill the wolf in the bag with a rock instead of bringing it to the animal shelter?" (No animal shelters in ancient China, haha!) Students may not always agree with what the characters do in the stories, but they were surely happy to play the roles: fox, crow, donkey, wolf, peasant, hunter, and Mr. DongGuo... Some students even changed the stories to their liking on the stage! Good job all of you!
I'm glad to tell you that the textbook we use this year "Mastering Chinese Language and Culture " proves to be a good book for all areas of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing." This volume (6) of the textbook is composed of classical and interesting stories with easy and smooth,yet beautiful language. I would like to share with you what we do.
We begin a lesson by listening to the story from DVD. Then we identify new words; get definitions and make sentences with them. We then do some exercises with the DVD. Next time we meet we talk about the story through questions and answers. We study the formation of Chinese characters, and grammar. We play games to review new words. Every day I assign homework to students to reinforce what we learn in class. At the beginning of class students read the story aloud for a few minutes. I told them that this is what the students do in China. It's called "Morning Reading". This activity can help them not only to become familiar with the story but also become fluent in speaking Chinese. We wrap up each lesson with a vocabulary quiz and an oral presentation. The oral presentation may be a story telling, a dialogue, or a skit ,which are all based on the lesson. Students work individually, or in pairs, or as a group. It's fun to see and listen to one another .This project involves the practice of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. It is a comprehensive exercise. Each student will get a grade for their performance. And most of them get A for their good efforts!
Dear Parents and Students,
This year we celebrate Chinese Moon Festival on Friday evening, Sept. 16. There will be a performance in the amphitheater from 6:45 to 7:30pm. After the performance students will pick up their balloons and glow sticks from their classrooms. Every one will then proceed to the football field and sit down on the green grass.There will be singing along and moon cakes for sale. Hope this year we will see the rising of the bright full moon again!
All middle school Mandarin classes will sing a beautiful song “Thinking of You” together. The lyrics is a famous ancient Chinese poem. We have been practicing this song in class for some days. Also two of our students will dance to a well-known and romantic Chinese song “Green Island Serenade”.
All students are expected to sing in this performance. Parents, your support of this event is deeply appreciated. We look forward to seeing you and your families on this festive evening. Let’s come together to enjoy children’s singing and admire the glorious full moon!
Thank you all!
M.S. Mandarin teacher
Thinking of You by Su-Shi
When will the moon be clear and bright?
With a cup of wine in my hand, I ask the clear sky.
In the heaven on this night,
I wonder what season it would be?
I'd like to ride the wind to fly home.
Yet I fear the crystal and jade mansion are much too high and cold for me.
Dancing with my moonlit shadow,
It does not seem like the human world.
The moon rounds the red mansion,
Stoops to silk-pad doors,
Shines upon the sleepless,
Bearing no grudge,
Why does the moon tend to be full while people are apart?
People experience sorrow and joy, separation and reunion.
The moon maybe be dim or bright, round or crescent shaped,
This imperfection has been going on since the beginning of time.
May we all be blessed with longevity.
Though thousands of miles apart, we are still able to share the beauty of the moon together.