Confucius Institute News
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February 23 – Multicultural Event at Montessori School
On February 23rd, the Alfred Montessori School held its 2nd annual Multicultural Event. Daisy Wu performed on the guzeng, and Huiyang Li performed tai chi with people from the community who have been studying the ancient practice for over a year under the guidance of Master Fang (I forget Daisy’s mom’s full name). The group went through the “Yijingjing” warm-up exercises, charmingly portrayed the “Five Animals”, and finished with the more complicated “Swimming Dragon.” Finally, Daisy and her daughter Candy taught the audience “You and Me”, the theme song of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
February 22 - Chinese Corner
Beginning on February 22nd, students in Chinese 102 and 202 at AU have participated in a Chinese Corner for one hour each week. The conversation events take place at the Confucius House (102 students) and Pearlman 218 (202 students).
February 19 - Spring Festival in Corning, NY
On February 19th, CIAU faculty members Rosa Luo, Lisa Zhang, and Rose Hu sang “May Love Last Forever” in Sullivan Park as part of the Corning Chinese Association-sponsored celebration of the New Year.
February 10 - CIAU Meeting
On February 10th, all members of CIAU met to discuss the Chinese textbook project which is overseen by the Hanban in Beijing. The textbooks are based on the HSK proficiency exam syllabus which uses Smart board applications. Last year, the HSK Level 1 text was completed, and now HSK Levels 11, 111, and 1V are in preparation. The series is expected to be completed by the end of June.
February 9 - Spring Festival at Alfred University
On February 9th, CIAU sponsored the annual Spring Festival celebration enjoyed by faculty, students, and members from the surrounding community at Susan Howell Hall. Guests participated in a variety of interactive cultural activities on the 2nd floor: writing down New Year’s wishes in Chinese, learning their zodiac animal sign, trying their hand at paper-cutting, kicking a shuttlecock, and enjoying the guzheng performance. Before dinner downstairs, Provost Bill Hall gave a welcoming speech. Then host Margret Wilson introduced Garrett Borden, Gillian Guizzotti, and Richard Lopez, who gave a presentation about the Year of the Snake. Shannon Cirulnick, Jordana Carlson, and Jennifer Rhoades showed both talent and skill with songs in Mandarin from pop and folk traditions. Everyone enjoyed the bountiful and delicious food brought from Rochester by CIAU directors Wilfred Huang and Peng Tao.
Reports from Schools:
During the month of January, CIAU faculty member Hui Liu taught students to write the sinogram “Fu” (blessing, bounty) using maobi, the traditional Chinese brush. Students also made paper-cut lanterns, learned vocabulary for traditional foods, and practiced singing “Happy New Year.” The following month, students decorated their classroom with New Year motifs and studied the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The school superintendent along with many parents came to Hui Liu’s classes; all were surprised and delighted with the amount of vocabulary andsentence structures the students have learned.
CIAU faculty members Katie Wang and Emma Wang have begun to introduce Gillette Road Middle School students to sinograms, i.e., Chinese characters or ideograms. Students have learned to the proper stroke order and spacing by using the traditional graph tracing paper divided into squares.
Katie and Emma were invited into 5th grade classes to teach numbers in Mandarin. The teachers and students were fascinated by the logic and graphic depiction of each number. In addition, Katie and Emma joined Mrs. Burti’s class where everyone enjoyed making Chinese lanterns in celebration of the New Year.
North Hornell Elementary School
CIAU faculty members Rosa Luo and Lisa Zhang taught all the kindergarten classes about animals by means of the popular children’s story “Kitty, Go Fishing”. The youngsters also made panda bear paper cuts and tiger and dragon head-dresses. New Year traditions were introduced through a coloring brochure which showed how the Spring Festival is celebrated in China.
The 1st grade students expanded their animal vocabulary and learned how to express “I like” wishes in Mandarin. The song “Two Tigers” and the game of musical chairs both helped reinforce the new words and motivate active participation. The children decorated a dragon boat they had built. For a 3-week unit, the Rosa and Lisa introduced Spring Festival traditions, including paper cuts of pandas and window pane flowers. In addition, Li Huiyang (Lee) came to class to perform traditional tai chi ritual movements.
Naples Elementary School
During the first two weeks of January, CIAU faculty member Jeff Yin taught students many words for food and drink in Mandarin and also ways to express which their favorites are. Games as well as realia facilitated quick memorization. Money was the focus of week 3 with mastery of numbers 1 to 100.
Toward the end of the month and the first half of February, Jeff taught students to use the traditional Chinese maobi brush in order to write the sinogram “Fu” and to create paper-cut Chinese lanterns. Red packets were distributed for the Spring Festival, and its customs were taught along with the vocabulary and characteristics for the animals of the Chinese zodiac.
The 7th annual Global Confucius Institutes Conference was held in Beijing from December 16 to 18. CIAU Director Wil Huang was a presenter; his subject was how to create a model Confucius Institute.
At the event, CIAU had a booth displaying the software for teaching Mandarin based on preparing for the HSK test and using smart boards; this software has been developed by the School of Arts and Communication at China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, CIAU’s partner institution.
CIAU instructor Lee arranged for his Chinese 101 and 102 students at AU to take the official HSK Language Proficiency Test, which was offered last year for the first time. At Level One, 14 students participated, and 4 students took the Level Two test in Perlman Hall. Lee was assisted by three other CIAU faculty: Rosa Luo, Lisa Zhang, and Rose Hu. In the evening, all students were treated to a festive dinner of dumplings and hot-pot made by teachers and students and held in the Confucius House.
Three CIAU faculty members, Tao Peng, Daisy Wu, and Rose Hu, were invited to present at the Rochester Early College International School on November 13. Master guzheng player Daisy Wu gave a scholarly talk about her traditional stringed instrument and played songs, including “Jasmine Flower” to the delight of the audience.
CIAU-Sponsored Children and Youth Learning Initiative (CYLI) Programs at Alfred University
December 7 – Fifty students from the Alfred-Almond Central School District came to AU for a 3-hour long immersion in Chinese culture and language. They practiced calligraphy and enjoyed experimenting with playing the guzheng. During a break, the students had a lot of fun trying to use chopsticks.
November 28 – Daisy Wu, Rosa Luo, Lisa Zhang, and Rose Hu offered a program for 13 students from Belfast Central School that featured calligraphy and folk songs with Daisy’s accompaniment on the guzheng.
November 7 – Eighteen 6th graders from Canaseraga Central School visited the Confucius House where they learned about the guzheng, sang the “Jasmine Song”, and played the instrument themselves. In addition, the students practiced the traditional Chinese folk art of paper-cutting and made snowflakes and the “double xi” sinogram.
November 15 – The Powell Campus Center’s Knight Club was the venue where 27 Wellsville Central School students were introduced to a wide range of Chinese crafts and culture. CIAU faculty member Lee (Li, Huiyang) gave a calligraphy demonstration featuring the traditional “4 treasures of the scholar’s study” after which the students tried their hand with the brush. Daisy Wu, Rosa Luo, Rose Hu, and Lisa Zhang assisted with these activities which were all much appreciated. This event was part of the “Kids to College” program with which CYLI is affiliated.
Reports from Schools:
All elementary students taught by Jessica Liu learned to count, name their family members, and say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” in Mandarin. They were taught the cultural underpinnings of family traditions, how Christmas is celebrated in China, and how to play jianzi, a traditional kicking game.
All 6th graders studied the history of the ancient Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) and the building of the Great Wall of China. The students learned how to sing “Happy New Year” in Mandarin and were introduced to Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) traditions in China by their CIAU teachers Katie Wang and Emma Wang. They were invited to 5th grade music class twice to give a presentation about Beijing Opera. The young children were amused with the characters, costumes, painted faces, and singing of the artistic form in China.
Taught by CIAU faculty member Jeff Yin, the after-school Chinese classes continued during November through December. During these 2 months, students learned how to count in Mandarin and how to hold and write with the “maobi” or writing brush, with which they painted traditional lotus flowers and leaves; their work was then exhibited on the walls in the hallways. The students were delighted to learn how to sing “Happy New Year” in Mandarin and to understand the different ways Christmas is celebrated in China and in the US.
CIAU faculty member Rosa Luo taught all kindergarteners to count and to name common colors in Mandarin. She used a song called “Number One” as a way of helping students remember numbers and added another popular children’s song “Two Tigers” with words and dance moves. The youngsters learned about the Dragon Boat Festival and hand-built and colored their own model dragon boats.
First-graders learned more advanced numbers and grammar constructions to identify objects by means of a children’s story about a kitten that goes fishing. Another song, “Finding Someone to be a Friend” included acting and dancing which the children thoroughly enjoyed.