Confucius Institute News
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In July 2016, Prof. Tao Peng has left his post for home. Prof. Jijun(Andy) Yu is his replacement as the Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at Alfred University (CIAU). In addition, Daisy Wu was named the Associate Director of CIAU by President Charles Edmonson.
Gates Chili School District
By the end of May, CIAU teacher Juan (Rita) Xu finished Chinese enrichment classes with the 3rd grade students of Disney Elementary School and Florence Brasser Elementary School. The students learned about many aspects of Chinese culture, such as traditional clothes, money, calligraphy, and Chinese New Year. They also learned some simple Mandarin sentences and words. Some children know how to count from 1 to 99. Some children can sing a greeting song called “Ni Hao Ma” in Chinese. Most of them showed strong interest in learning Chinese culture and language.
On June 8, Juan (Rita) Xu presented a special lesson for the 3rd graders of Paul Road Elementary School. She taught them how to make dough figurines of pandas. Dough figurines are small sculptures that use flour and glutinous rice flour as the main raw materials, plus other components such as color, paraffin, and honey. Each figurine undergoes control and mildew-proof processing. This is a type of folk artwork that is easy to make but has very high artistic value. Juan (Rita) Xu also joined the summer school program of the Gates-Chili School District for three days. She visited nine classes to introduce Chinese culture to the children in 2nd to 5th grade. The kids learned that Chinese language is not just Mandarin. It includes many dialects. They were interested in learning Chinese characters. They especially liked guessing word meanings by pictures.
They were asked to act as investors in the business class scenario of Shark Tank, students showed them their inventions and ideas, and they gave lectures to social studies classes on cultural and social topics. The high school students were quite interested in such topics as economic development in China, the air and water pollution problems in China, globalization, etc.
Geneva North Street School District
In May and June, Jinxiang Chen developed a series for language teaching along with cultural explorations at Geneva North Street School. Language teaching mainly covered expressions for family members, some foods, the four seasons, weather, and their corresponding applications.
Cultural teaching mainly included making cards for Mother’s Day, painting face masks, weaving bracelets, and making dough figurines. Through the study of language and culture, students could fully feel the charming nature of Chinese culture and their enthusiasm for learning Chinese was strengthened, as well.
Northstar Christian Academy
In May And June Instructors Jing Wu and Juan Xu in Rochester Northstar Christian Academy successfully completed the Chinese Culture and Language Teaching. 3 Chinese AP class students took AP Chinese test in May. This is the second year of Northstar Christian Academy participate the AP Chinese Test. Chinese culture and language elementary school finish the school year in Middle of June.
In July, teachers in Rochester school district support Summer Camp in Geneva. Instructor Jing Wu presents Chinese folk art---paper cutting, Chinese characters. This is a very good opportunity to corporate with teachers and students in other schools and sharing teaching resources.
Northstar Christian Academy had two new school year open house days both in June and August. Ms. Jing Wu and Jinxiang Chen demonstrated Chinese paper cutting for the open house. The kids stopped by and participated the cutting, they enjoyed that very much. Parents praised the beautiful Chinese folk art. When a student heard about the Chinese program in NCA, He was very excited because he has a friend from China, he would like to communicate with him in Chinese.
Tai Chi Class at AU Reunion
A demonstration by the CIAU Tai Chi class was one of the featured events at the Alfred University Alumni Reunion on June 11. Tai Chi coach Guifang Liu, known as Master Fang, and her assistants, Molly and Mark, together with other class members, led this event as alumni joined in.
First, Molly introduced both CIAU and the CIAU Tai Chi class, and then Master Fang not only introduced the theory of Qigong, but also performed Tai Chi for the alumni.
One alumnus spoke highly of Tai Chi and noted that the movements of Tai Chi were very slow and gentle after he experienced this ancient Chinese body-building exercise.
Chinese Culture in Song
In the ending of the spring semester, the Chinese Immersion program in West Street School has organized a celebration to show the students’ learning achievements. The school superintendent and the students ‘parents were invited to the celebration. Students sang the Chinese song they have learned and introduced themselves in brief Chinese. Prof. Zhonbei(Daisy) Wu was also invited to play the Guzheng for the students.
“Students of Mrs. Keeton, He Lau Shi and Mrs. Gallagher at West Street School recently participated in a celebration of academics and Chinese culture. The program featured plenty of songs for the children to sing.” Finger Lakes Times Reported.
Tai Chi Demonstration in Wellsville, NY
On July 13, CIAU Tai Chi coach Guifang Liu was invited to give a Tai Chi demonstration class in the Wellsville Trinity Lutheran Church. Claudia, one of the Alfred Tai Chi class members, first introduced CIAU and Master Fang.
More than 30 people participated in the Tai Chi class. They did Five Animals Frolics, Ba Duan Jin, and Tai Chi 24 Steps. Also, Master Fang and other Tai Chi class members performed the Swimming Dragon for attendees. Their demonstration was well received.
In the end, many attendees asked questions about Tai Chi and Master Fang, and other Tai Chi class members answered them.
Chinese Summer Camp held in Geneva North Street School
In July, CIAU faculty Zhongbei (Daisy) Wu, Guifang Liu, Jing Wu, Jinxiang (Linda) Chen, Lili (Lily) Huang, Yao (Lucy) Zhang, Wenyao (Flare) Ding and Lingyan (Molly) Zhang organized a summer day camp at Geneva City School District.
The CIAU teachers not only showed Chinese culture to students, but also taught them useful common Chinese expressions. Students experienced Tai Chi, paper-cutting, and Chinese painting, also learned some Chinese characters and sentences.
This is the fourth Chinese culture summer camp held in partnership between the Confucius Institute at Alfred University and the Geneva City School District. Statistics show that more than twice as many students have signed up for Chinese Class as compared to last year.
Professor Liang Yan of China University of Geosciences
Visited the Confucius Institute at Alfred University
From July 28th to 30th, 2016, Professor Liang Yan has visited the Confucius Institute at Alfred University.
Professor Yan was the director of the Economy Management School of CUG(Wuhan) and he is engaged in the teaching and scientific study of management and marketing. The Economy Management School of CUG and the Business School of Alfred University has many academic exchanges. The Electronic Business International Conference in Wuhan held cooperatively by the two parties has become an important forum for their cooperation. During his visit, Professor Yan has exchanged his opinions with Director Will Huang and Director Jijun(Andy) Yu on the promotion of Economy, Management and Politics of the two universities.
The First International Swimming Dragon Exchange Conference
On August 3th, under the guidance of Confucius Institute Director Dr. Wilfred Huang, thirteen members of the Alfred Tai Chi class left the U.S. to take part in the Swimming Dragon Exchange Conference.
Three of the members, Theresa Brown, Amanda Parry Oglesbee, and Pat LaCourse, shared their comments at the conference. Master Fang, the Alfred Confucius Institute and Dr. Huang were congratulated and honored for their significant contributions and for their role in the American participation in the conference.
On the final conference day, all 400 participants, in identical uniforms, performed Swimming Dragon beside the Birds’ Nest at the 2008 Olympic Village.
During his visit, Director Zhang heard about the work report presented by Jijun Yu, the new Chinese Director of CIAU, and exchanged his opinions with Director Will Huang on the development of CIAU and the cooperation between AU and CUG.
Zhang is the vice Director from the International Education of CUG(Wuhan), and he is in charge of the operation of Confucius institute.
American Students from the Confucius Institute at Alfred University
Win Gold Awards with Their Guzheng Performance
On August 20th and 21st, the Second Annual New York Chinese Instruments International Competition was held at the Schwarz Theater of the College of Optometry in midtown Manhattan. It was organized by the Confucius Institute at the College of Optometry of the State University of New York and by the Melody of Dragon, a Chinese music ensemble in New York City.
The trio of Richard Lopez (AU ’14) and current Alfred students Brandon Miller (AU) and Tiffany Pham (ASC) won a gold medal for their rendition of the famous piece, The Warrior. They were the only non-Chinese musicians among the finalists, according to Voices of NY. In addition, Brandon Miller, a junior majoring in biology, won a gold medal for his Guzheng performance of High Mountains and Flowing Water, and Daisy Wu won an award for Guzheng instruction.
Chinese Teachers’ Training held at the Confucius Institute at Alfred University
In August, 2016, New Chinese Teachers’ Training was successfully held at CIAU. Dr. Wenying Chou was the guest speaker for this training, along with Marty Fuller, head cashier for the Business Office of Alfred University, and David W. Morton, superintendent of the North Syracuse School District. Over twenty teachers and volunteers of CIAU participated in this training.
During the training, Marty Fuller went over the detailed process for receiving reimbursement, which resolved some concerns of these newly-arrived Chinese teachers. Then David W. Morton explained how to establish a positive classroom culture, such as by establishing a shared sense of identity and by setting up daily and weekly routines. Dr. Chou, who has taught for over two decades, discussed various aspects such as classroom management, choice of teachers’ language, game design, and so on. She especially discussed with the new teachers the teaching method of an Immersion Program. Finally, Director Huang and Director Yu gave a summary based on their own teaching and management experience.
The Departed CIAU Faculty
In August 2016, after fulfilling their term of service, three instructors and three volunteers of CIAU left their post for home. They are Chaoyun Zhai, Lin Hao and Yanfang Song: Wenyao Ding, Jing Wu and Lingyan Zhang. Thanks for their hard working and contributions to CIAU.
Northstar Christian Academy
In March and April, Instructors Jing Wu and Juan Xu at Northstar Christian Academy in Rochester celebrated the changing seasons by making dough figurines. The elementary students made the Monkey King, known in China as Sun Wukong, and spring flowers. This was their second time making figurines with dough. Students were amazed at the magical traditional art and were proud to make the art pieces with their own hands.
Students also learned about Chinese currency - RMB. They were curious with the first paper money in the world, “Jiaozhi”, and learned the stories of the scenery and people shown on the currency.
Students learned about traditional Chinese instrumental music and listened to some of this music.
Students reviewed the numbers from zero to a hundred in Chinese. They were so proud when they found they could count from zero to one hundred. Students also reviewed the names of body parts in Chinese, and sang songs and played games with what they had learned.
The elementary students learned the names of some fruits and sang the “Fruits” song, a song which combines colors, numbers, and fruit names together.
Now students greet each other in Chinese during class time or even in the hallway.
Students in upper grades learned to use the “like/love” and “have/has” structures to express their fondness in Chinese. They can say: “I love Mom,” “I like red apples,” “I have a brother,” etc.
High school students learned how to talk about the environment, home decor, shopping, daily life, and health. One class learned to write research papers. They were preparing for the Chinese AP Test coming up in May.
Gates-Chili Central School District
CIAU teacher Juan (Rita) Xu introduced Chinese culture to the third grade students of Paul Road, Disney, and Florence Brasser Elementary Schools every week. The students learned about Chinese elementary students’ daily life, traditional clothes, money, calligraphy, Chinese New Year, the story of the Monkey King, and more.
Twenty-eight students at Florence Brasser Elementary School joined the Mandarin Club after school every Thursday. Mrs. Xu taught them how to do Chinese dough modeling, use chopsticks, write calligraphy, make red envelopes for New Year, play shuttlecock, etc. Each week some new Mandarin words were taught. The children love this club very much.
On April 12, Mrs. Xu finished the first session of the Chinese enrichment class for first and second graders at Disney Elementary School. This group has focused on topics such as Chinese architecture, food, and language. Some children can count in Mandarin from 1 to 100. Some children can use chopsticks skillfully, and they like to greet each other in Chinese.
North Syracuse Central School District
In March and April, the students in the Confucius classrooms of Gillette Road and Roxboro Road Middle Schools learned what to call family members in Mandarin. They also have become quite comfortable in greeting others and counting in Mandarin. They learned how to use a brush to write Chinese calligraphy, and how to prepare ink with dry ink and an ink stone.
On March 21st and 22nd, we had a visitor to our language classes. Mrs. Dillon showed students her work making dough figurines. The students were so excited to see the vividly colored figurines made from flour. Every student had a chance to make their own panda figurine with wheat flour dough.
Geneva City School District
The Dual Language Immersion Program at Geneva West Street School has attracted more attention from the community. The mother of one of Lily Huang’s students, Owen, suggested putting Chinese numbers on the school buses to promote Chinese cultural influence in the Geneva City School District. This led to positive news in the local community.
CIAU faculty Linda Chen, Lily Huang, and Elyn Song also did a lot of cultural and artistic exchange activities in the Geneva City School District. The Mandarin teachers organized a wonderful introductory activity to promote cultural exchange at the Book Festival on April 9th in Geneva City School District. More and more children and parents showed interest in Chinese culture.
In March and April, Ms. Huang taught the 1st grade students in the Immersion Program at West Street School how to name arctic animals, nine kinds of fruit, and winter clothing such as hat, glove, scarf, and boots in Chinese. Ms. Huang taught them simple sentences, such as, “I like eating…” and “I love eating…” which provided them with good opportunities for communication and stimulated their enthusiasm for speaking Chinese. Ms. Huang also taught them four Chinese songs.
After a unit learning, students experienced Chinese ink painting with Mrs. Chen and Miss Wu. Students were very excited about painting pandas with writing brushes. From this culture class, students not only painted their own pandas, but also understood more about Chinese ink painting in general. Students all had a good time together.
The Mandarin Elective Program at Geneva West Street School (WSS) focused on numbers and folk dances during these two months. WSS invited a Chinese music and dance ensemble from New York City to give a performance at the end of April. Elyn Song and the music teachers at WSS cooperated to provide this special cultural event.
The Pre-K and Kindergarten children can count to ten and give the "Marching Code" as "One-Two-Three-Four, Two-Two-Three-Four" to match the Chinese music and dance. The older kids in the school worked on counting to one hundred.
Starry He taught her students how to name the four seasons and weather in Chinese. The students can now express their favorite season and describe the weather of a whole week in Chinese by themselves.
On April 8th, New York State Education Department Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia came to Geneva West Street School and visited a Mandarin class.
Binghamton City School District
In March and April, CIAU faculty Zhaoyun (Catherine) Zhai continued teaching Chinese at Binghamton City School District. Her 6th graders kept practicing and consolidating numbers. They also learned some new topics including recognizing Chinese money, asking after prices, and talking about time, including dates, days of the week, and time on the clock. Ms. Zhai emphasized timely review and repeated practice, so that students can understand and apply numbers to topics of daily conversation, such as birthdays, U.S. holidays, weekly schedules, and specific times.
In the third marking period, Ms. Zhai kept guiding students to practice Chinese character writing and to read Chinese ancient poems as part of class routine.
Besides that, Ms. Zhai designed a series of programs to introduce the students to Chinese culture. In the very beginning, she talked about Chinese food, discussed diet differences and customs all over China; secondly, she showed the geographical landscape of China, focusing on the introduction of Xi'an and Beijing, which were well-received by students; thirdly, she presented Chinese folk arts, including dough figurines, shadow puppets, embroidery, and kites. In addition, she explored traditional Chinese painting with a goal of appreciation of this ancient art, introducing students to painting tools and giving them a chance to experience painting themselves. This greatly enriched the Chinese classroom teaching, inspiring the students’ interest and passion to learn Chinese language and culture.
Hot Dog Day, which includes a parade, carnival games, amusement rides, bounce houses, arts and crafts vendors, and food vendors, has been an annual tradition in Alfred, NY, since 1972. The many events that comprise Hot Dog Day are organized by Alfred State and Alfred University students in service to the local community.
2016 National Chinese Language Conference
The 2016 National Chinese Language Conference, which is dedicated to encouraging dialogue in the field of Chinese language education and ensuring wide-scale success, was held in Chicago from April 28 to 30.
CIAU faculty Zhongbei (Daisy) Wu, Yanfang (Elyn) Song, and Zhaoyun (Catherine) Zhai, attended this conference, together with Geneva City School District Superintendent Trina Newton, Director of Innovative Programming Tracy Marchionda, and Kindergarten teacher Jenna Keeton.
Tracy Marchionda, Trina Newton and Jenna Keeton, who is the teacher of English in a dual language English/Mandarin classroom, talked about how to set the stage for learning Mandarin in a Dual Language Program.
Open House in Geneva
On April 22nd, the Chinese Immersion Class of Geneva City School District held an open house from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Open house provides a great chance for the parents to learn about school programs and gives a valid channel for communication between parents and teachers.
Starry He’s students showed their knowledge of Chinese language to their parents by singing Chinese songs, accompanied by CIAU faculty Daisy Wu with her guzheng.
The Chinese program is appreciated by the parents and the school district, for it is offering a new skill and perspective to their children.
After the performance, students gave their Chinese teacher, Starry He, a present to express their gratitude.
Also, many students were interested in the traditional Chinese instrument guzheng and tried to learn how to play it with the help of Daisy Wu.
In addition, CIAU provided traditional Chinese food for both students and parents, which was well received.
Chinese calligraphy and painting lecture at Brockport Central School
On April 19th, CIAU faculty Flare Ding, Molly Zhang, and Mark Duan were invited to introduce Chinese calligraphy and painting to sixth grade students at Oliver Middle School in the Brockport Central School District.
Molly Zhang’s presentation revolved around the development of Chinese calligraphy and the famous “Four Treasures of Study”, namely, writing brushes, rice paper, ink sticks, and ink stones.
Flare Ding introduced two drawing styles, meticulous painting and free sketch painting, together with the “Four Gentlemen of the Flowers”: plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum.
All the presentations were well received and students asked many questions about Chinese culture.
In the end, students learned how to use writing brushes and then experienced both calligraphy and painting for themselves.
On April 17th, CIAU faculty Zhongbei (Daisy) Wu’s guzheng class students, Vanessa Englerth, Charles Miller, and exchange students Xuan Xie, Mengqi Dong, and Lixuan Pan from Hunan University of Commerce, China, performed guzheng in Miller Theater for the Alfred University Performing Arts music recital.
After one semester’s study, they were adept at playing this traditional Chinese instrument guzheng, and their performance was well-received by the audience.
On April 16th, the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test was administered in AU’s Perlman Hall by CIAU faculty Haley Gao, Flare Ding, and Molly Zhang.
Nine Alfred University students in Chinese classes took the Level 2 test. CIAU has arranged for students in Chinese classes to take the HSK Test several times so far. The testing process has become more and more standardized.
Symposium to Promote Chinese Martial Arts held in Arizona
On April 9, Tao Peng, the Chinese director of the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, attended a symposium on promoting Chinese martial arts hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona.
Tao Peng discussed the Tai Chi class of the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, which was founded in 2011 and has had more than 80 members so far. In the CIAU Tai Chi class, participants have mastered not only the basics like the 24-Step sequence, Yijinjing, Baduanjin and the Five-Animal exercise, but also advanced long forms like the Swimming Dragon and Kung Fu Fan.
Attendees from different Confucius Institutes shared their own experiences with promoting Chinese martial arts like Chinese boxing, Kung Fu fan, and Tai Chi.
15th Chinese Bridge Competition in New York City
On April 9th, the 15th Annual “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for College Students was held in New York City.
Two candidates, namely Charles Miller and Nathan Badaczewski from the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, won the third prize and the encouraging prize.
It was not easy for the two candidates from Alfred to qualify for the finals. Other competitors are mostly Chinese majors from Harvard University, Princeton University, and so on, while the two candidates from Alfred University just studied in Chinese class four hours a week.
In order to meet the competition, the candidates put forth a lot of effort, and instructors from the Confucius Institute also worked very hard to help them prepare. For nearly a month, the candidates practiced their speeches and talent demonstrations with instructors every day.
This competition not only increased the experience for the candidates, but also stimulated their enthusiasm for learning Chinese.
AU Bergren Forum: Sound of China - Guzheng
On April 7th, in Nevins Theater, CIAU faculty Zhongbei (Daisy) Wu gave a presentation on “The Sound of China – Guzheng” at AU’s Bergren Forum, which is held every Thursday on a wide variety of topics.
Daisy Wu is a visiting associate professor of music in the Performing Arts Division of Alfred University and the Cultural Activities Coordinator of the CIAU. She started playing guzheng at the age of nine and is an award-winning guzheng player.
In her speech, she not only introduced the history of guzheng, but also compared it with other stringed instruments, such as koto.
One boy showed an interest in guzheng and experienced it on stage under Daisy’s instruction. He told Daisy he would buy one and start to learn this traditional Chinese instrument.
Guzheng Performance at “Alfred Around the World”
On April 1st, the Alfred University Guzheng Ensemble took part in the “Alfred Around the World” show at Holmes Auditorium in Harder Hall. AU students Vanessa Mahadtawon Englerth and Brandon Charles Miller and exchange students from Hunan University of Commerce, China, Xuan Xie and Xin Zuo, performed the guzheng piece “Swordsman” together with CIAU faculty Zhongbei (Daisy) Wu. The performance was well received by the audience.
“Alfred Around the World” is a global culture showcase that highlights the diverse talents within the Alfred community. It is a big event at AU for exchange students from all around the world.
Confucianism and Taoism Lecture at Alfred University
CIAU’s Haley Gao was invited by Chris Yarnal to give a lecture on Confucianism and Taoism for the AU class, “Introduction to Religions of the World” on March 2nd.
Ms. Gao introduced the doctrines of both Confucius and Laozi, who are the representative figures, respectively, of Confucianism and Taoism, which are sometimes termed religions, but are more accurately considered to be ethical systems, or systems of norms. Ms. Gao not only presented the core ideas of these systems, but also answered students’ questions afterwards. They discussed the effect of these two central ideologies on Chinese culture and society.
Visit from Chinese Consulate-General in New York City
On March 2nd, Education Counsellor Yongji Xu of the Chinese Consulate-General in New York City, Consul Quansheng Chang, and Fu Bo visited the Confucius House in Alfred. Directors Wilfred Huang and Tao Peng introduced both the development and prospects of CIAU to them, especially the achievements in language teaching and cultural communication, such as the Chinese programs in cooperative school districts, the Immersion Program in Geneva, and the Tai Chi and Painting classes.
The significant influence made by CIAU and the hard work of CIAU faculty members were recognized by Education Counsellor Yongji Xu. He first congratulated CIAU for being selected as one of the ten best Confucius Institutes this year, and then discussed the future work of CIAU faculty.
Northstar Christian Academy
In January and February, a series of Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration activities were carried out at Northstar Christian Academy. After learning about Chinese culture last year, many students still remembered that the zodiac animal for 2015 was the goat; they then tried to pick out the animal for 2016 from their memory. Chinese Instructor Jing Wu brought in the movie Monkey King to teach the students that this year’s animal is the monkey. The students were extra excited when they saw that the monkey is so powerful: they kept on asking whether it is real, whether there is a real Monkey King or not. Then they drew Monkey King masks and made paper magic sticks of their own, which made them feel “so cool.”
Mrs. Wu invited a dough figurine artist to join the Lunar New Year Celebration program. Together they taught the students how to make dough figurines. All the students from kindergarten to grade 6 made dough pandas, Valentine’s Day roses, etc. The students learned that making dough figurines, or “Nie Mianren” in Chinese, is a well-known folk handicraft in China demonstrating high artistic quality. They were all astonished when they were told the art has a history of over 1,000 years. This art brought lots of fun to the kids of Northstar Christian Academy. A parent came to school the next day and asked Mrs. Wu for the recipe for the dough; she was curious about the figurine making and thought it was an amazing art.
High school students in the Chinese AP class have registered and are preparing for the Chinese AP Test to be given in May.
Gates Chili Central School District
CIAU teacher Rita Xu was invited by Paul Road Elementary School to attend the social class of all the 3rd grade students every Wednesday, starting on Jan. 20. The students learned about Chinese elementary students’ daily life, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese New Year, and the story of the Monkey King.
On Feb. 11, Rita Xu finished the second session of the Chinese enrichment class for first and second graders at Neil Armstrong Elementary School. This group has focused on topics such as Chinese architecture, food, and language. Some children can count in Mandarin from 1 to 100, and some can use chopsticks skillfully.
Binghamton City School District
In January and February, CIAU instructor Zhaoyun Zhai taught 6th grade students at Binghamton East and West Middle Schools topics including body parts, numbers, recognizing Chinese money, and shopping. The students practiced by role-playing, group work, and singing songs. They can now count from zero to one hundred, name parts of the body in Chinese, and also use the right vocabulary and structures to make such simple daily conversations as asking after a price or seeing a doctor. Besides that, the 6th graders continued to practice Chinese character writing. In order to perfect the students’ pronunciation, in the third marking period, Ms. Zhai began to read an ancient Chinese poem to her students each week.
The Chinese New Year celebration was going on during the first two weeks of February. Ms. Zhai designed a series of programs to introduce the students to traditional Chinese customs, stories of “Nian”, Chinese Zodiac Chinese New Year songs, and the Lantern Festival. She also showed some TV programs of the Chinese Spring Festival Gala Evening and made finger puppets and red paper lanterns with her sixth graders. On February 6, Ms. Zhai worked with other teachers and the CIBU and STCCA to host a celebration at East Middle School. The students had a great night making dumpling, paper-cutting, and watching performances. This gave the students some fresh ideas about China and Chinese culture and increased their interest in learning Chinese.
Geneva City School District
In these two months, students at North Street School have learned how to sing the songs “Jasmine Flower,” “Lovely Rabbits” and “The Big Turnip” in Chinese. The students can sing these songs alone, and all of them love Chinese songs very much.
They also learned many Chinese characters through studying calligraphy and New Year’s customs. For example, many students learned New Year’s greetings such as “Happy everyday” (天天开心), “Good luck”（如意吉祥）and “May all your wishes come true” （ 心想事成）. They also practiced writing these characters by themselves.
Besides learning Chinese words and songs, the Chinese classes engaged in a variety of cultural activities. By watching videos, students learned the history and legends of the Spring Festival. By watching and participating, many students came to appreciate the culture of the Tai Chi form “Fan”, the game of shuttlecock, and eating with chopsticks. They also created their own white and blue “porcelain” paper plates, “firecrackers”, Peking opera facial masks and paper cutting works. They all had a lot of fun in Chinese classes.
Recently, the Pre-K class learned about things Big and Small, animals, and the five sense organs.
After learning, they can tell the difference between big and small. By watching videos, they can tell the animals’ names and point to the right part of their faces for the senses. Instructor Linda prepared many interesting pictures and games for her Pre-K classes. These little ones Chinese and had a good time.
The Elective Program at Geneva West Street School has attracted more attention from the community. The children in Elyn’s class shared their learning experiences and classroom projects with their families, which made the Mandarin words and phrases become “family class” topics. The parents practiced the words in their own ways: some families played instruments while practicing sentences.
In January and February, Fang (Starry) He chose “Five senses”, “Zodiac animals”, “Chinese New Year”, “Body movements”, and “Feelings” as themes in her Chinese dual language class for kindergarteners.
Her students can make a brief introduction including their name, age, Zodiac animal, and favorite animal and food. They are able to write some basic Chinese characters, and use Chinese to compare big-small, tall-short, light-heavy, and more-less. They may do corresponding body movements according to the teacher’s directions. In math, these children can count to 100 and write down a certain number, and solve addition problems up to 10.
Starry and her students experienced all kinds of cultural activities during the Chinese New Year. They made many fun projects with the twelve Zodiac animals, and learned Chinese paper cutting and calligraphy. They also performed the “Twelve Zodiac” dance and the “Gongxi Gongxi” song for the Chinese New Year Gala in the Geneva School District.
Starry also had a New Year celebration with her students in the Chinese classroom. They wrote couplets, hung “Fu” characters and did paper cutting. The children experienced the tradition of giving New Year greetings and getting red envelopes. They did a role-play of the Monkey King and tried some Chinese desserts.
The students all had a good time at the Chinese New Year celebration as they had a wonderful experience of traditional Chinese culture.
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese Spring Festival fell on February 8th this year. Therefore, the enrichment Chinese classes at Geneva North Street School focused on the Chinese New Year customs and other traditional culture.
North Syracuse Central School District
In January and February, Chinese teachers Lucy Zhang and Eric Yang visited six elementary schools in the North Syracuse Central School District during the Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year season. The students were quite interested in the traditions of Chinese New Year. They learned why the color red is widely used for New Year, along with something about the traditions of hanging up red lanterns, posting red couplets on the doors and paper cuttings on the windows, setting off firecrackers, exchanging red envelopes, and enjoying family reunion meals on New Year’s Eve. The students asked many questions about the school and daily life of children their age in China. They also got to know how silk was produced and woven, and they were excited to learn some simple Chinese words.
Inauguration of the Confucius Classroom at Gillette Road Middle School
On February 22nd, the Confucius Classroom at Gillette Road Middle School was inaugurated. North Syracuse Central School District Superintendent Annette Speech, Executive Director Donna Marie Norton, Principal of Gillette Road Middle School Barbara Poole, Director of CIAU Wilfred Huang, CIAU faculty Daisy Wu and Chinese teacher at Gillette Road Middle School Lucy Zhang attended this ceremony.
2016 Chinese New Year Gala in Rochester
On February 11th, director Peng Tao, teachers Wu Zhongbei, Gao Lanfang and Duan Ruijun, and Volunteers Ding Wenyao and Zhang Lingyan accepted an invitation to hold a Chinese culture-experiencing activity and Chinese New Year Gala at Neil Armstrong Elementary School in Rochester, NY.
They facilitated four stations featuring Guzheng, Calligraphy and Chinese painting, Tai Chi Fan and Chopsticks in the gym of the school. Students rotated to each station to watch and try.
Chinese teacher Gao Lanfang introduced the traditional Chinese Spring Festival to the children. They learned about traditional Chinese New Year activities and Chinese food.
Chinese music teacher Wu Zhongbei played a very famous song, “Jasmine”, on the Guzheng. Her wonderful performance aroused everyone’s interest in this traditional Chinese instrument. After Ms. Wu introduced the structure and basic playing skill of the instrument, many children were excited and happy to try it and feel it.
Chinese Volunteer Zhang Lingyan performed Tai Chi Fan, along with a background song, Chinese Kongfu. Her movements, sometimes slow and soft, sometimes quick and powerful, earned applause from the American students and teachers.
At the end, Mrs. McGary, the principal of Neil Armstrong, said: “This is the best event we have ever had… the most successful one. The kids were so excited! They were so happy!”
Chinese New Year Gala in Geneva School District
Geneva School District and CIAU held a Chinese New Year Gala on Feb. 9th. Students, parents, teachers and local residents celebrated Chinese New Year at Geneva North Street Elementary School with all kinds of cultural activities.
Students in Mandarin classes from both North Street and West Street Schools gave many fun performances in the auditorium, including a Chinese Zodiac dance, Gongxi Gongxi, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, a traditional Chinese clothing show, Chinese martial arts, and Tai Chi Fan. Some kindergarteners from WSS did Chinese calligraphy and paper cutting, and they also showed lucky phrases in Chinese.
There were some interesting stations in the gymnasium that attracted many students and parents: Students Project Displays, Twelve Zodiac Animals station, Chopsticks Competition, Lantern Riddle, and Shuttlecock game. Martial Arts, Tai Chi, and Guzheng were shown in the small gymnasium.
This is the fourth annual Chinese New Year celebration hosted by Confucius Institute at Alfred University and Geneva School District. “We try our best to plan and prepare this big event every year, because it is an important festival which is very popular among the local people,” said the Geneva superintendent.
A3 program at Canisteo-Greenwood Central School
Beginning last year, the Confucius Institute at Alfred University started the A3 (Aligning Aspirations with Actions) program with several school districts around Alfred. On February 8th, the very day of 2016 Chinese New Year, faculty of CIAU went to Canisteo-Greenwood Central School and introduced customs of the Chinese Lunar New Year to the K-5 students after school.
CIAU faculty compared Christmas with Spring Festival, and the students got a closer look at differences between Chinese and American cultures, learned how to pay a New Year call in Chinese, and had fun learning the Tai Chi Fan.
CIAU faculty joins Lunar New Year Celebration at Alfred Montessori School
On February 6th, 2016, three instructors, Elyn, Lili, Jane, and the Tai Chi group from the Confucius Institute at Alfred University joined the Lunar New Year Celebration at the Alfred Montessori School.
For these festivities, the CIAU faculty brought traditional Chinese cultural activities, including calligraphy, paper cutting and lucky knot tying. The Tai Chi group brought a wonderful demonstration of Tai Chi Quan. Writing auspicious sayings on red paper is one of the customs of Spring Festival in China. The children and their parents were very excited about writing with brushes and ink.
At the paper cutting table, many children were attracted by those cute monkey faces. According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the Year of the Monkey, so Miss Lili prepared many papercutting materials with monkey faces for children. Chinese knotting is another representation of Chinese culture. Miss Jane displayed many knot decorations. Colorful threads, Chinese style beads, and delicate pendants made this table very popular, too. Following Miss Jane’s explanation, the children and parents cooperated together and made their own pretty bracelets.
Besides these, kids and parents also tried making Chinese lanterns, eating dumplings, face painting, and more. Laughter and smiling faces made the event very successful, as everyone had a good time.
Guzheng performance in Rochester
At the invitation of Nazareth College in Rochester, Zhongbei Daisy Wu and AU student Brandon Miller played music on guzheng for teachers in a training session who are from different schools in New York State on February 6th. CIAU was also introduced to the audience.
2016 Chinese New Year Gala at AU
On February 6th, the Confucius Institute at Alfred University sponsored its annual Chinese New Year Gala in the Knight Club in Powell Campus Center. More than 200 people from Alfred University and surrounding communities attended the gala and celebrated a traditional Chinese New Year with a festive and joyful atmosphere.
Guests participated in a variety of interactive cultural activities including making dough figurines, paper cutting, Chinese painting, and writing spring couplets. Some tried to use dough to make a panda, and some cut a monkey from paper, since 2016 is the Year of the Monkey.
The 2016 Chinese New Year Gala turned out to be a successful gathering with the cooperation of teachers and students from the Confucius Institute at Alfred University.
Chinese New Year Gala in North Syracuse
On January 21st, a grand Chinese New Year Celebration Gala was held at North Syracuse Roxboro Road Middle School. First, the Chinese program coordinator, Dr. David Morton, welcomed CIAU faculty and introduced the program to the audience.
Many different customs were presented by CIAU faculty, including putting up couplets, setting off firecrackers, and hanging "Happiness" upside down. Also, some of the customs were demonstrated, such as paying a New Year call in Chinese, parents giving red packets to their children, and eating dumplings.
Inauguration of the Confucius Classroom at Roxboro Road Middle School
On January 21st, the Confucius Classroom at Roxboro Road Middle School was inaugurated. North Syracuse Central School District Superintendent Annette Speech, Executive Director Donna Marie Norton, Principal of Roxboro Road Middle School David Shaw, Chinese Program Coordinator Dr. David Morton, Chinese Director of CIAU Peng Tao, school teachers and CIAU faculty attended this ceremony.