Confucius Institute News
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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.