Confucius Institute News
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January - February
Geneva West Street School District
In early February, Geneva Central School District held a Chinese New Year Gala. Ms. Zhu and her students made a variety of preparations. 2018 is the Year of Dog, and the students learned a Chinese greeting, “狗年大吉，新年快乐”, which means “Happy New Year in the Year of the Dog”. Most students and parents attended the New Year Gala and experienced a lively Chinese New Year celebration together.
With the coming of this Spring Festival, Ms. Zhu told stories of the Chinese zodiac to her kindergarten students as they celebrated together. The students learned about the special traditional foods and customs of the Spring Festival. They were fascinated by the Chinese zodiac, and they made handcrafts illustrating the zodiac animals in class.
On January 29th, CIAU teacher Liping Ding introduced Chinese New Year for the Year of the Dog to the Chinese Immersion 2nd graders at Geneva West Street School. Students learned about “The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” and can sing the “Song of 12 Zodiac Animals” in Chinese perfectly. What’s more, every student now knows their animal sign based on the Chinese Zodiac Wheel with birth years that Ms. Ding showed and can say the whole sentence “I’m from the Year of ...” in Chinese. At the end of class, each student designed and made their own dog very happily.
On February 2nd, Ms. Ding introduced more Chinese traditions of New Year along with their meanings to the 2nd graders. For example, they learned about using Couplets to decorate the doors and express best wishes for the coming year; Red Lanterns to scare away the Nian monster and bring good luck; and Paper-cutting to decorate doors, windows and walls to show happiness and festivity.
After learning about the Chinese New Year, students did projects together at home about New Year.
When Chinese New Year is coming, students make their own dragons. Students in America always think that a dragon is an evil guy, and they are afraid of dragons. After Ms. Mengqi Gu told her students that in China the dragon is a good guy, who is always protecting people and bringing the rain to nourish the plants on the earth, students then have a brand new understanding of the dragon.
After learning that Chinese people put up the character Fu in red on the door, students were so excited to make one for themselves to scare away the monster, Nian. Some of them were so creative that they wrote down the words, “No Nian Allowed,” on the red paper.
Before the Chinese New Year Night, Ms. Gu prepared some chopsticks and cotton balls for the students to practice. Some asked how Chinese people could use them every day and thought it is too hard. Although it is hard for them, they love to try it and they want to win the chopsticks competition at the Chinese New Year Night. After school that day, some students even practiced at home.
On Valentine’s Day, students in Ms. Gu’s class learned something about Chinese Valentine’s Day, called Qi Xi Festival. They compared these two Valentine’s Day celebrations between America and China. Students also listened to the story of Niulang and Zhinv. After hearing the story, they drew pictures about what they had learned.
It was Chinese New Year on Feb.16, and students celebrated it with their teachers in Ms. Gu’s class. They tried dumplings and even used chopsticks to pick up their dumplings. After that, they watched the Spring Festival Gala presentation and took pictures together.
Ms. Yuan helped her students at Geneva West Street School appreciate the glamour of Chinese culture by introducing Chinese zodiac animal signs, customs of Chinese New Year, traditional foods for the Reunion Dinner, the decorations for Chinese New Year, and the Lantern Festival. Students were thrilled to express all the topic-related words of Chinese New Year, decorate their classroom with lanterns, and design their own Red-envelopes, which are for gifts of money from their parents.
On Feb.16th, the celebration of Chinese New Year enjoyed great success at North Street School through the great efforts of the Mandarin teacher and other teachers from the Geneva Central School District. Over four hundred students and parents had great fun with all the activities and tasted the glamour of Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting and traditional music. Susan Clark Porter, a reporter from the Finger Lake Times, interviewed Ms. Yuan and wrote a special report about this event.
Geneva North Street School District
To get students ready for the Chinese Spring Festival celebration, Wanda designed the subject of “Chun Jie” in January, which included drawing red lanterns, watching some performances from Spring Festival galas, learning to sing songs, etc. Most students felt fascinated at the splendid stage, fantastic lights and wonderful performances in the galas, and some asked to see more.
To help students learn the song “If You Are Happy, Clap Your Hands with Me,” Wanda designed a competition to activate them to learn the words of the song. First, she asked students to listen to the song two or three times to get a general meaning of the song and do the actions with the tune. Then she said the words “paipaishou, duoduojiao, dasheng han, zhenbang” and did the actions to help the students to understand the meaning of each word. After several repetitions, she said the words one by one, and students did the actions accordingly. Then came the competition. Two students came to the front and did the actions they heard; the one who was quicker and correct got one point. The students were very active in the competition. After several times, some students would volunteer to say the words for other competitors to do the actions.
In the second class, Wanda asked the students to do the competition another way. First, she did the actions one by one and students were required to do the actions accordingly. Then came the competition.
Through doing competitions, most students learned to say the words in the song, even some complex ones as “gandao, kaixin, yiqizuo” and meanwhile their interest in learning Chinese was motivated.
Geneva North Street School District
In January, Kaijun, one of seventh grade students’ mother specially told his teacher, Mrs. Wenfang Gao, that Kaijun likes Chinese so much that he even taught his young cousin Chinese at home.
Three Chinese teachers joined high school classes at NCA to help international students, especially students from China, to learn health, life science, and history. Health is one of the most difficult lessons for students from China. Kevin Zheng, a sophomore from Guangdong, China, came to NCA less than six months ago. Due to his newness and poor English foundation, he initially found his health class to be very hard. Mrs. Wenfang Gao came into the classroom to help Kevin translate classroom instruction and at the same time study with him. After two months, Kevin's health score went from D or F to a B.
Yang Yang and Xiaochao Tao also helped students and learned with them.
Teachers and students from Northstar Christian School brought in the Chinese New Year with a number of different activities to celebrate Spring Festival. Many teachers, students and parents in the school participated in. The students who are learning Chinese not only came to understand the Spring Festival legends and customs, but also cut out spring flowers, made dumplings, and sang the Spring Festival blessing songs while experiencing almost a native Chinese flavor.
North Syracuse Central School District
In February, two Chinese festivals were celebrated in the Gillette Road and Roxboro Road Middle Schools. On the 15th of February, a Chinese New Year celebration was held by members of the Confucius Institute at Alfred University at Gillette Road Middle School. Dr. Morton and Yuanhuan He hosted the activities. Parents and students enjoyed themselves. Suping (Emma) Wang, Yuanhuan (Beverly) He and Ping (Kevin) Wang handed out red envelopes, cupcakes, and candy. The children learned about Chinese culture through a Chinese New Year video and the story of Nian. All the students performed the poem, “Jing Ye Si.” They also learned how to write calligraphy and do paper cutting following their Chinese teachers.
On the 28th of February, the Lantern Festival was celebrated in Roxboro Road Middle School, under the direction of teachers from the Confucius Institute at Alfred University. Mr. Yu together with four other teachers did a lot for the activities. Dr. Morton and Yuanhuan He hosted the activities. Children learned about the Lantern Festival through a Lantern Festival video. Guessing lantern riddles was an essential part of the activity. All the parents and students were welcomed by Chinese dancing by Ms. Cui and music on the cucurbit flute by Ms. Tong. Parents and kids learned how to make lanterns with Ping Wang. They learned how to use chopsticks with Suping Wang. They learned how to write calligraphy following Mr. Huo and Mr. Chen. Chinese food was provided to all the guests. They said they are looking forward to next year’s Lantern Festival.
During January and February, students at Gillette Road and Roxboro Road Middle Schools learned about Chinese New Year, the Zodiac, the Lantern Festival, making an origami puppy and drawing a panda in their Chinese language classes.
This was the first Spring Festival to be spent with the students of Webutuck School District. Their activities began with the story of "Year". Through the narration of the story, the students learned the origins of Chinese New Year. They were curious about the "year" of the monster, brought up their brushstrokes to draw out the monsters in their hearts, and played the role of the old gods leading the villagers to expel the monster. At the end of the play, the monster "Year" was scared by red colors, fire, and firecrackers. All the students stood up and shouted together to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The students were fond of the red Chinese lanterns, particularly the two big lanterns which were hung on the school. They often gathered under the lanterns for careful observation. In order to satisfy their curiosity about Chinese lanterns, Ms. Zhang specially prepared colored paper and scissors, glue sticks and other utensils to teach them how to make lanterns. Watching them triumphantly carry away their own lanterns after class to show off to other students, Ms. Zhang was delighted.
Some students mentioned that they saw a lot of people holding a snake running around in China. They were curious about the Chinese dragon dance. They hurried to see Alfred University’s own dragon and lion dance performances and learn about these traditions. “Look at them so much like a dragon!” Many worked together as a group to make the dragon. The next day at the Webutuck campus, a wall was covered with colorful Chinese dragons. The students vividly described to the high school students the Chinese dragon and lion dance.
Pine Plains School District
During Spring Festival, about thirty students from Stissing Mountain School experienced traditional Chinese culture. Ms. Iris introduced the Chinese zodiac to them and taught them Chinese paper cutting. Teachers and students made butterflies and flowers together. The students also designed their own red packets. Ms. Iris put 1 yuan, paper cuttings, and candies in every red packet. Students were so excited when they received their red packets and said, "Happy New Year!" in Chinese to Ms. Iris. Finally, they watched the Spring Festival Gala in class together.
Tai Chi Demonstration in Wellsville, NY
On January 17, CIAU Tai Chi master Guifang Liu was invited to teach a Tai Chi class in the Wellsville YMCA. Theresa Brown, one of the Alfred Tai Chi class members, as well as the Tai Chi coach of Wellsville Tai Chi class, first introduced CIAU and Master Fang.
More than 20 people participated in the Tai Chi class. They practiced Ba Duan Jin and Mawangdui Daoyin. Also, Master Liu performed the Swimming Dragon Sword for attendees. Their performance was well received by the attendees.
Tai Chi and guzheng performances at Pine Plains School District
On the morning of January 29, the Pine Plains School District held spring festival celebrations. Daisy Wu, associate director of CIAU, and Guifang Liu, coach of the Taiji class, incorporated the guzheng and Tai Chi performances into Chinese classes. Daisy Wu performed guzheng music "Fishing Boat Singing Night" and "Spring Moonlight Night". Master Liu performed the Swimming Dragon and instructed the students to perform a simple Tai Chi movement. Dr. Handler, the superintendent of Pine Plains, participated in the celebration together with the students.
Daisy Wu performed guzheng in Carnegie Hall
On February 1, Associate Professor Daisy Wu, a guzheng musician from CIAU, was invited to attend the "One World Opera - A Blend Between Eastern and Western Music" held at the Carnegie Hall.
“I was invited by Jiajun Hong, CEO of Blossom Season International Culture Media Company and his wife, famous singer Jinghan Zhang,” said Daisy Wu. “At that time they were planning to use traditional Chinese musical instruments and Western opera music. When they saw the guzheng performances with American singers at the closing ceremony of our Chinese Immersion Conference, they believed the performance was just what they were looking for and thus invited me us to attend the performance.”
The concert was organized by Virginio Fedeli, the agent of Andrea Bocelli, a well-known tenor. The artists participating in the concert included many famous Italian singers, Patrizia Orciani, Sandra Sungrazer, Ricardo Gatto, Jinghan Zhang, a Chinese singer, and Fernando Cisneros, a Mexican singer. Instrumentalists were famous musicians such as Xiaofen Min, Feifei Yang, Zhongbei Wu, Yuxiao Chen, Jiajun Hong, Xiaojie Fan and Meixu Lu.
Rick Stephens, Vice President of Alfred University, who was invited to watch the show, said he was very pleased to enjoy the fusion of music from east and west. He also mentioned he was proud to see Zhongbei Wu, a Guzheng performer from the university, joined the show.
Tai Chi Demonstration in Hornell, NY
On February 8, CIAU Tai Chi master Guifang Liu was invited to teach a Tai Chi demonstration class in the Hornell YMCA. Pat Lacourse, one of the Alfred Tai Chi class members, as well as the Tai Chi coach of Hornell Tai Chi class, first introduced CIAU and Master Fang. This is one of the New Year activities of CIAU.
During the event, Guifang Liu led 36 students and community residents to practice Baduanjin and Mawangdui Guide. The performance was well received by the attendees.
CIAU faculty joins Lunar New Year Celebration at Notre Dame High School
On February 9, 2017, CIAU faculty was invited by Peiling Zhong to perform guzheng and hulusi at Notre Dame High School. Students and parents participated in this gala.
Later, they introduced guzheng and hulusi to the audience and lots of students volunteered to experience guzheng on the stage. In the end, the students express their appreciation in Chinese to them.
Alfred University Chorus attended the 2018 Lunar New Year celebration by Chinese Consulate General in New York
On the evening of February 14, at the invitation of Chinese Consulate General in New York, Wilfred Huang, the director of CIAU, and Jijun Yu, the Chinese director of CIAU, and Alfred University Chorus attended the 2018 Lunar New Year celebration by Chinese Consulate General in New York. The Alfred University Chorus sang American song "Do not I Love Thee", Chinese songs "Tian Lu" and "Youth Dance" at the celebration. More than 300 people watched the show. Dr. Rick Stephens, Provost and Vice President of Alfred University, attended the celebration as well. Before the performance, Ambassador Qiyue Zhang, Consul General of Chinese Consulate General in New York, and Mr. Yongji Xu, Education Counsellor of Chinese Consulate General in New York met with all members of the chorus and spoke with director Wilfred Huang and Provost Rick Stephens respectively.
2018 Chinese New Year Gala at AU Knight Club
On February 17, the Confucius Institute at Alfred University sponsored its annual Chinese New Year Gala in the Knight Club in Powell Campus Center. More than 300 people from Alfred University and surrounding communities attended the gala and celebrated a traditional Chinese New Year.
Guests watched the video of Spring Festival celebrations held in different CIAU school districts. Then a special performance Dragon Dance was presented by AU students. After that, AU Provest Dr. Rick Stephens gave opening remarks.
Tai Chi class brought performances of Swimming Dragon and Swimming Dragon Sword. Furthermore, students from guzheng class played Chinese traditional instruments with CIAU teachers which were well-received. Also, delicious Chinese dishes were enjoyed by all.
The highlight was Sichuan opera face changing performed by magician Li Peng. Traditional Chinese costumes was well received by the attendees.
Confucianism Lecture at AU
CIAU teacher Andy Yu was invited by Mr. Chris Yarnal, professor of religion at Alfred University, to give a lecture on February 23 for the class on world religions. This was the fifth time CIAU was invited to give a cultural lecture at AU.
Professor Yu introduced the doctrine of Confucianism, which advocates an ideal of "sageliness within and kingliness without", and its magnificent influence on Chinese culture. He also discussed the similarities and differences in culture between China and Western countries.