Confucius Institute News
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Gates Chili School District
On Dec. 8th, CIAU faculty Juan (Rita) Xu started a Mandarin Club at the Florence Brasser Elementary School. The club meets every Thursday after school, and nineteen third grade students have joined. They learned Chinese culture and did some crafts such as paper cutting. They showed strong interest in this club. One said, “I wish every day was Thursday!” and another replied, “Me, too!”
On Dec. 13th, Rita Xu started a weekly Chinese culture class with the third grade students at Paul Road Elementary School. The students are very curious about historical sites in China, such as the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Army in the tomb of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven. They have learned some of the geography of China, such as the highest mountain, the longest river, and the biggest city.
In November and December, Rita Xu continued teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at Gates Chili Middle school, and 3rd grade students at Walt Disney and Florence Brasser Elementary Schools greetings, country names, numbers, family, body parts, etc. The children learned the Chinese gestures of 1 to 10 and learned how to count from 1 to 99, tried using chopsticks to pick up small things, and experienced Chinese Dough Modeling. The 3rd graders are fascinated with Chinese culture.
Geneva West Street School District
The fall semester has been going on for four months. On November 4th to 6th, three Mandarin teachers from West Street School went to Boston to participate in a Professional Development Program. They found the training to be very beneficial.
On the 15th of November, the Chinese director of the Confucius Institute of Alfred University (CIAU), Dr. Jijun (Andy) Yu, came to Geneva to observe the Mandarin classes and gave the Mandarin teachers great support. The Chinese teachers also exchanged ideas and suggestions about their work.
For Thanksgiving, Ms. Zhu taught her students how to express love and gratitude to their families in Chinese, and organized a classroom activity: a thank-you card, on which students wrote the Chinese character “love” and painted pictures of their family members. Everyone designed their own cards. The students liked this activity and brought their thank-you cards back home to share with their families.
In December, prekindergarten Mandarin classes began with a total of two classes for forty students which met twice per week. These young students are very talented to learn Chinese. They learn new knowledge quickly and remember new words well after review. The director of PK is very interested in the Chinese program, so she attended the first class.
In December, Ms. Zhu applied to the principal of West Street School to make a special display in the school hallway. The principal was very supportive. This prominent "Chinese Wall" will showcase Chinese culture and students' homework. Now the theme is "Chinese Dragon". The scales of the dragon are made of name cards from all the immersion class students. It represents the Chinese family, while the rest of the display shows the students’ recent homework and hand work. All the Mandarin teachers worked together to finish the Chinese Wall.
Before Christmas, the Chinese teachers taught their students some Mandarin words about Christmas and did some paper-folding. They also participated in the school’s holiday celebration. On December 20th, students from the Mandarin immersion program sang Chinese songs at the afterschool enrichment program for families, known as PAWS Night, and were received with warm applause. They received their first Christmas gifts here; some students’ parents had prepared lovely gifts for the teachers.
Geneva North Street School District
In the last five weeks, students in Geneva North Street School showed more passion for Mandarin Chinese learning, developing the good habit of taking notes in class. They learned how to express their love and thankfulness to their family members in Mandarin. Also, they were curious about the differences between the Chinese family system and the American family, which led them to reflect on the strengths and drawbacks of each family system. And they were surprised to find out that Chinese people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but they do celebrate Christmas.
In order to help students get a better understanding of Chinese culture, students in Yuan Yuan’s Mandarin Chinese class were treated to a special culture lesson on the Peking Opera on Nov. 15th. Peking Opera, also known as Beijing Opera, is a classic form of performance art which combines the music of Chinese instruments, singing, miming, dancing, and history. It arose in the late 18th century and became popular around the country in the 19th century. It is now regarded as one of China’s cultural treasures.
Ms. Yuan combined the lesson with a vocabulary unit on colors, explaining to the students the cultural meaning behind colors used in opera masks. The masks are typically red, purple, green, yellow, black or white. Some colors have meanings similar to Western perceptions, she told students: Purple, for example, means justice. Others, however, are quite different: White represents evil, while black is a positive color. Students showed great interest in Peking Opera, and they designed their own Peking Opera masks based on their understanding of the personalities which are represented by different colors.
Ms. Yuan believes that students will become “global citizens” with great intercultural communicative competence if they can master more of a foreign language. With the inseparable economic relation with China, learning Mandarin Chinese will definitely help students in Geneva to become more competitive in the global village.
Northstar Christian Academy
On November 4th, Northstar Christian Academy in Rochester said farewell to the students from Chengdu, its sister school in China, with a program closing ceremony. This is the second exchange program our Chinese instructors have supported and participated in. Our Chinese instructors, Mrs. Wu and Mrs. Chen, taught their American students to sing Chinese songs and to greet their Chinese guests in their own language, as well as to present calligraphy art.
Students from the two countries spent two happy weeks sharing the cultures and arts of the two countries. Mrs. Wu served as coordinator and interpreter, and the whole exchange program was successfully accomplished.
On November 15th, Northstar Christian Academy held the second open house of this semester. Mrs. Chen and Mrs. Wu presented a Chinese handcraft—Chinese knots. Students and parents gathered at the stand and waited in a long line to make a Chinese knot with their own hands.
During these two months, elementary Chinese culture and language classes focused on daily expressions such as days of the week, dates, numbers, colors, and animals. In November, students made Thanksgiving cards with greetings in Chinese. Students also made paper lanterns and learned to sing Christmas and New Year songs in Chinese for the holidays.
Northstar Christian Academy High School’s Chinese course is a credit-bearing course. This year Mrs. Wu started the Chinese program in seventh grade. Students have learned many communication topics, including family, food, school life, time, weather, and jobs. Along with the communication topics, students learned about Chinese culture and arts, such as calligraphy, music, and Peking Opera.
North Syracuse Central School District
Ms. Yao Zhang and Ms. Suping Wang continued their school year teaching about Chinese culture, particularly the Yellow River and early Chinese history, in social studies classes in two middle schools in North Syracuse. The children were very interested in the reason why the Huanghe River is called the Yellow River, Mother River, and the Earth Suspended River. When they saw the bronze vessels and the first Chinese characters, inscriptions which were engraved on animal bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty, they were totally fascinated by the civilization of ancient China.
About 380 students in North Syracuse are learning Chinese language this school year. The children have learned how to pronounce the four tones of the language, the uses of personal pronouns, Chinese table manners, and how to use chopsticks. It was the first time for some students to use chopsticks! They opened their mouths in big surprise when they picked up jelly beans. At the end of the lessons, every child got a piece of Chinese candy after they said, “Dà Bái Tù” or “Yēzi Táng” （the names of Chinese candy）with standard Mandarin.
Pine Plains Central School District
A variety of class activities and traditional Chinese games are a great method to encourage our students to learn Chinese and to understand China. Every Friday, after the routine quiz, students in Mandarin class have about ten minutes to play Chinese games. Jianzi (shuttlecock) is one of their favorite games. And with the holiday is coming, 8th grade students volunteered to decorate the door of the Chinese classroom. They drew a picture of China using their imagination, combined with the knowledge of China they have gained.
In addition, for the credit-bearing class at Pine Plains High School, we also have been organizing a fieldtrip related to Chinese culture, and our students are really looking forward to it. Our students are now learning how to use chopsticks in preparation for the upcoming fieldtrip.
The First International Conference on Cultural Exchange Between Chinese and American Art Institutions 2016
The “First International Conference on Cultural Exchange Between Chinese and American Art Institutions 2016” was held successfully at Alfred University on November 12th and 13th. The theme was entitled "Artistic Ecology."
The conference was organized cooperatively by the Arts Design School of Wuhan University of Technology and the Confucius Institute at Alfred University (CIAU), hosted by Wuhan, China – U.S. Cultural and Art Institutions’ Exchange Center (CUCA), and undertaken by CIAU. More than 30 representatives from art institutions in China were invited to attend.
Shan Ding, CUCA Center Deputy Director, Gerar Edizal, Dean of AU School of Art and Design, and Wilfred Huang, CIAU Director, opened the meeting and welcomed the guests.
Representatives from China and the United States introduced the current status of their cultural and artistic institutions and their vision for future cooperation and development through slides and explanations in both languages.
Many delegates gave speeches and participated in discussions, including Gerar Edizel, Joseph Scheer, Co-Director of the AU Digital Media School, Wayne Higby, Curator of the AU Ceramic Art Museum, and Xiaoxia Zhou, Director of China Institute. During the latter part of the conference, the two sides discussed matters of cooperation and exchange of resources, and worded a cooperation letter with the intent to build the Sino-U.S. Art Information Platform and other agreements, which, based on mutual trust and reciprocity, pledge to use artistic resources to increase friendly cooperation.
In addition, Zhongbei Daisy Wu and Chenchen Lin played "Black Bamboo Melody" on the guzheng and "Horse Racing" on the erhu for the delegates, and invited Professor Luanne Crosby to sing a famous Chinese folk song, “Jasmine.” These were met with bursts of applause.
The Confucius Institute at Alfred University has given full play to its role in the exchange of cultural and artistic ideas between China and the United States. The conference improved the understanding of artistic institutions, expanded the forms of cooperation in cultural and artistic exchanges, and built a bridge for the sharing and exchange of artistic resources between the two nations.
Guzheng Performance at Houghton College
On November 18th, CIAU Associate Director Daisy Wu was invited to give a guzheng performance in the Ortlip Gallery, a multi-purpose exhibition space in the Houghton College Center for the Arts, during the Art Department’s First Alumni Ceramic Works Exhibition. The beautiful melody of the guzheng attracted many visitors, and Gallery Curator Alicia Taylor expressed her thanks to Daisy Wu in her speech.
After the exhibition, Daisy Wu introduced CIAU to Houghton College Art Professor Gary Baxter and suggested a future cooperation on cultural exchange between the two parties. Gary Baxter said, “I am interested at Chinese ceramics. It would be meaningful if the Confucius Institute could offer an exchange platform for us.”
CIAU Faculty Visit the Confucius Institute at Binghamton University
On November 29th, CIAU Chinese Director Jijun Yu, Associate Director Daisy Wu, and other teachers were invited to visit the Confucius Institute at Binghamton University (CIBU).
Prof. Zuyan Chen and Prof. Linghui Tu gave a warm welcome to the CIAU faculty and showed the teachers the Confucius Institute's office and related cultural exhibitions. Daisy Wu introduced Prof. Jijun Yu, new Chinese director of CIAU, to CIBU directors and presented a memorial gift to them.
Later the same day, CIBU hosted a lecture on the aesthetics of traditional Chinese music. Dr. Mei Han, director of the Center for Chinese Music and Culture in Middle Tennessee State University, gave the lecture, and CIAU faculty members also participated. Daisy Wu introduced activities for the promotion of Chinese musical culture overseas to Dr. Mei Han and James Burns, the Director of the Music Department of Binghamton University. In addition, Professor Jijun Yu and Professor Zuyan Chen discussed teaching methods for the Chinese language.
CIAU Faculty Attend the First Annual Multilingual Learners Literacy Conference
On Nov. 30, the First Annual Multilingual Learners Literacy Conference was held in Albany, capital of New York. CIAU faculty Yuan Yuan, a Chinese teacher in the Geneva School District, attended this meeting.
This conference, hosted by the New York State Department of Education, explored how to develop true "world citizens" by improving students' ability to learn a foreign language in the context of globalization. Dr. Betty Rosa, Director of the New York State Department of Education, gave the opening remarks. She pointed out that, in the context of globalization, educators should think about how to make students true citizens of the world in order to better meet new challenges and to bear the corresponding social responsibilities. In addition, the participants also attended two seminars, according to their own interests, including analysis of the problems of language teaching under the macro background and the introduction of the micro-teaching methods in the day-to-day classroom.
The meeting was highly regarded by the Geneva School District, and was attended by Karen Fahy, head of Humanities at the Geneva School District, Tricia Budgar, Principal of West Street School, and Tracy Marchionda, Principal of North Street School.
Guzheng Performance at AU Student Recital
A student recital was held by the AU Performing Arts Department at the end of the fall semester at Miller Theater. This recital featured guzheng, woodwinds, brass, piano, and percussion. Over thirty students from AU Performing Arts classes performed at this event.
The recital started with the guzheng ensemble playing “Under the Silver Moonlight” and “The Swordsman.” Then Brandon Miller played a guzheng solo, “New Song of the Dongting Lake.” The beautiful melody won warm applause from the audience.
As a credit-bearing course of AU’s Division of Performing Arts, guzheng class has been taken by over one hundred students.
Chinese Music the Theme of Cultural Lecture at AU
On December 7th, CIAU Associate Director Daisy Wu was invited by AU Division of Performing Arts Professor Luanne Crosby to give a lecture on Chinese music.
This lecture was given for the class on World Music. Daisy Wu discussed the features of Chinese music and compared it to Western music. She introduced traditional and modern guzheng music through playing the instrument. Then Chenchen Lin played her erhu to introduce another Chinese instrument to the students.
The Eleventh Annual Confucius Institute Conference
On December 11th and 12th, the 11th Annual Confucius Institute Conference was successfully held in Kunming, China. The two days of lively discussions helped the delegates reach broad consensus on objectives for development of the world-wide Confucius Institute in the coming decade and built confidence for the future. More than 2,000 people attended this year’s conference, including Alfred University Provost Rick Stephens, CIAU Director Wilfred Huang, and Chinese Director Jijun Yu.
Tai Chi Class Christmas Party
The Alfred Tai Chi class this semester featured Tai Yi Swimming Dragon Sword and Mawangdui Dao Yin exercises, which received a warm welcome from the Tai Chi class members.
At the end of each semester, all members of the Tai Chi group get together to hold a great party. The Christmas party was held December 17th at the Terra Cotta Coffee House on Main Street. Old friends and newcomers got together and enjoyed the delicious cuisine. Then the group exchanged Christmas gifts. These special gifts not only represent every friend’s love, but also contain warm memories of the Tai Chi group. At the end of the party, the Tai Chi group members all expressed their best wishes to Master Fang and their hope of meeting again.
Geneva North Street School
Yuan Yuan started teaching at Geneva Middle School on the 5th of September, offering language scaffolding to students who are taking online Mandarin Chinese courses. The students were happy to share with her that they are more passionate about Chinese language and culture learning with her help.On September 19th, she began teaching Chinese language and culture at Geneva North Street School. All the students in the sixteen 4th grade and 5th grade classrooms show great interest in her class.
They designed Mandarin folders and took notes for their reflections on the Mandarin course and for questions about Chinese culture. In the last seven weeks, they were excited about learning their name, age, and birthday in Mandarin Chinese. Also, they learned to count from 1 to 100, and to express the date and colors. Apart from Chinese language, she helped students to get a better understanding of Chinese culture by comparing and contrasting with American culture. Students compared the different aspects of Chinese names with American names; they also learned that Chinese people have a different understanding about lucky numbers.
They were surprised to see the traffic jam during the golden week of a Chinese national holiday. Ms. Yuan learned from her students about the origin of Halloween, and she used Halloween candies to practice the Mandarin Chinese names of colors with her students. She wants to develop the mutual understanding of Chinese and American people by this cultural exchange.
Tracy Marchionda, the director of the Chinese program, said that Ms. Yuan is a wonderful teacher and all the students love her class. She also gained praise from parents on the day of the school’s Open House.
Geneva West Street School
Ms. Zhu started her first school year with Mandarin lesson at Geneva West Street Elementary School. Two hundred twenty-six students in kindergarten and 1st grade learned Mandarin. Pre-kindergarten classes will begin in November.
Students enjoyed Mandarin class and learned very well. They learned some daily expressions in Chinese, and every time smilingly said, “Hello!” to Ms. Zhu in the Chinese way. They also learned numbers in Chinese and happily sang a Chinese song about numbers before each Chinese class began.
They drew pandas after they learned the words for colors. They like pandas so much! Meanwhile, they learned some Chinese culture, particularly the Chinese love of red: people like to use red to celebrate festivals in China, because red has an auspicious meaning, “good luck”. Ms. Zhu showed a red lantern, a Chinese knot, and couplets to her students.
An Open House was held at West Street School on October 20. The parents were very interested in what their children were learning. Ms. Zhu went to each classroom to talk with parents and show the Chinese work from her students.
In addition, Chinese teachers participated in pumpkin carving for Halloween.
Gates Chili School District
In September, instructors Jing Wu and Jinxiang Chen started the third year of Chinese language and culture classes at Northstar Christian Academy in Rochester. Students in kindergarten to sixth grade have Chinese class every week, while some high school students have chosen Chinese culture and languages or AP Chinese, both of which are credit-bearing courses and meet every day. The teachers selected different topics for the students according to their ages and hobbies, combining language learning with interactive activities such as singing, dancing, and playing games, which were fun and motivated the students to learn.
So far, the elementary children have warmed up with giving greetings, introducing themselves, counting, studying body parts, and naming family members in Chinese.
Mrs. Wu’s high school classes focused on topics of fashion, entertainment and media. Mrs. Wu helped her students improve their listening, speaking and writing skills. She introduced the AP examination to the students and helped students to apply for the test.
Mrs. Chen and Mrs. Wu put some Chinese art works they brought from China on exhibition. This was the second Chinese art exhibition at Northstar Christian Academy.
North Syracuse Central School District
Ms. Zhang and Ms. Wang started their school year teaching about Chinese culture in social studies classes in two middle schools in North Syracuse. They taught six hundred 6th grade students in the two schools. The content of the first lesson focused on the geographical location of China and Asia, the landforms of China comparing to the United States, and the climate of China. The children were very interested in the climate of the Plateau of Tibet, as well as the length of the Great Wall.
Fifth and sixth grade students in North Syracuse are offered the chance to learn Chinese language throughout the whole school year. There are around 380 students enrolled in our language lessons this year, which is triple the number of the previous year. For the first lesson, the children learned how to write their Chinese names, and how to say Hello, Thank you, Goodbye, and You are welcome in Chinese. They practice Chinese during their break time; it’s so interesting to see students speaking in Chinese in American schools.
Gates-Chili School District
Mrs. Xu began to teach Chinese culture courses at the Florence Brasser Primary School on September 27th. The students are very interested in Chinese students’ school life, China's high mountains and great rivers, and various forms of architecture. The students are very active in class and curious about many things. At the end of each class, some children will hug Instructor Xu, and some send her small cards they have made themselves.
On October 4, Mrs. Xu began the first round of Chinese language and culture classes for grades 2 and 3 at Walt Disney Elementary School. Some children can use the Mandarin to count from 1 to 100, and some children can tell their parents in Chinese: "Dad, Mom, I love you!"
At Gates-Chili High School, Mrs. Xu joined the after-school interest group to set up a Chinese Culture and Language Club for students. The students learned about the traditional Chinese festivals. They learned that besides Mandarin, there are many dialects in China. They appreciated the traditional Chinese musical instruments and also learned some simple Chinese greetings.
Pine Plains Central School District
Pine Plains Central School District maintains a good tradition of communication with China. Stissing High School sends students to learn Chinese in China almost every year. Many local families are also host families for exchange students from China. Now, since the cooperation between CIAU and the school district, the Chinese program has become even more colorful.
There are five Chinese classes in the school district, covering all the middle and high schools. The Chinese language course has become a compulsory course in secondary schools. Pine Plains Central School District is also the only school district in Dutchess County to carry out Chinese credit programs. They are eagerly welcomed by many parents. On the Open House Day, Sept. 20, some parents said that their children enjoyed learning Chinese and loved writing Chinese characters, even though they used to hate writing. Other parents said that the school's Chinese course is very cool, and they are very happy that their children have access to different languages and cultures, so they can better understand the world.
The Moon Festival Gala started with two Chinese folk songs: Under the Silver Moonlight and Love Song of Kangding, sang by Dr. Luanne Crosby and accompanied by the Guzheng and Erhu music.
Charles Miller played the famous Guzheng solo High Mountains and Flowing Water and Chenchen Lin played the Erhu music Horse Racing.
Besides, the AU students from Chinese class and Taichi class also contributed wonderful performances to the concert.
After the concert, all the audience had dinner together at Knight Club. Alfred University Provost Rick Stephens and CIAU Chinese Director Jijun Yu made a speech before the dinner and introduced the Chinese food. One of the guests at the scene said: “I love Chinese food, healthy and delicious.”
Distinguished Guest from Wuhan, China
Fang Hao, who is the vice president of China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, visited Alfred on September 25. CIAU Director Wilfred Huang introduced the development and prospects of CIAU to him, and he spoke highly in praise of CIAU.
AU Provost Rick Stephens and Vice President Fang Hao discussed the future development of CIAU and a succession plan for the CIAU board of directors over dinner. Fang Hao invited Rick Stephens to attend the Global Confucius Institute Conference in 2016 and made suggestions for the ten-year anniversary of CIAU in 2018.
AU’s new president, Mark Zupan, also met with Fang Hao at the Confucius House, where they shared information about their universities. Fang Hao suggested frequent communication between the two partner universities on high-level talents, international programs of cooperation, and a course to make CIAU a better platform for promoting Chinese language and culture. Fang Hao also invited Dr. Zupan to visit CUG someday. After the meeting, the gentlemen exchanged gifts.
In addition to this, Fang Hao met AU Performing Arts Department professors Luanne Crosby and Steve Crosby, who are part-time professors in the CUG Art and Communication Department.
Faculty members and exchange scholars also talked about their life and work here. The significant influence made by CIAU and the hard work of CIAU faculty members were recognized by Fang Hao.
Art Troupe from China University of Geosciences in Wuhan Performs in Pine Plains
On September 27, CIAU presented the Art Troupe from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan at Pine Plains School District, NY. Dr. Handler, the superintendent of the Pine Plains School District, along with CIAU teachers Daqian Yang and Xinzi Zheng, attended this concert.
The performers from Wuhan gave a musical treat to the community of Pine Plains. What’s more, this concert concentrated on the culture of traditional Chinese folk music which helped the local audience to know more about traditional Chinese instruments. Over one hundred people attended the concert and had fun there.
After the performance, the CUG Art Troupe leader, Prof. Kunlong Yin, and Dr. Handler exchanged presents to celebrate the huge success.
The Pine Plains Central School District and China maintain a good tradition of communication. Stissing High School sends students to China almost every year to learn and communicate. In particular, since the cooperation between CIAU and the school district has begun, more and more students choose to learn Chinese as their second language.
Art Troupe from China University of Geosciences in Wuhan at Gates-Chili High School
On September 28, the art troupe from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan gave a marvelous performance to the people of Rochester in the auditorium of Gates-Chili High School.
A variety of presentations including Lion Dancing, ethnic dances, Chinese Kungfu, Tai Chi, and instrumental performances amazed the audience, who responded with enthusiastic applause.
When the concert ended, many from the audience came onto the stage to talk with the performers and to take pictures with them.
Gates-Chili’s Vice Superintendent Carol Stehm, CIAU director Wilfred Huang, Chinese director Jijun Yu, and other distinguished guests attended the performance.
Ms. Carol Stehm was highly appreciative and stated that the performance “was amazing and unparalleled, and the auditorium should have no empty seats.”
CIAU Participates in Utah Confucius Institute’s Anniversary Celebration
On September 28th, CIAU associate professor Daisy Wu and assistant Chenchen Lin joined in a performance at the Confucius Institute at Southern Utah University’s (CISUU) Anniversary Celebration.
This celebration was held at the Heritage Center, the largest theater on the Cedar City campus of Utah State. Over 300 people attended this event, including SUU’s president and provost and CISUU’s directors.
The celebration presented a feast of traditional Chinese music and drama for the audience. Daisy Wu performed the Guzheng solo “Yi People’s Dance” and Chenchen Lin played the Erhu music “Grapes are Ripe”. They also joined an ensemble to play “Step Higher and Higher” and “Black Bamboo Tunes”. All were well received by the audience.
Tai Chi Demonstration in Wellsville, NY
On October 5th, CIAU Tai Chi Coach Guifang Liu was invited to give a Tai Chi demonstration class at the David A. Howe Public Library in nearby Wellsville. This is the third time Master Fang has been invited to have Tai Chi class in Wellsville.
Theresa Brown, one of the Alfred Tai Chi class members, first introduced CIAU and Master Fang.
More than 20 people participated in the Tai Chi class, including members from Theresa’s Tai Chi class. They did Five Animal Frolics, Ba Duan Jin, and Tai Chi 24 Steps. Also, Master Fang and other Tai Chi class members performed the Swimming Dragon and the Daoyin Exercise 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.
At the Confucius House, Chechen Lin gave a lecture about traditional Chinese musical instruments and Anna Zong taught the students how to do paper-cutting. Then the students went outside for a Five-Step Boxing class with Merry Zeng. The presentation was well-received by the students and teachers.
At the end, CIAU prepared Chinese food for the students and teachers, which received a favorable response.
Tai Chi Class at Bea’s House – “We are a Family”
On October 7, a group of people performed Tai Chi beside a picturesque pond. The golden leaves flew and swirled like butterflies, while the reflection of people, plants, and sky on the water constituted a balance of human and nature.
This scene happened at Bea Jevremovic’s house near Alfred. Bea is a member of CIAU’s Tai Chi class who invited the class to come to her house for a special gathering that day. After the practice of Tai Chi, the class enjoyed a great time of chatting and dessert. Bea had prepared a cake as a surprise to celebrate Terry Butler’s birthday, and everyone sang the happy birthday song for her.
“We are a family.” That’s the feeling that the Tai Chi class all shared.
Confucianism Lecture at AU
CIAU teacher Lanfang Haley Gao was invited by Mr. Chris Yarnal, professor of religion at Alfred University, to give a lecture on October 7. This was the second time CIAU was invited to give a cultural lecture at AU.
Miss Gao introduced the doctrine of Confucianism, which advocates an ideal of "sageliness within and kingliness without", and its magnificent influence on Chinese culture. Miss Gao also discussed the similarities and differences in philosophy between China and Western countries.
Open House at Geneva North Street School
On October 13, the Chinese Immersion Class at Geneva North Street School participated in an open house for parents. Open house provides a great chance for parents to learn about school programs and gives a channel for communication between parents and teachers.
Since the Chinese class began September 19th, the students have shown great enthusiasm for the class. They eagerly showed their Chinese folders to their parents, in which they had written their class reflections and questions about China. Tom, the father of Ryland, said, “Ryland is so excited after every Chinese class that he can’t wait to share his knowledge of Chinese festivals and characters. Sometimes he even teaches me how to introduce my name, age, and birthday in Chinese. The Chinese class serves as a bridge for children to communicate with the world. With the importance of China’s economic position in the world, learning Chinese becomes a must.”
Besides showing what students have learned at school, teachers Yuan Yuan and Lili Huang also introduced the Chinese decorations in the classroom, such as Peking Opera masks and good luck lanterns for the Spring Festival. The parents were all very interested in Chinese culture and felt happy that the school can offer Chinese class.
In addition, Tracy Marchionda, the superintendent of the Geneva School District, wrote to CIAU Director Wilfred Huang, “I just want to pass along that our staff is thrilled with our teachers this year. They are fabulous!! Thank you for great choices.”
AU Performing Arts Department Professors will visit CUG in Wuhan
On October 13, Theater Professor Steve Crosby and Vocal Music Professor Luanne Crosby from AU’s Performing Arts Department had an interview with CIAU directors at the Confucius House. The Crosby’s are invited to visit CUG in Wuhan for a month next year. During the interview, they watched a documentary of the 2014 Summer Art and Culture Exchange between AU and CUG. Then they discussed the details of their visit to CUG, such as the visit time and lectures.
Currently, West Street School offers Chinese Immersion class from kindergarten to second grade.
Jason is a second-grade student who has learned Chinese since kindergarten. He showed his homework to his family at the Open House and told them different colors and daily greetings in Chinese. They all felt proud for his ability to communicate in his second language.
Mia is another second-grade student at West Street School. Her father said that Mia’s favorite class is Chinese. He checked Mia’s homework attentively and asked many questions. Mia’s grandparents were also very interested in her Chinese study.
CUG President and AU’s New President Mark Zupan:
Deepening the Partnership between CUG and AU
Alfred University inaugurated Mark Zupan as its 14th president in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Galanis Family Arena at the McLane Center. CIAU directors Wilfred Huang and Jijun Yu and the entire faculty attended the inauguration.
Dr. Zupan received a standing ovation from the AU faculty, staff, trustees, and supporters in attendance after the Chairman of Alfred University’s Board of Trustees, Leslie Gelber, formally completed the installation, presenting AU’s presidential medallion to the new university president.
Before the inauguration, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) President Yanxin Wang sent his congratulations to Dr. Zupan, in which he expressed his support for the continued friendly exchange and cooperation between AU and CUG and invited President Zupan to visit CUG someday.
Subsequently, Dr. Zupan sent a thank note through CIAU Director Wilfred Huang, in which he expressed his thanks for the CUG president’s congratulatory note. “I look forward to working with you over the years to come on deepening the partnership between CUG and AU. Congratulations on all the successes that CUG is realizing under your leadership! We are honored to be your academic partner!” he wrote in his message.
Lanfang Gao Attends the Maine Annual Chinese Conference
On October 28th and 29th, the Maine Annual Chinese Conference was held at Bangor Chinese School. Faculty member Lanfang Gao represented CIAU at this conference.
The conference was held by the Maine Chinese Language and Culture Centre, Maine Confucius Classroom, and Bangor Chinese School. “Thinking Globally – Acting Locally” was the theme of this conference. Yongji Xu, the Consulate General of China in New York, conveyed his message of congratulations, and Sean Fircloth, the Mayor of the City of Bangor, gave a speech on “The Economic Value of International Culture”, in which he expressed his desire to enhance the cultural and economic exchanges between America and China.
During the conference, the local high school students performed Tai Chi, Ni People’s Dance, and some Chinese folk songs. Some students shared their experiences in China and the importance of learning Chinese. “Chinese people are friendly, and learning Chinese promotes our communication with them,” said Fanck Pancari, a student from Orono High School.
Conference on Artistic Exchange to Be Held in 2016
The “First International Conference on Cultural Exchange between Chinese and American Art Institutions 2016” will be held by CIAU at Alfred University from November 12 to 13. By offering access to direct dialogue and contact opportunities between visual art institutions of these two countries, the conference aims to build a bridge to promote in-depth exchanges between Chinese and American culture and art, to promote artistic cooperation, and to achieve wider sharing and exchange of art resources between the two countries.
Several representative art institutions from Wuhan, China, and the northeast region of the United States will be invited for two days of discussion and exchanges.
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.