I still can’t believe how excited grade 3 through grade 6 students are about making dumplings for the Chinese New Year assembly day lunch. One of the third grade students even told me,” I am so happy we can make dumplings. I don’t want to just sit there eating. Making dumplings is more fun!”
Here you go! From all of the photos, I am sure you feel what students have felt. Or maybe more, if you would like to talk to them and let them describe what they have just experienced. Learning by doing. It all works here!
During the practice for our special assembly, it is an absolute enjoyment and inspiration to see how fifth grade students have immersed themselves into a totally different culture and were quite excited and confident about sharing the legends of the tradition to celebrate Chinese New Year with the whole school community.
“Eight” is the lucky number in Chinese culture. Here in grade 5 Mandarin class, we happen to have eight students. The lucky number makes four pairs of students to introduce four pieces of the tradition, such as pasting greeting children posters, hanging up the fortune god, pasting the kitchen god, and the symbolic decoration of fish. I hope you will join us for today’s assembly to learn more about the legends and traditions – all the stories will be told there!
As a Mandarin teacher I am always amazed with my students’ enthusiasm for immersing themselves into culture differences while also appreciating their own culture. This year in class students did an experiment using the style of Chinese culture used to celebrate a traditional American holiday — Thanksgiving.
As the above photos have demonstrated, kindergarteners used the traditional Chinese fan to draw pictures and color the characters for Happy Thanksgiving. For the same purpose, grade 1 made their own Chinese lanterns. To my surprise during the school Thanksgiving feast, grade 1 students volunteered to bring their own lanterns to the feast to show their work to the community. With the beautiful drawing and character handwriting, grade 2 students made their holiday cards look quite unique and impressive.
Even with the traditional concept of expressing the gratitude with the heart shape, the character handwriting, craft materials and the drawing about the holiday revealed seamlessly the combination of American culture and Chinese culture in third and fourth grade student work. Grade 5 and 6 student work led the culmination of the combination of two cultures with their impressive handwriting and drawing on the small gourds.
This experiment turned out to be a quite pleasant experience for students to celebrate their traditional holiday. It has also boosted student interest and curiosity to explore more. Two weeks later, I received the request from most of my classes, “ Zhang Laoshi, can we do something for Christmas like we did for Thanksgiving? Please. Please.” Happily enough we all realized next December in class we will be busy with another holiday 圣诞节 (sheng dan jie, Christmas). Merry Christmas, everybody!
The kindergarten class has begun its year-long study of animal groups by learning more about birds. The other day our fifth grade science buddies helped us integrate art and technology into this unit by researching a type of bird and creating a diagram. Students were told they could choose any bird and use any way they wanted to represent it. A model diagram was created and students helped name the important parts of a bird. We were amazed at how beautiful and accurate the descriptions were. Students enthusiastically presented their diagrams along with some information about their bird of choice. Some groups even played audio of the bird’s song while presenting!
Unquowa fifth grade math students are learning how to solve the Rubik’s Cube in a year-long curriculum that teaches algorithmic process and spatial reasoning. Some enter the process already knowing the solution patterns and are serving as instructors, while others are picking up the Cube for the very first time. The majority of our students are still mastering the first and second steps, but in doing so they have already learned much about order, precision, and even self-confidence. Students who never thought they would be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube are now approaching the solution with focus and determination. Stay tuned for more updates as we make progress!
Ms. Pisano led our warm up in fifth grade movement class. Yoga is a wonderful part of movement and the students soon learned it was not as easy as they thought it would be! Balance was one of the main challenges in today’s warm up. Students tried to balance in many poses. Tree, Warrior One, and even a difficult crow just to name a few. Students also flowed through a sun salutation as well. It was an excellent way for students to both feel stretch and strength before delving into the next part of class.