Monthly Archives: May 2015

More summer learning opportunities for your kids

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(Photo courtesy of the Provo Herald, which featured Su Mama’s storytelling club and camp).
Utahns are entrepreneurial, so it makes sense that so many summer camps have popped up since the launch of the state’s Mandarin Immersion program seven years ago. It’s nice to see so many summertime learning opportunities for our kids! Here are three more to add to the growing list:
  • In a world of rapid change, the future will be shaped by those who are prepared to interact in a global society. The ability to speak another language, especially Chinese, will be a great asset to your child. Provo, UT-based YanYan believes that your student’s Chinese immersion experience will foster the drive, perspective, and proficiency to make a positive impact in all they do. At YanYan, we are passionate about enabling you and your student with the learning tools to succeed, not only in mastering the language, but in preparing for their future as lifelong learners. Visit our website at yanyanlanguage.com.
  • Su Mama Chinese Immersion Summer Camp is pleased to announced that our guest storyteller, Chen Ma Ma, will serve for our Chinese Immersion Summer Camp 2015. Amanda Conklin (Su Ma Ma) and Chen Mama will provide a summer camp for students at Wasatch Elementary. They are both native Mandarin Chinese speakers and skilled storytellers (Chen Ma Ma is an award winning storyteller). They will teach groups according to language proficiency. Language events will be based around lots of Chinese story books. Students will be able to learn the skills to ask, ponder, discuss, organize information, and recreate new stories. Thursdays are special event days where we will be doing such things as doing science experiments, using music to learn Chinese, playing Chinese Games and other activities. During summer camp participation children will also be able to learn a play and participate a play with Pen Pal school visitors from Taiwan-JhuCiao Elementary in August.Groups will be taught by 2 teachers and a guest volunteer. Children will be grouped by ability. To register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ReYUXH6q4Kd8CpNWZuQ71qNQM-_pcIrinP0NBMSod-w/viewform?c=0&w=1

Tips for keeping your Chinese skills fresh over the summer

John Hilton, one UMIPC’s parent leaders, compiled this newsletter with valuable tips for constructive ways to spend the dog days of summer. 

We’ve shared information about various summer camps on this blog. Here are more options, courtesy of Hilton, for families in Utah County: Check out learning opportunities from Nathan Abbott (http://mylotusacademy.com), Brittney Phelps (www.summerimmersion.com) and Amanda Conklin (https://www.facebook.com/SuMaMaChineseClub).

I’m posting the rest of his newsletter below. You can sign up to receive copies of our newsletter here.

Aside from summer camps, there are many resources you can use in the summer time to keep your child’s skills fresh. You could have your child practice on Quizlet sites his/her teacher has sent home throughout the year (or they could try these HSK Quizlets).

There are some great books available on Amazon that would work for children who have completed third grade – like the story about two children who seek a bridge to another world. Some of the books in the series are available inexpensively on Ebay (or used on Amazon). You might also consider hiring older immersion students (4-6 graders) to come read to younger readers or do Chinese games with them. It is possible that for a very low cost you could stimulate some good Chinese activity.

Last summer parents at one school hosted a weekly Chinese movie activity in which children could come to the school and watch a feature film in Chinese (many of the Chinese teachers will have access to these types of films). Something like that could be a great benefit to many.

Good luck this summer! We know the teachers will be working hard to prepare for the fall. Also, if you missed it previously, here is the latest information regarding Utah State’s secondary immersion plans. Parents of 5th and 6th graders may want to be in touch with their respective districts to learn more about the secondary plans in their area. We are very lucky to have such a great immersion program in Utah!

An alternative to Chinese summer camp: Hire tutor

Stumbled across this blog post by an adult Chinese learner, who, instead of heading off to Chinese summer camp, decided to hire a tutor to work with him and his family for a week.

An excerpt: “We really loved it because it was completely personalized. Our teacher was able to support us exactly where we needed to be without worrying about other students or families.  We were able to tailor the days to our needs. Whether it was cooking food, going to the park, or playing a game at home, we could easily focus on and practice language related to the everyday activities we needed to talk about. This was a huge help for us and much better than having the teacher create a lesson plan from some boring book or irrelevant text. …This not only greatly helps memory retention, but keeps things interesting.”

A growing body of evidence points to the importance of “authentic language learning,” or giving students real-life, developmentally appropriate opportunities to express themselves in their second language. For instance, a lesson on cooking steamed buns exposes them to everyday words, such as “measuring cup, flour, water, mix and temperature.” It gives them a chance to put their Mandarin to practical use. And learning about Chinese culture enriches their language instruction by exposing them to: regional and class-based accents; new vocabulary; conventions of different literary forms, such as rap and poetry; appropriateness of expression in different contexts (conventions of politeness, street language versus school language).

A lot of the research on the importance of “authentic language learning,” is out of Canada, the birthplace of modern language immersion. Here are excerpts from one of the most commonly cited papers, “Immersion Education for the Millennium: What We Have Learned from 30 Years of Research on Second Language Instruction,” by Jim Cummins at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto:

“For immersion education to attain its maximum potential it must be integrated into an educational philosophy that goes beyond just the discipline of Applied Linguistics. Students must have opportunities to communicate powerfully in the target language if they are going to integrate their language and cognitive development with their growing personal identities.”

Summer camp: Why kids should sing to learn Chinese

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“There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listen first, speak later, then learn the grammar and write. Don’t rush into speaking. Learn the sounds of your languages first. It does not matter if at first you do not understand. You may start singing along without even knowing what you are singing. You are not only learning the rhythm of the language, you are learning new vocabulary.” — Polyglot author of “Language is Music,” Susanna Zaraysky.

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Utah Dual Immersion teacher, Alisa Wu is, once again, offering her popular “We Sing, We Learn,” music-based Chinese summer camp. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that she offers a rock-solid curriculum that engages kids and makes learning fun. More interesting –– and perhaps, persuasive –– is this excerpt from her website describing how her personal language-learning journey informs her teaching style:

Alisa grew up in Taiwan, where the native language is Mandarin. But “in response to an increasingly global economy, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education implemented policy, requiring schools to teach English (ESL) as a portion of their curriculum,” Wu’s website explains. At age 10, Wu struggled to engage with a “monotonous” English curriculum, it continues. “However, everything soon changed, as a teacher introduced the children to a popular American song, “Hello” by Lionel Richie, at the end of class one day. It was in that moment, as she found herself lost in the music, that she finally connected with the new language. She would translate the entire song that day, looking up every single word in the dictionary. She would never forget that day, and as the years passed, she became increasingly interested in a link between music and language, an interest that would influence both her education and her future. …As the years passed, Alisa enrolled at the Teacher’s college in Taiwan, where she was first introduced to the integration of activities and instruments in the classroom. The material that captivated her most, however, was the idea of transforming stories into songs; an idea that would first reveal, the ability for music and language to be taught together.”

Enrollment is open now for the week-long, split-day (morning and afternoon session) camps, which are held at Salt Lake Community College. You can find more information or register online at : www.wesingwelearn.com

Summer learning opportunity for Chinese teachers

The University of Utah’s Gateway to Learning Professional Development Summer Workshop program for K-12 teachers is hosting a comprehensive workshop called ‘Contemporary China’ that will run July 27th through 31st. The workshops are great for teachers looking to get college credit or relicensure credit to fulfill professional development requirements.
Information on the workshop program can be found here: http://thc.utah.edu/teacher-workshops/index.php

Summer camps abroad: Play with pandas in Chengdu

An interesting summer camp opportunity for your preteen:

Sino Language & Beyond has been a responsible and reliable immersion Chinese program provider for more than ten years. We take care of every detail of a summer Chinese camp to provide a great and safe learning experience to students. We remain dedicated to promoting cultural and educational exchange for young people between China and the U.S.

In the summer of 2015, students will have three options with two different locations to earn community service credits or to explore Chinese learning:

1. Volunteer with Pandas in Chengdu- Students can earn 55 community service hours.

2. Leadership & Service in Beijing- Students can obtain up to 80 community service hours.

3. Chinese Language & Culture, Beijing- Intensive Chinese learning at all levels and daily one-on-one oral practice with local students.

In addition, if there are more than EIGHT students in your school to participate one of our summer camps in 2015, the teacher/leader will be able to accompany students with the same trip free of charge. We will be very glad to provide more details about our summer camps in China, tailor-made school trips, as well as our TOTAL SOLUTION SERVICE.The relevant camp information, introduction and news about SLB are sent as attachments with this email.

Dear Vice Presidents, we appreciate your valuable time to view our outstanding summer camps in China, and to share this activity information with your students and parents through UMIC newsletter and by posting the camp information on your resource links.

Meanwhile, in order to convey our sincere support in your Chinese immersion program, Sino Language & Beyond will made a donation to your Chinese Immersion Program according to your students’ successful registration to our summer camps in China.

Please feel free to contact us (1-408-360 9958) at any time for any further information. And wish you have a wonderful working day and looking forward to hearing from you soon!!