Tag Archives: Mandarin

Utah 5th-grader publishes book in Chinese

When Annemarie Hilton was just 8 years old she wrote a book about “the life of a 2nd grader.” The book spans one year during which the protagonist “has lots of adventures like stopping a bully and almost cutting her finger off,” describes the author of her work.

One language, however, wouldn’t suffice as a means for this Utah county student to express herself. Annemarie, now 10 and entering the 5th grade is studying Mandarin through Utah’s Dual Language Immersion program. This summer, at the urging of her father –  John Hilton III, one of our parent council’s regional vice presidents – Annemarie translated her book in Chinese.

“She has worked really hard on it (60+ hours this summer) and finally finished the editing today. We uploaded it to Amazon and she is now a published author!” said her dad on Wednesday.

Annemarie said she knew some of the words, but had to look up others on Google Translate. “It’s not perfect, but I hope you will like it whether you read it in English or Chinese or both!” she writes in the book’s introduction.

Check it out with your kids. It sells for just $2.99 and Annemarie is donating some of the proceeds to buy Chinese books for her school library. Perhaps it will inspire more budding writers to put their Mandarin to practice.

Your kids read books in English, why not Chinese?

A great post by our sister organization in San Francisco with recommendations for where to obtain grade-appropriate books in Mandarin.

Featured are grade-level readers produced by our own Brigham Young University and http://www.chinasprout.com – the official bookseller of my kids’ school.

I would also direct you to the online STARTALK summer reading camp, which features video and audio “read along” versions of Mandarin books, organized by grade level. Also available is an English translation for parents and online and printable activities.

UVU’s summer camp, “Chinese Summer Days”

I’ve been waiting for Utah Valley University to announce dates for its Chinese Summer Days camp. Finally I stumbled across information online.

This is a great opportunity for kids to practice their Chinese in a fun, supportive atmosphere. And it gives parents a chance to meet and learn from one another.

It’s an immersion-style, two-day camp where kids are encouragd to speak only Chinese. Parents learn a little Chinese, too! And it’s free.

Dates:  Thursday, July 25th – Friday, July 26th
Time:  10:00 AM-2:00 PM (Check-in at 9:15 AM on Thursday)
Place: UVU Sorensen (Student) Center
Thursday 7/25 – Classroom Instruction
9:15-10:00 Registration (alphabetical last name groupings)
10:00-10:15 Opening Ceremony & Instructions
10:15-10:30 Dismiss to classrooms
10:30-11:00 Session #1
11:05-11:35 Session #2
11:40-12:10 Session #3
12:10-12:40 LUNCH (provided for children only)
12:45-1:15 Session #4
1:20 –1:50 Session #5
1:50- 2:00 Closing Instructions/T-Shirt distribution for Day #2
Day 2
Friday 7/26 – Village
10:00-10:50 Students return to the same classroom as Session #5  from Day 1, to prepare for performances.
11:15-12:00 Student/Parent performances in the Grand Ballroom
12:00-1:50   An afternoon in China (Chinese Village activities)
1:50-2:00     Closing ceremony
Immersion Environment: This camp is intended to be an immersion-style learning experience.  English will not be spoken during the classes and activities, and children will be encouraged to use what Chinese they know/ learn, to communicate.  If your child is not an experienced Chinese speaker, help him/her be ready for a certain degree of initial frustration.  Once accustomed to it, it becomes like a game for most children to try to communicate without using English. This will be a major adjustment for students who plan to enter Dual-Immersion programs in the Fall, so this is a good warm-up for that.

Class Format (Children): The students will be rotating through 5 different classes with cultural-centered themes. The sessions are 30 minutes long and it is preferred that children wait until the break to visit the restroom. An assistant will be on hand to chaperone restroom breaks as students change locations.  Registered Adults will be in a separate class.  Parents will not be going to classes with the children.

Lunch for Children: All students will be provided with a box lunch on Day 1.  Lunch will take place in the Grand Ballroom. On Day 2, students will earn tokens by completing tasks in the Chinese village. These tokens can be used to purchase Chinese food from vendors in the village. Students must use Chinese to select their food, and we’ll have coaches on-hand to assist as needed.

Lunch for Adults: Adults are responsible for providing their own lunch. There are many eateries in the Sorensen Center, or you may bring a lunch from home on Day 1. On Day 2, a Chinese plate will be available for purchase for $7. This will include:
Ham Fried Rice
Low Mein Noodles
Sweet & Sour Chicken
Stir Fry Beef & Broccoli
Egg Roll
Fortune Cookie
Bottled Water
Note:  Adults will purchase meal tickets at food booth
Class Format (Adults): Chinese instruction for adults will not be an immersion  experience, although there will be speaking opportunities!  You might want to bring something to take notes with, and a folder to keep handouts in.
Registration is open now through July 16. Click here.

Host a foreign exchange student

From council Representative Wendy Hadden:

We are looking for great families to host some excited Chinese students coming toUtah this summer. This is a really fun experience and your family will have the opportunity to build a special relationship with your student.
Dates: July 8- July 23
Compensation: $100
Ages: 13-15

Compass provides opportunities for the student to see and experience Utah, like a trip to Salt Lake, City Creek, and the University of Utah. We will be doing other activities like the Legacy Center, Wines Park, and the outlet mall. There are two more activities that have yet to be decided. Families are invited to every activity we do, and if the host children are old enough, they may attend with out a parent.

Only 4 Family responsibilities:
Families are responsible for providing a bed for the student. Their own room is definately not necessary, and in fact, we do not encourage that. We find that the student interacts more when they have to share a bedroom. They may only share a bedroom with a child of the same sex.
Families are responsible for providing food for the student. Breakfast, lunch and dinner must be made available. This does not mean that mom must cook every meal, just that the student has access to food 3 times a day. A packed lunch is sent with the student on days when the student has a Compass activity.

Families are expected to treat their student like a member of their family. These students are so excited to come to Utah and will blend in with your family if given the opportunity in a warm loving home!
Families need to get their student to the activities Compass is providing. The meeting place will either be RA or the Front Runner station behind Thanksgiving Point.

Students come with their own insurance and spending money.
If you would like to experience the Chinese language and culture in your own home and have a fun time doing it, then hosting a Chinese student is the thing for you! 

Teresa Freeman

Brush up on your Mandarin

Some people can do yoga or P90X at home. Others need the motivation that only a gym class can provide.

Guess I’m among the latter, since I’ve only once used the self-directed Rosetta subscription I purchased.

So for those of us in need of a little face-to-face instruction – and peer pressure – here’s a list of adult Mandarin courses offered at various school districts. They typically run $65 to $85 for 9-12 hours of instruction. Thanks to Sarah Erwin for compiling this.

Know of other courses not listed here? Please share!

Canyons District:
Canyon’s School District Community Education
Class held at Indian Hills Middle School.  Two levels of Mandarin instruction.

Davis District:
Davis School District  
Classes held at Layton High School.  Chinese for beginners.

Granite District:
Granite Peaks Lifelong Learning  
Classes held at Cottonwood High School in conjunction with The Confucius Institute.  Four levels of Mandarin Instruction.

Washington County:
Dixie State College Community Education
Classes held at Dixie State College. Speaking & writing for beginners.  

Asia Society to immersion programs: make parents your allies

Another great article from the Asia Society – this one quoting immersion pioneer and founding member of San Francisco’s Mandarin Immersion Parents Council, Elizabeth Weise.

Weise who is writing who is writing a guidebook for parents delivers my favorite observation: explaining “that mothers and fathers who have been absorbed by every moment of their children’s lives are jolted when their children enter a Chinese language program. Suddenly, ‘a curtain has come across six hours of their kid’s day. It is a black box. And if you don’t tell them what is happening, they’ll imagine it.'”

Utah blooming with summer camps

The University of Utah’s Confucius Institute has announced its summer camp schedule. Looks like there’s a little something for everyone – beginning Mandarin classes for parents and special reading camps for elementary immersion students.

The institute’s K-12 outreach coordinator Eric Chipman said every effort was made to accommodate everyone’s needs. The camps run for half-a-day from 9 to noon for one week. The total fee is $145. The institute conveniently scheduled the camps at locations across the Salt Lake Valley. And the curriculum is designed to pair well with The Star Talk camps offered by the Utah State Office of Education. “I think we found a happy medium,” Chipman said.

The camps will, according to the institute’s web site: “Take traditional Chinese folk-tales and bring them to life with hands-on activities and interactive reading strategies. Engage with Chinese authentic texts and stories on a meaningful level, with emphasis on Chinese literacy and character recognition. It takes time to master a character-based text system and this program will allow for students to continue learning, reading and speaking Chinese through the summer months.”

Here’s a link to the registration page. Be sure to tab down to the bottom and the second page for the “Chinese Reading for Immersion” offerings.

Don’t wait too long to sign up. I know from parent feedback to our earlier postings that there’s a lot of demand out there for this.

Parents camp out overnight to enroll kids in Mandarin

Some say Mandarin immersion programs are a passing fad. For now, though, they continue to grow in popularity. Here’s a tally of new programs added in 2012-13 from the Mandarin Immersion Parent Council in San Francisco – 24 new schools, including seven in Utah.

And  NBC news story about parents camping out overnight to enroll their kids in a Mandarin program in LA.

Wonder if this speaks to a growing realization of the importance of bilingualism, or a hunger for more rigor and relevance from our public schools – or both.