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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Luo,Lifeng on 2008-07-05

Dear Parents,


It's a nice and cool day today. You could almost count every single drop of rain landed on you while walking outside, but the "drops" never became drizzle or a more significant rain. It's just very cool and comfortable! We have not seen the sun since we came here.


We got up at 6:30 a.m. - or we were supposed to. Apparently some kids got too tired yesterday. Because of the rain "drops," Mr. Guo led us to the covered entrance of an underground parking lot, where there were wide and flat stairs. Each student took one step of the stair and they lined up nicely for the morning exercise. We learned the last two parts of the guang bo ti cao today and did it to the music three times. The teacher praised everybody's effort!!


The morning's class moved on smoothly. Arnold and Andre were moved to the more advanced class so that they could get more "push & lift" than if they stayed at the basic class.


Two 8-9 year-old boys in the basic class broke into a fight today. It's the typical case of "he-started-first" or "he-provoked-me-first" scenario. I went there from the advanced class in time to help them calm down. Eventually they admitted that they now realized though reluctantly that the other person might not mean to hurt him in the first place. They shook hands and were back to being friends again.


Based on my experience and what the experts say, kids at this age may not mean to distort the facts or to lie about that happened; their minds could play tricks on them affecting how they retrieve information from their memory depending on cues they receive from us. For instance, hypothetically, if we saw two kids were fighting and we went over to praise their bravery. Then we asked who started the fight. Chances are more kids would tell you how they started the fight for a good reason. However, if we asked them very angrily and anxiously who started the fight, chances are more kids would tell you how the other person started the fight. It is NOT because kids wanted to deceive you in many cases; it is because they are very sensitive to your cue. (That's why courts sometimes would throw out testimonials provided by young children in child-abuse cases.)


What I wanted to capture as the moment of teaching is to show the kids how one should recognize and manage his emotions. This will be part of the leadership training next week. Stay tuned.


The students in the advanced class are writing one essay per day. Most of them think that the Chinese level is just right. 


At 1:30 p.m., Wang Laoshi taught the kids how to draw the traditional "nian2 hua4" (the type of paintings for celebrating the New Year).


Connie asked if she could get extra time so that she would be able to finish her whole painting. Darren finished the first - very brave with his color choices.


Then the kids went to the make-shift computer room (the office), where there are six internet-connected PCs. Pan Laoshi set up these lines herself and waited for the electrician to come late last night to increase the capacity of the circuit so that we could turn on the AC while having all these additional PCs.


The project today is - "Assume you are a tour guide. Plan a route from the South Gate to the East Gate in 2.5 hours." They needed to name all major sites in both English and Chinese. List at least 3 interesting features to look for for each site and to estimate the time needed to spend at each site.


It was interesting to see that many kids (even the teenagers) did not know how to find adequate information on their own - even though they were all supposed to know how to "use" the computer. In many cases, just asking them to find the English and Chinese name of something is hard because they knew how to go to either a Chinese site or an English site separately. I plan to teach them simple techniques and strategies next time.


Another ability that was missing was the ability to synthesize information they got from the Internet to gain the knowledge.


Alan, Andrew, and Lionel's group learned that there are 9 layers of bricks on top of the Circular Altar. Each layer has 9 more bricks than the previous layer. Their challenging problem was to find out the total number of bricks.


The group of the girls plus Jay was given a challenging problem to find out the significance of the shapes in the park. They learned to say "tian1 yuan2 di4 fang1" (The heaven is a circular shape, the earth a square.)


Li Laoshi and his high-school-aged son brought a few pairs of badminton racquets. So some kids played badminton while some played basketball or volleyball.


After dinner, the boys gathered in Gong Laoshi's room to play cards, Chinese Chess, or Chinese Checker. Most students from the advanced class know they should finish the homework before playing.


Interesting facts that I forgot to mention last time:


1) Whenever we were invited to the stage to dance with the minority dancers, Samuel was always the first one to join the fun!


2) I told the kids that during the "water-pouring festival," the more water you receive, the more good luck you would receive. So when Gong Laoshi helped Andre to wring out the excess water from his soaked t-shirt, he said humorously, "Now you have just lost my good luck."



So much for today!





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