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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Luo,Lifeng on 2008-07-01

Dear Parents,

The front desk gave each room the wake-up call at 6:30 a.m. this
morning. Some kids had been up since 4 a.m. and some had waked up but
gone back to sleep so deep that they could not hear the wake-up calls!
The front desk went up to the 8th floor, where we stayed, to knock on
doors ...

At 7 a.m., we had our first morning exercise led by Guo Laoshi. He is
multi-talented and very kind. He KNOWS how to keep the kids moving. We
started by jogging and doing some preparation exercises. Then he
taught us the 8th set of "Guang3 Bo1 Ti3 Cao1"
Those of us who grew up in China know the significance of such an
exercise. We are so fortunate to have this be part of the morning
exercises. Watch the video for yourself. Hopefully you'd agree with me
the kids grown up in the U.S. can definitely benefit from it to
improve their coordination and discipline besides the health benefits.
Two students, Andrew Xue and Max Chan, were repeatedly praised by the
teacher. Andrew was asked to be the lead at one point.

Then students in pairs or small groups were each asked to perform in
front of everybody in order to PASS (including Kevin and me!!!). It's
not easy to pass as Mr. Guo would ask the whole group to repeat after
him until they could get their moves right. We learned the first half

Then we learned how to "kick the feather."  Mr. Guo is really good at
it. We needed to kick the feather, tied to some weight, so that
another person could catch and kick it with his/her foot. The
objective is to keep kicking it as many times as possible. As a group,
we could only got 4 kicks, but we were all quite excited. Samuel, the
boy from France, could kick it by himself many times!

Mr. Guo also showed the kids the Chinese Yo-yo.

We went to the breakfast buffet at 8 a.m. There are at least a dozen
choices from steamed buns, dumplings to millet soup and soy milk.
Darren, one of the three 8-year-olds in this group, should be given
the "Best Eater" award.

We are very fortunate that most of the students are not picky eaters
and accepted my "requirements" of eating more fruits/vegetables and
not drinking any soda and sweetened drinks. I've told them to drink
plenty of water and give all of their cookies and chips left from the
flight to me. They would only have access to these snacks if they were
hungry after eating normally at meal time. Thank you for having taught
them so well!

They are not allowed to buy snack food or soft drinks even when there
are opportunities.

At 9 a.m., we met our teachers and the principal of the Yanjing
Professional Cultural School, Prof. Chen. Teacher Gong will take care
of the student's residence life on campus. Teachers Wang and Li will
teach the Chinese language classes. Ms. Wang will also in charge of
the overall class arrangement.

I asked the students why they came to this summer program, they said
that they'd like to study the Chinese culture, learn the language,
make friends, and have fun. We discussed some rules.

This year, I've decided to implement the findings from some new
research. We are not going to have team competition for good behaviors
for the ultimate purpose of giving a free ice-cream party for the
winning team.  Instead, we have given each student a "feedback book"
documenting daily feedback from EVERY teacher. It is more work for the
teachers, but we believe it's going to work well because the feedback
will be specific and prompt. Look for it when your child returns.

This year, we also give each student a Field Trip Notebook for them to
write down their observations and new learning.

We introduced today's field trip destinations: The Science and
Technology Museum of China, Drum Tower, Riding Three-Wheel Cart in
Hutong and visiting Si-He-Yuan (traditional courtyard).

We played some Chinese words games led by Wang Laoshi. The students
are asked to think of the 2-3 character words containing one character
from the previous student's word. It went very well that Andre asked
to play it again. He gave some of the most hilarious and creative
words such as "Dao4 Gua4" (hanging upside down). Most impressively
Samuel demonstrated a sizable vocabulary considering he has just
learned Chinese for two years. He used the word "liang2 shuang3" and,
when asked, was able to explain its meaning as "not too cold and very
fresh" (in English)..

Another game the kids played was to jump according Wang Laoshi's
instructions. When Wang Laoshi called a character on the board, the
kids should jump in the proper direction based on its location on the
blackboard. In the end, Rachel, Shannon, and Lionel tie for the first

Connie demonstrated her potential as a leader by suggesting giving a
number to each kid so that we can easily account for any missing kids.

Around 11:30 a.m., we went for lunch on campus at the same restaurant
where we had the banquet. The food was good.

Jay and Jack joined us coming from U.K. The kids found their British
accent and word usage interesting.

We went to the Science and Technology Museum. Many students took a lot
of notes (in the fourth floor) about the various inventions and
discoveries by ancient Chinese. The rest of the museum was very
interesting and fun. We all wish we could have more time there.

We then got on the 3-wheel cart and got to the Drum Tower around 4:30
p.m. There were a lot of interesting facts about the tower and its

We then rode the carts to a local family living in a traditional
courtyard. They have lived there for more than 50 years and the family
has been there for over 100 years. The gentleman has been an artist,
who can draw intricate paintings from the inside of crystal bottles
using special brushes. It's just incredible how he could do that.

Our kids each had the opportunity to try their hands. :) Now they
appreciate this Chinese unique fine art form much more than before. "I
could not even draw on a flat piece of paper ..." What's important for
these kids to think about is that the artist started learning this
family specialty since the age of 7. Such a specialty would only be
passed on to boys in the family from generation to generation. One
could only imagine how much repetitive practices and strict training
he must have had in order to achieve this level of mastery.

Lionel was amazed how "poor" this family is despite his artistic
mastery. The tour guide explained that these families living in these
courtyards are not "poor". They prefer not to live in high-rise
buildings. They invest their money elsewhere. Later, the tour guide
told us all the people who can live in that area must have been the
relatives of the emperors! So these are the well-to-do families of
Beijing in the old days.

We started the dinner at 7 p.m. enjoying the Chinese-chive pan-fried
dumplings (jiu3 cai4 he2 zi) and noodle soup with tomatoes and eggs -
besides five other dishes.

The kids played cards or just rested after dinner. It's been a long
day, isn't it!

Take care and please rest assured your child is doing well!

Please limit your calls to your child to no more than 1 per day for
the next a couple of days. then reduce to once every 2-3 days if you
have to call that frequently even. For the second week, try to cut the
frequency to 1-2 per week. Then the third week, no more than once. OK?

Sorry this note is too long, but I assume all parents want to know
every details. :)


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