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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2010-10-15

Today we had a full day on campus.  The students woke to rain, wind, and puddles.  With a little encouragement from her roommates, Shannon called Liao Laoshi (who also happens to be her mother!) and asked if morning exercise could be indoors today.  Of course!  The teachers asked the students to bring their Chinese yo-yos and they practiced together before breakfast.  The yo-yos are making quite an impression on some of the students, and some are getting quite good!
After a morning of classes and another family style lunch, we divided the students into small rotating groups of about seven students per group to learn how to use a Chinese abacus.  This was challenging for all levels of students, regardless of Chinese or math level.  Wang Laoshi was the lead teacher on this instruction, but Liao Laoshi stepped in to assist her when she realized the beginning level Chinese students needed some translation to understand the principles.   While one group was learning about the abacus, the other two groups were divided into two different study halls, one in the classroom in Mei Laoshi’s room and one across the hall from the abacus class (in Liao Laoshi’s room).  Students in the study halls had two assignments: to complete a self-assessment of their development of the ten IB leadership attributes, ranking themselves on a scale from one to ten, and then completing today’s homework.
Most of your children responded very well to the opportunity to work quietly in a study hall environment.  Their reflections on their own development of leadership attributes were thoughtful and engaged.  The ten attributes are:  knowledgeable, inquisitive, thinker, caring, reflective, principled, communicative, risk-taking, open-minded, and balanced.  Students gave themselves a numerical ranking on where they think they are in their development of these attributes, and then they wrote a few sentences explaining their ranking.  Liao Laoshi and I read through these reflections later in the afternoon and were very impressed with just how reflective your children are becoming, and how motivated they are to continue to grow and develop into strong leaders.
Today was intentionally a bit more relaxing and slower-paced than our normal schedule.  Rainy days are good for this! The students appreciated the time to complete their homework, giving them the opportunity to relax and get to bed earlier this evening.  After they completed their homework, students practiced with their Chinese yo-yos or practiced their wushu form in the remaining forty-five minutes before dinner.
Dinner was delicious, with heaping plates of bing, a wonderful chicken and fava bean dish with a white sauce, green vegetables, a meat and potato dish, soft tofu with vegetables in a brown sauce, a cabbage dish, and a light soup.
At 7:30 we gathered again for evening reflection.  Many students expressed appreciation for the extra time to do homework, and some spoke about their experiences learning to play with a Chinese yo-yo. Many also expressed appreciation for Gong Laoshi and Zong Laoshi’s efforts to make our lives more comfortable by gathering our laundry and then washing it for us.  We also spoke with the students about communicating with us if they are feeling any cold symptoms (Max and Haoran currently have mild cold-like symptoms) and about not taking any medication on their own without discussing it with us first.
We’ve arrived at a nice place with our group.  The students are very comfortable with one another and increasing expressive about their experiences here.  Liao Laoshi and I are appreciating getting to know your children so well.  Our time together doing reflection allows us to hear very immediately their experiences of our days together, but their more extended reflections today on leadership gave us an even deeper understanding of their experience.  We feel some important seeds are being planted that will bear fruit for them long beyond these few weeks together.
Thank you again for giving your children this experience with us,

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