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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2010-07-04

Dear Parents,

Today was the third day of our program. We stayed on our "campus" at Yong An.

We started with getting up at 6:30 a.m. and gathering at 7 a.m. with almost perfect on-time attendance (with one late by 1 minute). Led by Liao Laoshi, the students jogged to the near-by Chaoyang Park. Since several of our students did not bring their photos, we could not get the pass to get into the park this morning. Instead, the students did all sorts of exercises in the large square just outside of the front gate of the park.

Zong Laoshi, an experienced elementary school gym teacher of 40 years having been one of the residence teachers taking care of the students' daily life, led the exercises. The students were taught to line up in four rows under Chinese commands. They were kicking their legs or running 50-meter races ... a variety of exercises and simple games. They also learned half set of a "guangbo ticao." All of you who grew up in China know what I am talking about. It's one of the popular scene in China in that people would come out to the playground or city squares and do the same exercise in unison following to the radio broadcast. They will learn the other half next time!

We headed back at 7:50 a.m. to have breakfast and then to start the morning Chinese lessons at 8:30 a.m.

We will share more about what's going on inside each classroom later. We are still doing some adjustment of the class placement. Overall, we feel the students are now in the right classes.

At noon, we went to lunch and had a brief recess. Those students who did not have any photos had theirs taken. We tried to buy phone cards for a couple of students, but it turned out that the hotel phone is not compatible with any phone cards. One'd have to call and pay eight yuan a minute to use the hotel's long-distance line. In our case, the students would not even be able to do that since their lines are all blocked as there would no easy way for them to pay the phone bills.

We will start allowing students to spend 10 minutes twice a week to use the internet to send you email and we can only accommodate 6 students a night at this point. Their schedule is very tight and we would like to let them focus on the camp life.

If you have not got connected with your child and would like your child to be in the first group of six to email you, please do let me know.

The afternoon activities started at 1:30 p.m. The students learned Chinese calligraphy taught by their Chinese language teachers. In some classes the teachers also showed the students the four different styles of the calligraphy, which really impressed the students : kai, li, xing, cao. This is to lay the foundation for their visit to the Capital Museum where they will see the display of these styles.

At 3 p.m., the kids gathered in one room to learn Chinese songs - "Friendship."

Then they followed Zong Laoshi to learn some basic marshal art moves. They did some warm-up moves and then learned two parts of the complete set of "quan." When I get some time, I'll give you more information.

When the martial art exercise was completed, it was time for dinner at 6 p.m.

The restaurant inside of the hotel went out of its way to provide the students' favorite "bing." It's a layered pan-baked bread with scallions. The students finished one plate after another at lunch. So at the dinner time, the manager made sure that the kids would have more "bing." The only complaint was that there was too much food. The dinner was not buffet style so there were always 5 large dishes at each 10-person table, which could not be finished. Well, we'll see if anything could be done about that.

We gave each student a workbook for the field trip with questions for them to answer during the trips. We have also given them a book with 179 stories from the famous paintings in the Summer Palace Long Corridor - with Chinese, English, and color photos of the paintings. All students are required to read all stories (in either language) and be able to tell a required number of them. Most excitingly they're going to be asked to identify 18 of their favorite paintings at the end of Week 3 on a trip to the Summer Palace.

We gathered again at 7:30 p.m. in a large circle and reviewed quickly the 10 attributes in the IB Learner's Profile that we introduced on Tuesday: inquisitive, knowledgable, thinker, risk-taking, open-minded, principled, caring, communicative, balanced, and reflective. With 10 different kids' input, the group put together this list from memory, which was quite impressive. We intend to display this list at the daily reflection time for them to also reflect on how their behaviors are when measured by the learner's profile. (At the orientation on Tuesday, they each did a self-assessment using the profile. The objective is to see some intentional changes and progress throughout the course of the program in all areas.)

Liao Laoshi brought some "huo-xiang-zheng-qi-shui", a popular Chinese herbal medicine drink that works very well in boosting the immune system during the hot and humid summer days preventing a wide-range of weather related symptoms: cold-like symptoms, shortness of breath, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, etc.

The only problem is it takes like ... herbs. So we gave one to each kid and use "peer pressure" to encourage everyone to take it - most of them for the first time. It's such a fun experience .. even adventurous to some.

Then at 8 p.m. we did the daily reflection and everyone shared. There was so much to share. Some used the experience of drinking the "disgusting-tasted" Chinese medicine as an indication of themselves taking more risks than ever during this program!

Then it was homework time. The younger kids should go to bed at 9:30 p.m. and the older ones at 10 p.m.

It's a long day even though we didn't "go" anywhere!

Oh, Andrew, Benoit, Shaoran, and Phillip (Li) has moved from Room 1316 to 1302 due to a condensation leak from their AC. It's a minor problem, but the hotel responded promptly.

We are going to field trip tomorrow.

Best from Beijing,

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