天安门广场 (Tiananmen Square)
This year I am leading a student tour to China, and we will arrive in Beijing on June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. On June 5, the anniversary of the famous "tank man" photo, we will actually visit the square. Before we visit this historic site, I wanted all my students to take the time to read the article linked below, and watch the videos linked within the article, to get a better idea of what happened there 26 years ago.
Exam Review: Kahoot Assignment
As we get ready for our Final Exam, I noticed in the last unit how much everyone seemed to enjoy playing Kahoot in class. Well, as one review method, I thought we'd assign each student one unit to create a Kahoot on, and then next Monday you all call play them as a class while I'm away!
We'll draft for what unit you most want to do, and then you can get to work creating your games. Each game should include a number of different kinds of questions: straight Chinese Character recognition, grammar questions, English to Chinese translations, Chinese to English translations, and whatever other creative/useful question styles you come up with! Be creative, and make it fun!
Chengyu (成语) Project
Chinese chengyu (成语) are 4-character idioms (sayings/expressions), often rooted in ancient Chinese folklore, that usually have some sort of moral of wisdom they communicate. What's amazing is that for each chengyu, their 4 characters are enough to communicate an entire story worth of meaning for most Chinese people listening. Even though there are rumored to be over 5,000 different chengyu in existence, to a native, fluent speaker of Chinese, they will know many of these expressions, and the stories behind them.
For Chinese language learners like us, knowing a few Chengyu will definitely help you sound more impressive and cultured in Chinese. In this project, you will become an expert on at least one chengyu, and will present on it to an audience. Of course you'll also get the opportunity to hear each of your classmates present on different chengyu as well. Hopefully you'll learn something you can use in your next letter to your penpal. See the rubric and example below:
A Chinese Holiday we haven't talked about yet: 请明节 (Qingming Jie)
Qingming Jie is often known as the "tomb sweeping festival," as many will go back to their families' hometowns to visit and clean up the grave sites of their ancestors. Though the way the tradition is practiced from region to region, the video below will give you a good idea of some of the main ideas of this day of remembrance.
Flashcard Challenge: Spring Break
Back by popular demand, the Flashcard Challenge: Spring Break Edition. I advise all students to participate not only for the extra credit opportunity, but with the Final Exam about 2 months away (May 26), this challenge will also be excellent review. (The Final Exam will be cumulative over both Chinese 1 & 2, and does count for 25% of students’ final grades this year.)
By now you should have over 250 total Flashcards for Chinese. Parents/Guardians must notify me that they have confirmed their student has over 250 cards to work through, and that their student intends to participate. Over the 12 days of Spring Break when you include Immersion (Mar. 25-Apr. 5) you will work through your flashcards at least 20 minutes a day with a parent or guardian. You and your parent will then initial that dates on the calendar above. For the first 6 days these 20 minute sessions can focus on recognition--looking at the Chinese character and being able to express the pronunciation in Chinese, as well as the meaning in English. For the last 6 days, the sessions can instead focus on writing--hearing or seeing the Chinese pinyin (pronunciation) and/or English meaning and then being able to write the correct Chinese characters for it.
Try to work your way through all the cards with the goal of mastery for both recognition and writing. As you go, you can create piles for “got it” and piles for “ain’t got it yet.” Focus on the “ain’t got it yet” piles, but revisit the “got it’s” every once in a while too. Turn in this sheet fully completed on Apr. 6 and you will receive 12 Bonus Points (one for each day) that can be used on assignments for the rest of the year!
Penpal Letter #2: The Reply...
So now that we've finally received a letter back from our Penpals, and translated those letters ourselves, it's high time we wrote them back! See the example letter before for ideas on basic structure, but it's basically just like before: 5 paragraphs of at least 4 sentences each. You will want to both answer questions they asked you in their letters, and talk to them about your daily schedule and ask them about theirs. Draft #1 (handwritten) will be due to be handed in on Friday, March 6.
While I'm Away... Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Hello students! First I must say I am very sorry I did not get your translation displays up in time for Exhibition Night. 对不起！There was just too much to do with the other work I was displaying. I will get them up after I return. You might recall, I'm headed to Paris for the next few days (you know the life of a teacher, always traipsing about the globe professionally developing...).
Anyways, while I'm away I've arranged for you to watch probably THE most critically acclaimed Chinese movie ever made: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Pay attention, answer the Guided Questions, and I'll very much look forward to hearing what you thought about it when I get back. You should finish next Monday, Feb. 16. Also, you'll want to have your Unit 10 Flashcards done for Tuesday, Feb. 17th, along with your completed Guided Questions. Enjoy!
Video Dialogue Project
For Unit 9 students will be creating a video dialogue with a partner. They may use their own Video Editing software if they already own some, or if they do not, they can use Wevideo.com, a free online option. (I used Wevideo to create the mini-example below). See below for the project rubric, and an example of what a finished product could look like. Completed Scripts will be due Friday, Jan. 16th in class, and the final completed videos will need to be completed and sent to me by Thursday, Jan. 22 in class.
Singles Day (11/11)
笔友 (Penpal) Project
I think we're finally ready--it's time to write a letter to a real Chinese person in Chinese! See the example linked below for ideas, but there needs to be 5 short paragraphs, each with at least 4 sentences (20 sentences total). Topics should include you introducing yourself, talking about your favorite and least favorite classes, and why, talking about your family, and any other hobbies or interests you have. Your letter needs to be handwritten, and must be in Chinese characters. First draft is due this Friday, Oct. 31.
In addition to the work and notes we've done in class, I also found this game that seems pretty challenging that will help you learn your colors in Chinese. See if you can beat all 52 levels on the Chinese characters setting!
Fall Break Flashcard Challenge
The July Flashcard Challenge was a great success: students who actually did it are either currently making A’s in the class and/or are showing dramatic improvement over their performance last year. So I’m offering it again over Fall Break, and I hope more students will participate!
By now you should have over 150 total Flashcards for Chinese. Over the 9 days of Fall Break (Oct. 4-12) plus the Monday you come back to school but won’t have Chinese (Oct. 13), you will work through your flashcards at least 20 minutes a day with a parent or guardian. You and your parent will then initial that date on the calendar above. For the 5 days (through Wednesday Oct. 8) these 20 minute sessions can focus on recognition--looking at the Chinese character and being able to express the pronunciation in Chinese, as well as the meaning in English. For the last 5 days, the sessions can instead focus on writing--hearing or seeing the Chinese pinying (pronunciation) and/or English meaning and then being able to write the proper Chinese characters for it.
Try to work your way through all the cards with the goal of mastery for both recognition and writing. As you go, you can create piles for “got it” and piles for “ain’t got it yet.” Focus on the “ain’t got it yet” piles, but revisit the “got it’s” every once in a while too. Turn in this sheet fully completed on Oct. 14 and you will receive 10 Bonus Points (one for each day) that can be used on assignments for the rest of the year!
国庆节快乐！(Happy Chinese National Day!)
How to Pretend you know Chinese (just for fun)
中秋节 Zhong(1)qiu(2)jie(2)--We missed it!
So apparently 中秋节 was this past Monday, but it's never too late to enjoy some quality, fun-filled, Moon Cake deliciosity!
We are approaching an ability level in our class where students can begin creating their own dialogues and skits, and then perform them for the class. This is a highly effective language learning method, as it requires students to use all of the core language skills (Speaking, listening, reading, and writing), and it's usually also fun, as students can be very creative. We are scaling up to the point where this will become a major project later on, but for now we will operate with the following rubric:
Join Our Class's Quizlet Here
Quizlet is a tool long used by the Spanish Department here at Voyager, as well as many other great schools. I'm finally getting around to giving it a try, as it fits nicely with our Immersive Classroom Project where we are currently not using the textbook. So CLICK HERE and sign up for Quizlet and join our class!
跟我们去中国吧！(Go with us to China!)
So we've had our interest meeting--if you are interested to go with us to China this summer, check out our tour pages at http://www.eftours.com/tour-website/1616375VA
July's Optional Assignment/Extra Credit Opportunity: