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Better Days – A Film Class Journey 5

After four class periods of preparation and lots of background research, finally, today we began watching the film. After 15 minutes of Free Voluntary Reading, I began doing "Picture Talks" with students.  These pictures are screenshots of the important scenes from the film. First, I pointed out the location, time and the setting.  The infamous annual college entrance exam (gaokao) in China, which takes place on June 7th, June 8th and June 9th.  Anyone dreams to go to a college will only have one opportunity each year to give it a shot.  Typically, two kinds of students who take gaokao...

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Better Days – A Film Journey4

In the previous three posts, I journaled the preparations for this film class.  Yesterday, we had our fourth class.  Students were asked to do background research on the film director, Zeng, Guoxiang, the male lead, Jackson Yee, and the female lead, Zhong, Dongyu. After the free voluntary reading, we dived into soliciting background information. Here are what students shared. The inquiry process took up the most part of the class.  After that, we played a Blooket game which I designed ahead of time, based on the research I did on these three people.  Blooket provides different game modes.  We played...

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In my previous posts, I shared that we were going to begin a film unit for my I3 and I4 combination class.  Here is what happened in yesterday’s class.

We began our class with 15 minutes of Free Voluntary Reading.

Then we launched into a few rounds of Quizlet Live game.  Here is a sample of the Quizlet list I generated for them.

Quizlet shuffles teams randomly.  I encourage students to find their team quickly and work through the problems together.  It is a fast-moving game, students don’t dwell on the loss or win as they are asked to dive into the next round immediately.

Then, I pulled a few videos from Youtube and asked students to apply the film terminologies to analyze the video with me. Li Ziqi is one of our favorite channels for movie talks, clip chats, and or cultural insights.  Each film is so beautifully done.  Sometimes, students are so engrossed in the film and they forget to shout out the film terminologies.  I always prefer to create an opportunity for students to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of culture while they work on their linguistic features.

For homework, I asked students to do background research on Better Days’ film director, Zeng, Guoxiang, the male lead, Yiyang, Qianxi, and the female lead, Zhou, Dongyu.

I’ll let you know what they have found out.

By Haiyun

 

Alex Moo and Sam Meow 2: Reading Activities

In my last post, I shared a spontaneous collaborative story-asking process.  I saw students had some struggles during a reading.  I solicited unfamiliar vocabulary from them and created a story with them on the spot.  As a seasoned TCI teacher, pivoting in class based on students' needs or interests is one of the prominent characteristics we have.  Since I work in an independent school, homework is required.  Therefore, I modified the class notetaker's story and turned it into an embedded reading.  That was assigned to them over the weekend. Here are what happened in class this morning. Airplane Reading.  I...

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Better Days – A Film Class Journey 2

In the last post, I shared that we were beginning a film in class.  I asked students to listen to the theme song to get a sense of what might be happening in the movie. Today I had my intermediate 3/4 class (I3/4).  Here is what has been taken in place. First, I began the class with free voluntary reading (10 minutes).  Students chose a reading of their own interests, read quietly and then keep a simple log of what they read.  This record is for themselves to keep.  I'll begin a check-in during the second week.  Typically, I call...

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Alex Moo and Sam Meow

This is my Intermediate low class (Chinese 2).  We are in the mid of Kittens' series, book 4, and story 3 - the Mandarin Class.  Today, we spontaneously created a mini-story.  The teenager's mind in this particular class has turned our mini-stories to be quite dark this year.  However, we are having such hearty good laughs in class, therefore, the happy Disney feel-good stories are not always necessary. Here is what happens. First, I put students into groups to read the Mandarin Class on their own.  Since this is the first time they are reading it, there are lots of...

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Better Days – A Film Class Journey 1

Hi everyone, I sincerely hope you have had a wonderful and relaxing winter break to recuperate.  My winter break was filled with painting walls, cleaning windows, and mopping floors as we were preparing to get our house on the market.  Luckily, our hard work was paid off, we accepted an offer after two days. Before that, I have never touched a paintbrush.  In order to get the job done, not only I dispensed the belief of not knowing how, I dived in from the head to the toes, but also turned it into a shared experience for the whole family. ...

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Meet the Zodiac Family Plus More

  Today, I'm going to share a quick tip on how I preteach zodiac animals waaaaaay before the Chinese Spring Festival.  By the time we reach the point for the Legend of Chinese Zodiac, students are familiar with most of the animals already.  Sounds amazing, right?! How?  You might ask! Well, simple!  When I co-create stories with students in class, after the first month, I switch my main characters in the story from human to animal. In this photo, you will meet Panda King, Tuzi Phil, Xiaozhu Wilber, Houzi Suzie, Houzi Joey, and Longxia Sophie. If you are thinking about...

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Color-Symbol- Image: I Want A Little Brother

I want a little brother is the fourth book in Willy Goat: Not Easy to Be a Child series. It's been a while since I wrote last time.  The negative impact of COVID-19 still pretty much overwhelms my daily life and teaching.  After washing, ironing cloth masks for 18 months, just last week, I switched to wearing disposable blue surgical masks because I'm so tired of doing the washing and ironing weekly. Teaching with a mask is no longer a news item.  The challenge remains the same, but it has been embraced as a new "normal".  Still facing all the...

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Willy Goat: not easy to be a child

Willy Goat: not easy to be a child

Why is “Willy Goat” unique? Willy Goat is the second text book series to be published by Ignite Chinese that is specifically written for Teaching with Comprehensible (TCI) based instructions and Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) practitioners.  The Willy goat series have been written in a style that combines the characteristics of Dr. Krashen’s work, learning and the brain, with children’s developmental stages.  At the start of the story, our main character, Willy, is a preschooler.  Gradually, throughout the story he grows older. Willy Goat is just like every other kid in the world; he faces daily challenges...

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How Do You Do Today?

What we are going through is so unprecedented.  While teaching online reinstalls a form of normality, at the same time, it reminds us how unusual the whole situation has been.  Watching the COVID19 cases and victims increase each day, when US's death toll easily crossed over 10,000 while key politicians are still playing a game of self-worship and personal gain, any reasonable and conscious person would feel the pain, frustration, anger, desperation, hopelessness... inside.  And at the same time, we must be the anchor for our students. I haven't felt so much tension in my shoulders since I started meditating...

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Guess Who Online: Who’s the Thief?

By Pu-mei Leng: Once we are online, I realize the input activities need to be shortened and students will need to speak more simply because they need to talk. When Lu laoshi showed me her new version of the old mafia game, I was excited. She said that we can simply use private chat to assign the roles to students. I was eager to test it out with my students. To play a game is a privilege in my class. I do not play very often and they will have to listen to the story carefully.  And I usually play...

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Addressing xenophobia

By Pu-mei Leng I still feel the need for addressing the issue of Xenophobia in the Chinese classes even though our students are stressed and even depressed now. For my lower-level classes, instead of discussing and debating the issues directly, I only focused on a simple message: intentionally or unintentionally, discrimination and prejudice hurt people. In a crisis we are facing, we do not need to hurt more people. I believe my students can get this simple message. What I did was to come up with a simple storyline: A panda was sad and hurt because people call the virus...

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Wait, Google Meet? What about Small Group Activities and Interactive Collaboration?

By Haiyun Lu The preparation for teaching online is ramping up in my school.  The tech department and administrators have been super supportive.  At the same time, they have also provided an overwhelming amount of information regarding teaching online.  Supports, protocols, challenges, and unforeseen complications... have been pushed out on a regular basis.  This morning, I had three hours' meeting back-to-back online.  Boy, my eyes got so fatigued to a point of getting watery. I guess you have been reading tons of information regarding teaching online as well.  I'm going to keep this post short and simple. We will be...

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Classroom Jobs Going Online

By Haiyun Lu Many of you around the globe have already dabbled in different platforms for teaching online.  I saw many posts sharing challenges, stresses, ideas, suggestions and success.  We are starting first day of online teaching tomorrow.  I have been thinking about the need and the importance of creating an online community.  I hope to bring in the wonder of classroom jobs online.  May this post be a conversation starter for us to all chime in sharing and contributing ideas.  Since I haven't started teaching online yet, I have no expert opinion to offer yet. En comparación con el...

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The Daily Pandemic Report

By Pu-mei Leng Our school had two half-day classes for us to get used to online teaching and last Friday (March 27) was my first day of whole day class. I watched CNN to check the pandemic numbers in the morning before the class. And I made a quick slide intend to teach the current event. As I was teaching, I realize it is the best time to teach Chinese big numbers as a routine as long as we are having online school.  The big number in Chinese is confusing to students as we all know. I usually teach big...

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How Are You Feeling Today?

It was close to midnight, my son still struggled to fall asleep.  He asked me to snuggle with him.  I laid down on the floor on his home camping spot since my niece took over his bedroom, and a friend is staying with us and taking over the guest room.  I wrapped one arm around his tommy, he bursted into sobs. "I'm so lonely.  My friends are the only ones who understand me in my world.  I can't see them with my own eyes."  He complained.  "Awwww, baby!  Didn't you FaceTime them for three hours today?"  I knew this kind...

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Listen & Draw

Many students like to doodle, especially when they are given an opportunity to be creative, imaginative and novel. Listen and Draw is one of our shared favorite activities in class.  We love it for several reasons. If there is not a time to finish a story, "Listen and Draw" is a perfect way to recap what has happened so far. A screenshot of the "Listen and Draw" provides a perfect visual clue for a homework assignment:  a. Either looking at the illustration and telling the story b. Or looking at the illustration to speed write It is a novel way...

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谁是#Coronavirus的第一个“吹哨人”?

从除夕夜起,哥哥每天都会在家里的群里发关于新冠状病毒的消息。有时候是关于国家的规定,有时候是关于疫情的教育,有时候是对疫情的追踪。从所有的信息里,都在告诫大家一定要把心静下来,管住嘴,管住腿,为了国家,为了老百姓的安全待在家里。如果不得不出门,一定要戴上口罩,戴上帽子,戴上手套,回到家,外面穿的衣服都要消毒。 嫂子在当地政府部门工作,跟家里其他人相反,天天都要早出晚归,到各个小区去探访,特别是听说有从武汉打工回家过年的人,天天都去追踪他们的体温,询问他们的症状,还要做好他们的隔离工作。直到没有发现异样,才会转到另一个小区去。 家人的信念是“众志成城”,大家一起齐心协力,这个难关中国的老百姓肯定会再次挺过。 与此同时,很多西方媒体开始拿中国处理疫情的速度跟一个理想中的完美速度相比。在很多西方社会也掀起了对华人歧视的报道,对华人歧视的行为和语言。很少有人知道,中国的老百姓在为疫情的付出到底有什么,为了控制疫情,中国的老百姓都在做出什么牺牲。这里,我来给大家介绍两个中国的普通医生。一个叫李文亮,一个叫张继先。为了控制#新冠状病毒,他们做出的贡献都是无可非比的。 当我在收集这两位医生的信息的时候,我读了很多不同来源的消息。为了能够帮到对外汉语老师的忙,能够用更多的普通的中国人的故事让学生们更多,更全面地了解到中国老百姓在疫情猖狂下的生活,我尽量用最简单的文字来讲述他们的故事。在课堂上,我会采取的一个教学方法是由 Dr. Beniko Mason 发明的 "Story Listening".  在这里我跟大家分享一下。如果觉得有用,请自由转发。 这里是一个The Whistle Blower的文本。 祝福中国吧,也祝福中国的每一个老百姓。

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Up the Culture Game: Teaching Holiday Celebration Through Content-based Activities!

By Pu-mei Leng Spring Festival and Lantern Festival are coming up fast!  Read the following post to learn how Leng laoshi teaches Lantern Festival in her Chinese class! The riddle activity for the Chinese Lantern Festival was created for the topic of Celebration of Festivals. All of my festivals were first taught on the calendar talk, very basic vocabulary and one or more important features on a specific festival, like everyone did, for example, Chinese in the north eat dumplings in the New Year. As their level advances, more details are added to the celebration of the festivals. This will...

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Discover joy in Reading

By Pu-mei Leng I usually avoid typing on my phone. In response to an NTPRS 2018 Chinese teacher’s question of how to cultivate students’ interest in reading, I write this blog which has been long overdue. Winnie’s question is specific to her students with Asian origins, particularly the ones whose families speak one of the dialects. As we all know Asian parents believe in reading for its educational value and effectiveness. Some students would work for grade and read the things will be included in the assessment. We all have them in second language classrooms because reading is one of...

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Book Review: The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us by Paul Tough

October 16, 2019 is a sunny and windy day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Coming into school in 42° degree weather on this crispy cold morning, USM's hallways are unusually quiet, classrooms are all empty.  That is because today is filled with preACT/SAT test.  All students are gathering in 3 different gyms throughout the High School campus to take the standardized tests. 8:15, Dr. B started test taking instruction.  "Please clear your table with only a pencil, the instructional menu and the answer key package, everything else needs to be put away.  Phones are off, calculator is only used during the math session,...

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5 Compelling Reasons to Join #CIMW19

The fourth annual Comprehensible Input Midwest will be held at University School of Milwaukee on 9/28/19, the pre and post conference workshops will be hosted at Hilton Milwaukee.  Six days to go!  Here are 5 compelling reasons to consider and join #CIMW19!   5. We care. CIMW is found by a group of passionate educators and second language "parents"!  We care what we do and how we teach impact on our next generations.  We all share a version of creating a world of multilinguals.  Beyond the classroom, we care how our lifestyle affects the world we live in.  We care...

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Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival In A CI Way

Zhōngqīujié, Mid-Autumn Festival, is around the corner.  As the second largest celebrated traditional holiday in China, it is often widely introduced in schools.  The obvious challenge, linguistically for Zhōngqīujié, is that it is a fall holiday.  It usually happens shortly after school resumes.  Novice level students are not ready to hear the legend in Chinese using traditional teaching method.  Even higher level students, who could comprehend jargons, loaded idioms, proverbs and citation of ancient poems?  If only making it into tasting mooncakes, making art crafts or reciting ancient poems, it seems to be superficial.  Therefore, I received quite a few...

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Our Shining Days – Part 1: Movie Analysis

Alice Wang, a Chinese teacher from Indiana, shared a clip of Our Shining Days with me and asked me how I would use it in class.  After watching it, I liked it.  Unlike many other youth movies in China, which often takes on the lack of sex education in Chinese tradition.  They often depict hormonal driven and horny teens to engage in experiential learning of sex.  As a consequences, quite few female leads, in the film, always end up with an abortion and abandonment by her lover.  Tragedy!!! Main Plot: Our Shining Days take on a relevant and pressing challenge:...

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Peek Into Future Through “American Factory”

Back in 2008, GM closed one of its assembly plants in Dayton, Ohio.  It casted a devastating impact on more than 2,400 blue collar automobile workers' lives.  Years later, many of these people still struggle with unemployment, healthcare and/or a place to be called "own" to stay... Due to many obstacles standing in their path: aging, no education, lack professional skills for a modern economy... maybe self doubt, frustration or depression (mental health) was in the way as well. Then, hope and excitement were blown in from the far east.  A Chinese billionaire, Cao, DeWang, was willing to invest millions...

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Summer, Summer, Dare You Go!

Back to school is a clear indication of that summer is over!  If you live in a pretty cold climate and you are not a person who enjoys polar vortex or watch snow flakes for 6 months of a year, then, letting go of summer can be ... Reluctant, challenging,  and depressive...    Oh, even heart-broken! Well, I have never been excited nor happy to let summer go.  On the contrary, I would do whatever it takes to keep summer lingering longer. Seriously! How? By creating more memories!!!  By personalizing my classroom with shared memories of summer. Here is how!...

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Back To School Bingo

Some of you have already been in the full swing of the fall semester.  Many of you are going back to school on Tuesday, right after the Labor Day.  On social media lately, I have seen a dramatic increase of inquiry regarding "WHAT TO DO?  I'M GOING BACK TO SCHOOL NEXT WEEK!" Okay, okay!!!  I got your urgency!  From various social media posts, I sensed some unwillingness to say "goodbye" to summer if you are like me.  Or being super excited and anxious about going back if you are like me as well.  Therefore, I'm going to help you out...

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Infuse Deep Thinking in a Book Trailer

I was talking with Pu-mei Leng, another nationally renowned TCI Chinese teacher and author, about our classes, I got the idea of book trailer from her.  She humbly claimed that it was not her original idea.  Unfortunately, I could no longer recall where she might get the idea from. "It's like a movie trailer, but it is about a book for students to make.  I don't even set any criteria, only tell them to surprise me.  It was for a homework assignment, some kids really blew me away." Pu-mei is a teacher who doesn't need to control her students at...

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Bringing in the Language of Identity into Collaborative Storytelling

Developing a sense of identity has to do who one thinks one is and how one perceives oneself.  It is about how one defines oneself.  As a person's identity is formed by many factors, such as race, gender, nationality, talents, interests... Which message we repetitively inform our children/students regarding who they are matters so much. There is no other classroom can be richer in embracing and forming students' identities than a TCI classroom .  On a regular basis, we have class artists, actors, performers, story writers, quiz writers, time keepers, greeters, helpers...  On top of all being a storyteller together....

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