Friday, December 18, 2009

My oh My

What a day.

"This is the best day of school ever!!!!" one breathlessly exclaimed as she waved goodbye out the door. And indeed it was enjoyed. Yes there might have been too much sugar and too many presents. And we now understand so fully why they can't bring toys to school and eat candy all day. But no one would have or could have enjoyed them more it seems than they did today.

So thank you to all who helped, who brought, who did anything to help with the fun that was today.

I decided to send home two books over the holidays. They will be up on the lingt site starting tomorrow so you can work on them if you have time.

And thank you for all the wonderful presents! You are all so kind!

Be safe and have fun over the break, and we'll see you all next year/.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sing along sung.

It's almost Christmas. Something you wouldn't have to be told if you were around kids for any amount of time today. Excitement is in the air.

But we did actually learn some things today as well. We played a bingo type game with a blank board on which they wrote in 16 of the characters we've been working with. It was hard to concentrate that long, but most did very well.

And all were extremely excited about parents and friends visiting the school today, not to mention the Christmas movie we saw this afternoon.

Tomorrow there will not be time for both classes to take a quiz, since we will be switching classes and going to an assembly first thing. But I will be sending home two books which will be on the lingt site you can work on in any spare time over the break. If you have time to work on any math concepts as well, please focus on money, telling time (to the nearest half hour) and review of basic addition and subtraction facts. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How do you say Merry Christmas in Chinese?

Sheng dan jie kuai le !  圣诞节快乐!

Also a reminder that the sing along for parents assembly is tomorrow morning. We'll be singing around 9:15 if you want to see your child preform.

Today we practiced a song that goes along with the book we're reading. It is, in fact, the book we're reading. Just put to music. The tune is one some of you may be familiar with--- "We are a happy family". To sing it, start on page two with "wo ai ma ma ".

We also worked with money, something they all need continual practice with. Many are still having troubles distinguishing between the coins. So any practice you can give them would be good.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Please ask your child to show you the book and vocabulary list they were given as homework today. Everyone should have one. These books should be sent back Friday. Each child has a number so I can track who has brought them back or not. I'll be sending a note home with your child if you have some missing.

Also, there wasn't a math homework sheet sent home in the folder this week. I will send one home Friday along with some Chinese things you can do (optional) over the break if you have time.

Holiday party news: Mrs. Strasser and I will be switching classes for the day on Friday. Because of the assembly, we won't have our normal Friday schedule. We will just keep the same class all day, meaning the holiday party in my class will be with my afternoon group. If you are a parent who wants to or knows of a parent who wants to help with the party, please email me asap so we can get you involved. 

*Reminder: Please send your child in clothes suitable for going outside to recess in the snow. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Next week's vocabulary

It's going to be a crazy week next week, so here's a heads up on the vocab and book we'll be focusing on.

It is about love in the home, and is made up of many characters they already know as well as a few new ones.  Below are the new ones, next week's vocab:

家  jia  house or family
爱  ai      love
家人   jia ren      family members
不错  bu cuo     not bad
最  zui       most
可爱   ke ai       lovable/cute

The whole book is written out in English and Chinese on the lingt site if you want a little extra practice this weekend when you may have more time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Xia xue le! 下雪了!!

That's how you say " It's snowing". Which it did. In great abundance. And I'm so glad you all made it safely to school today. When the bell rang we had about 7 kids. The excitement about such great amounts of snow could hardly be contained. But we somehow managed and actually had a very productive day.

In centers we practiced writing shape characters and simple sentences, worked with tan grams, addition and subtraction, and math seat work.

We did an activity with the sentence 看起来像  kan qi lai xiang (looks like)  and  什么形状 shenme xing zhuang (what shape). We pulled objects out of a bag and filled in the sentence frame:
_______looks like what shape? ______looks like_______. Then extended the activity with a sheet at their desk where they looked around the room for objects that looked like shapes and drew them into the same sentence.  

This same phrase is the one that is repeated in this week's book. Each new page is not new characters. Basically the only thing that changes on each page is the fruit being compared and the shape.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday again!

But don't worry.  There was no homework sent home today. You will be getting it tomorrow. There will be a book, vocab list, and math sheet, so keep your eyes open.

And please send your child with as warm of winter clothing as possible. If it's too cold, like it was today, we have inside recess. But when we do go outside, it is COLD. Gloves, hats, scarves. Send em all:)

This week we're doing a review of shape names they already know but now placed into a story and with new phrases they don't know.

Also, I'll be re recording the book on the lingt site, page by page. I was told this would be easier from the parent's end to practice and record with your child, so we'll give it a go. Let me know if you like it that way or not.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It was a great day today! I am so happy with the progress the kids are making not only in the language, but in being first graders. They are learning how to be good listeners, how to do their work, how to focus. It's so great to see! You should be proud of your children. I know I am :)

Today we practiced writing characters, telling time, sorting and graphing m&m's, counting coins, and worked with the week's vocabulary.

We also taught the other first grade classes the beginning of Pai Pai Shou for our sing along assembly on the 17th.

At home encourage your child to use as many chinese words for things as they can. Speaking "Chinglish" is a good thing to help they progress in language production.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Singing singing

We began rehearsing as a first grade for the sing along assembly come the end of December. We'll be singing one Christmas song and one Chinese song.

In class, we worked with "I'm hungry" ---so ask your child to tell you this in Chinese--- and with coins.  We're working with the concept of equivalent values (i.e. five pennies= how many nickels)

Homework sent home today includes one book, accompanying vocabulary (it should match with the book this week) , and  math sheet. We'll be tracking who turns in their folders, so be sure to send the book and math back by Friday.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last day of November

Words for the week:

饿  e (pronounced “uh”)  hungry

里面   li mian   inside

  zhao find

   gei  (pronounced “gay”) to give

hai (pronounced “hi”) still



Wo e le! 我饿了 (I’m hungry)

Gei wo yi ge 给我一个 (Give me one)

Hai you hen duo 还有很多 (There’s still a lot)

* no writing  on this week’s quiz


Hope all enjoyed the Thanksgiving break. As you can see, words this week have to do with food and eating. So ask you child how to say dinner foods, ask for things to eat, or say they want to eat certain things.

In math we'll be working a lot with money and subtraction.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gan en jie kuai le!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Here's some important Thanksgiving words:

Happy Thanksgiving= Gan en jie  kuai le!
Turkey= huo ji
Eat= chi (pronounced chrrr)
full= chi bao le
gratitude= gan en
thank you= xie xie

Monday, November 23, 2009

And more SEP's

So good to meet with you all and set some goals for your children. If you think of anything after you go that you'd like us to work on, let us know.

We love having your children and are trying our very best to help them feel loved, safe, excited to learn, and start to develop some habits that will help them as they begin their journey as students.

Thank you for all you do!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Reminder that SEP's are Monday and Tuesday. The schedule, based on those who returned the sign up sheet, will be sent home tomorrow. If you don't have a time yet or need to change your time, please call the office to schedule. 385-646-5020

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our school community

Our focus this week is on our school community and how we care about all the people at school. If you have time, talk to your child about the different people at school and how we show respect for them. Ask them what makes someone a good friend, and how they can be a good friend, classmate, and student.

学校 xue xiao School

老师 lao shi  teacher

关心 guan xin  care about

同学  tong xue  classmate

校长  xiao zhang  principal

很多 hen duo a lot, many

ma? question particle. Placed at the end of a sentence to denote a question

The schedule for SEP conferences went home yesterday. They will be assigned on a first returned basis. Pleas list at least three times, and we'll try our best to get everyone schedules at a time that works best for them. 

The final schedule will be sent home Thursday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Spelling" test day

Improvement was made!

Everyone did much better with recognizing the characters. And the feedback I've heard so far is that sending home flash cards would be helpful. So I'll try and get those copied to send home Monday or Tuesday.

I am starting to notice how much more they're understanding and starting to speak. It is so exciting! What an amazing program to be  part of.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remember the quiz!

Just a reminder to help your child review for the quiz tomorrow! And to help them remember to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough:)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We worked more with the vocabulary words and stories today, and introduced some basic fruits.

Cao mei= strawberry
ping guo= apple
pu tao= grape

Remember to help your child review the week's words. And on that note, I was wondering if the flashcards sent home were useful and if those are something you would like for the words every week. Comment/email me and let me know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What do you want to drink?

Ni yao he shenme?

We talked about drinks and what we want to drink. So help your child practice saying what they want to and don't want to do. "Wo yao" and "Wo bu yao"

Another item of business I feel is pretty important is something I learned at a district meeting for dual immersion teachers recently. Until then, I had been under the impression that the kids were not even to know that I can speak English, as had many others. But at the conference we were told that notion is both incorrect and unnecessary.  The children can and should know I speak it, but that I won't speak it during instruction time because them learning Chinese is that important.

They can know I am bi-lingual and that's what they are becoming too.

So let your child know that if they have a real problem or need to talk to me about something, that is alright. I will still not be using any English in giving instruction. But if they need to talk to me after class or have an emergency, I am aloud to speak with them. And to speak with parents who come in to volunteer.

Also, here's a site with some songs, books, and leveled readers you can print out and keep at home if you want some extra practice. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wentis =Questions

      First, an answer to some questions.

      The readers that are going home... 

I’m sending two readers home each Monday, the Monday following the week we’ve been practicing those same readers in class all week. So your child should be able to read most of the characters they see and have an idea of what they mean. If, however, they need additional help, these books are recorded on the lingt website page by page for them to read along with (so you don’t have to worry about teaching them incorrect pronunciation). The vocabulary is from the readers we are currently working on in class that week. There will be some words recycled, but don’t worry if the words coming home seem to not match the readers at home. They don’t.  I’m staggering it this way so they will get lots of repetition of the same phrases. It should also help them to already feel comfortable with the readers coming home while at the same time be aware of the vocabulary most useful to them in understanding what we’re doing in class that week.

  Each book has a translation of the story in English on the front inside cover, as well as key definitions on the back. The back will define only new words, so words they have had in previous books may not be there. You may notice some small writing below a few characters. This will also only appear under new characters.   

Some have asked about buying this series of books. You do not need to buy them. I am not suggesting you need to. But if you want to, below is Susan's contact information.

Susan Gong
K-12 Linkage Coordinator
BYU Chinese Flagship Center
3067 JFSB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Again, I strongly encourage you to look at our lingt classroom with your child. Don't feel like you need to teach them Chinese or read these books to them. It's all there. And it helps me so much to hear their recordings of them saying these words and phrases.

If there are any questions about this, please comment below. And thank you for your patience with everything. Being the pilot year of the program, we didn't have everything figured out right at the beginning.  We are learning as we go. As I get the materials, I'm implementing them. But I really honestly do value and need your feedback on what you like, what's working, and what is confusing/frustrating so I can change and improve.

Thanks so much!

Friday, November 6, 2009

La musica

There are many things quite obviously different when comparing eastern and western cultures. But similarities are there to be found. And were found. Today. As we compared one aspect of these two cultures: music.

After our character quiz (which will be modified for next week----it was a little too hard I think) we looked at  a few paintings with Mrs. Hirschi and talked about what the paintings can tell us about the artist, the people being painted, or the place and lifestyle being represented. 

We then looked at and listened to both a violin and an erhu (a chinese violin-esque instrument) and talked about what we saw and heard that was similar as well as any differences noticed.

After talking about how art, be it music or painting, can make us feel a certain way or help us remember something, each child got a piece of paper and represented in drawing and pasting shapes what the music made them feel. They came up with some incredible art!

Here are the words for next week. Please make flashcards, use the lingt website, or come up with your own way to try and help your child review these characters. There were some confused little faces today as they were asked to identify correct characters. 

  yao       want

  shui      water

早上 zao shang    morning

太阳 tai yang      sun

qu     go

  tian    day

什么 shenme  what

I'll do a better job in the classroom this week helping the practice how the quiz will work and playing games where they have to recognize the characters, so hopefully this next weeks they will get the characters down.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brush brush brush!

Today's topic: teeth+ subtraction = loosing teeth, a topic first graders are all too familiar with. We read a book today about little brother brushing his teeth and used the tooth loosing process as an opportunity to learn about subtraction.

Hence the mouths you saw come home with removable teeth.

The words for the week and both books are now up on the lingt website to practice.

Keep helping your child practice and review them.

Also one quick comment. There are a few definitions in the back of the book that are incorrect.
In There are people here, 个 does not mean "after". It is a classifier word, like "pair" of shoes or "loaf" of bread. Chinese has many many  classifiers, "ge" being the most generic and frequently used. It's what we use when talking about people. Ex. Yi ge ren =one person.
 人 means people/person, not also.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November begins!

You should have received a note and two readers today. Please look at the back side of the note, where you will find this week's vocabulary. As explained in the note, your child will be working with these words this week and have a quiz on them Friday.  Please help them review and recognize these characters, sounds, and meanings.

Also, encourage your child to read these books to you, their siblings, grandparents, or even stuffed animals or toys. The more opportunity they have to say these words and feel confidant doing so, the faster they will feel comfortable speaking and reading other phrases and moving around in the language as well. 

The back page of each reader has a list of the words used with English definitions. I will record each book on the link to language site so your child can read along and practice.

Here's a list of the words.

shua ya        brush teeth

起床 qi chuang      get up/out of bed

吃饭  chi fan          eat

以前   yi qian         before

       shu             count

只有     zhi you       only

       tai               too

朋友    pengyou     friend

And a copy of the not in case it didn't make it to you.

Dear Parents

          Great news! The leveled readers from the BYU Chinese Flagship program have arrived. These books have been specifically written to teach the Utah first grade core along with appropriately difficult and useful Chinese.  We have enough to let each child take these books home weekly. Please take good care of and use them as much as possible. Send them back to school every Friday with homework.

          From now on, our Chinese curriculum will be a combination of these books and the Better Chinese program (from which all students now have workbooks).

           Every Monday I will send home a list of the words we’ll be using in these stories. These words will also be recorded on the lingt website so you can hear and practice them. Every Friday we will have a quiz on these words. Except for the two on the list that are bold, it will be recognition only (they do not need to know how to write them all, but to be able to circle them or connect them to a matching picture) .  They will be asked to write only the two in bold.

           Please email or comment on the blog if you have any questions.

 Thanks!! (xie xie)

Mrs. Chipman

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wan sheng jie kuai le !

Thank you to all that helped make our party a huge success! Thank you especially Brandy Seaman, who planned and coordinated the whole event. Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zhe li you ma?

Today's new concept was "Here there is/are____"  "Here there are no_____" in preparation for the reader we're working with in class (which will be coming home next week).

In Chinese, you say "Zhe li you______" to tell someone what is there.  "Zhe li" means here, "you" means there are/there have.

So to say "There are six people here", you would say "Zhe li you liu ge ren" (ren means people).
To say "There are no people here.", you would say "Zhe li mei you ren" (literally "Here no have people").

So to ask someone if anyone's there, you say "Zhe li you ren ma?"
The response is either "you" or "mei you"

The coin of the week is the Penny. So ask your child to tell you about a Penny, to pick out all the Pennies in a pile, or tell you how many Pennies it takes to get the same value as a Nickel or dime.

Today you should have seen a couple of important things:
         Flash cards of numbers and colors with a master list (Thank you to Kim Black for her work on that)
A note about the behavior chart and notes.
If you didn't see/receive either of these, let me know.

Wednesday look for their "Halloween homework" ---- a worksheet where they get to sort and tally their Halloween loot and then bring back the record to share with the class.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More than pennies

We did an activity with money today, and it became very clear that many are still not very clear which coin is which or how much they are worth. Everyone is very clear what a penny is and how much it is worth. But we will definitely be working on recognition of coins and correct names and values.  At home let your child play with a handful of coins. Ask them to sort them by size, value, tell you all they know about each one, or make a particular amount for you. The more practice the better.

We learned more of the clapping song, which is now available for your listening pleasure on the lingt site.

And now for just a slice of the humor that is my day as a first grade teacher. Today I was in front of the class teaching when a little girl came hurrying back from the bathroom and breathlessly up to me to tug on my shirt. Normally when I'm in front they know they can't just walk up to me and talk; I make them go back, sit down, and raise their hand. But she looked so distressed and urgent I let her speak.

"Mrs. Chipman!" she whispered. "There were boys in the girl's bathroom!" Oh no I thought, and asked "Who was it?", to which she replied " I don't know. I didn't see them. But there were three of them!" "How do you know?" " I walked in every stall and the seat was up in all three!"

The bathrooms had just been cleaned. But know your children do pick up on the way the world is.

There were two pages of homework sent home today. I hope they are pretty self explanatory. The chinese one is for practice writing characters. On the back of one, have your child get some coins and draw and label them, including the value of each.

News from the state dual immersion people.... Workbooks have been ordered for every child. They should be here by Friday.

I also thought it might be helpful for you to know what we are learning in Math for the month of October. (From the state core). We are doing this all in class, so don't feel like you need to teach your child all of this, it is just so you are aware.

Number sense: Model, count, read numbers up to 40. Matching numbers to numerals.
Estimation: Estimate quantities up to 10
Addition and Subtraction: Model, act out, write +/-
Sorting: One attribute sort
Patterning: repeating patterns
Money: Penny, Nickel, Dime- Introduce name, value, attributes
Measurement: Length, non-standard units
Graphing: Horizontal bar graph, how to make/read

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pai Pai shou= Clap your hands!

We learned part of a new song today which you might have already had the pleasure of hearing your child sing to you.

It reviews the location words we've been learning by clapping hands in the different positions.
It goes:

Pai pai shou (clap clap hands)
Pai pai shou (clap clap hands)
Shang mian pai (clap up)
Xia mian pai (clap down)
Zuo bian pai ( clap left)
You bian pai( clap right)
Qian mian pai (clap front)
Hou mian pai (clap behind)

It has multiple verses which we'll be finishing tomorrow, so ask your child to sing you their new song when you see them tomorrow. I'll also put it on the link to language website tomorrow so you can hear it.

Today we made a horizontal graph to see who has birthdays in which month, practiced asking "How old are you?", and worked with writing numbers in expanded form. 

A few were able to understand taking numbers and writing them in expanded form (where, for example, 432 is 400+30+2), but most struggled. We're going to focus now on just making sure all are able to say which number is in the hundred's spot, ten's spot, and one's spot. Later on in the year we'll come back to expanded form. 

We also read together the "Where are you from?" book. (Afternoon class, your child should have this reader and be practicing reading and listening to it. Books should be brought back on Friday so the morning class can have their turn next week.) We looked at a map and found where the countries are. Nikolas was excited to tell us about Russia and Masaki knew right where Japan was. 

All this week and next we'll be talking more about different countries and diversity, so if you want to look at a globe with your child, talk to them about a different country, or have them bring in something to show and tell from another country, that would be great.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trains and shapes

Last Friday we worked with coins and putting numbers into expanded form.

In one of the games students could "buy" different objects on cards if they gave the correct amount in coins. We noticed that most feel comfortable using pennies, and no matter how large the amount, they would rather count out 47 pennies than try and use combinations of other coins. So you can help you child by letting them see different ways to add up to the same amount using different coins.

As far as putting numbers in expanded form (Where 473 is 4 hundreds, 7 tens, 3 ones, or 400+70+3), it's still a little hard for many to grasp fully.  If you remember, driving home or eating dinner or whenever you have a minute with your child, play a game of breaking apart numbers (one says "31" the other "three tens and one one") or adding and taking away ten.  It should help them become more familiar with the idea.

Today we did a lot with combining shapes to make new shapes, matching shapes to their outline, and breaking bigger shapes and objects into smaller shapes.

I know this may be repetitive, but if you haven't gone to our "link to language" classroom yet and listened to/recorded vocabulary, please take a look. I know it will really help:)

Your children are great! And brilliant.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Up, down, all around

We learned directions. On Wednesday. 

They are:

on top of/above   = shang mian 上面
below/underneath= xia mian下面
inside= li mian 里面
left= zuo bian左边
right= you bian 右边

Can you see the character for above and below are almost mirror images?

That same xia also has a meaning of coming down, while shang means to go up. (xia yu= raining, xia xue=snowing) 

You can add either to the front of the word "qu" (to go) and it tells you exactly how to go.
xia qu=go down, get down (Like telling someone to come down from a tree, or go down a hill)
shang qu= get up there/go on up (Like going up a mountain or stairs)

I'll put these all on out linktolanguage (right) site so you can hear and practice them.

And today we learned about "What's in the school bag?" Shu bao li you shenme?
I'll be sending home vocabulary flash cards with the homework on Monday.

We also learned how to play and say rock paper scissors in Chinese. Ask them to teach you.

They're starting more and more to use the vocab they know in Chinglish sentences with each other. It's pretty impressive. Even things I've never explicitly taught them but they've just heard me or Patty say and picked it up from context. Kids are amazing. I'm so happy for them that Chinese is now a part of the way their brains are wired.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New seats

You may have heard your child is sitting in a new spot as of today. Perhaps not a huge deal, but there will hopefully be some new friends and names you'll be hearing about as a result. We talk about "Women dou shi peng you men" (We are all friends) almost every day, but being first grade there are still some problems with tattling, hurt feelings, little cliques etc. We're trying to get over that.

We  played a game about a disappearing train (addition and subtraction) as a whole group and had small group work again today. 

New math vocab words are
Jia= add
Jian= subtract

They worked with the hundred's chart, listened and read along to their little readers, made their "Blue horse blue horse" page, and played a partner version of disappearing train. 

Likely the favorite part of the day was P.E., where we ran laps, learned some dodging skills as we played a game called "Spiders and flies", and stretched.

They are getting the names of the shapes more and more every day. We're going to be working a lot more with money, so helping your child be familiar with names, attributes, and values of the coins would be great.

Last thing. If you do get a chance, go to the link on the right and have your child listen to the vocab, then record themselves saying it. This will help me hear them each individually and have a better idea of how they're doing with the tones and pronunciation.  It's a great tool that I would really like to better utilize.

That's it I believe. Great day, and looking forward to another one tomorrow:)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Red bird, Red bird

Wow we had a lot of volunteers today! It was great. We were able to do most the work in small groups, which really helps them focus and engage more in learning. 

I'm not sure how many of you know, but I do have a wonderful part time aid now. She just moved from Taiwan this year, and is thinking about becoming a teacher. So if you've heard about Patty, that's who they're talking about. We also have a Chinese major from the U doing an internship with us. She comes in three afternoons a week to help out. Her name is Tina, and you may have heard about her as well.

Today we worked on the Brown Bear book, reviewed and played games with characters, listened to a native speaker read and  then read along with readers (They are starting to really read on their own!), more work with shapes, and alien math (adding groups of aliens).

We also took a benchmark test for math in the computer lab. I look at these scores to see where we are as a class and individually and know where to focus. They will be taking these tests regularly, so we will be able to see their progress and monitor where they are in their understanding.

Other things of note-- In the morning class, we had a special treat all the way from Taiwan! We got to taste traditional pineapple cakes! I say taste, because I wanted them all to at least try--- but many found they weren't privy to the foreign flavor, made an array of amusing faces, and spit the remains in the garbage. It is definitely and experience they won't forget. That, and seeing what the book Harry Potter looks like in Chinese. Way cool. (Thanks to Andrew's dad for bringing those back to share)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And we're back.

Sort of. I'm sure everyone had a wonderful fall break.  It's just apparently a little hard for six year olds to remember how you're supposed to act in school after that long away:)

I was gone yesterday at a conference, but thanks to wonderful Brenda Beckstead, the kids still learned some Chinese. Yesterday they began work on their Brown Bear books, reviewed shapes, learned how to ask "How old are you?"  Ni ji sui?,  and answer "I'm____ years old."  Wo __ sui. , as well as "What is your name?" Ni jiao shenme mingzi.  (Literally, You called what name).

* For help on how to pronounce this and to have your child record themselves saying it, click on the lingt link to the right

Math was practicing ways to add up to and break up the number ten.

And now for today.

It was so good to see all of them again! Today, however, was somewhat like the first day of school all over again, as far as following rules goes. But we'll get it back.

We worked on the Brown Bear book, making a bear out of circles. 

In small groups we worked on number sense, playing games to help them work with greater than and less than and adding numbers, and Chinese literacy.

Thank you for all the snacks that are being brought in, and to all the people that help so much.

I know there are some of you with small children or other circumstances that want to volunteer but cant. I have some things I can send home for you to do (cutting, putting things in folders etc) if you are interested in helping that way. Let me know if you're interested.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dual Immersion Conference

I was not at school today, as I was attending the aforementioned conference. We received training and materials for teaching math in Chinese as well as heard from Dr. Myriam Mett of the National Foreign Language Center. 

We learned about Chinese curriculum coming form Susan Gong and her team at BYU that integrates the first grade core into a series of 35 books, giving the new language meaningful context and a presentable format. The books are currently being printed and will be in our classrooms sometime next week.

Everyone is still learning how to best teach in this immersion program, and it's exciting to be among the first in the nation to be doing so.  We're part of something quite revolutionary, something to which so many are committed to help make succeed. Thank you for your patience as we continue to learn and improve one day at time :)

I was just thinking today how incredible that the kids are already starting to produce language. The first stage in learning by immersion is the input stage. With Chinese being such a foreign sounding tongue, this input stage seems to be a bit longer before they connect meaning with the sound, store the sound and meaning together in their brain, and start to use it in applicable situations. 

But just yesterday I heard students telling each other to "lai" instead of saying it in English, telling each other dui bu qi and mei guan xi, and writing beautiful characters. It makes me get goosebumps almost to think of the opportunities I have been given and these kids will be given by being able to communicate, see, and understand the world in this beautiful language and culture. All efforts are worth it.

Many are still in mostly the input stage, so don't be alarmed if you don't hear them producing whole sentences or even some of the vocabulary. As we repeatedly use it in class and I give them more opportunities to hear it, associate it, and become comfortable with it, they will begin to speak.

At school today your child learned about traditions and legends associated with the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival, and should have brought home a story they made about it as well as a puppet they can introduce themselves with . "Ni hao! Wo jiao_______"

Monday, September 28, 2009

What do you see?

We're about to start a book making project based off Eric Carle's Brown Bear Brown Bear. We read it today and practiced saying "What to do you see?" in Chinese.
Ni kan jian shenme? 

They already know "ni" (you) "kan" (see) and "shenme" (what). The extra "jian" is a way of emphasizing that you are both looking and seeing. Like saying that you are looking to the point of seeing.

In small groups we worked with shapes, recognizing characters, and how to write characters.
They should now be familiar with the following characters.

你 ni     好 hao        我 wo         是shi              月yue                   日ri         
you          good       me/I      am/to be     moon/month        day/sun       


It might be helpful to print them out and make flash cards or hang them somewhere your child can see so they become familiar with the characters and associated sounds and meaning.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hooray for technology

Today I met with the other 7 Chinese Utah teachers also doing the first year of this immersion program. It was agreed that one of the hardest things, no matter what school or how long the teacher had previously taught, is classroom management. It is just plain hard for first graders to focus. And to a completely foreign language even harder. Then ask them to learn correct behavior in this unfamiliar tongue, and, well, it's a challenge. This is where parent volunteers and parent discussions with your child help so much.  So thank you for all you're doing. As they start to get more and more vocabulary, while having correct behavior reinforced and undesired behavior have consequences, they will get it.

I am sure there are many questions on the homework sent home tonight. First: Don't worry if you can't understand it. The whole point is to give them practice writing characters.  Just have them look at the character on the left, then write that character out in each of the boxes in the line. We'll be going over it in class as well.

Today we talked about shapes again, shapes in the classroom and shapes in the environment. We're also still practicing small and big, moving into greater than and less than.

Great news!

I've been thinking and thinking about what to do to help you help your child at home with the Chinese. And then today I came across a really great website that lets me make  recordings of the words you can listen to and then record a response. I don't have a lot on there yet, but I'm really excited about it and will make assignments to help you and your student practice this hard-to-pronounce Chinese vocab. You can look at it by going to:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mid Autumn Festival

The time is drawing near. Mid autumn festival, also known as the Moon festival, is one of the favorite holidays in China.

This year is falls on October 3rd. As with all Chinese holidays, there is a great story and many traditions to go with it. Here's one site about it:

Today in class we focused on concepts of big and small, in preparation for learning about greater than and less than tomorrow.

大Da is the word for big, 小xiao the word for small.

They should recognize these two characters, and some can even write them quite well.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Sorry there was no post yesterday.... but it was great to see and talk to some of you at conferences. It helps me so much to hear your feedback and see your goals and hopes for your child. Thank you for your patience with me as I try to figure out how to best teach, run and manage a classroom of six year olds who can't understand a word I'm saying.

I really do appreciate feedback. So if you have anything you'd like to see implemented, tell me. I'm going to be a bit more strict as far as keeping of classroom rules, so if your child comes home and says I'm mean.... that may be why :)

Yesterday we worked with shapes. I quickly found out that the names of these shapes are very hard for the kids to memorize and keep separate, as they are a little long and sound very similar.

The names of the shapes are as follows:

Circle: yuan xing (*but you can also say quan quan, which all of them have now picked up because that's what I tell them when we need to sit in a circle on the floor. Yuan xing is a more appropriate geometric label, so they need to learn it)
Square: zheng fang xing (remember zh is said like a j)
Rectangle: chang fang xing
Triangle: san jiao xing 

"xing" means basically "shape" and the character before the "xing" is just describing what kind of shape.

Example yuan xing, circle, means literally "round shape" and san jiao xing, traingle, means "three angle shape"

We're going to work on getting one down a day next week.

I've also had some ask about counting above ten in chinese. Being the very logical language it is, to go above ten, you just have just say "ten" and then whatever number is in the one's place.

Example eleven is shi yi (ten one) 十一
twelve is shi er (ten two)十二 
thirteen shi san (ten three)十三

To say/write twenty, thirty and so on, you just say how many tens. Example twenty is er shi (two tens) 二十
twenty one is er shi yi (two tens one)二十一
二十三, 二十四, 二十五 and so on.

This way of labeling numbers really helps with understanding how our number system works. Right away they see that we count in groups of tens and have to think about place values without even realizing it.

But when you do written  math in Chinese, we just use the numerals they are you are already familiar with. Isn't that great?

p.s. We're running low on snacks, so if you want to send a little snack with your child (enough for 25 kids) they would all love you 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is....

Today's focus was on the phrase "This is a _____" and asking "What is this?"

In a previous post I explained how to say these in Chinese, but repetition's the key to language acquisition right? So it bears repeating.

zhe shi ____= this is____

zhe shi shenme?= what is this (literally: this is what?)

"zhe" is the "this" word, "shi" is the "is/to be/equals" word, and "shenme" is "what" and is always a question. It can also be used alone to just ask "What?"

We're working with addition and subtraction with numbers up to ten. All children should be able to count to ten in Chinese at this point. If you realize your child can't quite do this, let me know so I can give them a little extra help. Most should be able to count past ten, but we're still working on it.

Also, Mrs. Strasser and I are available tomorrow  for conferences from 4 until 7:15 on a first come first served basis. Because I can't speak English with the student there, the conference will have a first part where I meet with both of you and let your child show you some of the chinese they know, then have them step outside in the hall where there will be a little supervised activity for them to do while I speak with you.

One other heads up is we'll be having parent meetings for all Calvin Smith immersion parents with Mrs. Crawley throughout the year to get feedback on what's going well and what you'd like to see happen with the program. We'll send home notes and I'll post the dates on here when they happen.

Thanks so much for having great kids! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

xi huan!!!

I think we finally got it. I think every single child should now know xi huan and bu xi huan.

We spent a lot of time today saying and sorting what foods we did and didn't like. If you want to ask your child if they like something, just add the question word "ma" to the end of the expression. So you could say "Ni xi huan ma?" Ma turns any statement into a question.

We also took a math pre-test so I'll be more familiar with where we're starting from. Right off the weakest areas for everyone were money and time. Which is completely normal for first grade. We'll start working with those in our every day calendar, but feel free to start helping you child make sense of a clock or become familiar with coins.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Today we began writing characters. The right way.

In Chinese, there is a very particular way to write each character. This is referred to as "stroke order". After time, it becomes habit, much like writing in English.

I'll be sending home some practice pages for them to work on. If you just follow the numbered arrows, you can help them know in which order to make the different strokes.

Today we worked on 

我 wo (me or I)
 你 ni (you)

A great website for looking up stroke order is 

You can look up any word, then click on stroke order to see an animation of how to write that character.

We also began exploring basic shapes. The names of the shapes will be on next week's vocabulary list. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thank you to all the volunteers today! It really does help so much. The kids are much more able to focus and hence get a lot more out of smaller group activites, so really, thanks!

In one of the small groups, they reviewed simple phrases by looking at little books and saying them aloud.

Ni hao
xie xie
bu ke qi (that's fine/you're welcome)
dui bu qi( sorry)
mei guan xi (it's okay)
jia you (go! come on!)

We learned a new song about little chinese lanterns and counting

xiao deng long (little lantern) gao gao gua (hung up high)
yi er san si wu liu qi, yi er san si wu liu qi ba jiu shi,
yi er san si wu liu qi  (counting)

Sung to the tune of  "I love you, you love me" (made quite famous by a one purple dinosaur)

In the morning class we worked some more with the phrase "wo xi huan" = I like, and graphed who like different hobbies.

In the afternoon class, we had guests from China come for a special visit and answer questions. The kids seemed to really like talking to "real Chinese people". Many hadn't thought that people from other countries have to learn English when they come here, or realized how far away China is and that there are really people all over the world that speak Chinese.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I like

The focus for the day was "I like" and "I don't like".

Wo (I) xihuan= I like
Wo (I)  bu xi huan= I don't like

Bu is the negator of any statement. (Remember bu yao?)

The xi part is a low tone and the huan is high.

We introduced two fruits, apple (ping guo) and banana (xiang jiao). In Chinese the adjective is linked to the noun by adding a "de". So to say a red apple, you would say hong se de ping guo. Yellow banana is huang se de xiang jiao. 

Reminder that the fundraiser ends tomorrow, so all books and forms need to be in.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Today was all about associating numbers with the groups of objects they represent. Most of the class seems to feel pretty comfortable with both the chinese character for each number 1-10 as well as the numeral, though there are quite a few that need help remembering exactly how to write the numeral. (backwards 4's, 6's 7's etc)

One thing your child has heard a lot by now but never had explicitly explained is the phrase "zhe shi shenme?" It literally means " this is what?" and is used when you point to something, like maybe a color, and ask zhe shi shenme? (Remember the shi sounds more like shr) 

You can use this to quiz vocabulary. Colors and numbers especially at this point. Point to a seven and ask "zhe shi shenme?" They should be able to tell you in Chinese.

If you want to ask them about family members you can use a similar phrase "zhe (this) shi (is) shei (who)?"

The shei sounds like shay. 

A short vocabulary list will be sent home tomorrow, so ask about it and try to help them review these words.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

today is.....

We're trying to get the concept of saying the date. In Chinese it is said
"jin tian shi"_____ = today is____

So today we said:

Jin tian shi jiu yue (September), san hao (third day), er ling ling jiu nian (2009 year)

We graphed numbers up to ten to start to see the relationships between them. Encourage your children to count everything they can and talk to them about more and less (ex. you have three cars. Is that more or less than your brother who has two)

Splitting up groups of things into smaller groups will also help them see number combinations and help them with addition and subtraction. You can ask then to see how many ways they can split things up (ten fruit snacks total can be split  into two groups how many different ways).

 And these are just suggestions if you get a chance, don't feel like you need to do all of them:)

Also here's some websites if you're wondering how to pronounce these strange letter combinations you're now seeing......   Basic pronunciation    Listen to vocabulary  Tone practice

There is so much (good and bad) out there to help with Chinese.  I'll keep looking and posting things as I find them. If you come across something great, post it one here so all can know.

I'm working on getting some sort of recording that I can send home so you can listen to the vocabulary.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We're working on the concepts of days, weeks, and months, which is actually a pretty hard-to-grasp concept for many first graders.  In Chinese, the word for month is "yue".  And being the very logical language that it is, the names of the months are just a number followed by "yue".


January is yi yue (first month)
February is er yue(second month)
March is san yue (third month)
and so on.

So it actually helps the child convert easily to the 9/2/09 form of writing the date, while helping with number sense and understanding  more clearly the sequence of the year as well.

 In math we've continued looking at patterns, and made our own with two colors. We'll be expanding from AB patterns to ABB and ABC tomorrow. 

We began learning parts of the body, beginning with the face.

Today's vocab:

Eyes: yan jing
Ears: er duo
Mouth: zui ba
Hair: tou fa
Nose: bi zi

and the verbs that go with them:

see/look : kan
hear: ting
talk: jiang
nose: wen 

We drew self portraits and labelled the above parts.  We'll keep working with the verbs tomorrow. 

You can encourage them to say "wo yao" (I need/I want/ I have to) for things like
-wo yao wash my hands
-wo yao he shui (I need to drink water)
-wo yao qu cesuo (I need to go to the bathroom)
-wo yao go to bed

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Today we began talking about patterns. Most were very quick to pick up on the patterns they saw, so keep encouraging them to find, notice, and create patterns with the things they see and use every day.

One concept that was a little hard to get across without speaking English is "dong" or "bu dong". which means understand, or not understand. If you get a chance, talk about this with your child. In class, I want to ask if they "dong" after I explain things. If they do, they'll give a thumbs up and say "dong" . If they're still confused, a thumbs down with a "bu dong".

Beginning next week, I'll send home a list of vocabulary we're using in class that you can practice with your child. They don't have to memorize the list, but it will help you be aware of the sounds you might be hearing and encourage them when they make them.

One little issue we have been having is using the bathrooms too frequently beginning right when school starts. Because it's first grade, I don't want to risk an accident, but it's disruptive of their learning. So if at all possible, try to have them go right before they come so we can make it at least 20 minutes without one having to leave the classroom:) 

Thanks to all the volunteers! And if there is anyone with a child in my afternoon class that can come in the afternoons, we could definitely use your help:)

One other thing. We went to library for the first time today, so you should see a white note from the librarian that needs t be signed and returned to me by next tuesday at the latest. Thanks!

 p.s. You might be interested.....





1355 West 3100 South, West Valley City, Utah 







RECEPTION:  6:00 – 7:00 P.M. 

Hors d’ oeuvres & Refreshments 

Featuring the Utah Chinese Folk Orchestra 


Hosted by: 

Salt Lake County Mayor PETER M. CORROON 

West Valley City Mayor Pro-tem RUSS BROOKS 

Salt Lake City Councilman CARLTON CHRISTENSEN 

 Director General THOMAS CHEN, Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in San Francisco 







10:30 A.M. - Noon  “GRANDMA’S HAIRPIN”   Documentary 

12:20 P.M. - 1:10 A.M. “ELEPHANT BOY and ROBOGIRL” Documentary 

1:30 P.M. - 3:10 P.M.   “SUMMER’S TAIL”    Feature film 

3:30 P.M. – 5:35 P.M.  “FOR MORE SUN”    Documentary 

7:45 P.M. – 9:20 P.M.           “THE SHOE FAIRY”    Featured film 

WELCOME:  7:00 P.M. 


Featuring the 


Sil Lum Kung Fu Kwoon Performing Arts Group 


   Salt Lake Chinese Choir 


Monday, August 31, 2009

Last day of August

We started working with our calendar today. We went over days of the week in Chinese, and looked at how a calendar works.

Days of the week in chinese begin with "xing qi__" and then add in the number for whichever day of the week it is.

Monday= xing qi yi (day one)
Tuesady= xing qi er  (day two )
Wednesday= xing qi san (day three etc..)
Thursady= xing qi si
Friday= xing qi wu
Saturday= xing qi liu
Sunday= xing qi ri

So because your children already know how to count, days of the week are pretty simple.

We also counted numbers and compared quantities (boys and girls etc).

Girl= nu sheng
Boy= nan sheng

You can help your child practice the sentence "wo shi_____"  (I am_____) and put in the correct term.

Finally, we are still working on rules and appropriate behavior. Keep encouraging your child to try their hardest to listen and pay attention so they and everyone else can be a good learner. Review with them what that might look like and sound like, and why they might want to be a good learner.

Friday, August 28, 2009


They've made it through the first week!! And I'm sure they're exhausted. But they made it.

Today we reinforced the names of family members (keep reviewing it with them at home) and learned a new song. 

These are the words:

Lai lai lai, pengyou men  (Come come come, friends)
Wo men da jia yi qi (all of us together)
lai chang ge (come and sing)

lai tiawu (come and dance)
zuo youxi (play games)
Wo men da jia yi qi (all of us together)
xue zhong wen (learn Chinese)

-remember the x is said like sh-

Some words you might hear them (or encourage them to) say

Peng you --friend
dui bu qi --sorry
zuo xia-- sit down
hen hao-- very good
hen bang!!--awesome
jia you--keep it up/way to go/you can do it

Ask your children to say it for you so you can hear the right tones.

 Also.....I haven't sent home a note yet about this blog, and I know I don't have everyone's email addresses, so feel free to spread the word, and I'll get a note home Monday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday (星期四)

Alrighty. Today we were working again on family members, numbers and colors.

In chinese, each member has a different title.
Mom= Mama
Older brother=Gege
Older sister=Jiejie
Younger brother= Didi
Younger sister=Meimei

You can ask them to tell you the names of each person in your family.

We shared about our own families, some using pictures, others words, as we counted how many of each member. We have a board in the classroom where these pictures will be hung, and should be back to you in two weeks. Your children were all so excited to talk about you. They love you very much :)

It has definitely been a challenge helping them to understand what behaviors are expected and appropriate in the Chinese classroom. I love all these kids and understand it must be very confusing and tiring for them especially right at first, but I know we can get it down so that I am not spending so much time quieting everyone down and getting attention back. It will require lots of practice and building of good habits.

Next week I would love to have a parent in the room for some time both morning and afternoon so each class can have an English speaker present making sure they understand what I'm asking them to do and we can work together to get these good habits down. 

A little p.s. One good website I've found for some useful things on both Chinese language and culture is 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It begins!!

It has begun. Excitement, anxiety, disbelief, brief glorious moments of understanding, overwhelmed. They've felt it all these past two days as they try to figure out what exactly is going on in this Chinese classroom they now spend half the day in.

For the most part, all are handling it incredibly well, and soaking up and then using bits of Chinese at an inspiring rate. The main issues have been maintaining focus and listening while I teach them in this foreign tongue. If you can talk with your child about how to listen in class, reviewing what is and isn't appropriate even when they can't understand it all, it might help get us into good habits more quickly and then on to better chinese learning.

Today we focused on how to say "I love____" attached to various members of the family. They should know names of all family members. We've been reviewing things learned at Starcamp (numbers, colors etc) as well as explaining and practicing procedures (lining up quietly, how to sit at the rug).

We also did some simple math in Chinese, combining groups of objects and counting out the result.

You can ask your child to sing you a song, they should know 3 or 4 by now. They are also starting to become more familiar with simple phrases such as "Thank you" and "I'm sorry." form the book we're reading together.