Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday family event

If you are looking for something interesting to do with your family this winter break, you are invited to attend a free concert the Chinese-American folk band I play in is putting on. Tuesday, Dec 27th at 7:00 in the downtown SLC library auditorium. We use traditional Chinese instruments (gu zheng, pipa, ruan, and erhu) mixed with western ones (guitar, violin, bass) for what ends up as a pretty cool sounding mix.

It is a benefit concert for the Salt Lake  IRC, so we will also be playing with a group of refugees from Burundi who play, dance and sing with drums. It should be a fun night.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas break

This week we have been working on vocabulary to talk about the things we use and do at school. For some practice with these words, click on the lingt link. We have also been learning about seasons and the weather that usually accompanies each. Knowing the seasons and months in order is a first grade math standard. You can help your child by playingva game of " Tell the the month/season that comes before/after __________." Or give them weather clues and have them tell you the season.

In other math, we have been doing work with subtraction stories, addition practice, and are starting work on memorizing doubles and using the doubles plus/minus one strategy for addition. Example: we know 3+4=7 because we already know 3+3=6, so it is a doubles plus one.

As always, try to work in little math stories with your kids whenever you can. The more they see and are used to connecting what is happening around them to numbers and number sentences, the less intimidating and more fun math becomes.

Last thing. I was helping out in third grade today, and was so happy to see how great these kids are doing in Chinese. They are so comfortable with it and really speak no English at all in class. It seemed so natural to them. They are already at a level most learning Chinese only wish they could be.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Back in the saddle again

Great to be back! Though only for a short time.

If you are new to this blog, please feel free to click on the links on the right for some fun online chinese learning for you and your child. The lingt site has vocaublary and lessons from years past where you can hear the chinese spoken and then record yourself and hear how you compare. It is a great way for me to hear each child individually (and give feedback) as well as for you to hear and see how they are doing.
But. If you have a minutes, watch this. You will be reminded of how awesome it is that you and your child are participating in this program....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baby is here!

Meet Anna Louise Chipman. We're excited to have her join the family (and start learning Chinese :)

Born August 4th. 8 lbs, 21 inches. Cute.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Field trip

If you are interested in coming with us on our field trip to the park Thursday, May 19, please let either Mrs. Cretsinger or myself know, we would love to have you along. All are welcome!

Monday, April 11, 2011


We had an exciting visit today from Red Butte gardens. We are part of their outreach program and as such have a grow lab in our classroom and will be learning all about plants as we observe them grow and have lessons about them for the next month. The kids will be learning chinese and english vocabulary associated with plant and plant development.

In math we are working with number patterns, story problems, graphing, and review.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


This week we will be learning all about water, as well as all the vocabulary that comes along with it. So you can ask you child to tell you (in chinese) what water looks, tastes, smells, and feels like, as well as what we use it for, where it's found on the earth, and what forms it can take.

My friend from Taiwan is coming to visit and is excited to make a trip to visit my classroom and hear american children speaking chinese. I must say, it is still simply incredible to me how well they are doing with the language and how much they enjoy functioning in "Chinese mode". They are not afraid to try and make mistakes, and their amazing minds pick up and absorb so much every day that they then immediately put to use. Put simply, I am proud of and amazed by your children. Thank you for letting me teach them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is here (almost)

And we are excited to be able to play outside. We are learning how to say the names of sports.

In Chinese, to play with a ball, the verb "hit" 打(da) is used in any sport in which the hands are used to play. For example, to say "play tennis" you say "hit net ball", or 打网球( da wang qiu)。The word for ball is 球 qiu.

The exception is soccer, where instead you kick, or ti 踢。

Characters __Pinyin ________English_____ literal translation:
打棒球 _____da bang qiu _______play baseball ______hit stick ball
打网球 _____da wang qiu _______play tennis _______hit net ball
打乒乓球 ___da ping pang qiu _____play ping pong___ hit ping pong ball
打冰球_____ da bing qiu ________play hockey ______hit ice ball
打篮球 _____da lan qiu_________ play basketball ____hit basket ball
提足球 _____ti zu qiu ___________play soccer______kick foot ball
打美式足球 __da mei shi zu qiu _____play football ___hit american style soccer

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great expectations

Last week I was privileged to attend a summit on Chinese literacy hosetd by Utah Cinese Immersion. Principals, teachers, and program directors of mandarin immersion schools from accross the country were in attendance. A small group, numbering about 30, we were able to dicuss, share, and compare the most effective practice as well as challenges faced by these programs. It was an energetic, knowledgable, and passionate group, and much was learned. Your children will derectly benefit from the many things I learned and saw.

I have also been attending weekly iSchool trainings along with two other teachers at our school to learn how to best use our new cart of iPod touches. We three will be sharing the cart, which houses enough iPods for each student to have their own to use in class. I have been exploring many chinese apps, and am really excited about all the things we will be able to do with this great new technology.

As the students continue to try their best to speak only Chinese in the classroom, I am seeing much progress and excitement about the language.

We will be sending home information about SEP conferences with Mrs. Cretsinger's Monday homework folder, so be watching for that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Neighborhood

Hope everyone had a great long weekend! This week we are learning about the different places in our neighborhood as well as map skills. By the end of the week, your child should be able to say:

grocery store

"Where are you going?"
"Where is the _____"
"Where is your house?"
across from
next door to
close to

In math, continue to help them break numbers up into hundreds, tens and ones as well as counting money and subtraction practice. We will be introducing 3-D shapes next week (sphere, cone, cube etc)

The cookie dough fundraiser began with an assembly today. The kids were reminded "No talking to strangers, and no door to door sales."

Monday, February 7, 2011

What do you want to be when you grow up?

We're looking at community and the people that help us. We've looked at people in our school, and now are talking about what we'd like to do with our lives, or what we want to do when we grow up. They were excited to hear I wanted to be a teacher when I was little and now I really am "So you really can become what you always wanted to?!!" one exclaimed. Yep.

The vocab is as follows:

doctor 医生 yi sheng
teacher 老师 lao shi
actress/actor 演员 yan yuan
police 警察 jing cha
chef 厨师 chu shi
architect 工程师 gong cheng shi

We are working with counting money, story problems, and subtraction from up to 12 this week in math.


School Chinese New Year Celebration this Thursday, February 10th, 6 p.m. Please have your child there on time so they will be able to sing with us.

Class Chinese New year celebration this Friday. Email me if you would like to come in and help. I will be emailing those interested on Wednesday with party details.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Hundredth day of School!

And groundhog day! And chinese new year! All in all, a great day to be in first grade. Ask your child to count to a hundred for you (in chinese) by 10's, 5's, and for a challenge, 2's. And congratulate them on 100 great days of first grade and being immersed in Chinese.

We are working on making math sentences from stories. So if you can practice telling math stories or having your child make up math stories, then talk about if they could use addition or subtraction to figure it out, it would be great practice.

Example: I finished my juice in three big gulps. You finished yours in six. How many more gulps did it take you to finish?

Also, since within hours it will be the year of the rabbit, here is a little info. First, know that New Year is the biggest holiday of the year in China, and celebrations last for weeks. Families return home, much food is prepared and enjoyed, and emphasis is on a fresh new start, a prosperous year to come, and family ties.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animals signs. The Rabbit is a lucky sign. Rabbits are private individuals and a bit introverted. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends. They are good teachers, counselors and communicators, but also need their own space.

According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have had a very bad cold this week, and was gone yesterday and half the day Monday. Hence, some of you are just getting homework folders today. I apologize for the delay.

We are getting ready and excited for the Chinese New Year, and will be having our own classroom party to celebrate. Both classes will have their party on Friday, February 11th. If you would like to help with either class party please let me know. My a.m. class party will be from 9:00- 9:45, and my p.m. class party will be from 12:20- 1:05.

We will be building a dragon out of recycled egg cartons for one of the activities at the party, so if you have any old egg cartons, can you please send them to school with your child and we will start a collection. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Food for the Chinese New Year

More explanation of one of the most important parts of chinese new year: the food.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First day a success!

Our first day of all Chinese went very well! Most are very excited about meeting the goal, and as a result I heard more Chinese today from the mouths of each student than I usually do in a week! I am so excited for how much and how fast this will help them progress. Your children are amazing!

This week we will be working with the concept of where we live

ni zhu zai na li

literally : You live where or "Where do you live?"

我住在_________. I live at/in___________.

We are also working with a hard concept in math of comparing two amounts and using subtraction to find the answer.

Example: If June has three apples and Kyler has seven, how many more apples does Kyler have than June.

The tendency is for them to try to add the two numbers. So if you have time this week, help your child by making two rows of some object, one with a few more than the other. Show them how one row is longer, because it has more. Help them to see how to set up a subtraction sentence to find out the difference between the two rows.

Also, there is a performing group from China here to start celebrations of the new year. If you are interested in their presentation this Saturday, please click here for more information.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All Chinese classroom

Our goal is to have an all Chinese classroom beginning Tuesday, January 18th. We will be practicing having a few shorter periods of time with no english in preparation. Please encourage your child and ask them how it is going each day.

They now have quite a bit of language to use and when they must use the new language to communicate and be involved, they will quickly find they can say much more than they even thought they knew. They will be using more of their brain, and the language they are absorbing and using to create meaning will become very meaningful and motivating.

Also, there is a new lingt assignment on clothing and seasons.

Monday, January 10, 2011


January in our chinese language and literacy we will be focused on communities and cultures, looking at what our community at school is made up of and what our role in it is, then moving onto neighborhood, state, country, and world.

We will be learning a lot about chinese culture and customs in preparation for celebrating Chinese new year on February 3rd. The school-wide celebration of Chinese New Year will be the evening of February 10th. The chinese classes will be doing a performance that night, so be sure to mark your calendars.

As part of the discussion on community, we will be talking a lot about doing our jobs well, being polite, and contributing. So if you have time, it would be great to talk with your child about the jobs they have, the people they effect, and about the people in their community that help them. Also about traditions they may have and not be aware of, since we will be learning about many Chinese traditions and traditions from other cultures that differ from their own.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


We have been working on names of clothing as well as seasons, talking about what kind of clothes we wear in what seasons.

In math we are working with telling time, multiple ways to add up to the same number, counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's and adding and taking away ten from any two digit number.

Here's the words we've been doing this week

帽子 mao zi hat
裤子 ku zi pants
t恤 t xu t-shirt
袜子 wa zi socks
裙子 qun zi skirt
游泳衣 you yong yi swimsuit
外套 wai tao coat


冬天 dong tian winter
春天 chun tian spring
夏天 xia tian summer
秋天 qiu tain fall/autumn