??(wang zhì) Blog
Thank you for visiting our Chinese classroom on the report-card pick up day.
I was so proud to hear that lots of our students are speaking Chinese at home.
In order to make it easier for you to study Chinese with your child at home, I created some MP3 files which are available for you to download here.
Attached is the audio file of Chinese numbers (1-10). Please let me know if you have any problem downloading it.
Your support is the key to your child's success. I hope you enjoy learning Chinese with your child at home.
Thank you! ??!xie xie!
(???/Chen lao shi)
Chinese New Year is falling on Monday, January 23rd this year.
New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
Fireworks and Family Feasts
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.
Today the Chinese hang red lanterns and set off firecrackers to keep the trouble from coming back. It is a time when the Chinese people give thanks for the past year and wish each other good fortune in the coming year.
The Lantern Festival
Fifteen days after New Year's Day or the day of the first full moon, the New Year's season comes to end with the Feast of Lanterns. The festival of the lanterns is an ancient tradition to usher in the increasing light and warmth of the sun after the winter's cold. There are many customs surrounding the lantern festival one being the eating of taro under the lantern. The taro is boiled until soft and at midnight the family gathers under the lantern and the taro is eaten. It is believed that by eating the taro, one would be able to see the future. In Shanghai the lantern festival is known as Yuanxiao. Many of the lanterns are made in rabbit shapes for the children and the people enjoy eating round sweet dumplings (Yuanxiao). Another tradition is the pasting of riddles (Cai Dang Mi) on the sides of the lanterns. The lanterns are then hung outside or inside the house, those who answer the riddles are rewarded. On this day a special food (Tang Yuan) is eaten symbolizing family unity.
Free Chinese Food Coupon (Panda Express):https://www.pandaexpresssocialmedia.com/2012cny/CNY2012.pdf
|Bilingualism good for the brain, researchers say||
The skill helps improve multitasking and prioritizing, and helps ward off early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, experts say.
February 26, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Does being bilingual give young children a mental edge, or does it delay their learning?
It depends on who you ask.
Bilingual education is regarded by some in education policy circles as little more than a half-baked technique of teaching students whose native language is not English. Though it takes many forms, bilingual education programs usually involve teaching students in both their native languages and in English. How much each language is used, and in which academic contexts, varies by program.
But neuroscience researchers are increasingly coming to a consensus that bilingualism has many positive consequences for the brain. Several such researchers traveled to this month's annual meeting of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., to present their findings. Among them:
• Bilingual children are more effective at multi-tasking.
• Adults who speak more than one language do a better job prioritizing information in potentially confusing situations.
• Being bilingual helps ward off early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in the elderly.
These benefits come from having a brain that's constantly juggling two — or even more — languages, said Ellen Bialystok, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, who spoke at the AAAS annual meeting. For instance, a person who speaks both Hindi and Tamil can't turn Tamil off even if he's speaking to only Hindi users, because the brain is constantly deciding which language is most appropriate for a given situation.
This constant back-and-forth between two linguistic systems means frequent exercise for the brain's so-called executive control functions, located mainly in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain tasked with focusing one's attention, ignoring distractions, holding multiple pieces of information in mind when trying to solve a problem, and then flipping back and forth between them.
"If you walk into a room, there's a million things that could attract your attention," Bialystok said. "How is it we manage to focus at all? How does our mind pay attention to what we need to pay attention to without getting distracted?"
To test one's ability to identify pertinent nuggets while being bombarded with extraneous information, scientists use something called the Stroop test. Subjects are presented with a word for a particular color and asked to identify the color of ink it's printed in. So if the word is "blue" and it's printed in blue, no problem. If, on the other hand, the word "blue" is printed in red, they have to sort out which piece of information — the color of the ink, or the color being spelled out — is the one they need.
"This is extremely hard to do, because it's terribly difficult to block out the information from the word," Bialystok said.
In monolingual speakers, this kind of mental curveball will add 240 milliseconds to their reaction time — a significant delay, in brain reaction terms. Bilingual people, on the other hand, take just 160 extra milliseconds to sort this out. Bialystok theorizes that it's because they're used to prioritizing information in potentially confusing situations all day.
Bilingual speakers rarely use the wrong language with a monolingual speaker. But if the listener also knows both languages, speakers can switch between them to most accurately express their thoughts.
When bilinguals prepare to speak, their brains seem to inhibit one language while using the other, said Pennsylvania State University psychology professor Judith Kroll, who also spoke at the conference. This effect, she added, is much more noticeable when the speaker chooses their weaker language instead of their dominant one.
This ability to quickly block the momentarily irrelevant language is a mental workout that enhances the brain's executive control functions.
Learning to juggle two languages in the brain is a skill that probably deserves credit for bilinguals' cognitive advantages — although, researchers emphasize, this doesn't mean they learn any better than people who speak only one language. But it does keep the brain more nimble, allowing bilingual people to multitask better, pick out key information faster and more effectively ignore surrounding distractions.
Those advantages aren't just useful for schoolchildren — they last over the course of a lifetime. A study published last year in the journal Neurology surveyed 211 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's and found that those who spoke only one language saw the onset of their first symptoms four to five years earlier than their bilingual peers. While knowing two languages doesn't fight the disease, it does strengthen those parts of the brain that are susceptible to dementia's early attacks, allowing them to withstand the assault much longer.
Yet public schools are moving away from bilingual education, and have been for some time. In part, this shift has been fueled by political beliefs, as the children who speak multiple languages typically come from immigrant families.
"Bilingualism has always been a political hot-button issue just one step removed from immigration," said Kenji Hakuta, a psycholinguist at Stanford University's School of Education.
With schools focused on getting children to speak English as quickly as possible, parents who want their children to reap the benefits of being bilingual should be sure to continue speaking their native language in the one setting they can control: the home.
"You're basically in a society in which English is the language of power," Hakuta said. If parents switch back and forth between English and another language, he added, they're "likely to raise a monolingual English speaker."
|The Qingming Festival||
The Qingming Festival (simplified Chinese: ???; traditional Chinese: ???; pinyin: Qingmíngjié, Ching Ming Festival in Hong Kong), Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar. Astronomically it is also a solar term. The Qingming festival falls on the first day of the fifth solar term, named Qingming. Its name denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime and tend to the graves of departed ones.
Qingming has been regularly observed as a statutory public holiday in Taiwan and in the Chinese jurisdictions of Hong Kong and Macau. Its observance was reinstated as a public holiday in mainland China in 2008.
2011 Qingming Festival falls on April 5, 2012. Public holiday for Qingming Festival is from April 3 to April 5, 2011.
|Kindergarten Handout: March 2011||
Please study the handout using the following link at home:
If you have any problem listening to the audio file, please email me at email@example.com.
Attached is our March handout.
|Greeting from our sister school in Shanghai, China!!!||
Guess what, I received the greeting from our sister school in China today!
The following is the picture from our sister school Cao Yang High School in Shanghai, China.
Those students in the picture are in the sixth grade and they are celebrating the new year in the English class. Can you see the Chinese animal word on the chalkboard? Give you a hint, it is the animal year of 2010.
We are planning to start the pen-pal project with our sister school later on this year. You may share drawings, pictures, artwork, school projects and more with your new friends in China. Please feel free to brainstorm more fun activities that we may do with our sister school. ??!
|????? My Chinatown||
My Chinatown Opening Day
Saturday, December 5, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Celebrate the opening of My Chinatown with a family-friendly day honoring Chicago’s vibrant Chinese neighborhood. The festivities begin with a Chinese Lion Dance followed by additional performances, martial arts demonstrations, and a children’s craft activity.
Free with Museum admission; no reservations required.
FREE for children (age 12 and younger)
Seniors (65+): $12
Students (13–22 with ID): $12
Getting to the Museum
Public transportation:The Museum is easy to reach via the CTA. Buses 22, 36, 72, 73, 151, and 156 stop nearby. The Brown Line Sedgwick and Red Line Clark/Division stations are also located approximately one half-mile from the Museum. For travel information, visit www.transitchicago.com.
Parking:Public parking is located one block north of the Museum at Clark and LaSalle Streets; enter on Stockton Drive. Validate your parking at the Museum’s Visitor Center for a reduced rate of $9.
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614-6038
|Solar halo : ? ? (rì yùn)||
Solar halo is an optical phenomenon produced by ice crystals creating colored or white arcs and spots in the sky. Many are near the sun or moon, but others are elsewhere and even in the opposite part of the sky. They can also form around artificial lights in very cold weather when ice crystals, called diamond dust, are floating in the nearby air.
There are many types of ice halos. They are produced by the ice crystals in cirrus clouds located high in the upper troposphere (above 5–10 km, or 3–6 miles). The particular shape and orientation of the crystals is responsible for the type of halo observed. Light is reflected and refracted by the ice crystals and may produce various colors because of dispersion. The crystals behave like jewels, refracting and reflecting sunlight, sending shafts of light in particular directions.
Before meteorology was developed, atmospheric phenomena such as halos were used as part of weather lore, as an empirical means of weather forecasting.
On October 16, 2009, solar halo re-appeared above Changbai Mountain. The moment was captured by Zhang Fuyou, president of Changbai Mountain Culture Research Association, who luckily happened to be climbing the mountain that day. The phenomenon lasted for 19 minutes and 8 seconds, and Zhang took 113 photos all together. According to records, the last time a solar halo appeared above Changbai Mountain was in 1908.
As a result of the recent solar halo, Changbai Mountain received a heavy snow fall the next day and rain poured in nearby regions.
|The Legend of Chinese Valentine's Day||
Chinese Valentine's Day is on the Seventh Day of the Seventh Month on the Chinese calendar, which falls on August 26th this year. Legend has it that the seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven, a weaving maid, fell in love and married a cowherd. They were so much in love that they forgot everything else in their lives and didn't complete their farming and weaving duties, which angered the Jade Emperor. He exiled them to opposite banks of the Silver River (Milky Way), and only allows them to meet each other once a year on the night of the seventh day of the seventh month.
This legend has been handed down for nearly two millennia. The Chinese people believe that the star, Vega, east of the Milky Way, is Zhi Nu (??), and that Altair , on the western side of the Milky Way is Niu Lang (??)waiting for his wife.
The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is the only Chinese festival devoted to love in the lunar calendar. Chinese Valentine's Day traditions abound and this special day is celebrated differently depending on the Chinese province.
Some of the many traditions include Chinese girls preparing fruits, melons, and incense as offerings to Zhi Nu, the weaving maiden, praying to acquire high skills in needlecraft, as well as hoping to find satisfactory husbands.
Girls place sewing needles on water. If the needle doesn't sink, it's a sign of the girl's maturity and intelligence and she is ready and eligible to find a husband.
People in some Chinese provinces believe that decorating the horns of oxen with flowers will save them from catastrophe. Another tradition is for women to wash their hair to make it look fresh and shining.
On Chinese Valentine's Day, young lovers go to the temple of the Matchmaker and pray for their love and happiness, and their possible marriage in China.
In the evening, people sit outside to observe the stars. On this night, Vega ??? and Altair??? are closer together than at any other time of year. Chinese grannies say that if you stand under a grapevine, you can probably overhear what Zhi Nu and Niu Lang are saying to one another.
|From the Great Wall to the Great Lakes||
|A Conversation with Chicago: Contemporary Sculptures from China||
Coming from different regions and educational backgrounds, the artists each employ different materials and visual styles, but they also show commonalities. Each work is intensely engaged with important contemporary issues such as the energy crisis, materialism, and globalization. They also share inspiration from traditional Chinese art, commercial culture, folk art, and industrial machinery as they explore ways to react to a public space.
The sculptural works will be on view in Millennium Park’s outdoor Boeing Gallieries. The piece by Shen Shaomin will be presented in Millennium Park’s North Gallery, while the South Gallery will feature works by Chen Wenling, Sui Jianguo, and Zhan Wang. The exhibition is curated by Wu Hung, University of Chicago Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History and a Consulting Curator for the Smart Museum of Art, and by Millennium Park staff.
Contemporary Sculptures from China is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Millennium Park, in cooperation with Millennium Park Inc., and is sponsored by The Boeing Company with support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
“This will be another world class exhibition in Chicago’s spectacular Millennium Park. People have come to expect great projects, like the popular Mark DiSuvero works, in the outdoor Boeing Galleries, and the massive Chinese sculptures will captivate and intrigue visitors, “ said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg.
The public is encouraged to learn more about Contemporary Sculptures from China and Millennium Park. From June 11 through August 27, 2009, staff members from Millennium Park will offer free tours of the sculpture every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. The tours start in the North Boeing Gallery and last 45 minutes.
Apr 9, 2009 - Oct 10, 2010
Daily, 6 am - 11 pm
N. Michigan Ave. & E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
|Celebrate Ching Ming Festival April 4th with the Chinese Kite||
Chinese used the basic building materials to make kites such as silk and bamboo. Around 478 B.C. it was recorded that a Chinese Philosopher,?? Mo Zi, spent 3 years making a hawk from wood which flew.
There are many stories from ancient China about kite flying. Around 200 B.C. a Chinese got lost. He flied a kite over a castle and then used the length of string to find out the distance.
The Chinese emperors also used kites in time of war to send signals to their troops. Large kites were used to carry their troops armed with bows and fire arrows to attack their enemy. Another story is about a troop flied kites with whistle over the enemy's camp site at night. When the kites started making a wailing noise, the rumour was spread around that the god were warning them of a great defeat and their enemy were in terror. In Chinese, kite is called ??
There are many kite festivals in China. The custom of kite flying is tied to the ancient religious rituals of releasing diseases with the kite. The Ching Ming Festival falls 106 days after the winter solstice. It is a time to remember ancestors. Families pay respects to their dead relatives by visiting and cleaning their grave sites. Ching Ming means "Pure Brightness." It is a celebration of springtime and the renewal of life. This festival takes place on the 4th or 5th of April. This year it takes place on April 4, 2009.
Now lets make a tiny Chinese Kite to celebrate Ching Ming. First off you will need to pick the Chinese symbol for your kite. Make sure it's bold enough to be seen from the ground.
Supplies you will need:
manila file folder
disposable chopsticks or a bamboo skewer
pin or paper clip to poke kite holes
With scissors, cut out a small, heart-shaped kite (without the dip in the top) from a folded manila file folder. Match the size of your kite to the length of the disposable chopsticks or bamboo skewers you will use for cross pieces. Unfold and draw your Chinese symbol on both sides of the kite with washable markers.
Fold your kite vertically along its center line. Punch out two small holes using a pin or the tip of a paperclip near the top and bottom of kite. Unfold and fold the kite horizontally about one third of way down from its top. Punch three holes each on the left and right sides of the kite. Weave the disposable chopsticks or bamboo skewers through the holes in a lower-case T shape.
Cut a piece of strong thread for the kites bridle and tie it to the spine. Tie a small loop of thread to the bridle. Attach another loop to the bottom of the spine and connect a long length of ribbon to it for the kite tail. Tie a kite flying line to the thread loop on your bridle. Your kite is ready for take off. Adjust the length of the tail to help the kite fly evenly.
This April celebrate the Ching Ming Festival with your own tiny Chinese kites.
Chinese Kites: The Four Skills
Chinese kites enjoy a long history of magnificent craftsmanship, which has been well-known for over two thousand years.
The traditional skills for making Chinese kites can be introduced in four skills. The four skills of for making kites have strict requirements. Listed below are the four skills and their requirements:
Binding: binding is to bind a frame; To bind a kite should meet the requirement of symmetry, which enables both sides of the kite to support itself balanceablely against the wind.
Pasting: pasting is to paste the surface of paper; To paste a kite demands the neatness and efficiency of the whole kite.
Painting: painting is to paint some beautiful pictures on the paper; Paintings on a kite should be visible in the distance and vivid at close range.
Flying: flying is to fly the kite when everything is finished; When flying a kite, people should adjust the angle of the thread according to the wind.
|Sisters' Meal Festival, Guizhou, China||
Every year on March 15th of Lunar calendar, Miao minority people, which live in Shidong, Taijiang country in Southeast Guizhou province, south of China ceberate the Sisters’ Meal Festival annually. It will be held from April 10-12, 2009.
The Sisters’ Rice Festival is sometimes called Sisters’ Meal Festival or Sisters’ Rice Festival. It is a celebration of love and of spring (for the event takes place only once a year in April). This is a local version of Valentine’s Day, unlike any other you’ll ever see. The Festival brings villagers from many remote areas together. The young Miao girls make up and dressed up beautifully with headdress, hairpins, multiple neck-rings, chains loins, chest locks, and heaps of accessories, all made of silver, to celebrate the Sisters’ Meal Festival and search for their potential lifelong partners.
In anticipation of the Sisters’ Rice Festival, the grandmothers, mothers and other female relatives polish and shine the collection of silver neck rings, bracelets, anklets, earrings, hair pins and combs, rings and pendants, phoenix crowns and headpieces that the young courting-age girls will wear. The Miao believe that silver, representing light, dispels evil spirits. Silver is also a symbol of wealth and beauty, and some young women wear several kilograms of it at one time.
When darkness falls, the festival beat increases as the dragon dances begin. Candles are lit inside the 25-meter-long hollow paper dragons. Battles begin as the fiery dragons weave in and out of the hooting crowds chasing each other. Drums and fireworks complete the noisy atmosphere. Into the evening, the elders continue to make the rounds, greeting their friends, swapping stories and songs, sharing tobacco and wine As the moon rises high in the night sky, young lovers wander off. The mountain paths are busy with the sounds of tinkling footsteps and clear melodious voices singing gentle love songs to the tunes of Lusheng pipes. Long into the night, the partying continues… Bamboo flutes and wooden drums echo sounds throughout the valley as the dawn breaks, beginning the next day’s festivities. As crowds slowly gather, the lovely dancing girls strut like peacocks while the boys look on admiringly.
|Chinese Valentines Day||
Yuan Xiao Jie ???
The Lantern Festival ends the 15-day celebration of Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, and is celebrated the night of the first full moon of the lunar New Year. Besides the Qiqiao Festival, the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar, Lantern Festival is another a Chinese Valentine's day. In the past, it was the only day of the year that a single woman could go out (chaperoned) and be seen by eligible bachelors.=
"Guessing lantern riddles" is an essential part of the Festival. Lantern owners write riddles on a piece of paper and post them on the lanterns. If visitors have solutions to the riddles, they can pull the paper out and go to the lantern owners to check their answer. If they are right, they will get a little gift.
Till today, the lantern festival is still held each year around the country. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting countless visitors. Children will hold self-made or bought lanterns to stroll with on the streets.
People will eat Yuanxiao, or rice dumplings, on this day, so it is also called the "Yuanxiao Festival." Yuanxiao also has another name, Tangyuan. It is small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, jujube paste, walnut meat, dried fruit, sugar and edible oil as filling. Tangyuan can be boiled, fried or steamed. It tastes sweet and delicious. What's more, Tangyuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with "tuan-yuan”, meaning reunion. So people eat them to denote union, harmony and happiness for the family.
In the daytime of the Festival, performances such as a dragon lantern dance, a lion dance, a land boat dance, a Yangge dance, walking on stilts and beating drums while dancing will be staged. On the night, except for magnificent lanterns, fireworks form a beautiful scene. Most families spare some fireworks from the Spring Festival and let them off in the Lantern Festival. Some local governments will even organize a fireworks party. On the night when the first full moon enters the New Year, people become really intoxicated by the imposing fireworks and bright moon in the sky.
Try the following Lantern Riddles ---
1. Guess one Chinese word: "1 subtracted by 1"
(Hint: It's a Chinese number...but it's not zero.)
2. Guess one Chinese word: "One person"
(Hint: Put the Chinese words "one" and "person" together.)
1. ?(The Chinese number three)
2. ?(The Chinese word "big")
|The Year of the Ox||
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.
New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
|Happy New Year! ????(xin)(nián)(kuài)(lè)||
Celebrations to usher in 2009 have also been held around China, with firework displays and special celebrations. People are offering prayers for peace, health and prosperity in the new year.
Fireworks illuminate the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong,
south China, Jan. 1, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)
Bells rang out across China to welcome 2009. People gathered and cheered as the countdown began and firework displays marked the arrival of the new year.
In the Hong Kong S.A.R. fireworks shot out from the International Finance Center, brightening both sides of Victoria Harbor. The Hong Kong Tourism Board also prepared special gifts for spectators, encouraging them to usher in the new year with confidence and hope.
Over in Taiwan dazzling fireworks blasted out around the world's tallest building, Taipei 101. The splendid firework show -- lasting 188 seconds -- was attended by the mayor of Taipei and other celebrities on the island.
|HK citizens celebrate the coming of New Year.|
In Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province on the mainland's northwest -- nine hundred and ninety nine people read poems and prayed for happiness for the new year. They were wearing costumes reflecting the ancient Tang Dynasty.
People line up to hang ribbons bearing messages expressing their thoughts for the new year on a "wishing tree" at the Longhua Temple.
Meanwhile, a special gala was held in Shanghai, showcasing the theme "love the earth, love the city and love everyone".
And in many other cities such as Shenzhen and Kunming, special celebrations were also enjoyed, attracting thousands of spectators.
|China builds ‘world’s largest’ Santa in ice||
December 25, 2008
The China Post: Its huge size and unseasonably warm temperatures have made the job especially challenging, said Tang Guangjun, one of the sculptors. “It is even bigger and higher than last year’s, and more difficult. The weather swings between warm and cold, so it becomes very wet and slippery on the ice. It is very dangerous for us,” he told Reuters Television. Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province on the edge of Siberia, is one of China’s coldest places. Winter temperatures can drop to below minus 35 degrees Celsius (- 31 F). Every year the city plays host to a world-renowned ice festival. But the effects of global warming are taking a toll as the snow and ice now melt more rapidly than in the past.
Organisers said they had to artificially make snow for the Santa Claus sculpture. Still, the sculpture has attracted thousands of tourists from all over the country who want to enjoy a white Christmas despite worries over the economic downturn.