Daily Report 20140804

August 9th, 2014

This concludes the on campus activities of 2014 Longfeifei Summer Academy at Steamboat Mountain School (formerly known as The Lowell Whiteman School). We have learned many new cultural differences and similarities, but most importantly we have learned to make friends internationally. While the rigorous studies will prove to enhance each student’s academic as they enter this next school year, the memories will stay with them for a lifetime. Witnessing the students reach beyond their comfort zone to learn in a different way and demonstrate their newly gained knowledge was inspirational as Academy Directors. These students went beyond our expectations to perform a showcase to the audience what they had done during these last two weeks. The level of responsibility and stewardship to each other and the campus shined daily in their chores and academic loads. These valuable life lessons of team work through collaboration and duties will carry over to their daily lives and give them the confidence to be leaders within their own schools. We invite all students back next year to continue personal and academic growth. In closing, we appreciate your support in our program as it is now known internationally through several press articles. We will continue to strive for uniqueness and excellence in our approach to the Summer Academy.

Tomorrow we will continue the camp with off campus activities in San Francisco.

Tonight, Fanghua travelled to Denver Airport with six students, one of whom will depart for China early tomorrow morning, while the remaining students will arrive at Denver Airport tomorrow morning, the entire group will continue their camp in San Francisco. The off campus activities will allow students to gain broader knowledge about America, to apply the collaborative skills they have learned in last 2+ weeks, and to start to think what this camp means to their future life.

During tonight’s trip, we witnessed a perfect double rainbow, each end of the rainbow situated at one mountain, forming a perfect arch. As we drove by, students exclaimed about this natural beauty, which for all of them, was seen for the first time in their life. The beautiful rainbow seems to say good bye to these Chinese students, wishing them all the best in their life. So do we!

Daily Rpoert 20140802

August 4th, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

Students have completed the novel and now will watch the movie for a reward which will deepen their understanding of their readings. The goal for each student is to leave the Academy learning about a great American journalist and novel writer. Through their own newspaper, that is in full production, and daily analysis of their readings, students will walk away with a deepened knowledge of Ernest Hemingway. They will part with information of his adventurous life which is weaved into his writings and have a sense of what it is to write an article. They will experience producing something which has their name and reputation on it that is presented to a large audience. Taking pride in one’s work is a lifelong dedication which brings many rewards….intrinsically and extrinsically.

ESL

With nearly perfect scores, Tony and Winnie were the stars of today’s quiz. Most students have at least figured out how to convert simple sentences into the passive; though, they have some difficulty identifying the tenses. In addition to our routine practice of the class song and play, we did a reading on earlier writing materials. The students learned a bit of geography as well as some new vocabulary including: papyrus, parchment, synthetic, chemical, Mediterranean, berries, soot and bark. For their second activity, the children wrote dialogues about an unfortunate cat. The girls lost and then found the cat while the boys tended to want to kill the poor animal. Typical.

Chinese

We did some hard work today. While putting focus on our closing ceremony speech, we also took the opportunity to get the students familiar with the Pingyin pronunciations. As the students added English sentences to their speech, I translated them into Chinese, while having the students wrote down the translation in Pingyin based on what they heard. We discovered the weak points, and spending more time in correcting the pronunciations. For example, “ch” and “q” are easily mixed up; “sh” and “zh” could be difficult to differentiate sometimes. Gavin did a wonderful job in writing down the pingyin for the words he heard. In addition, we worked on students’ presentation style. Tim looked so natural while he knows the words. All the students know about the number song very well.

Science

Today we continued our investigation of how tree composition and forest layout can attribute to a variety of different forest fires. We took on the role of a United States Forest Service Ranger and designed our own forests and then observed as we lit them on fire. We discovered that a variety of tree species and ages as well as removing dead trees can help in fire mitigation. We also looked at actual data from the US Forest Service regarding plant biodiversity pre and post a prescribed burn in a forest. We graphed biodiversity levels in two different locations and concluded that fire improves the biodiversity in an ecosystem.

Art

There is no art class today.

Extra Activity

There are several natural hot springs in the Yampa Valley. One of the more notable hot springs is a small, tucked away river rarity. A river, runs by a natural, although scalding, hot springs. Taking the students to this special part of Steamboat was fantastic. The picnic that was prepared, overlooked the steaming waters while we all devoured a piece of watermelon in one bite. From the picnic we moved down to the water. The day was hot. We craved the cold water of the river. It was only after showing off some students advanced diving skills off the rocks, we went to the welcoming hot springs itself. I was lucky enough to get interviewed by Cindy this afternoon. We got to know each other better during the process! The kids are doing awesome, and I am ready for the savory of these last few days.

Deaily Rpoert 20140801

August 4th, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

Students have almost accomplished an American Classic Novel. We are finishing this difficult read today taking great pride in their ability to read and understand the English language. They have persevered through traditional old English vocabulary learning a lot of new words that evoke graphic imagery. This is surely going to leave a lasting impression of good American literature. We now move into our fierce writing and publishing time for our newspaper. Each student has prepared an article to publish with additional story lines for other components of the paper layout. Today we began using the online software to create the layout complete with headlines. This will consume our class time as well as the reward of the movie, From Whom the Bells Toll. I am very impressed with the students’ work ethic.

ESL

The students reviewed their homework and finished studying the non-progressive passive forms. In addition, we practiced dialogues exemplifying the use of “it” and “that”. After writing a dictation and doing the grammar exercises we sang the class song. Sadly the students were tired and their performance of the song was a little weak. It seems that they know the words by heart though they will have to work on harmony. Our readings of the class play went well. Most of the students already know their lines with little prompting. Howard even recited his part without a copy of the script. Impressive. Homework: practice the play and the song.

Chinese

Today, we shared with the students about the importance of dragon in Chinese culture, which led students to understand why we named our summer camp with dragon. We then reviewed our completed list of Pingyin, it is obvious that the pronunciation is getting better every day, although the improvement is subtle. For example, students had difficulty to pronounce the initials of “j” and “q”, now it’s not a problem anymore. The challenging task about teaching Chinese in a short two week program is that we have to avoid writing the characters. We want the students to learn as much fundamental knowledge as possible, sometimes it’s difficult to convey the knowledge without the Chinese characters. Nevertheless, we strived to achieve the balance between gain a broad knowledge and really know something in detail. One thing we would like the students to achieve is to know how to pronounce the sound given the Pingyin. Students all did wonderfully in this respect.

Science

We continued our focus on innovative engineering with another design challenge. Many groups succeeded in this difficult task where teamwork was a necessity. Then we discussed the important role of fire in the Rocky Mountain ecosystem. Frequent fires are necessary in this ecosystem in order to minimize the potential for larger fires later on. By removing the excess of fuel (standing dead trees) we can minimize the impact of a larger and hotter fire. We learned about serotinous plants, plants that need some kind of disturbance in order to release seeds. We went looking for a lodge pole pine tree and found a green pine cone to demonstrate. After lighting it on fire, we were able to pick the seeds out of it–demonstrating it’s serotinous nature. We then began an experiment to look at how tree composition can effect the size or intensity of the fire. We will continue this project tomorrow.

Art

Today we finished our tile mosaics. Some of them turned into sculptures. After that we did an environmental art sculpture on campus and took the 300+ CDs we worked with last week and tied them to aspen trees with fishing line. Their iridescent colors looked beautiful in the sunlight. They reflected so many sparkling colors! We will leave then hanging for Monday nights presentation. During the Drama class, we started with a game of “Freeze” improv. Despite the light atmosphere I was surprised with the interest and focus today. People were getting engaged and really losing all shyness with the stage. After Freeze, we moved on to an activity called “Odd Dinner Guests” but it was adapted for younger actors. Even though we had a relaxed day I still feel like we made great progress in getting these kids out of their shell. I think that they will do a great job with their skits!

Extra Activity

My goal for this camp was to keep as many of the students focused, and active for the duration of my time with them. The first week progressed and I could tell majority of the students brought a good focused attitude each day. I then altered my goal to encourage cooperation through team games. Soccer, the worlds game, was the easiest way to bring the students together working as a team. Because the students love soccer and work so well together, when they want to play it I can’t say no. This past day of playing soccer I was extremely proud to see the kids work through team issues on their own. Peter, while in the beginning wasn’t too excited to be playing team sports, has changed his perspective and now is excited everyday to show that he does have the ability and mindset to be any team’s better players.

Daily Report 20140731

August 4th, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

Students began class by studying the local newspaper by themselves while observing the format and design. They presented their findings to the class, then as a group, we discussed the various components that make up the paper. We talked about titles, column format, dates, different sections of the paper, fonts, ads etc. Next, we took a look at articles while paying special attention to the author’s lead-ins or “hooks”. I shared two articles that I wrote and were published recently in the paper. I allowed them to critique my own first paragraph and title. Students went on to begin organizing and formatting their rough draft for use in their own newspaper. I witnessed excellent cross-over of what students have learned about Ernest Hemingway as an author, Eugene Buchanan as a magazine writer and Ben Ingersoll as a newspaper writer. It is exciting to see the knowledge come together as a group and translate into what they THINK a good article entails. Now, it is in their hands to produce it for themselves. We concluded with students reading from For Whom the Bells Toll. Homework for tonight is to read to Chapter 43 and finish their newspaper format guide.

ESL

The students started the morning with a dialogue that they had written for homework from the prompt “Were you invited to the party after school today?” After an initial hiccup in which several students had to return to their rooms to find their homework, we were finally ready to correct and recite the dialogues. The dialogues were very well done. There were few mistakes with the use of “it” and “that” and the corresponding antecedents. We will review the grammar for these words tomorrow. Afterwards we sang the class song. Before moving on to practice the class play I asked the students to summarize the plot of the play. Today we practiced our play using props including cowboy hats, paper money, vegetables, a sheriff’s star, and sticks. The students seem to really enjoy the play though it is sometimes difficult to get the younger boys to act their parts rather than just jumping up and down yelling their lines at the top of their lungs. For our final activity of the day we practiced writing negative questions in the passive from examples that they had seen in class. Homework: Non-progressive passive worksheet eg. Is the television switched on?

Chinese

As yesterday, we started today’s class by sharing with the students a Chinese culture related story. The story is about how Chinese new year “Xin Nian” came about. We talked about the culture of lighting the fireworks and wearing red clothes. Then we turned to today’s Pingyin section, the nasal finals, therefore we finish introducing all of the initials and finals in Chinese Pingyin system. We did a simple math, there are about 3000 different sounds by combining all of the initials, finals and tones. The students have built basic foundation to prounce all these sounds. Then we reviewed the closing ceremony presentation, each student made the speech by standing in front of the class. We talked about the importance of volume, eye contact and stand still. Last, we gave students the opportunity to add a few more sentences to their speech. Homework is to review their speech.

Science

After spending several days practicing how scientists collect data and observe natural processes, we switched gears today to focus on the creative process that science and discovery require. Today, we were innovators as we discussed the design problem solving method. We practiced our problem solving skills with several different design challenges. What a success! Mackenzie, Sky, Tony and Diamond won the marshmallow tower at .87 m tall! Yuky, Tim and Annie worked hard to collaborate and develop the longest flying helicopter. We had fun but we also learned that sometimes the best solutions are the ones that ask us to think outside the box.

Art

Wow. Just realized this is the last day of July! Today we made journals out of the handmade paper that we made last week. We had to wait patiently for the paper to dry, but it was worth it. The journals are beautiful! Some decorated them with beads, and glued other items on the covers. We also started making tile mosaics out of very small pieces of tile. Tomorrow we should get those finished up. During the drama class, we warmed up with an exercise that improves students’ ability to block out the audience. One actor goes on stage and acts out their morning routine, something you know very well but that you normally do alone. The whole point of this activity is to help the kids focus on their actions rather than the pressure of all the eyes on them. After that we broke off and I took the other half of the kids who had not yet been interviewed and interviewed them. Today we had a few more interviews than yesterday so we didnt have time to do our end activity but it was a very productive day nonetheless!

Extra Activity

At this time of the summer, Steamboat can still be very crowded with tourists. Today it seemed all of the tourists decided to come to pool the same day as the students and I. Never have I seen the pool so full, but the kids didn’t seem to give it a second thought. They were swimming and splashing all over the place, enjoying the pool more than anyone else. It was really fun to watch the students mingle and hang out with kids at the pool not involved in the camp. From today I could tell their confidence in their English has improved tremendously since the first day I had the pleasure of hanging out with the kids.

Daily Report 20140730

August 4th, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

We began class with each student peer editing another student’s rough draft for the newspaper article. I will edit the final copy with each student tomorrow. Any student who did not come prepared for the rough draft article will have one more day to make it up. If they are not prepared by tomorrow, they will not be able to present at the finale on Monday. We moved on to have a class quiz of the readings so far. Students demonstrated a fair knowledge of the novel. While I commend each and every student for reading English fluently, the comprehension is still difficult for all of the students. We will take another quiz on Friday and discuss the results. Students will have the opportunity to re-take the full comprehension after the movie. I would like to see if the movie will help the level of comprehension. Students need a lot of exposure to real, native speaker conversation in order to get better at it. In the end students will have read the book, listened to it with a native speaker and watched the movie. I am confident that each student will have a high level of understanding in the end. Homework tonight is to work on the next article for the paper and make changes to their rough draft they turned in today with any peer comments/edits.

ESL

In today’s class the passive was studied in more detail. Last night’s homework was checked and reviewed. The students did quite well considering the homework was difficult. All of the students completed the assignment. Next, the students wrote a dictation. The class discussed new words and sentence structures from the dictation text. We then discussed the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, and we reviewed how to use the passive voice with modal verbs. Finally we competed in converting active voice sentences to the passive voice. The students insisted on being divided into boy’s and girl’s teams. The girls might have won our contest had there been time for another question or two. Instead the teams finished in a draw with Joy answering the tying question. The class will need to review intransitive verbs further in order to build an understanding of why those verbs cannot be used in the passive voice. Tonight’s homework is to write a dialogue and should be done in groups of two.

Chinese

Unlike a usual day, we started today’s class with me sharing my family’s experience of living in Shanghai with the students. I talked about an expat life in China, the choice you have to make by living in the expat compound or in a local community. To my surprise, most of the children told me that they would like to live in an expat compound to avoid the potential problems with the local people. We all understand it is not easy to get out your own comfort zone. We further talked about how you can improve the language ability by mingling with the locals. Then we switched the topic to learning some Chinese Pingyin. We finished learning the compound finals with the vowels. We then added sentences to our final presentation. While the children are doing very well in the classroom, most of them don’t get enough after school practices, this will inevitably prohibit them from achieving what they could have.

Science

Due to the heavy rain, our field trip to the ammonite fossil site in Kremmling had to be postponed. Instead, we split class into two hands on discovery stations. The first half of class focused on the question “what paper airplane flies the farthest?” Students had to design their own experiment using three different folding methods and take data as a team. Their final product was a bar graph to display team averages for each plane. For homework, they need to restate their hypothesis and assess whether or not they can accept it based on the data they collected. For the second half of class, we investigated how chemical additives are being used in modern culinary science to create interesting food. We used sodium alginate and calcium lactate to create tiny caviar-like bubbles flavored with lemonade or Powerade. Cindy’s group investigated what a ketchup and pepper flavored bubble would be like. Interesting!

Art

Today we learned a bit about the Japanese art of origami. We made boxes out of wallpaper sample papers. They all found that it is one if those things that looks so easy but when it comes time to actually make one, it’s not as easy as you think! During the drama class, we started off with a team building exercise. Everyone gets in a circle and without saying a word everyone mush bend down and jump up and then try to land all at the same time. This teaches the kids to run off of each other instead of being an individual on the stage. For most of the rest of class one half was practicing their skits while Fanghua and I interviewed the other half about their experience thus far. Tomorrow we will interview the other half. The children are really starting to become comfortable on stage and they are really starting to emote and get into their characters. I’m interested to see how the rest of the week goes!

Extra Activity

It was the second strait day of unfortunate weather. Having to be inside on these summer days can be no fun sometimes. But the kids are always excited to be working as a team and participating in the activity. Today in the gym the students and I played a game of basketball. It was soon before we realized Tony and Paul, basketball superstars, were on the same team. After some adjustments were made to the teams and the games were fair play, the kids excelled at the quickness in the gameplay, and the necessary participation of everyone on the team. Hopefully the weather will improve tomorrow for a more favorable day activity.

Daily Report 20140729

July 31st, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

While students have worked diligently to stay current with the readings, we will take a quiz to ensure they understand the story through a quiz tomorrow. Since we have concentrated on pronunciation and fluency, I have seen progress in this area and need to clarify level of comprehension. As we reached the climax of the story today, it is time to reflect on all of the rising action that led us to this visually gruesome detail we read today of the battle field. Students eagerly shared drawings of how they believed this pivotal part of the book would be played out in a movie or play. Our evening will be filled with the downhill action of how the problem is solved with students reading to Ch. 34. This dedication to nightly readings will set us to finish the book by Thursday, leaving us 2 days to watch the movie and analyze the similarities and differences between the book and movie. Students will also be writing their final draft for the newspaper article and presented it to our class tomorrow. I am curious and eager to see how creative they can be with the hooks and story details.

ESL

Today we reviewed yesterday’s homework on the passive. We then practiced the passive and learned it in more detail. Tomorrow’s homework should be done as a group since it is quite difficult for the lower ability students. In addition, we practiced our pronunciation, wrote out a dictation, practiced our song and we recited the class skit.

Chinese

Molly was again absent due to sickness. Ther rest of the children spent time to review how to write “Good Afternoon” in Chinese characters, to recite the introduction part for their speech in Closing Ceremony. We used the numbers that we have learned to conduct a few simple math operations. Children loved the exercises. Then we studied a few compound finals (finals made of two vowels). The prounciation of these finals are tough for these children; however, once combined with initials, the students found it’s a little easier to prounce. This group of students demonstrated wonderful interest in learning Chinese. Nevertheless, hardwork must go hand by hand with interest should they want to master the language. We took time to discuss their own experiences where hardwork and persistence were the key factor to success.

Science

As we are learning, ecologists ask questions about the relationships between organisms and their environment. There are many questions to ask! Today we revisited our question “Is the soil living?” by carefully investigating our Berlese Funnels. We found many insects and recorded detailed images of these insects in our logs. This provided evidence for our hypothesis that the soil was living. We then took apart the remaining pieces of the soil sample and organized them into two piles: Organic Material and Mineral Material (non-organic). We found pieces of twigs and grass as well as tiny seeds. These were organic. We also found some metamorphic and igneous rocks. This provided evidence to our hypothesis that the soil was non-living. We came to the conclusion that soil is made up of both living and non-living components. After we took a short break, we came back to class to discuss another tool that scientists use to study the biodiversity in an ecosystem. We will be doing a sample of the wildflowers in the forest in the next two days. Today we prepared by getting familiar with a series of wildflower field guides and working to identify several plants within the classroom. We finished class by discussing our field trip for tomorrow to Kremmling. Another wonderful day!

Art

Today most kids finished up their costumes. We discussed how they will be shown at our presentation next Monday night. We also did some improvisational dancing with a 10 yard piece of stretch fabric requiring some carefully coordinated teamwork. Which didn’t always work! During the drama class, we started out with a few exercises to warm up the mouth, brain, and energize the students. After our warmup activities we broke into the different groups so the children could practice their skits. As I walked around I was surprised at the new found guile for acting. The kids were emoting beautifully and really getting into their roles. For the final minutes of class we concluded by having a few groups perform their skits. Compared to only yesterday, the increase in confidence was staggering. It was a completely different group of kids up there. Over all I think that the children are having fun, but they definitely value the course as a learning opportunity not as just play time.

Extra Activity

After a week of non-stop action, the students looked a little worn out. The goal for today was to give the students a chance to lay back and play some on campus volleyball. However this week the weather in Steamboat is meant to take a turn for the worse. An unfortunate afternoon thunder storm forced us to switch directions to indoor soccer. Rainy day weather can bring out the lazy in some, but not this group. I was truly impressed with the competitive drive the kids had to play an awesome game of soccer. As the week approaches the weekend, I am looking forward to seeing these awesome kids full of their contagious energy.

Daily Rpoert 20140728

July 31st, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

Students accomplished reading for the weekend which enabled us to read aloud today and have time to discuss the very descriptive language that Hemingway used in the book. Each student had the opportunity to read aloud and demonstrate their ability to pronounce the English vocabulary. I am noticing progress in the fluency of the difficult vocabulary. We finished Ch.23 using the audiobook and assigned Ch. 24-26 for homework. We used the second half of our class to share newsworthy stories students wrote about over the weekend. They took notes on about our activities or interesting happenings the experienced. Students choose one to use as an article for our newspaper. They worked in groups to encourage each other to use descriptive and interesting language for the “hook” of their article. Students rated article hooks on a scale of 1-5 for interested level, newsworthiness and word choice. Students will continue to write notes about happenings during other activities that can be used in the newspaper.

ESL

Today we started by reviewing what we learned last week and by talking about the things we did this weekend. We practiced pronunciation and afterward we practiced writing following a dictation. We studied and learned all the forms of the perfect continuous. The students then practiced their song and discussed the meaning. We finished our period by reading and reciting the class skit. The students learned new vocabulary and practiced pronunciation while they recited their lines. Homework today: Students are to complete a worksheet on the passive voice.

Chinese

It’s nice to have five children back to the classroom after the weekend, Molly was sick staying at home. Everybody is energized to learn more Chinese. We reviewed the initials and finals they learned last week, and also reviewed the number song. We learned three more finals.With that, we believe students have the basic foundation about Chinese pronounciation. As the students are read a few Chinese words, they wrote down the pingyin based on what they heard. This exercise gave the students a chance to practice the initials and the finals they have learned. After the break, students start to build up the sentences which will lead to their closing ceremony presentation. We used the remaining 30 minutes to talk about some politics and business trading between China and America. Students and the teacher all found the conversation was refreshing.

Science

In today’s science class, we discussed biotic and abiotic factors in the Rocky Mountain Vicinity. We then took a walk through the woods and learned about Ecology and Biodiversity and why they are important. Ecology is the study of relationships of organisms and their habitats; Biodiversity is the variety of all living things; the different plants, animals and micro organisms, the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems they forms. Then collected soil from four unique sites around campus to study what the soil is made of, and whether it is living or non living. We set up a Berlese Funnel which is a device used to discover the types of organisms and particles that are present within a soil sample.

Art

Today we had a guest artist and teacher, Jill Asmus, for art class. Jill brought red, blue and yellow bubble mixtures. The kids blew bubbles of each color on to white paper and discovered what colors were made when then blended with the other colors. Of course, we ended up with some spotted legs as well! Next up, more work on the crazy costumes. They are getting wild! Then we move to our drama class. We started with a drill called the Sound Machine. The objective of which is to get the actors to work as a team. One person starts with a motion and a corresponding sound, others gradually join in with other sounds until everyone is on the stage and the machine is complete. After that we broke into the different groups and practiced the skits. We saw great improvement in their pronunciation as well. After that we all gathered together and we had two groups preform and we went around and said one thing they did well and one thing they could improve on. Over all there was much more positive than negative feedback and I think the children had a wonderful time!

Extra Activity

Hot sunny days, this time of year, can take a lot out of your energy. Today was no exception. The planed lesson was to learn to stand-up paddle board. Everyone that was any sort of curious decided to take the bold step onto the paddle board. The day went smoothly and everybody did impressively well handling the difficulty balancing on the boards. Once the water was enough we went over to a beautiful park to celebrate the peak of the day. It was needless to say the cake was a large enough size to match the large importance of Joy’s Birthday today! Cake for everybody. However the birthday song was the most cheering part. The lingual mixing of birthday songs, between Mandarin, and English, is not an every birthday occurrence. In short, it was another beautiful day in Steamboat, not a cloud in the sky.

Daily Rpoert 20140725

July 31st, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

Today ALL students were prepared and ready to read vigorously as a group. Students will continue to read throughout the weekend before and after special activities and outings. It will take diligence to complete all of the required reading, but I have good faith they all will be prepared Monday just as they were today. The required reading is to be ready for Ch. 22 page 147 on Monday. We had the wonderful experience to have our Educational Editor for the Steamboat Pilot visit today. This is our final visit from a professional news reporter. Ben Ingersoll shared his personal story of why he likes to write for a small newspaper, finding interesting educational stories to write about and how he decides what is important to report on. Students shared what they have personally recorded as important about our academy. We shared how a paper needs balance between exciting news events and in depth articles that highlight achievements and happenings in a community.

ESL& Chinese

Today we again combined the ESL class and Chinese class to gave students’ further opportunity to appreciate each other’s perspective. We started the class with American students taking turn to write “Good Morning” in Chinese on the white board. Although only three characters, each student found it’s challenging to memorize the correct strokes. We asked the Chinese students what they could advise the American students to better momorize the correct writings. Steven said to memorize the order of the strokes, this suggestion is quite helpful for the American students to look at the Chiense characters as combination of strokes, instead of certain bizzar shapes. Then the Chinese students practiced their English song, and the American students practiced theirs. Each group then took turn to sing other group’s song. We found language fluency plays hugh advantage in learning how to sing a song. When you don’t have the language advantage, you have to practice more. After the break, we broke into six groups where Chinese student teach American student six new initials and one more final. When each American student took the stand to present what they have learned, the Chinese students realized it’s not easy to teach, they further appreciate the difficulty of learning another language. We finished class by talking about the movie “Despicable Me 1” as many students have seen the movie. Homework is for those students who didn’t watch the movie to watch the movie. Everybody will write a summary about the movie.

Science

We began with Students constructing a star wheel that shows the stars of the Northern Hemisphere. The wheel has dates, times and constellations which the students used and learned how to find stars during various times of the year. Once the students felt comfortable with using the wheel, we broke into group of 4 to locate each student’s constellation family during their birthday and 6 months past their birthday. They were to document stars that were different from the stars found during the birthday month. We concluded the class by students locating what stars are visible in the sky tonight at 10:00 pm. They will choose at least 2 to map out and draw out on black construction paper with push pins. Class concluded today with each student exiting by giving 2 new things they learned in the past 2 days about stars. I encourage each student to look up at the stars, using the wheel and try to find as many star constellations as they can find. It is harder than you think!

Art

Everyone is working hard to figure out what to do with all this strange, random stuff that I have gathered together. I am really stressing to the kids to “think outside of the box” and not make something recognizable. This will get easier with time. Our last hour was spent discussing stage practices and rehearsing the skits.

Extra Activity

It was a hot day in Steamboat, and the kids were anxious to run around in the sun. But like most afternoons in Steamboat, some light rainclouds rolled in from the west. The idea of summer freedom is what kept the students eagerness to swim, alive. This was the second successful trip to the river. From our arrival we walked down a hill to a view; a hot springs connected to the Yampa River. Approaching the river the kids would dip their feet in the warm water. But the warm pools were still; the kids craved the whitewater action. What Fanghua and I watched next was sheer joy of splashing around in the water. Nothing extremely notable happened other then a collective feeling of thankfulness to be outside in such a beautiful spot in Colorado.

Daily Rpoert 20140724

July 25th, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

All students completed their journaling work and definitions. Students did not complete the necessary reading to be prepared for class. I allowed students to read with audio tape to be caught up during our class. They needed the entire class time to finish. They are to find a quiet place with minimal distractions to read Ch.11 with or without the audio book this evening. They need to journal as well as write a description of all of the characters of the novel. I reminded students that each dorm room has a desk for completing homework. This is the most ideal place to be sure they are not distracted by other students. I shared that my expectations with them are high due to their level of English accomplishment in written and oral work. To earn the reward of seeing the movie that goes along with this book, it is necessary to read at least 1 hour daily to finish this great novel. Also, we have a large task of designing, writing and editing a newspaper for our Summer Academy. We will dedicate most of our time to this starting Monday. All students understood the importance of staying up with their readings. They also shared that they are truly ENJOYING this American Classic.

ESL& Chinese

Today we combined the ESL class and Chinese class to gave students’ an unique opportunity to learn each other’s perspective. With the first activity, we divided the entire class into six groups, with each group had one American student, one or two Chinese students. They ought to introduce an interesting person in their life to their team member, and the team member was to write down what he heard. Upon completing, each student came in front of the class, read the stories about those interesting people. We found some team worked really well becasuse team members helped each other; they were creative in overcoming the language barrier. Some teams were less succesful, because they became helpless when encountering language difficulties. The second activity we conducted was once again by groups, with different member mixes though. In this activity, the group members worked together on the most interesting thing about our summer camp. Students achieved significant improvement in this activity. Homework is to type out the writings in the second activity so that we can share with parents.

Science

Students began class in a dark room imagining the sky at night. They used pins to punch through black construction paper of what they thought a constellation might look like. Each student shared their “constellation”. The class went on to discuss the various aspects of stars and how throughout history they were used for navigation purposes. I was very impressed with the Knowledge of Galvin, Howard, Robin and Peter. Student broke into groups of 4 and worked as a team to answer the following questions.
1. What is a star?
2. Do Stars move or are they stationary?
3. What is a constellation?
4. What are the stages of a star?
All groups chose 1 person to be the leader, 1 person to be the speaker and 2 to help with research via the web with sources cited. Each group presented and mastered all of the questions. Group that had weak answers were allowed to fill in information from other groups as they presented.
Homework for students is to use Google images and research 1-2 constellations they will try to find in the Northern Hemisphere. They will present their findings tomorrow using the black push pin method.

Art

This afternoon after we got a much needed rain storm, the sun came out and dried the grounds and we went out to do more environmental sculpture. We took 360 used CDs and wrapped them around some aspen trees. Unfortunately I was not able to get back far enough or high enough to show the entire landscape, but the light reflecting off CDs around the 8 or so trees was really beautiful. Then the kids went about doing their own designs with them. We also distributed various items found in thrift stores to be incorporated in crazy costumes. The last hour was spent reading through short skits in theater class. Our thespians!

Extra Activity

Today for the camp activity we all played soccer. From what I have heard in previous years, this had always been a fun event for the kids; I was ready to make it fun again with this years awesome kids. Shuttling the students to and from the fields was simple, and easy. When we got to the field, getting in a line to pick teams was not as easy. The kids were extremely excited! All of them just running around with so much energy. I knew that the kids were ready to make soccer a blast. When we got to playing the game, no one sat out, everybody was in the game. Between Howard, up front, dodging people left and right, and Cindy in the back making more saves than the goalie, our team was ready to show our stuff. However it was a well matched game, the opposing team was strong with Molly bring the ball up the field with ease, and Diamond ready for every cross into the center to score. After an hour and a half of non-stop play, the weather unfortunately extinguished our game, but not our spirits. While I was watching one of the more sudden and extreme rainstorms I have ever seen, the students were laughing, taking pictures. Robin with no worries was enjoying a good rain shower with the biggest smilie painted on his face. Once the storm cleared up, it was hard for all of the kids and myself to leaving and going back to the school. I hope I can take the students back to the field and play a new game, because of the extreme enjoyment.

Daily Report 20140723

July 25th, 2014

Language Activity

American Literature

Students listened and followed Chapter 4 of For Whom The Bells Toll. Students came into class prepared with readings and new vocabulary words from the nightly readings. We had a local author and newspaper editor, Eugene Buchanan, visit from 9:00 -10:00 am. He is the editor for our local paper, The Steamboat Pilot, Steamboat Living, Paddle and Canoe magazines. He is the author of 3 books centered on life in the outdoors. He is paid by large companies to travel and write for sporting events. He covered the kayaking for the Beijing Olympics. Students learned how he decides to pick a story to write about and how to “hook” the reader. Eugene provided several examples of his best “hooks” through sharing his on writings with the students. Students were engaged and asked very good questions. Here are his 3 published books:
1. Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids
2. Brothers on the Bashknus
3. 100 best places to Kayak
We concluded class by discussing their own desires to write a story for a class newspaper for the Longfeifei Summer Academy. Each student is to begin a diary of events that are interesting and exciting for use in our own newspaper next week. We talked a lot about using VIGOROUS words as Ernest Hemingway modeled in his writings. Other homework is to read to self or use audio book to read chapters 5-10 and define each new vocabulary word we discussed today.

ESL

Today the students improved their pronunciation. They practiced writing a dictation and reviewed conjunctions. The students learned and practiced all forms of the perfect aspect including the passive. Learned anyone vs everyone. Wrote and performed dialogues. And the students continued their memorization of the song.

Chinese

This class of students is such a pleasure to teach. Their enthusiasm to learn Chinese demonstrates not only in the classroom, but also when they interact with the Chinese campers. After review what we have learned yesterday, each student took place in front of the white board, memorized and wrote a few Chinese characters on the white board, very likely for the first time in their life. They all did a great job. We further pursued to learn a few more initials and one more finals. During the class, we learned a few more Chinese characters here and there. In the end of the class, students shared with me what they have learned in this class. Apart from the awareness about that it takes practice and effort to master the language, the main take away is they understand there are many cultural differences between China and America. It taught them not to be judgmental and be aware of the different ways people think. I am glad to hear about these take away.

Science

The students took a quiz on the materials of the previous classes. We finished the film on global warming and on the origins of the continents. The students also examined trilobite fossils from Utah. In the lab we performed an experiment on the gas captured from the limestone and filled out lab reports based on our observations.

Art

Following an afternoon getting wet in the river, the kids continued playing with water in art class. We made handmade paper using using various colors of paper that we tore up, blended with other colors and some kids added leaves and flowers for additional texture. It will take several days for these papers to dry and then we will make simple journals with the handmade paper as covers.

Extra Activity

Today we took the students tubing down the beautiful Yampa River. The Yampa River flows through Steamboat Springs and majority of Northwest Colorado. Having the privilege to be able to enjoy the cool waters of the Yampa, and to share it with the students was a great experience for myself and all of the kids. Lack of planning on my part didn’t accommodate the time it would take to fill up enough tubes for all of the students. Everybody was anxious to get to the water, so we split into two groups. Half of the kids got to a manmade water feature in the middle of downtown to go swimming. The other half set out with me to navigate the lively Yampa River. Once the students and I made it safely to the other group, any kids that didn’t get to tube earlier went back up with me to experience the action. Some of the kids got stuck in bushes along the sides, flipped in the whitewater or simply lost their tubes, but there wasn’t a kid who didn’t find something they loved about the river. During the camp, the students will have an opportunity to return to the river and explore some other activities around the river that make it such a large part of our small mountain town.