CCBG Photo Albums
Calligraphy studies (2017-2018)
This year, students will have a total of 8 one-hour long calligraphy lessons built in throughout the 2017-2018 school year. For students who have review classes, these lessons all happen during the review classes (every third week). The goals are: to help students develop an appreciation of the art of Chinese Calligraphy, to be inspired to want to write Chinese characters, and to reinforce basic writing skills through this more interesting medium.
Our calligraphy teacher is Howard Li (李河泰). We have invited him to work with our students not because he makes a living by teaching calligraphy (he doesn’t), but because he lives with calligraphy. Howard grew up in a village in Shanxi province, China. His father, as the accountant for his village, did all his accounting work with a calligraphy brush. As a child, Howard would write in dirt on the ground with a stick or write on rocks with anything he could lay his hands on. Now, after years of being a college teacher in China, a resident of NYC, he writes with a brush every day, from the simplest strokes to memorials of his family members. In his first lesson, his passion for writing easily came through to our students — inspiring students who are new to calligraphy to pick up the brush, and giving students with some experiences a new perspective to this art.
This year, our students are learning a series of songs that will expose them to the voices of the Chinese people throughout the past century. We share with them the background of each song. Depending on each student’s age, each will understand on different levels the morals of the songs’ backgrounds. For example, students of Grade 3 and up easily understand how the first song—“Bidding Farewell”—expresses the sentiment of uncertainty when China was transitioning from the rule of the last emperor to a new republic. Another example, all the students can relate to the story of how the composer of our second song — “Selling Newspaper”— created the song for a 10-year old newspaper-selling girl who ran throughout the streets of 1930s’ Shanghai to earn money to help her ailing father.
As any project we conduct here at CCBG, we also want students to pick up techniques of a practice. This year, our singing teacher is Samantha Dango. Samantha is a professional singer, having performed in various theatrical plays and operas. She is also a licensed teacher, having taught singing to elementary school students. We hope that Samantha’s passion and skills for singing will inspire our students. She will also coach our students to sing with more awareness of the many vocal techniques involved, from the importance of breathing to the different styles of singing.
For samples of the songs our children will be singing this year, please go to:
The Theatre Project (2016-2017)
Starting in the Fall 2016 semester, our students went under the tutelage of Michael Leibenluft, a Chinese-English bilingual theatre expert, to engage in a year-long theatre project. Michael is also an active member in the Chinese language community, one of his better known involvement is the GUNGHO Projects.
Students of each class voted for stories they want to act out, selected scenes, wrote scripts for the characters, and will move on to producing their plays in the Spring 2017 semester.
The plays they have selected includes: 嫦娥奔月 (The Legend of Chang'e, the Goddess of the Moon), 仙人张果老 (Zhang Guo Lao the Immortal), 鸿门宴 (The Banquet At Hongmen), 飞来峰 (The Story of the Flying Mountain), and 姜太公钓鱼 (Jiang Taigong Fishing).
Chinese Map Scavenger Hunt
During the Fall 2016 semester, our Saturday morning Level 7 students took the classic scavenger hunt game and created the Chinese Map Scavenger Hunt game. The gameplay is simple: the handmade map of China are labeled with main geographic landmarks of the country; the students are then given a list of landmarks that they must locate from the map within a given time. The students loved the challenge and a majority of them identified most of the landmarks, while the younger students, in particular, had an intense time searching but still enjoyed this game very much.
Some of our oldest students are either in or approaching high school, therefore, our program has begun to offer these students the opportunity to become "student teachers" to serve as mentor to our younger students during our classes, summer camps in NYC or in China. We hope to teach them compassion, responsibility, leadership, and for them to see how their actions as role models can affect others.
Students in our program tend to become close friends with their fellow classmates (or even our teachers) as they battle challenges and learn together. We have seen many friendships bud from the first day of class and have since blossomed into lasting friendships..
Every semester, our students engage in cooking lessons incorporated into their curriculum as part of their Chinese language learning experience.