Posted by: csuschina2011 | June 17, 2011

Teaching in Jiangyin – June 16th

Today we began teaching the students at Xiaoqi Experimental Elementary School in Jiangyin.  In the morning, there was an optional tai chi lesson on the rooftop of the hotel before breakfast.  After breakfast we went straight to the elementary school, where we took a tour of the facilities and admired the amazing work of the students, such as art and calligraphy.  We were warmly welcomed by the principal of the school and soon met our counseling groups, a group of 12 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders mentored by 4 CSUS students.  We started off by making name tags with the kids and getting to know them a little bit.  The degree of their English proficiency varied, but all in all we were impressed by their language skills and were able to understand one another.  The remainder of the counseling time was taken up by games like Simon Says and Red Light Green Light, which were big hits with the kids.  After counseling time, we went for lunch at a nearby restaurant during their long lunch period–students in China go home to eat lunch and then return later in the afternoon.

Then we began teaching 3 sessions of our classes – Kickball, Science, Arts & Crafts, Tennis, and Dance.  We can’t speak for the other classes, but ours (Science and Arts & Crafts) went very well.  For Arts & Crafts, the kids started off with a drawing activity where they would draw a picture, pass it on to the person next to them, who would then add to it.  This created some very crazy drawings but were all very creative.  Following that, the kids made paper bag puppets which were extravagantly and carefully decorated with pompoms, feathers, and the like.  In Science, we taught the children a music lesson using straws as instruments, demonstrating that the short straws make high notes and the long straws make low notes.  Though we’re not sure how much of it got through to them, we tried to incorporate vocabulary like “sound waves” into the lesson by demonstrating waves with a spring.  The kids had a lot of fun and all wanted to play the hardest song that we had for them, the Blue Danube Waltz.

We returned to the hotel around 5 after saying a temporary goodbye to our students.  There, we went to a formal dinner hosted by the principals of the school we had just taught at.  We learned some of the rules of Chinese etiquette, such as waiting to eat until our hosts had started, which was very difficult because of the tempting food in front of us.

Right after dinner, there was an optional trip (an offer taken up by the majority of us) to go into downtown Jiangyin.  First, Mr. Kwong showed us a collection of statues depicting young men in ancient China who had just received the results of their Confucian exams (a series of tests put forth to determine acceptance into government positions).  Some of the statues were screaming with joy, having passed the exams, while others were slumped on the ground in defeat.  While we were taking pictures with the statues, we drew a crowd of curious locals.  After that, we disbanded to explore the main streets of downtown Jiangyin, taking opportunities to shop as they arose.  An hour later and several bags of clothing heavier, we met back at a familiar site, the KFC.  Our attention was diverted by something more unfamiliar, a cat sitting inside the lit KFC sign, the bottoms of its feet visible to us from the sidewalk as it padded about.

Returning to the hotel, most of us received calls from our parents, a welcome opportunity to share with our families what we have been experiencing over the past few days.  Then we went to bed, ready to return in the morning to the adorable Chinese children we left behind.

–Lucie and Carter

The banner that surprised us all when we first arrived at the school.An example of calligraphy that was on display when we visited the school

An example of calligraphy that was on display when we visited the school

A shot of one of the classes, proudly displaying their paper bag puppets
A picture of the cat inside the KFC sign
A pair of statues we saw during the walk downtown


  1. Thanks for the update, Lucie and Carter. The day at the school sounded so much fun. I’m sure the kids there enjoyed learning from you all. I want to know what everyone bought on the shopping trip :)) … oh, and the collection of statues sound incredible. Can hardly wait to see those photos!

  2. Wow! The welcome sign to you all is wonderful 🙂 I love the statue! Are you sure that was a cat and not a rat? eeee….. nice photos!

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