On August 4th, the University of Utah’s Confucius Institute and Youth Education Center concluded their 2017 Chinese Immersion summer camp. The camp was held at five campuses in the Salt Lake area, including the University of Utah, University of Utah Sandy Campus, Cascade Elementary, Foothill Elementary, and North Davis Junior High. At these locations, 232 students ranging from 2nd grade to 9th grade attended camp activities.
The camp’s subjects differed according to grade level, but all classes adopted an immersion method of teaching. That means that all subjects, from language to culture to crafting and classroom activities, were taught in Chinese. This allows the students to learn through playing, as well as providing them with a good example of native Chinese-speaking environments. As for curriculum, the subjects are tailored to each grade’s characteristics and abilities; the 2nd grade curriculum revolves around animals and colors, while the 3rd grade focuses on family and friends, 4th grade on vacation plans, 5th and 6th grades on travelling, and 7th through 9th grades on environmental protection.
2nd grade language class at the North Davis Junior High site
3rd graders at the North Davis Junior High site practice writing characters
5th and 6th graders practice speaking at the North Davis Junior High site
5th and 6th grade language class at the Foothill Elementary site
7th through 9th graders in language class at the Cascade Elementary site
Because the students have a full week of camp activities, they can be exposed not only to the Chinese language, but to Chinese culture as well. Some cultural activities included making shadow puppets, kites, blown-ink paintings, dragon paintings, and traditional opera masks. Additionally, students got to try a bamboo dance, Chinese jump rope, and the popular “Little Apple” dance. At the end of the week, the students used Chinese put on a final performance for family members, earning enthusiastic applause.
2nd graders at the Foothill Elementary site try blown-ink paintings
2nd graders at the Cascade Elementary site watch their teacher demonstrate blown-ink painting
Blown-ink paintings on display at the Cascade Elementary site
4th graders at the North Davis Junior High site color traditional opera masks
Shadow puppets made by 3rd graders at the Cascade Elementary site
3rd graders at the Cascade Elementary site practice with their shadow puppets
A shadow puppet show at the Cascade Elementary site
7th through 9th graders experience paper making at the Cascade Elementary site
3rd graders at the Cascade Elementary site learn about solar power
7th through 9th graders present on environmental protection at the Cascade Elementary site
Students make ice cream at the North Davis Junior High site
5th through 6th graders make luggage at the North Davis Junior High site
Students at the North Davis Junior High site act out an airport security check
2nd graders at Cascade Elementary site try the bamboo dance with their parents
The yearly Chinese dual language immersion summer camp is an important reflection of Confucius Institute at the University of Utah’s strong support for local Chinese immersion programs. In one week of Chinese immersion study, students not only get to review Chinese and learn new material, but also experience Chinese culture. The camp activities have earned parent’s positive reviews and enthusiastic support.
You can find the original Chinese version of this article here.