The program is in it’s fourth year at the Higley Unified School District campus, and includes teachers from Shijiazhuang Foreign Language Primary School who teach students math, art, Mandarin language, science and music, said Brian Griggs, assistant principal at Coronado Elementary School.
Each day of camp starts with teachers reading a story in Mandarin to the students about the question for the day, then they break out into small groups where they focus on different areas including STEM, arts, calligraphy, Chinese culture, music, dance and other activities taught in Mandarin, Griggs said.
“Today, they’ll be making paper from recycled materials,” Griggs said.
Video by Mary Irish/ AZEdNews: Coronado Elementary School’s Mandarin STEAM Camp
Shijiazhuang is known nationally for its artistry in paper cutting, and “one of the best teachers is here teaching our kids the art of paper cutting,” Griggs said.
Mr. Zhuzhaolei, a Grade 5 and 6 art teacher at Shijiazhuang Foreign Language Primary School, helped students as they cut intricate designs from their papers.
“Here I teach traditional Chinese Art. I really prefer the small class,” Mr. Zhuzhaolei said. “Everybody could get involved in it, and the art works of the children are awesome. I enjoy the camp so much.”
“I like that it’s super fun and we get to make Chinese paper and make cool stuff,” said McKenna, a student at the camp.
In Mrs. Zhaojing’s class, some students performed a dance while others accompanied them on an assortment of musical instruments.
“I teach Chinese music, and I am so happy to see that the children are interested in the Chinese music, dancing and some Chinese folk music culture,” said Mrs. Zhaojing, who teaches music at Shijiazhuang Foreign Language Primary School for students in first- through sixth-grades.
“For example, they enjoyed the handkerchief dancing in the camp. I would like to show more Chinese musical culture to the children. I do hope they are going to have a pleasant experience here,” Mrs. Zhaojing said.
Mr. Lizhanhai, who teaches math for first- through third-graders in Shijiazhuang Foreign Language Primary School, said he enjoyed helping the students work with numbers in Mandarin, practice and use their mathematical thinking.
“I’m learning more Mandarin, and I really like to learn,” said Lizzie, a student at the camp. “I think I can read this Mandarin book. I don’t know all the words, but I’m learning them every day when I go to camp.”
Louella said she really enjoys helping the younger students at Mandarin STEAM Camp.
“What I really like about this camp is helping the students comprehend Mandarin and develop a better understanding through the STEM education,” Louella said. “I really like seeing the students clearly understand it. You can see through their facial expressions – their eyes – that they’re understanding and they’re learning it. I like helping teaching that and seeing all the students understand it more.”
“I like how we get to do activities and that we get to make paper. We get to put decorations on it,” said Madelyn, a student at Coronado Elementary School’s Mandarin STEM camp.
Mrs. Liuyahan, who used to teach Chinese at Coronado Elementary to fourth- through sixth-graders but is now in charge of the school library, helped students as they worked on science activities, teaches students Mandarin and reads science story books to students.
“I also put some Chinese cultral things in my class,” said Mrs. Liuyahan. “As you can see the Chinese decorations here and show kids the tea culture in China. I really enjoy the days with the children, and their Mandarin is great so that it’s easy to communicate with them.”