Using Games to Increase Engagement

Games were perhaps the most engaging and exciting part of our comprehension, speaking and especially vocabulary games. One of the favorites was a game called spoons. Students create four cards. One with the vocabulary word, one with the definition, one with a sentence using the word and then a picture of the word. Cards are mixed up, and four cards are passed to each person. This game would be practical in a Chinese classroom. Once the cards are dealt, players need to try to match the four cards that go with the word. One card is passed simultaneously. Players must quickly decide if they will keep the card or pass it on. Once a player has a four card set, they take a spoon from the middle of

Introducing a New Strategy

One of the strategies that I used in two different ways to demonstrate the three keys of increasing interaction, thinking, and comprehension to Chinese primary school teachers of English was “talking circles”. One half of the class forms an inner circle which does not move and the other half forms an outer circle that rotates so that each person has a partner. The first time I used this strategy was after focusing on vocabulary using motions in a book read aloud. The Chinese teachers first worked in groups to write sentences with the vocabulary words. Then they shared their sentences with several partners in the talking circle before returning to their table teams to share what they had hea

Reflections on a Week of Teaching in Zhoushan

Almost immediately after being accepted into the SABEH program, I regretted my decision. I was nervous about leaving my two young daughters and my husband for two weeks, terrified of the long flight, and unsure about my ability to teach in a culture I knew little about. Now I can honestly say I am so glad that backing out wasn’t an option. Although I spent many hours preparing the fourteen lessons I was to teach throughout the week, I still had no idea what to expect when I brought my lessons to the Chinese classroom. It turns out I didn’t need to be nervous at all. The experience of teaching at the Greentown Yuhua International School in Zhoushan was absolutely incredible. The Chinese teach

Going The Extra Mile

We've had illnesses, broken technology, and even a moment of confusion as we were lost in downtown Beijing! But fortunately, based on our experiences here, it's safe to say that "Going the extra mile," for someone extends well into China. Athlough it seems like those three things would cause a group to grow frustrated and breakdown, our Chinese friends were extremely generous. One Chinese tour guide was kind enough to run to the doctor to get medicine for us. A Chinese teacher let us borrow an adapter for our American-style three pronged charger. And finally, a generous group of Chinese men waited with us on a busy city street until they were sure we found a taxi to take us back to our hotel

In Another Country: A Priceless New China Welcome

As our experience comes to an end, my heart is full and my mind is teeming with memories. My charade skills are at an all-time high, my ears echo with “San, ar, yi, qie zi!”, my Chinese dynasty trivia is fierce, my subway savvy is sharp, and my suitcase is stuffed with souvenirs. Although our customs are quite distinct, we share a fervent desire to help our students learn, and this goal is in the forefront of our minds as teachers. Foremost, on this journey I have fallen in love with the people and felt like a celebrity of sorts. Countless children have approached our group of teachers to ask where we are from and see if we might take photographs with them. While on the Great Wall and the

Teaching in Beijing

While preparing my lessons over the last few months, I was very nervous about the type of topics, strategies, and lessons that would go over effectively with the Chinese teachers. I searched through various novels, short stories, and news articles in an attempt to find relevant and meaningful content. By the time I arrived in Beijing, my lessons were jam-packed with activities, strategies, and resources. However, as I approach the end of our time at Beijing No. 35 High School (International Department), I realize that the teachers appreciate learning deeply about one topic or strategy, as opposed to briefly encountering many ideas. ​Each day after our 3 classes, we have the opportunity to sp


Presenting various teaching strategies to Chinese educators through collaboration reinforced to me that teachers are each others best resource, no matter the content area. We discussed in detail various strategies and how each approach can be manipulated for different content areas. Then we practiced so that we can better know how students may respond and what possible obstacles they may encounter. Our collaborative environment encouraged and motivated each other, increasing our resources for the classroom to keep students engaged and thinking more critically.

Food and Drink

Travel would be nothing without food, and in my short time in China I’ve learned a lot simply by what’s served at meals. How impressive it is to see such a variety of flavors and textures! My first breakfast on campus included some crunchy and spicy chopped vegetables. It was unlike anything that I had eaten before, and what an introduction to the day and to this country. My favorite breakfast food at Greentown was a sort of fried rice dough with a chewy texture and slightly sweet flavor. I’ve tried almost everything that has been served, and I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I like. It is interesting to see that drinks are not served with the meals on campus. Coming from a culture th

English Tour of Fujian Museum

On Saturday we visited the Fujian Museum which features many interesting exhibits and works about the culture and history of Fujian Province. A young girl wearing traditional Chinese clothing approached me and offered to provide a guided tour in English. She told me she is 11 years old and volunteers at the museum. At only 11 years of age and having learnt English as a second language in the classroom, she did a stellar job. Her rightfully proud mother accompanied us during the tour and took photographs and videos. After the tour we spoke about foods, hobbies, and the similarities and differences between China and the United States. I explained to the young and articulate tour guide a

Kindergarten Kaleidescope

Learning. Laughter. Levity. These are the words that capture our classroom climate in Zhoushan. Our one week course has incorporated SABEH's three keys: building comprehension, thinking skills, and interaction in order to improve student learning in Kindergarten classrooms. I'm currently working with a wonderful cohort of 18 Chinese kindergarten teachers who are eager to learn new strategies and activities so that they can, in turn, bring it back to their own class. We've had a full week of learning different ways teachers can incorporate and promote student engagement and excitement in the classroom. Teachers learned elements of the workshop model, whereby students work in small groups th

New Experiences in China

In all the countries I have been to, I have been able to speak either Spanish or English. I was a little nervous coming to China without being able to speak Chinese. I did not know what to expect. To my surprise people here have been extremely friendly and even though we are not able to understand each other we have made connections. These connections are very precious to me. It has taught me that love for life and culture goes beyond language. This experience has made me grow so much as a human being. Sometimes I can get very shy since I grew up in South America, Chile and It took me a very long time to get used to my new home in the United States. Even though I have always loved th


There are two bridges that I have come to revere during my stay in Zhoushan. One is a fairy tale like white bridge that is not yet open for use. It is emblematic of the intense amount of building and the modernization of this unique city of Islands. The other bridge is on the Greentown School campus and blends with the ancient Chinese architectural style of the campus. Two bridges that span the history of China from her rich and lengthy past to the new China of today. And we at SABEH are building our own bridge with the people of this amazing country. New friendships made, new ideas shared and new appreciation for two different cultures.

Collaborating with Chinese teachers

Today was our second day teaching at the Zhoushan Greentown Yu Hua School and I am loving this experience so far! This is the first year that Sabeh has partnered at this site and it is a brand new, beautiful school with traditional Chinese gardens and modern facilities. We are teaching three 40 minute lessons every day this week to Chinese Primary School, Middle School, and High School teachers on a variety of topics, focusing on thinking, interaction, and comprehension skills. My lessons are math, science, and research lessons for Middle and High School teachers, yet I have emphasized to the teachers that the strategies we are using can be used at any grade level with any subject area. T

© 2019 Sino-American Bridge for Education and Health

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