Teachers of Confucius Institute at Western Michigan University traveled to north Michigan on May 4th and spent three days for cultural classes in Inland Lake Elementary as well as team building activities in Mackinaw City/Island.
The group departed early in the morning in two vans. After a brief lunch, we arrived at the Inland Lake Elementary and met with the principal and teachers to make sure all materials and equipment needed for the next day classes were set up properly. In the late afternoon, we left the school and headed to the Mackinac Bridge to enjoy the beauty of this famous masterpiece.
The second day was quite busy and fun. Seven teachers in charge of seven different stations conduct lesson consecutively from 8:10 AM to 3 PM (with two-hour lunch break). We planned different cultural content for Kindergarten through 4th grade, including Chinese Zodiac, Chinese New Year, Chinese games and Taichi, Dragon boat Festival, Chinese children songs, Chinese language and Chinese painting. Each station combined lectures and hands-on activities, which gave all students a great opportunity to take a closer look at and have better understanding of authentic Chinese culture. The day was a big success. All students, the classroom teachers and the principal expressed their joy and love for all lessons and extended their appreciation to all CI teachers.
The theme for last day was team building. The ferry ride offered us an amazing view of Mackinac Bridge from Michigan Lake and took us to the lovely Mackinaw Island. After a short-time stretching and warming up, the first “CI-WMU Bike Race” officially began. Teachers were divided into 5 groups. Under the instruction of a map and a rulebook, all teachers finished the task of taking pictures with 10 specific tourist sites on the island. The two-hour race not only strengthened our teamwork spirit, but also helped us know more about Michigan and American culture. At the end of the day, all teachers returned to Kalamazoo and shared with each other their thoughts and experience about this trip.
The trip has been very educational, not only for the students in Inland Lake Elementary, but also for all CI teachers. We look forward to reaching out to more schools in further areas to show people the beauty of China and Chinese culture.