During the visit, Lippman students learned about Chinese culture, geography, and arts from Ms. Xie, who is a Foshan native and teaches English at the Dali School, while Mr. Ma, who specializes in Martial Arts, taught the discipline of Kung Fu to the students.
Ms. Xie utilized multi-media presentations at each Lippman grade level to share customs regarding the Chinese New Year. Transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students learned to trace Chinese characters to make Spring Festival Couplets, which hang as red banners expressing wishes for the Chinese New Year. First and second graders showcased their artistic talents making “red paper cuts,” which are constructed in a style similar to cut-out snowflakes and are used to adorn the areas around doorways. Third and fourth graders used Chinese calligraphy brushes to create their own Spring Festival Couplets, while fifth and sixth graders had the opportunity to tie Chinese knots, which symbolize good fortune in all of its forms. Finally, Lippman seventh and eighth grade students conceptualized and created their own Spring Festival Couplets.
Mr. Ma was able to instruct all grade levels with lessons in Kung Fu forms. After four lessons with Mr. Ma, transitional kindergarten through second grade learned simple postures, and grades three through six were able to learn the “Five-Step Fist,” which is comprised of 10 forms. After six lessons, grades seven and eight were able to perform the “Southern Fist” independently, which requires 21 movements.
Their visit culminated locally with a community evening of Tai Chi instruction and a discussion of Chinese culture, and a school-wide assembly with parents at Lippman, where students demonstrated the Kung Fu skills they had learned from Mr. Ma. While reflecting on her visit, Ms. Xie expressed her sentiments: “We had a great time here at the Lippman School. Students and teachers from both schools benefit a lot from our continued cross culture experiences.”
This May, educators and students from the Lippman School will travel to the Dali School in China for almost two weeks in residence. In August, the Lippman School will host the third annual Cultural Immersion Camp, where approximately 20 students from China attend camp with American students for one week. During this time, educators from the Lippman School and the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana will offer instruction on American history in the mornings, followed by recreational activities both at the Lippman School and in the Cuyahoga National Park in the afternoons.