In the summer, the 115℉ weather in Tucson couldn’t stop parents and students from attending the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona (CIUA) "China Star" summer camp. From June 13th to the 24th, the camp was successfully held at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center. It attracted a total of 82 students and nearly a hundred parents from local elementary and middle schools. At the camp’s closing ceremony, many parents shared the wonderful moments of the camp’s students’ and teachers’ performances on Facebook with their friends and family.
Akins Jeanette, a parent from Mesquite elementary school, posted pictures on Facebook of her daughter Kerrigan’s Chinese calligraphy and painting and her lion dance, which many of her friends liked. Principal Diane Samorano from Mesquite elementary school also sent her daughter to the summer camp. She expressed her sincere gratitude to Professor Zhao, the CIUA Chinese Director, and she wished CIUA could hold such a summer camp at their school. Landon, a student from the tiger class, said the "China Star" summer camp was better than any other summer camp he had attended before; To him, this was a five-star camp!
During the opening ceremony on June 13th, Professor Wei, who has 19 years of experience in immersive teaching, greeted all of the parents and students and explained that this year’s summer camp was designed using the twelve Chinese zodiac theme. It corresponds with "wise, "diligent", "brave", "cautious", "powerful", "resilient", "hard-working", "kind", "agile", "perseverant", "loyal", “humble"; the various learning activities also related to the twelve important personality traits of these Chinese characters. The camp practiced half immersion-style teaching where students would learn Chinese through immersive activities in Chinese context for at least half a day over the two-week period. The Tiger class (mostly fourth graders) had "total immersion" in Chinese context.
"China Star" offered rich and fun course experience, including Chinese language, learning about traditional instruments like the Guzheng, Hulusi traditional instrument. Chinese Wushu spirit and Shaolin boxing, monkey boxing, dragon style and lion dance were also included in the program along with calligraphy and painting, traditional paper folding, paper cutting, making lanterns, Beijing opera types of facial makeup, traditional Chinese food, preparation, and taste and so on. All of these experiences combined made a true immersive Chinese learning experience for the kids in only ten days, which achieved amazing results. For the closing ceremony of the camp, the children performed Chinese songs and plays that parents marveled at and gave continuous applause for.
Organized by the CIUA, and supported from the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center(TCCC), the “Chinese Star” has been held for the last four summers and has a large number of loyal fans. Jake and Hunter are twin brothers, and it was their second time at the "Chinese Star" summer camp. When we talked to them they exclaimed, “we love it here, next year we will come back again!" Another student, Deacon Smith, was fascinated by the twelve