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Casper, Wyo. may get Mandarin immersion in year

July 25, 2011

This is about a summer school program, but near the end they say a school in 2012-2013 is possible.

Camp immerses young students in Chinese language

By JACKIE BORCHARDT Star-Tribune staff writer | Posted: Sunday, July 24, 2011 1:45 am

DAN CEPEDANing Zhao gives a high five to a student during an exercise at a full-immersion Chinese language camp at Park Elementary School in Casper.

The second-graders circled around squares of colored paper a few inches apart on the floor.

Each clutched a smaller, colored paper square and leaned forward, waiting for the teacher to name a color and, if it matched his or her own, be the first to touch the corresponding color in the middle.

The game would be a simple test of speed — if the colors weren’t given in Mandarin Chinese, foreign to the American students eagerly trying to win stickers for being the first to the square.

Teacher Ning Zhao, originally from China, said the color twice before a few students jumped up and lunged at the papers on the floor.

“Lán sè,” she repeated. The students, holding green colored pieces of paper, were incorrect.

Not “lù sè,” Zhao said, “lán sè.”

A few seconds later, three students realized they held blue (lán sè) papers in their hands and lunged forward.

Things move fast in the Chinese language immersion program offered this summer through the Natrona County School District. Lessons are planned and taught by native speakers, and class is conducted solely in Chinese — crucial to the structure of the camp, funded through the STARTALK program of the federal Department of Defense.

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