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Minnesota 5th grade gets Chinese exchange students

August 9, 2011

Students Immerse Themselves in Chinese, With the Help of Visitors

With the start of the school year only weeks away, students at Minnetonka Schools’ Excelsior Elementary will continue learning Mandarin Chinese.

Although temperatures hovered around 100 degrees the last week of the 2010-2011 school year, the students at Excelsior Elementary were still hard at work honing their language skills.

And they had help from their friends from the Far East.

Eighteen students from Beijing came to visit Minnetonka and got a slice of Minnesota’s version of fifth grade life while staying with host families.

“It’s totally different from our school,” said Lucy Lui, an 11-year-old fifth grade student from Beijing.

While the Chinese students were in Minnetonka, they went to class immersed in English instruction in writing and math.

When not in school, they experienced a piece of American recreational life by going to the Mall of America, McDonald’s and Lake Minnetonka.

“This is part of a strategic plan to develop a broader world view for children,” said Lee Drolet, principal at Excelsior Elementary. “This helps them become connected in a real way to learn.”

Excelsior Elementary is one of two elementary schools in the Minnetonka School District that offers a Chinese immersion program starting in kindergarten.

Read more here.

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