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Sky Kids Mandarin camps starting up again for the summer

March 26, 2021

Sky Kids will have Mandarin immersion summer camps in San Francisco this summer and it’s looking like Taiwan as well, though that remains to be seen. Note that both are day camps so you’ve got to be in the area or have friends your child can stay with.

Sky Kids Summer 2021 Camp Update

From the director:

After the 2020 pause and this year’s improving Covid situation, we think it will be a good time to run our in-person Mandarin camps in Summer 2021. The period will be July 19-August 13, which is 4 weeks of camps with 4 different Maker & Art themes. Unfortunately, due to space and manpower limitations, we will be launching morning half-days first. Should we be able to offer afternoons as well, we will update you accordingly.

Please check online for details regarding the program:

We will also be continuing our Online Mandarin classes in the earlier part of the summer: June 7-July 16 or if you prefer hosting an at-home mini-camp for a small group of students (e.g. 4-6) we can provide teachers & materials for this time period as well.

Teaching our children about anti-Asian racism and Chinese history

March 20, 2021

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this. The murders in Atlanta are fresh in everyone’s minds and this weekend there will be Asian solidarity marches and celebrations across the country.

For those of us with children in Chinese immersion programs, this is hitting especially hard. Many of our families are Asian themselves, others have spent years immersing themselves in Chinese and Chinese-American culture as our children learn Chinese in school.

I think the first thing we can do is check in with people and ask how they’re doing. This week I’ve heard stories of people being spit upon, screamed at from cars, followed on the sidewalk while being yelled at and verbally assaulted simply for being Asian in America.

Despicable words about Chinese people were spray painted on the walls of my children’s middle school.

One mom was out shopping and picked something up then put it down. Another woman yelled out “Where’s the hand sanitizer? I’m not going to touch that, that *** just touched it.” With her children standing right next to her.

For those of us who are white, hearing these stories and realizing what our Asian friends deal with that is invisible to us is important. We can become allies and stand against such hatred. Though we must remember that it’s not our friends’ job to educate us about what’s happening, it is our own.

One thing I’ve long been saddened by is the lack of teaching in Mandarin immersion schools about this history of Asians in the United States and especially the history of Chinese Americans. Our kids read books about the Spring Festival and red envelopes, but don’t learn about the Chinese Exclusion Act or the shameful history of anti-Chinese mob attacks and murders on the West Coast.

In my hometown of Seattle, rioters attacked, killed and forced hundreds of Chinese workers to leave town in 1886, something I didn’t even learn about when I studied Chinese at the University of Washington.

So this spring, instead of only having your kids read books about Chinese culture, perhaps add in a few about American Chinese culture and history.

Here are a couple of good places to start:

Top 10 Chinese American Children’s Books (ages 2 – 14)

Best Children’s Books about Chinese American History

Asian American Children’s Books

And for anyone looking for a project: There’s a real need for a book for middle or high school students about the history of the Chinese Exclusion Act and what it did to the Chinese American community. There are a few good adult books on this, including At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943, but they’re too academic for kids.

The Act, passed in 1882, barred almost all Chinese from the United States for ten years. It was the first federal law that banned a group of people solely on the basis of race or nationality set a precedent for future restrictions against Asian immigrants and others.

Forty-two years later the 1924 Immigration Act excluded all classes of Chinese immigrants. It wasn’t until Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 that these racist quota systems were abolished.

Parents launch “Utah Mandarin Families” to support Chinese learning

March 11, 2021

Guest post by Craig Watts

Utah has over 16,000 students in Chinese dual-language immersion programs, and its first cohort of K-12 students is now finishing their senior year in high school. At this critical juncture, Utah parents have formed Utah Mandarin Families, a statewide parent network to support Chinese learning and to brainstorm Chinese-related career paths.

In its first month, Utah Mandarin Families has launched a Facebook Group, advocated in support of the Confucius Institute, started a parent/school snapshot series, and recorded a video interview with Mandarin Immersion Parent Council blog writer Elizabeth Weise.  

Utah is the only state in the US that administers dual-language immersion at the state-level, so it makes sense for parents to organize at the state level as well. At a time when districts and schools are pulling back on support for trips to China and extracurriculars, UtahMandarin Families aims to function like a “parallel PTA” supporting extracurricular Chinese learning, organizing trips, and exploring China-related internships and careers.  

Chinese dual-language immersion programs first launched in Utah in 2009 and are now offered at 33 elementary schools. 

Utah Chinese immersion students typically pass the AP Chinese exam in 9th grade, and then move into the Bridge Program, where university-level courses are offered at high schools. Students take 3-credit language classes in grades 10-12, earning up to 9 hours of college credit upon high school graduation. 

Utah Mandarin Families aims to:

  • Providing opportunities to learn and apply Chinese beyond the classroom
  • Build connections with Chinese people on all levels: personal, family, school, state, educational, cultural, business/career
  • Help guide the development of the Utah Mandarin Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program
  • Identify and better leverage China-related partners and resources in education, business and government
  • Brainstorm China-related college and career paths including study abroad programs, internships, and non-profit opportunities

For more information on Utah Mandarin Families, please reach out to Craig Watts at cragunwatts [at]

Going to Beijing with a Mandarin-speaking guide: Your daughter

February 27, 2021

A nice article about a mom going to Beijing with her Mandarin-immersion educated daughter, pre-pandemic.

The Chinese Lessons

By Jill Bronfman

People told me that my daughter was fluent in Chinese, but before we went to Beijing together I used to have to take their word for it. She had been in a Mandarin immersion program since she was three years old, but since I didn’t speak Mandarin myself, I had to be satisfied with the occasional school speech or compliment from a fellow parent who did speak the language. The opportunity to test this abstract theory of bilingualism in the field presented itself in May when I was asked to speak about the development of artificial intelligence in educational technology in Beijing. I decided to bring my daughter with me as travel companion, translator, and wing woman.

The last time I went to Beijing, I was the same age as my daughter was on this trip, but so much had changed for sixteen-year-old girls, and so much had changed in China. I thought I was worldly, but my world was small. Today, China is a vivid juxtaposition of impenetrable technology and touchable antiquity. Today, a teenager is full of WeChat and snarky memes that she has to explain to me.

Please read more here.

Coming back to Mandarin in the third generation

February 21, 2021
Making dumplings for the Spring Festival.

A lovely piece by a woman who grew up Mandarin-speaking in the United States, lost her Mandarin and then found it again when she had children. And always nice to have one of my Mandarin immersion articles linked to in the New York Times. Due to the COVID lockdown I haven’t done a 2020 “State of Mandarin Immersion” article, but I’ll try to put one together in the next month or so. I fear we’ve lost some schools but haven’t had time to go through all the links I’ve collected. And I know we’ve added a few, so hopefully we’re still up above 300.

Connecting My Children to Their Heritage in Mandarin

Although my parents’ English is serviceable, it is only in Mandarin that they’re at ease, that they can inhabit their own skins.

New York Times

By Connie Chang

  • Feb. 12, 2021

On Sunday afternoons, my grandfather would sit by my elbow while I gripped his prized calligraphy brush, tracing inky lines on tissue-thin paper. “Many Chinese consider calligraphy a high form of art,” my grandfather reminded me whenever my attention flagged or arm drooped.

I’d sigh in response — this weekly ritual just felt like more school.

Growing up as a child of first-generation Chinese immigrants, I was used to straddling two worlds — that of my parents and the country they emigrated from, and America, where the pressure to assimilate buffeted us constantly. The message was clear in the media and popular culture of the 1980s: It was better to speak English, exclusively and without an accent; to replace thermoses of dumplings with hamburgers. My father’s college classmate, also a Chinese immigrant, proudly boasted that his kids knew no Mandarin, a claim confirmed when his son butchered the pronunciation of his own name while my parents looked on with unconcealed horror.

My parents, instead, dug in their heels against this powerful wave that threatened to wash out the distinctive features of their past. I spoke no English until I started preschool, but in Mandarin — according to my grandmother — I was a sparkling conversationalist, a Dorothy Parker of the toddler set. The school administrators wrung their hands, worried that I’d fall behind, but my father shrugged, figuring (correctly) that I’d learn English quickly enough.

Please read more here.

The National Chinese Language Conference is coming

February 15, 2021

The Asia Society’s annual conference on Chinese language teaching is April 15-17. It’s virtual this year and thus cheaper and easier to access for teachers. This tends to be where a lot of advances in immersion teaching are introduced and shared, so it’s worth making sure your school’s teachers know about it and can attend. In previous years families often raised funds so teachers could go in person. Less need for that this year, sadly.

2021 National Chinese Language Conference


Join us for a three-day interactive digital experience for Chinese language teachers & education leaders. Throughout the conference, you will HEAR inspiring Plenaries, CONNECT in the Tea x Conversation Video Networking, and ENGAGE in interactive breakout sessions.  

The National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) is more than just a conference. It’s a global community of over 2,800 PK-16 Chinese language teachers and education leaders. At its core, NCLC provides a platform for you to LEARNENGAGE, and SUPPORT like-minded educators, as we shape the future of Chinese language education and cultivate multilingual young leaders. 


Date: April 15-17, 2021 (Thursday-Saturday)
Time: April 15 & 16: 6-9 PM EST | April 17: 10 AM-3 PM EST
Location: Online, anywhere with a solid Internet connection
Ticket Price: Early bird tickets are $80. Regular admission is $100Purchase your tickets from now until March 1st to take advantage of early bird pricing.


  • 3 Thought-provoking plenaries
  • 30+ breakout sessions
  • Access to teaching resources and on-demand content
  • Live Q&A with speakers
  • Interactive roundtable discussions
  • Tea and Conversation 1:1 video networking with old and new colleagues alike
  • Live interactions with virtual vendor booths
  • Exclusive discounts and offers from sponsors
  • PLUS 14-day access to a replay of NCLC video content, as available: so, if you missed something – we got you covered!


We are offering three pre-conference workshops this year and each workshop is only $30.

  • ACTFL | April 15, 2021, 10 AM—12 PM EST: “Journey to Proficiency: Map the Route, Guide the Tour, Enjoy the Ride” with ACTFL President, Jessica Haxhi
  • NCSSFL | April 15, 2021, 1—3 PM EST: “Implementing Proficiency-Based Tools & Standards to Build Exemplary K-12 Chinese Programs” with NCSSFL experts, Dr. Ann Marie Gunter and Michele Braud
  • CELIN | April 16, 2021, 10 AM—12 PM EST: “Developing a Toolbox of Innovative Practices for the Post-COVID Era” with CELIN Director, Dr. Shuhan Wang

Spaces for the pre-conference workshops are limited, so make sure to purchase with your early bird ticket. View more information on the pre-conference workshops here.


3 INSPIRING & THOUGHT-PROVOKING PLENARIES. Be inspired by a carefully curated lineup of leading experts and pioneers in Chinese language education. Hear stories of success, struggle and best practices from Chinese language programs and traditional and non-traditional classrooms.

30+ INTERACTIVE BREAKOUT SESSIONS. Engage with pioneering teachers, experts, and peers in interactive breakout sessions across 9 content strands: Assessment | China Across the Curriculum | College and Career Readiness | Curriculum and Instruction | Partnerships and Community Engagement | Program Models and K-16  Articulation | Research | Remote Learning | Teacher Development and Sustainability.

TEA & CONVERSATION NETWORKING. Our Tea x Conversation breaks allow for real-time collaborations and connections. We all sometimes feel isolated as we continue to innovate during the pandemic, these breaks will help us connect with other educators who understand our goals and challenges. Share ideas. Ask questions. And even collaborate virtually.

LIVE NCLC EXPO HALL. Access valuable teaching resources while learning about products & services for your Chinese language classroom and/or program. NCLC vendors will be live in the digital Expo Hall to allow for Q&A, meetings, and demos.

We are also holding a 3-day Digital Scavenger Hunt with prizes and deals from our sponsors that you don’t want to miss!

CONNECT + COLLABORATE. NCLC’s live event chat allows for real connections with other educators. In the chat, you can ask questions, share ideas & resources, and comment on what you’re watching. Looking for a specific person? Search for them in the event attendee list. You can send them a direct message or even have a video meeting- all within NCLC.


What will Virtual NCLC look like? Watch this short video by Hopin- the platform that is powering our conference.

NCLC FAQ can be found here.  

EVENT CODE OF CONDUCT. NCLC is committed to being inclusive and providing a safe, friendly, and welcoming environment for ALL people. Please read our CODE OF CONDUCT here.

Why wait? Let’s virtually meet Chinese language teachers and education leaders who are passionate about our community and believe in collaboration and authentic connections!


  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
  • AP® Chinese Language and Culture Development Committee
  • Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network (CELIN @Asia Society)
  • Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS)
  • Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA)
  • Center for Language Education and Cooperation
  • College Board
  • Imagin8 Press
  • Mandarin Matrix
  • National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL)
  • National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland/STARTALK Project
  • The Language Flagship Programs

For questions related to registration, please contact us via e-mail

Hosted byAsia Society13 events5810 registrations

Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States.

TAGSTag:Session Language: ChineseTag:Session Language: EnglishTag:AssessmentTag:China Across the CurriculumTag:College and Career ReadinessTag:Curriculum and InstructionTag:Partnerships and CommunityTag:Program Models and K-16Tag:EngagementTag:ArticulationTag:ResearchTag:Remote LearningTag:Teacher Development and SustainabilityTag:Teacher SwapshopTag:NCLC Explains


Happy New Year! 新年快乐!

February 11, 2021

新年快乐! 春节快乐!

Happy year of the Ox. It’s not quite the usual New Year, which includes visiting family, making dumplings, handing out red envelopes or going see a special program at your Mandarin immersion school. But it’s still a happy occasion.

And the glory of Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival) is that it lasts for another eight days, so you’re not behind at all.

You can read about the various usual activities here.

It’s the year of the metal ox, actually, and you can read all about that here.

For most of China, New Year wouldn’t be New Year without watching the star-studded New Year Special that airs tonight. You can read about it and find it online here.

There are various rhymes for remembering all 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, ask your child if they know any of them. For reasons I don’t understand, a common one online for memorizing them in English is linked to Red Lobster restaurants.

And a trick if you didn’t grow up in with them — you can usually figure out how old anyone is just by asking what year they were born in. If they’re year of the horse, they were either born in 1966, 1978, 1990 or 2002. I had a friend who once offhandedly said something about how old I was and I asked her how she knew. “You told me your zodiac sign, silly!” she answered.