Chinese New Year…a time to connect

This post is for both primary and middle school students!

Our primary school students have reflected on the story ‘A New Year’s Reunion’ by Yu Li Qiong this week.  They have not only empathized with Mao Mao, who only sees her father once a year, but with the feelings of Mao Mao’s parents who like millions of other men and women in rural China choose to work in the big cities, away from their families, to financially support their families.


Students have discussed their own family situations, having family members who live far away, or mums and dads who work away from home sometimes for days, weeks or months, to compare with Mao Mao’s family In China.

Middle School students will also be reflecting on this, as a ‘social phenomenon’. Millions of rural men and women in China travel miles to the big cities to work and are known as ‘migrant workers’.  They go home once a year, at Chinese New Year, to be with their familes for a few days, and then back to the cities to work.

This social phenomenon is known as the biggest human migration in the world! Here are a few videos to watch, but do a search in youtube to find some more perspectives on this phenomenon that not only stretches a nation’s transport capacities, but highlights a nation of people’s tolerance, resilience and commitment…amidst love and heartache.  In this world of globalization, how important is staying connected with our ‘families’?

We will revisit our MYP question ‘How does connecting with others open up our world?’ , and compare the situations of families in China with our families in Australia.

谢谢! Thanks to the Chung Wah!

The Chung Wah visited Kormilda Primary last week, see the photos on the Kormilda website.  Here is a video of the performance (linked from the Kormilda YouTube Channel)  that they gave to the upper primary:

The students absolutely loved the presentation and performance from the Chung Wah dancing lion troupe, so expressed their thanks through collaborative art work.

T-2 worked together to make a sheep to help the Chung Wah bring in the New Chinese Year of the Sheep!


The 3/4 class made the 羊 character (for sheep) out of 红包, traditional red envelopes given to children for Chinese New Year:


The year 5 class wrote 谢谢 (thanks) with glitter :


We presented the collaborative works to the volunteers who came to our school at the Chinese Temple Hall :



Then we had fun watching the troupe’s amazing dancing in the CBD!

Chung Wah Lion Blessings

The Chung Wah Society Dancing Lion Troupe came to Kormilda Primary School last week to give the students a demonstration of their lion dancing!  All students got to have a go of the lions too, here’s Lucas inside the lion’s head!


Only a few days to the Chinese New Year, and the Chung Wah Society Dancing Lion Troupe will be busy over the Chinese New Year period doing shop blessings over Darwin!

On Friday 20th Feb (afternoon / evening) they will be at Casuarina Shopping Centre.
On Saturday the 21st Feb they will be doing blessings in Darwin CBD, Parap, Fannie Bay, Cullen Bay and Larrakeyah.
On Saturday the 28th Feb they will do the Northern Suburbs and Palmerston.

It’s difficult to give exact times, but Miss Donna and her family will be heading off to the CBD at around 9am on Saturday the 21st, to follow the lions around and support their very hard work!! We will grab a coffee in the mall too while we watch! So please feel free to join us, there will probably be around 3 different troupes around different parts of the CBD at one time, so hopefully you will ‘hear’ the drums and gongs and find a group to watch!  If you can’t hear them, look out for the shops with lettuce hanging at the doorway, and they’ll be along soon!


Ms Donna

Middle School News

Below are some links to what we are learning in class, but middle (and senior) students are also encouraged to browse this blog for songs that the primary kids are learning too, they are fun, catchy, and help us to remember so much Chinese!

As well as our MYP question, we have been busy learning a little about stroke names and order – check out the Gong Fu Gary videos for the basic strokes, here is the first one but you can find lots more on the Groovi Pauli channel!

We are practicing our tones and syllable sounds…use this pinyin chart to hear the sounds and see video explanation for those tricky ones.

We’ve also learned a new hello song, lots of useful vocab that the students can link to as they make their Mandarin learning journey.  All the words are on the video for you, just sing along!

We’re also learning how to add Chinese keyboards…depending on your computer/ software it is a little different.  But basically in the control panel there should be a language section, sometimes called ‘clock language region’, in there you want to ‘change keyboard’ and then ‘add a language’ .  You will see that there are lots of Chinese keyboards to choose from, you will need to choose Chinese simplified, PRC, and PINYIN input method.  When you OK this, you will see on the bottom right of screen, a EN ( for English) which means your keyboard is on English input. If you click on that you will have the option to change to Chinese input.  Add this to your devices at home and practice typing Chinese! Your computer will always default to English upon start up.

Students are learning how to type numbers one to ten to practice using the Chinese keyboard.  It’s so easy and soon we will be setting up our blogs and typing away in Chinese!

The first characters that we need to learn how to recognise and write by memory are numbers 1 to 10.  Click on the characters below (numbers 1-10) to see how we write them.

Chinese Vocabulary


*Click to generate your own vocabulary.

Happy writing!

Regards, Miss Donna

This week in the primary school

In the primary classroom we are learning Mandarin at a phenomenal rate! Don’t worry if your kids are coming home not quite perfecting one song, yet trying to teach you lots of unperfected songs! I introduce kids to lots of classroom phrases and lots of different songs, they may seem unrelated (un ‘themed’) like traditional second language learning…but don’t worry! The kids pick them up and naturally make connections. It is more meaningful for students to be exposed to a variety of language, rather than focus on mastering one set of words before moving on to another set. Here are some links to some of the things we are learning …

potato head

We will use this song  ‘Where is my friend?’  often to play finding objects to nouns we are learning … Enjoy the song as it is, as it is a very well known Chinese song!  But we will use it lots to substitute the word ‘friend’ 朋友 for any noun we want to find!  This week it’s Mr Potato Head’s face parts!

While we have been learning to ask ‘where’ things are (在哪里?zài nǎli?) we have been enjoying  ‘Where is the teacher?’ song. Future learnings from this song are up, down, outside and inside, and of course negation with 不, students are already understanding these, and will be reinforced and connections made in future lessons!


Miss Donna


早操!Our Exercises in Mandarin!

Every pre-school, primary, middle, high, senior school and university student in China takes part in a daily morning exercise ritual!  Here is a video of a typical morning exercise routine.  Search for some more on You Tube – just type in ‘China morning exercise’.

So we are doing our exercises in Mandarin class too.  We sometimes do them to this morning exercise song, and sometimes to Groovi Pauli’s get up and move song.  Both songs have so many very useful sentence patterns and grammatical concepts that are often really hard for the older Mandarin student to grasp…they’ll be second nature to our little ones!

走开, 绿色大怪物!Go away big green monster!

We are reading ‘Go away big green monster’ in our primary classes.  After building the monster’s face, we have to make each part go away by saying ‘走开!’  (Zǒu kāi!)



This colour song and face song will help children to make the links as we read the story.  There’s also this other groovy colour song by Basho and Friends to tap your feet to, to help remember colours!  This story also introduces students to the grammatical concepts of possession (的), measure words and changing 二 to 两 when counting – connections for the future!

Sophie Koh’s China Tour

Whilst our Middle School students personally think about our MYP question ‘How will connecting with others open up my world?’, we have enjoyed watching this video of Sophie Koh’s China tour.

We are finding out a little about Sophie Koh as an individual, who she is, where she was born, the places she has lived (including Darwin!), her ethnic identity, whether she can speak Mandarin, the journey of being accepted by China for her and her band to tour, and connecting with the people of China through the sharing of her music and language: how has this opened up her world?