Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community

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Upper School News & Stories

Riverdale 欢迎你
Posted 06/15/2016 03:57PM

 

Eli Cohen '19 and Sarah Brown '19 started Mandarin in sixth grade, their first year at Riverdale. The experience marked the beginning of a new school, a new friendship, and a shared love of a new language.

"As sixth graders, we didn’t know what to expect when we first started taking Chinese," Sarah said. "We didn't know what we were going to experience. It turned out to be such a fun environment." 

When they were in 7th grade, their teacher, Meng Lusardi, showed them a video that her college group, Chinese Undergraduate Students at Yale (CUSY), had made based on the song, Beijing Welcomes You, which was written for the 2008 Olympics. Eli and Sarah loved it, and so this year they decided to make their own video for their final "One Big Thing" creative project for Ms. Lusardi's class.

The "one big thing," as it turned out, involved many things — vocabulary, mapping out the project, recruiting performers, singing, filmmaking (including drone shots), and editing.

Writing the lyrics led them to expand their Chinese vocabulary. As they worked on the lyrics, trying to match the rhyme scheme of Bejing Welcomes You, they discovered "words that we hadn't learned in Chinese yet, but they went with the rhyme, and they meant something truthful about Riverdale Country School," Eli said.

They scouted the locations, trying to give a diverse view of the campus. They recruited friends — especially actors and dancers — to appear in the film. And they did the filming and editing themselves. They devoted free periods, hours after school, and even some weekend time to finishing the film.

Lusardi gave the "One Big Thing" project to her sixth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students, and other projects reflected both their passions as well as a sense of purpose that drove the idea to completion. Some of the other projects included:
  • A skyscraper designed for an actual lot in Shanghai
  • A model of a Suzhou garden
  • A cello performance of Seven Tunes Heard in China
  • A Chinese children's book
  • Paintings of Yellow Mountain and Hong Village
  • Models of various Chinese bridges
  • A guide to the "Five Best Hiking Trails in China" 
  • A recreation of the ancient Chinese printing press
Lusardi said she was inspired by her colleague, Lu Li, to assign the "One Big Thing" project, which asks students to combine Chinese language and some aspect of Chinese culture. They spend seven weeks on their projects and provide weekly updates on their progress.  "I believe that the success of this year's projects is really due to the amazing commitment and talents of the students themselves," Lusardi said.

"Language education, I believe, is interdisciplinary by nature, and so is this project. For Chinese language in specific, the culture behind it is so interesting, rich, and diverse that learning about the culture naturally feels fun and fascinating for the students. Even for me as an adult, every time I feel that I've "got" Chinese culture, there is still so much more to learn! Furthermore, by having a choice and much autonomy over this project, students feel great ownership of their learning and motivate themselves to excel. Their sense of enjoyment and accomplishment of this year's project is apparent as many of them, particularly sixth graders, asked me multiple times after completing their projects for this year that whether they could do it again next year in seventh grade (the answer is yes!)."

Eli and Sarah said the project expressed their appreciation for the Riverdale community. Here is the English translation of the song: 

We welcome another morning with great weather.

Not a moment here is dull. We are full of kindness and friendship


The sky is continuously blue. The grass is also green.

The campus here is very large. You will love coming here.

We would like to make you comfortable, please don’t be courteous.

Everyone here is single-minded. We welcome you.


Teachers, classmates, everyone, they all are great friends.

Everyone is willing to do things for each other. Feel free to ask your questions.

This school has lots of love and many smart people.

No matter how many times you’ve been here, you will definitely not be bored.


Riverdale welcomes you. Everyone here is polite

Your classmates will make you want to improve yourself.

Riverdale welcomes you. We’re full of kindness and friendship.

Inside the gates, we are very hardworking!


Most schools make people smart, but our school also makes people happy.

The food in our cafeteria gets better and better.

Whatever you may want, we will have it.

We welcome you all together. We love it here, do you?


Riverdale welcomes you. Everyone here is polite

Your classmates will make you want to improve yourself.

Riverdale welcomes you. We’re full of kindness and friendship.

Inside the gates, we are very hardworking!


Riverdale welcomes you. We really love to study!

We have great weather and strength.

Riverdale welcomes you. The students here are #1.

We have Ms. Lusardi and Ms. Li!


Riverdale welcomes you. Everyone here is polite

Your classmates will make you want to improve yourself.

Riverdale welcomes you. We’re full of kindness and friendship.

Inside the gates, we are very hardworking!


The sky is continuously blue. The grass is also green.

The campus here is very large. You will love coming here.

We would like to make you comfortable, please don’t be courteous.

Everyone here is single-minded. We welcome you.


Riverdale welcomes you. We really love to study!

We have great weather and strength.

Riverdale welcomes you. The students here are #1.

We have Ms. Lusardi and Ms. Li!


Most schools make people smart, but our school also makes people happy.

The food in our cafeteria gets better and better.

Whatever you may want, we will have it.

We welcome you all together. We love it here, do you?



Riverdale welcomes you. Everyone here is polite

Your classmates will make you want to improve yourself.

Riverdale welcomes you. We’re full of kindness and friendship.

Inside the gates, we are very hardworking!


Riverdale welcomes you. We really love to study!

We have great weather and strength.

Riverdale welcomes you. The students here are #1.

We have Ms. Lusardi and Ms. Li!


Riverdale welcomes you. Everyone here is polite

Your classmates will make you want to improve yourself.

Riverdale welcomes you. We’re full of kindness and friendship.

Inside the gates, we are very hardworking!


Riverdale welcomes you. We’re full of kindness and friendship.

Inside the gates, we are very hardworking!


Riverdale welcomes you. We’re full of kindness and friendship.

We really hope to welcome you!



 

 

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Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community

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