Chinese Culture Day!

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Chinese Culture Day!

Lily Bruscini

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Chinese Culture Day was held on November 29th during periods 1-4.  A special thanks to the months of collaborative preparation goes out to Mrs. Rao, Mrs. LaBolita, Mrs. Parrish, and the RIA students. Below is an interview with Mrs. Parrish concerning the preparation and event itself.


  • Who’s idea was it originally and how many people helped organize it?


The idea to host a Chinese Culture Day was originally mine. I came up with it for two reasons: first, as a teacher we are required at the beginning of each school year to set a Professional Growth Goal (PGG). We have many options to choose for this goal, but the goal that I chose was to collaborate with teachers from other subjects to work together to plan lessons for a special learning activity. I immediately thought of Mrs. Rao, since language and food go so nicely together in learning about culture. It was Mrs. Rao’s idea to get Mrs. LaBolita involved, and so the three of us started meeting at the end of September. The second reason I chose this was to expose my foods students to a new learning opportunity, and to provide a way for our Chinese exchange students to share their rich culture with the entire school.


  • What made you want to have Chinese heritage day?


When the three of us met in September, this is the idea we came up with. We thought it would be a fun and interesting way  to expose students at PHS to the Chinese Culture (food, traditions, art, language, music) . We are not a very multicultural school, we have many exchange students from China, why not combine what each of us teaches and make it an event for all students (and faculty) to learn a little of it, and not just our own classes.


  • How long did it take to set up and prepare for?


We began preparing at the end of September, and then held meetings on every Day 5, as Per 7 was what we all had free to meet. Mrs. Spisso generously offered use of the library. We also had to schedule the day with the main office to make sure that nothing was on the school calendar that would interfere with the event. On the “big day” we all met first period in the library to start setting up. Plus the gathering of all the food and other items beforehand. So lots of preparation involved!


  • Where did you get your resources from?


The RIA students and Mrs. LaBolita prepared the slides, music, provided decorations and some of the games. Mrs. Rao went to a large Chinese grocery store that she goes to in Cranston to pick up some candies, snacks and extra chopsticks, plus the ingredients to make the porridge that was served. She also set up the calligraphy station. I brought dumplings and noodles  and chopsticks from a Chinese restaurant, plus plates, napkins and food service ware.


  • Can you tell us more about the students involved?


The students involved were students Foods and Chinese Language students in Per 2 and 3 classes ( as those were the periods where we both taught those classes) plus the RIA students. We three teachers planned an exchange of class day, where half of my Foods students went to Mrs. Rao’s to learn some Chinese, and she sent half of her class to learn how to prepare Johnnycakes ( traditional RI pancakes) and scallion cakes (traditional Chinese pancakes). This took place on two separate days, as we had to make sure that all students had a learning opportunity in each class. RIA students also joined my class on both days.


  • What were the stations you had?


On the day of the big event in the library, we had stations where food was served, various activities and games, a slideshow ( that they never really got to present), and music and art. There were also representatives from URI Chinese Cultural Center who were there to present, but never got a chance to. More on that in an upcoming question!


  • What did you serve for food?


As previously stated, we served traditional noodles, dumpling, some pumpkin porridge, and some Chinese candies and rice snacks. We decided to serve the noodles and dumplings instead of the scallion cakes based on feedback from a few of the RIA students when asked what they really like to eat. Turns out they don’t really like to eat the scallion cakes very much! So that was a great learning opportunity for me. Next time we will make noodles in class, and not scallion cakes!


  • How do you feel about the outcome of the event?


We all thought the outcome was generally good and well received by students and faculty. However, we will definitely change things up for next time, as we got so many students all at once who spent much of the time waiting in line for food. The slideshow never got presented, and the URI reps didn’t get a chance to present either. We are already planning for next year, to organize it better so that all students have a chance at each station ( and they’re also not just standing around doing nothing or on the computers playing games either 🙂 Overall though, it was really nice to see many of the students getting involved, particularly with the calligraphy and using the chopsticks! All of the RIA students were so excited about that day and it was really nice to see their enthusiasm.


  • Do you see another Culture Day in the future?


Oh yes! We all think so. This was just the first, and now we have something to build on. We have looked at and discussed what we will keep, what we will not keep, and what we will add and organize differently to make it better and better! We all think it was a great way to get to know our RIA students in a more intimate way and  to provide PHS students with a cultural learning opportunity.