On January 28 – 30, 2013, students from Central welcomed a group of 40 fourth and fifth graders and twelve teachers/administrators from Qingdao, China, as part of an international exchange program. During the three-day visit, students from Qingdao were paired with many of Central’s children who served as student ambassadors. Visitors spent most of their time observing and participating in many of our academic classes. Though many of our new friends from Qingdao spoke limited English, CES students were quite resourceful in finding ways to make connections via technology. Mrs. Fuhrmann’s/Mrs. Swan’s class paired students together for a writing assignment, which students communicated by utilizing Google translator. The student activities focused on both learning and social practices, which included a welcome luncheon with a traditional American barbeque and a collaborative mural project. Students from Qingdao also participated in Central’s student debate and were treated to a snippet of the fifth grade play, Cupid’s Bow. On the final day of the visit, students from Qindgao performed for the students and teachers at Central School with a variety of enjoyable performances.
Though the students were sad to see their new friends move on, international friendship and mutual admiration will extend beyond the three-day visit.