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Walnut Elementary Teachers Visit China

Kelly Ebel and Amy Wu were guest presenters this month at the 14th annual West Lake International Expo in Hangzhou, China.

Earlier this month, two Walnut Valley elementary teachers were doing what they do best – teaching – across the globe in Hangzhou, China.

Walnut Elementary School teachers Kelly Ebel, Title I and intervention, and Amy Wu, Dual Language Immersion kindergarten, were guest presenters at the 14th annual West Lake International Expo held December 6-13 held at Walnut Elementary’s sister school, the 1st Affiliated Primary School of Hangzhou Normal University.

They taught demonstration lessons and participated in a panel discussion during the conference attended by 300 teachers and principals.

Ebel and Wu taught fractions to fourth graders during a math lesson and fifth graders learned about sea otters in a science/oceanography lesson.

They taught in English using the repetitive and visual Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) strategies to about 20 Chinese-speaking students while conference participants observed, Wu explained.  

Ebel and Wu used chants, input charts, and showed photos on their iPod. GLAD strategies are designed to help English Learners.

Last January, the sister school visited Walnut with 20 students. And the students have continued to be pen pals with their Chinese friends, Ebel said.

Both of the Walnut teachers were first time visitors in China

“It was freezing, but it was a great trip,” Ebel said.

“Hangzhou is beautiful – it’s like a resort,” she added.

Wu said it was a learning opportunity for educators in China.

“I believe the schools over there wanted to learn about how we teach our students in the States, They want to learn more about our progressive education,” Wu said. “The teachers took turns showing us around Hangzhou and were very hospitable. We had a great time with them.”

Ebel and Wu toured the Lei Feng Pagoda, Ling Yin Temple, and West Lake with their English teachers.

“I enjoyed every moment there,” Wu said.

 Ebel shared her favorite sight.

“I enjoyed the Ling Yin Temple the best,” she said.

Walnut Elementary Principal Janet Green praised the bond between the sister schools.

“It is incredibly thrilling and an honor to have a real relationship with a sister school,” she said. “It’s not just on paper. They visited us last year, and now we’ve sent teachers."

Ebel said the exchanges are lessons in sharing.

“They want to have teachers from both schools teach on the same topic and then share it,” Ebel said. “They want to keep sharing ideas.”

Ebel and Wu brought home tiny harmonica souvenirs for their students and green tea for Green. Very fitting.

--Walnut Valley Unified School District

Vito Spago December 29, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Insane. School district is broke and they send two English only speaking teachers to China. The students and parents here in Walnut know first hand about anything in China. Just ask them and save lots of money. Due to language barriers the trip was likely nothing but smiling at each other. GLAD sounds like a total waste thought up by a useless desk denizon. Next time, pick a sister school in East LA. Just as exotic and a lot cheaper.
OZ December 29, 2012 at 01:51 AM
I agree, hope it was an all inclusive trip WVUSD, keep accepting all these students from outside your district to collect state funds that probably won't come, while us Walnut residence pay the taxes....
Vito Spago December 29, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I just noticed this "Earlier this month, two Walnut Valley elementary teachers were doing what they do best – teaching – across the globe in Hangzhou, China". All teachers are needed in the classroom here, not globetrotting, unless they are on a charity mission such as for UNICEF.
Dr. James Swartz December 29, 2012 at 05:04 PM
once again, mr. spago spreads his christmas and yearlong cheer upon an otherwise happy story wherein our hard working teachers get a much needed incentive. did you read the story, sir? did it state anywhere that the trip was paid for by the district? and had you read the story instead of spreading your bitter attitude again you might have noticed that one of our teachers is in the DUAL language program. get it? every teacher in that program is obviously bilingual. hangzhou, by the way, is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. nice to see our good teachers get a bonus. keep up the good work ladies. all but a bitter few here are behind you.
Vito Spago December 30, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Hardly bitter. Just noticed that the WVUSD is having money problems and suggesting that they might want to cut back. Like you or I would in a similar situation. Dual language. Guess it is miss Wu. Bet she already knows Mandarin and English. How much more does she get paid for being born into this position. Beautiful city. Well excuse me, maybe we all should go. Teachers: Take a hint and stay here in Walnut and do your work and keep off the stupid junkets.

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