Bilingual Buddies Bulletin
Hello Parents:
AUG. 30, 2013
Having come to the end of the first two weeks of school, I must say, your children are blessed
and a blessing to me. Thank you for entrusting them and their education to me. As much as
could be expected at the start of a new school year, the first two weeks was, as you can
imagine, a bit “crazy.” At Back-to-School Night, I was glad to have had the opportunity to share
with you a bit about myself and some of the things your child will be learning this year in my
class. Thanks to all those who were able to attend. If, by some chance, you missed, please see
the information under resources on my RSA teacher page. While there, you can also read more
about me, if you’re curious.
With regard to training your dear ones in following rules, routines, and class and school-wide
procedures, I’ve learned that it can be a lot of work. At my age, it can be quite taxing on the
body. Thank you so much for all your patience and support thus far. Also, thanks so much for
all your donations to the class. On behalf of all the RSA teachers and staff, thanks from the
bottom of our hearts. We truly do appreciate you and your children.
As your child’s teacher, I pledge to do my utmost to immerse your child in the Chinese language
and culture while in my classroom. Having said that, your child may have told you that I was
speaking to him or her using some English from time to time. This is true, and it was because
“Mr. Dressel” was doing MOST of the teaching. My reasoning behind this stems from my belief
in the importance of establishing a strong foundation in the understanding of the classroom
rules, routines, and procedures. Therefore, as English-speaking Mr. Dressel, I was speaking to
them in a language they already knew and could readily understand. Using lots of English, I was
doing my own frontloading of various concepts (i.e. rules, routines, procedures, etc.), which I
know to be critical to laying a sound foundation for a successful school year.
However, with these initial weeks behind us now, your child has been told that Mr. Dressel’s
“going bye-bye,” and Teacher Mai (or 麦老师 ) will be taking over. From now on, they will not
hear a word of English spoken by me in the classroom (unless there is an emergency situation
that I feel warrants it). I wish to give my students as rich an immersion experience in Mandarin
as is possible. For this shorter week at school (Sept 3rd – 5th), much time will still be set aside to
teach, reteach and review all rules, routines and procedures in Mandarin as we continue to
build a foundation of understanding which I know will help your child to not only become fluent
in Mandarin, but to do their utmost to “keep their dear teacher happy” (rule #5).
Culture Corner: Upcoming Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
The Moon Festival will arrive for the Chinese this year on Thurs., Sept 19th. Class time will be
set aside to prepare the students for understanding this all-important annual event in Chinese
culture. Feel free to “google” the Moon Festival for a better understanding of it and the various
ways it is celebrated throughout many parts of Asia – not just among the Chinese – and discuss
it with your child. In Chinese, your child will be introduced to a few principle terms associated
with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, such as 中秋节(zhong qiu jie), the Chinese name for
the festival. Then there’s the words moon, 月(yue), and the Moon Lady: Chang E, 嫦娥,as
well as 月饼 (yue bing), the traditional round pastry eaten during this festival. As we like to do
each year, your child will get a chance to taste a piece of authentic moon cake in class.
Three years ago, the RSA Mandarin Immersion Program began what has now become an annual
custom of gathering parents and students outdoors in an attempt to replicate the experience of
Asian families everywhere during the Moon Festival who meet under the bright full moon and
stars to share a time of togetherness and family unity.
If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to check out the video of me posted at
my school web page singing and teaching the words to the Moon Festival song, “The Moon Is
Round.” Your child will be working on learning this in class, and I hope you and your child will be
in attendance. Details will be forthcoming about the exact day and time. As was the case last
year, I suspect it will again be held on the school playground lawn. Plan to bring your blanket
and refreshments. If owned, encourage your child to wear his / her traditional Chinese clothing
the evening of the Moon Festival, if they wish.
I will use my RSA-provided webpage as my primary means of communicating with you. As you
get into the habit of visiting my school webpage each week, you will find information posted
there which will help you stay connected to your child’s school life, your child’s teacher, and his
/ her classroom learning. Some of the resources I will be posting and regularly updating are:
BILINGUAL BUDDIES BULLETIN (hopefully every 4 to 6 weeks)
Why not take a moment now, and go to the school website,, click on “Contact
Info.,” scroll down to “teachers and staff,” and click on this to find my personal web page.
Last week, your child began chapter 1 of their Chinese Textbook. Please go to the TEXTBOOK
TALK resource on my teacher website for more explanation and IMPORTANT details.
If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to get your current email address to Mrs. Lahey
and I ASAP so we can communicate with you in this fashion as well. As the Chinese say, “a good
start (TO THE SCHOOL YEAR) is half the success.” I feel we are off to a good start. Thank you,
parents, for all that you do to help make that possible. I CERTAINLY COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT
YOU !!
Again, please remember to visit my RSA website often, as this is where I will be posting much of
the information you will need to know that is specific to my classroom and your child’s learning.
You can send all email correspondence to [email protected] Please don’t hesitate to contact
me with questions and concerns you may have.
Thanks, folks,
Mr. Dressel ( “Teacher Mai” 麦老师 )
*** P.S. If you haven’t done so already, please send in your RSA-required $10.00 loan fee to
check out a copy of the CD-ROM which accompanies your child’s Chinese textbook. For more
details about this, please go to my school website and read the information there under
Textbook Talk. ***