Snowden International School

Snowden International School

​150 Newbury Street  Boston Massachusetts 02116

Mandarin IB ab initio Year One


Ms. Liu

Course Description
This is the 1st year course of IB Mandarin program designed to be followed over two years by juniors and seniors who have no or very little previous experience of learning Mandarin Chinese. The course aims to develop a variety of linguistic skills, and a basic awareness of the Chinese culture using the language. It is a standard level course. 

Course Objectives 
At the end of this course students will be expected to demonstrate abilities to:
communicate information and some basic ideas clearly and effectively, in a limited range of situations;
understand and use accurately the essential spoken and written forms of the language in a limited range of situation;
understand and use a limited range of vocabulary in common usage;
use a register that is generally appropriate to the situation;
show awareness of some elements of the Chinese culture related to the Chinese language.

Description of how course develops learner profile habits

As an International Baccalaureate program school, Snowden is focusing on educating students to become individuals described in IB learner profile: inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. By taking language course students will discover their potentials in language learning and develop an understanding of other cultures and others’ point of view through authentic learning materials.

Curriculum Covered over two years:

the individual
education and work
town and service
food and drink
leisure and travel
the environment
health and emergencies

Key questions:

What are the major differences in educational systems between China and the US?
Describe the values and beliefs in family traditions in your culture
How to address the issue of the environment and its protection.
How to describe one’s personality, character, and habit
How to gain knowledge through travel.

Description of Major Assessments / Assignments (Learning Products)
Oral/speaking assignment
self-introduction in Chinese ((3 min)
describe an interesting activity or event
describe a friend
role-play on a self-chosen topic: between a customer and a seller/ restaurant waiter, etc.
group project: topic and settings to be determined. (debate on environmental issues, travel together &  hospital service)
Writing assignment: express opinions
pen-pal letter
weekly journal entry
design a poster/advertisement
Short essay: e.g. my ideal school life
Comparison: verbally and in writing
dictionary searching

Mid-term exam
Final exam

Assessment and Grading Policy

IB course projects will be assessed by IB assessment standards following IB Guide on individual project base. IB Guide is available in the classroom. Snowden assessment will be guided by the following:

Final grade computation:
1st term: 20%;
2nd term: 20%;
3rd term: 20%;
4th term: 20%
Mid-year: 10% and final exam: 10%

Each term grade consists of

40% quiz average
at least 2-4 quizzes are given within a term/quarter. Quizzes may be given at the end of each lesson and may be retaken after school before the end of the term. Sometimes a project may be given as an alternative, and the project will be assessed by rubrics.

35% every worksheet/assignment, which varies in numbers for the different level of classes. worksheets are students’ obligations that they must do. Failing to hand in a complete worksheet in 5 days will result in grade reduction. Worksheets/assignments may be completed in class or at home according to the teacher’s instructions. Incomplete worksheet/assignment receives no credits. Every assignment will be corrected and returned to students in a timely manner. Neat handwriting of Chinese characters is required for all students.

25% class participation 

Students are expected to
            Speak Chinese in a thoughtful manner.
            Listen to others with respect and appreciation.
            Present one’s own project with care.

Required Materials: a notebook, a folder, pen and index cards

Key Course Texts

Mandarin Ab Initio Syllabus by IB program & IB Chinese curriculum and vocabulary manual 
Huanying an introduction to Chinese by Jianying Howard and Lanting Xu, Cheng & Tsui Comany 2009
Ni Hao by Shumang Fredlein-Paul Fredlein, ChinaSoft Australia 1998
A Key to Chinese Speech and Writing by Joël Bellassen and Zhang Pengpeng, Sinoligua Beijing 1997
Rudimentary Chinese Sinolingua Beijing 1990
Popular Chinese Expressions Sinolingua Beijing 2007

Extra Help

Tuesdays and Thursday after school 2:15-3:15 or by appointment for other days

Availability for Parent contact
Email Ms. Liu at or call 617-635-9989 to leave a message
An individual conference may be arranged.