Play a Traditional Vietnamese Children’s Game: Dragon Snake Game


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Rong Ran (dragon-snake) is played with a large group of children. One child sits at a location above the other players; he/she plays the doctor. The other children stand in a line and hold each other’s belts to create the body of the dragon-snake. The dragon-snake, made of children, approach the doctor. The following dialogue ensues between the doctor and the child at the head of the dragon-snake:

-Where are you going, dragon-snake?

– I’m searching for medicine for my son.

– How old is he, your son?

– He is one year old.

– The doctor is not well.

– He is two years old.

-The doctor is not well.

-He is three years old.

-The doctor is not well.

-He is four years old. (This continues up to nine years old, and the doctor responds each time with “The doctor is not well.”

Finally, the dragon-snake reaches ten, saying:

– He is ten years old.

Then the doctor answers:

– Alright, the doctor is well.

With this, the doctor stands up and says:

– Give me your head

-Nothing but the bones.

The dragon-snake replies:

– Give me the body.

– Nothing but the blood.

– Give me the tail.

– Pursue at will!

The doctor becomes enraged and attempts to catch the child at the tail of the dragon-snake. The head of the dragon-snakes stretches his/her arms to block the doctor while the dragon-snake attempts to make a circle. If the dragon-snake succeeds in encircling the doctor before the doctor reaches the tail, the dragon-snake wins. However, if the doctor succeeds in catching the tail of the dragon-snake, the dragon-snake loses. The losers must then present their hands out for the victor to slap.

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How to Make A Chinese Paper Lantern

Making a Chinese paper lantern is a fun, easy-to-do craft that you can do with your family and kids. You can decorate your home with them, or use them to celebrate a Chinese festival. The most recent festival was the Mid-Autumn festival earlier this month, which marks the harvest season and is widely celebrated in China and Vietnam. Lighting paper lanterns and carrying them in a procession or floating them into the sky is a hallmark of the Mid-Autumn festival.

Mid Autumn Festival Lanterns 2

Image source: The Jade Turtle Blog


  • A sheet of letter sized red paper

  • A sheet of letter sized gold paper

  • Pencil

  • Ruler

  • Scissors

  • Glue


  1. Fold the red piece of paper in half, hamburger-style. (As in, fold it to create a wide piece, not a skinny piece.) Use the pencil and ruler to trace lines, about 3/4” apart perpendicular to the folded side. Leave 3/4” on top without lines.

  2. Use the scissors to cut along the lines, which will create the bars in the middle of the lantern.

  3. Roll the gold paper lengthwise to form a tube. Glue it or tape it closed. This will be the center of the lantern.

  4. Unfold the red piece of paper. Wrap the red piece of paper with slits around the gold tube. Secure with glue. You can cut off the excess gold paper at the top and bottom; or leave it as decoration.


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  1. Any extra gold paper can be used to make a handle at the top. To make a handle, cut a strip and glue it at the top of the lantern.


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Chinese Cuisine: Peking Duck


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Peking Duck is one of the most delicious dishes from Beijing. The dish is valued for the soft meat and the thin, crisp skin. Pekin Ducks, a type of white duck, are prepared specifically for the dish are seasoned before being roasted in a hung or closed oven. Traditionally, the duck is sliced in front of the diners by the chief. The meat is served with sides of scallion and cucumber. To eat the duck, diners take a thin pancake and spread a line of sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce down the middle. They then place the slices of scallion and cucumber on top, along with the meat and skin, before rolling it all together.


Peking Duck emerged around the late Ming Dynasty, although duck had been roasted in China since the imperial Southern and Northern Dynasties. It was mentioned in a 1330 food manual written by Hu Sihui, an inspector of the imperial kitchen. By the mid 1900s, Peking Duck was recognized as a source of national Chinese pride.

Where to Eat

Try the centuries old restaurants Quanjude and Bianyifang, located in Beijing.

Fun Fact

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State during Nixon’s presidency, declared Peking Duck his favorite Chinese dish when meeting with Premier Zhou Enlai. The day after Kissinger’s delegation was served Peking Duck for the first time, the Americans and Chinese issued a joint statement that invited President Nixon to China. Some say the great peking duck was a factor in this decision…


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10 Things You Might Not Have Known About the Great Wall of China


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  1. The claim that it is the only man-made structure that can be seen from the moon with the naked eye is a MYTH.
  2. The wall stretches out for 5,500 miles. That is the equivalent of 96,800 American football fields!

  3. The wall was built with different materials that varied from region to region and evolved with the passage of each new dynasty. Brick, stone, tamped earth, wood, and other materials make up the wall.

  4. It took roughly 2,000 years to build.

  5. Jiankou is considered the most dangerous portion of the wall, due to its need for reconstruction.

  6. Since 1999, there has been an annual marathon on the Great Wall, offering tourists and athletes a different way to experience the famous site.china_great_wall_marathon_2014-poster

  7. The cost of human life to build the wall has been estimated in the thousands, possibly up to a million.

  8. The wall originated with the warring states in China that built walls as fortifications. When Qin Shi Huang conquered and unified China, he ordered the destruction of walls that defined the former state borders and began building new walls to connect the remaining fortifications.

  9. Badaling is the most visited section of the wall.

  10. The past uses of the wall include defense, trade, and migration control. Today, it is the most famous tourist attraction in China.
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Why You Should Try E-Learning

These days, everything is virtual. Our banks, our shops, and even our classrooms have moved online. So why is e-learning becoming so popular?

Virtual learning is ideal for the working professional leading a busy life.

As a working professional, you get to skip the commute to the classroom. You build your curriculum around your schedule. You get to relax at home while learning in a comfortable environment. Virtual students love the convenience.

Students are turning to the digital world in bigger numbers for flexible learning and customized lessons. Learning Mandarin and Vietnamese has just become as easy as turning on your computer.

So give it a try. Sign up by emailing us at Log into your Skype. And sit back and enjoy a world of learning at your fingertips.

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My Visit to the BCLC Vietnamese Summer Camp

Students Chloe and Olivia with their TA.

Students Chloe and Olivia with their TA.

I knock on the door of the BCLC classroom. A pause.

“Maybe it’s a monster,” the voice of Cho Kiu, a TA, suggests. Inside, I hear the students squeal.

“I’m not a monster,” I promise. I open the door. “OR AM I?” I snarl and the girl in front of the door jumps back, giggling in surprise.

This is my introduction to this week’s remaining students, Olivia and Chloe. The two sisters returned to BCLC to enroll for the entire summer. In the final week of the camp, the students are eager to share what they have learned with me.

They point to the shapes drawn on the board, proudly telling me the names of the shapes in Vietnamese. They then point to a corner of the room and tell me it’s their grocery store. Another corner of the room, where I am sitting, is their restaurant. I look. I see Cho Kiu’s lunch.

“Cho Kiu’s lunch is your restaurant?” I tease.

“No!” Olivia and Chloe exclaim. They swivel the chair I am sitting on. Lo and behold, I am sitting in a “restaurant,” as evidenced by the restaurant themed vocabulary words and pictures attached to the back of my chair.

I can see that their classroom is a magical place with many worlds inside. Perfect for the voracious imaginations of two little girls. It is also immediately apparent that these two girls really know their stuff. They begin teaching me the words they have learned.

“‘Cầu vồng’ means ‘rainbow,’” they tell me. They teach me words at a rapid-fire pace. Before I know it, they are quizzing me.

“What does that say?” the girls ask me, pointing to a picture of a desk with the word in Vietnamese written below. I squint at the Vietnamese orthography. I am about to mangle the pronunciation. “‘Cái bàn,’” I attempt, pronouncing the last syllable almost like a nasalized French vowel.

“No!” the girls chorus. “‘Cái bàn,’” they say, pronouncing it perfectly.

“‘Cái bàn,’” I repeat dutifully.

And so the students become the instructors.

Olivia at work.

Olivia at work.

Overall, my impression of the girls is that they love the camp. Chloe tells me, “it’s fun to learn!” Indeed, it’s fun to learn. I wish that more students thought like that and more classrooms taught that style. Children need to enjoy learning, instead of thinking of it as a chore. What I love about BCLC is that it plays on the imagination of the students and the expertise of the instructors to teach children. It encourages them at a young age to love learning and try hard.


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A Taste of Vietnam: Banh Mi


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Vietnamese sandwiches, or “bánh mì” sandwiches, are one of the most popular street foods in the world! “Bánh mì” sandwiches originated from French colonialism in Indochina, combining French and Vietnamese ingredients.

“Bánh mì” sandwiches come in many flavors. The classic version, bánh mì thịt nguội, is made with various Vietnamese-style meats, head cheese, and vegetables. A vegetarian version, bánh mì chay, can be found in some restaurants, yet is rarely found on the streets of Vietnam.

 These sandwiches are BCLC’s top pick for easy-to-make lunches. Try it for yourself with this recipe!


·    1 (12 in) French baguette

·    ¼ cup white sugar

·    ½ cup rice vinegar

·    ¼ cup water

·    ¼ cup carrot (cut into 1/16 inch thick matchsticks)

·    ¼ cup white radish (cut into 1/16 inch thick matchsticks)

·    ¼ cup sliced white onion

·    Small pinch of garlic salt (optional)

·    Small pinch of black pepper (optional)

·    4 Tb mayonnaise

·    ¼ sliced cucumber

·    1 Tb fresh cilantro leaves

·    1 small jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

·    Sliced cooked chicken breast OR pork cuts

 Note: You can buy pre-cooked chicken breast or even cold cuts. Check out your local Asian market for some good selections.

Serving Size: 1 Sandwich


1.     Combine white sugar, rice vinegar, and water in a saucepan over medium eat. Bring to a boil and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture cool.

2.     In a medium bowl, add the carrot, radish, and onion and poured the cooled vinegar mixture on top. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes before draining off the extra mixture.

3.     While the vegetables marinate, slice the meat into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.

4.     Slice the baguette in half (the long way) and create a cavity for the filling by pulling out the center of the bread from the baguette halves. Lightly toast the baguette halves.

5.     Spread mayonnaise on each half of the baguette, and fill the cavity with the meat and vegetables.

6.     Enjoy!


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Teacher Yen Nguyen Answers Our Top 5 Questions!


Yen Nguyen is one of BCLC’s most experienced Vietnamese instructors. Today, she shares her insight regarding the 2014 Summer Camp.

1. What was the opening of Vietnamese camp like?

Summer is coming with its radiance; we all are happy to welcome it, especially our young students with their Summer vacation. Parents and teachers are thinking that kids attending school again, right in the beginning of vacation would be frustrating, but kids are very excited to join us at Summer Camp.

Therefore, the first day of camp was merrily animated, and so were the consecutive days. The 2013 Summer Camp students were extremely happy to see their teachers again. In that intimate atmosphere, two new young students easily acquainted with others and adapted quickly to our program.

2. What activities have you done in class?


Student at work.

Activities include games, reading or telling stories, role plays, listening comprehension exercises, show and tell, all to enrich Vietnamese vocabulary. What is remarkable in BCLC Vietnamese class is that the kids’ pronunciation is accurate. The parents of Olivia and Chloe told me: “my children’s pronunciation is better than mine.”  In this program, students are able to translate from Vietnamese into English and vice versa.

3. What was your favorite lesson, and how did the children respond?

To respond to your question “what was my favorite lesson,” I say I don’t know because to go to class, BCLC teachers must be well equipped. And in class, they have to show that they love the subject they talk about to influence kids. Finally, the teachers themselves really love what they are teaching. All BCLC teachers keep in mind that TEACHING is their Sacred Mission. As for this reason, we enhance our carrier  everyday, we devote heart, mind and time in teaching.

4. What are some of the biggest challenges to teaching at the camp, and how do you address them?

The biggest challenges to teaching at the camp are how to guide young students with a “too” independent character, to change a self-willed kid into an obedient student because s/he loves and trusts her/his teachers (teachers must very patient and nice).

5. What do you love best about teaching at BCLC?

You know what I love best about teaching at BCLC? It’s that BCLC provides the right materials and support that both the teachers and students need to improve the overall learning quality.


Let’s give a special thanks to Yen Nguyen for sharing her thoughts!

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BCLC helps students talk in to their families—in foreign languages!

Minh, 17Nov13 pic

The work of one of our students, Minh.

Our ELP program teaches language and culture to children during one-on-one tutoring sessions. We offer challenging and fun lessons with real results.

One of our students, Minh, enrolled in September, 2013. A Vietnamese child, he had never taken Chinese before. According to his Mandarin teacher, Cho Kiu, he has learned in leaps and bounds. Cho Kiu said, “Pronunciation usually gives people a hard time, but Minh mastered this… Minh speaks very smooth and fluent Chinese, almost like a native Chinese speaker.”

When Minh went to Vietnam for winter break to visit family, he was the only child in his family who could speak Chinese to his grandpa. His grandfather was extremely happy.

“It is very difficult to apply what we learned in class to our real life situation, especially in a foreign language, and Minh was able to do so!” Cho Kiu said. “I was very proud of Minh!”

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Students love BCLC’s Vietnamese Summer Camp

5J-nBcXj5_qawYyPVjlaNC4nZmPHBayPIGVVcEcZvpsOur students can’t get enough of Summer Camp, and neither can we.

Two students from last year, Chloe and Olivia, loved the camp so much that they decided to enroll again— for the full three months! Their vocabulary has grown in leaps and bounds. Chloe is especially proud of writing the Vietnamese characters for different colors on the whiteboard in front of the class. Per the instructor’s’ directions, she writes them out in colored ink, too. Writing the character for “red” in red ink, for instance, helps subtly reinforce the lesson at hand.

A new student, Brayden, enrolled for just one week. He enjoyed the camp so much, he enrolled for an additional three weeks. He brought some of his Vietnamese reading material home, and he speaks Vietnamese to his family. He even got his older brother hooked on learning Vietnamese; his brother just signed up for the Summer Camp, too.

BCLC makes learning fun and interactive. The students love learning through BCLC’s tried and true games and lessons. For example, in one exercise, the instructors divide the classroom into 4 zones: a restaurant, a zoo, a supermarket, and a weather station. The students go to each zone and practice their conversation skills in the different settings. This taps into their creativity and develops their speaking skills.

One month in, and the BCLC Summer Camp is a blast. We can’t wait to see what this month will bring!


There’s still time to register your child for the 2014 Camp! Contact us at 571.249.4938 or via email at

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