Mandarin Language Program

District 67 offers a K-4 Mandarin language program at Cherokee Elementary School. Students who live in the Sheridan and Everett areas may request a permissive transfer to attend Cherokee for Mandarin instruction. (For more information about permissive transfers, visit the District Policies and Procedures page. District transportation may be provided to attendees for a fee as the program is only offered at one school.) Students have the option of joining the Mandarin program in kindergarten or first grade. Deer Path Middle School provides Advanced Mandarin classes for students who choose to continue learning Mandarin in fifth grade.
At Cherokee, Mandarin instruction is provided daily for 40-60 minutes per day. Students in the Mandarin program learn to read, write, speak, and listen to the Mandarin language through integrated units that incorporate social studies concepts and Chinese language arts. Inspired by authentic opportunities to use another language, students will acquire skills that will allow them to communicate linguistically and socially in a setting where Mandarin is the native language. The Mandarin program also builds students’ understanding of Chinese culture. Please see the information below for grade level learning highlights.


In Kindergarten, students will learn to talk about themselves, direct family members, school supplies and people in a community. They will learn about winter weather and clothes. They will compare American symbols and Chinese symbols, and explore sea animals. Throughout the year they:

  • Create a class book to introduce themselves and our classroom
  • Create a family tree and present their family tree to the class
  • Perform a short Chinese play “Little Fish Looking For Mom”
  • Record their voice introducing winter holidays, weather, winter clothing and snow animals and insert it in PowerPoint slides with related picture attached
  • Make mini books comparing American Symbols and Chinese symbols
  • Design a map of a community and label people and places on the map

First Grade

In first grade, students will learn to talk about people and places of our school, nationality of family members and the Lake Forest community. They will also learn about farms, and gain knowledge of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals and Chinese New Year traditions. Throughout the year they:

  • Make a video to introduce their school and school activities to the students in Chinese sister school
  • Dress up as family members with different nationalities and give a presentation about their family
  • Make a 3D poster to compare Lake Forest community and a community in China, and present the poster in class 
  • Have a short play about ordering food in a Chinese restaurant
  • Have a classroom farmer’s market with the farm stand they build by themselves and trade the products on their farm with each other
  • Perform the play “The Story of the Chinese Twelve Zodiac Animals” to parents
  • Have a Chinese New Year party to learn more about Chinese New Year’s tradition and make different traditional crafts for Chinese New Year

Second Grade

In second grade, students will learn to talk about their subjects of study, relatives and life in a community. They will also learn to order food/drinks, compare animals, develop further understanding  of the time differences and world cities, and learn traditions in the U.S. and China. Throughout the year they:

  • Write a plan for a family activity and present it to the class
  • Create a class book to introduce our school life to their Chinese pen pals
  • Make puppets of different animals, write lines and act out the short play “Animal Sports Competition”
  • Create models of historical sites in Beijing and to present what they have learned about the capital city of China to their classmates
  • Record the weather information they collected using sentence patterns and vocabulary words of this unit, and make a simple weather forecast of the four cities of China
  • Create Chinese restaurant menu, make fake Chinese food, decorate our “restaurant” in classroom and act out ordering food

Third Grade

 In third grade, students will learn to talk about their houses, yearly schedule and life in a community. They will also compare the culture between modern China and Ancient China, acquire further understanding of weather in different cities, and explore endangered species. Throughout the year they:

  • Create PowerPoint slides and do presentation to introduce their school lives
  • Design their dream house
  • Write simple scripts about showing visitors around their houses and act it out
  • Explore the reasons for some species to be endangered and record them in their research report
  • Work in groups to simulate living in different dynasties in ancient China, design clothes and introduce their lives to the class
  • Write scripts for a weather forecast and do their weather reports in front of a green screen
  • Have a Chinese cooking class and make dumplings together
  • Build a mini village in classroom and act out living in a community in China

Fourth Grade

In fourth grade, students will learn to talk about their daily schedule and after school activities, tell their home address and make plan for a family celebration. They will compare American and Chinese communities. They will learn to talk about an animal’s appearance, behavior and habitat, explore different regions in China and prepare for a trip to China. They will also extend their knowledge of Chinese legends, traditions and historical sites. Throughout the year they:

  • Create a movie to introduce their school lives and insert subtitle to the movie
  • Write a letter with its envelope and mail it to a Chinese pen pal to introduce their family
  • Make multimedia presentation to introduce their pets and tell the living place for their pets
  • Explore books of Chinese legends and traditions, make summaries and introduce them to lower grade students in the Mandarin program
  • Create postcards to write about their “trip” to China and introduce different cities of China
  • Go on a field trip to Chinatown and have Chinese food in a famous Chinese restaurant