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Mrs. Plumberg’s Newsroom

Mrs. Plumberg’s Newsroom

Mandarin News Program

This Spring, in part­ner­ship with Mrs. Plumberg’s News­room, Han­wen School is pre­sent­ing a new mod­el of Chi­nese lan­guage pro­gram that goes above and beyond text­book teach­ing, drills and mem­o­riza­tion.

Our Man­darin News Pro­gram adapts the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy to enable student-driven con­tent selec­tion, results-focused dai­ly study­ing, Man­darin con­ver­sa­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion prac­tices, peer sup­port and feed­back, as well as learn­ing in China’s cul­tur­al con­text, all jam-packed in one afford­able price.

We offer three terms with par­al­lel struc­ture that grad­u­al­ly increas­es in length and knowl­edge inten­si­ty.  These are stand-alone terms, but we high­ly rec­om­mend you sign up for all three to get the most out of it and receive a 10% dis­count.


  • One week pri­or to each term starts: Students/ par­ents will receive instruc­tions to self-evaluate and report Chi­nese lan­guage pro­fi­cien­cy lev­el to instruc­tor. You’ll also receive log-in detail to a pro­pri­etary news data­base, and detail of an Eng­lish book writ­ten by a jour­nal­ist or a Chi­na expert about con­tem­po­rary Chi­na that will be read and dis­cussed dur­ing the term. Books will be suit­able for stu­dents’ com­pre­hen­sive lev­el and areas of inter­est.
  • Ori­en­ta­tion (2 hours at Han­wen School): pro­gram overview, dig­i­tal data­base (web/iOS/Android) tuto­r­i­al, phone con­ver­sa­tion time slot sign-up, week­ly Chi­na news brief­ing, and guid­ance on book dis­cus­sion.
  • Week-long Guid­ed Study: for 30–45 min­utes a day, stu­dents study Chi­nese news article(s) (min­i­mum one piece per week) cho­sen by them­selves based on their pro­fi­cien­cy lev­el and inter­est. When ready, they will com­plete vocab­u­lary and com­pre­hen­sion tests online, which is to be reviewed by instruc­tor dig­i­tal­ly upon com­ple­tion. Instruc­tor may assign addi­tion­al article(s) for advanced stu­dents dur­ing the week, depend­ing on student’s progress, or pro­vide imme­di­ate sup­port if stu­dents encounter dif­fi­cul­ties. Instruc­tor pro­vides ongo­ing mon­i­tor­ing remote­ly. Stu­dents are also required to read assigned chap­ters of the book dur­ing the week (it will always be a fun read!).
  • Man­darin Con­ver­sa­tions (via phone): stu­dents can select up to two 30-minute times­lots to prac­tice Man­darin and ask ques­tions with instruc­tor on the phone dur­ing the week.
  • Sun­day Work­shops (2 hours at Han­wen School): instruc­tor to give a week­ly Chi­na news brief­ing, fol­lowed by stu­dent pre­sen­ta­tions of news arti­cles and peers Q&A; fol­lowed by book dis­cus­sions facil­i­tat­ed by instruc­tor.  Chi­nese begin­ners who real­ly strug­gle to car­ry out con­ver­sa­tions in Man­darin will be allowed to use Eng­lish when nec­es­sary.
  • Indi­vid­ual Learn­ing Report: Instruc­tor to email indi­vid­ual learn­ing eval­u­a­tion to students/parents with quan­ti­ta­tive results and qual­i­ta­tive feed­back.


  • This pro­gram is devel­oped for Man­darin learn­ers aged 10–18 with basic Man­darin pro­fi­cien­cy (min­i­mum HSK 1+)
  • Stu­dents can chose to study news in tra­di­tion­al or sim­pli­fied scripts
  • Each term is lim­it­ed to eight seats only


Our sched­ule takes into con­sid­er­a­tion school cal­en­dars in Albany and Berke­ley.  We remain flex­i­ble if the major­i­ty of the stu­dents pre­fer alter­na­tive work­shop tim­ing on Sun­day.  Cur­rent­ly, all ori­en­ta­tions and work­shops will be held at Han­wen School on Sun­day from 2pm to 4pm.

Term Dura­tion Ori­en­ta­tion/Workshops
(2–4pm at Han­wen)
Week-long guid­ed study &
Man­darin con­ver­sa­tions
Indi­vid­ual Learn­ing Reports
#1 4 weeks Sun­day, Jan­u­ary 21
Sun­day, Jan­u­ary 28
Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 4
Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 11
Jan­u­ary 22-January 27
Jan­u­ary 29-February 3
Feb­ru­ary 5-Febraury 10
Feb­ru­ary 12-February 17
Sub­mit­ted to fam­i­ly by March 3
#2 5 weeks Sun­day, March 4
Sun­day, March 11
Sun­day, March 18
Sun­day, March 25
Sun­day, April 1
March 5–10
March 12–17
March 19–24
March 16–31
April 2–6
Sub­mit­ted to fam­i­ly by April 21
#3 6 weeks Sun­day, April 22
Sun­day, April 29
Sun­day, May 6
Sun­day, May 13
Sun­day, May 20
Sun­day, May 27
April 23–28
April 30-May 5
May 7–12
May 14–19
May 21–26
May 28-June 2
Sub­mit­ted to fam­i­ly by June 15


Term Dura­tion Term Fee Dis­count­ed rate for sign­ing up all three terms before Jan 21 Dis­count­ed rates for return­ing stu­dents
#1 4 weeks USD 380  10%/ USD 1,269 N.A.
#2 5 weeks USD 470 5%/ USD 447
#3 6 weeks USD 560 5%/ USD 532

Note: All fees include one pre­mi­um account sub­scrip­tion of a pro­pri­etary edu­ca­tion data­base dur­ing the term peri­ods, but exclude book pur­chase.  We want­ed to allow fam­i­lies to pur­chase books in their cho­sen forms: e-book, audio book, hard copy, library loan, second-hand, etc.


To ensure the qual­i­ty of the pro­gram, we are com­mit­ted to small groups and invest­ed in dig­i­tal learn­ing plat­form.  There­fore, we have to main­tain a strict refund pol­i­cy to avoid sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial loss.  Thank you for your under­stand­ing.

  • 100% refund will be giv­en, minus a 3% trans­ac­tion fee (when pay by cred­it card or Pay­pal), if can­celled sev­en days pri­or to each term start date.  Fam­i­ly who pay by check can avoid the 3% fees.  For those who take up 10% dis­count for sign­ing up all three class­es, the final date for a 100% refund minus 3% trans­ac­tion fee is Jan­u­ary 14, 2018
  • 75% refund will be giv­en, minus a 3% trans­ac­tion fee fee (when pay by cred­it card or Pay­pal), if can­celled three days pri­or to the term start date
  • 50% refund will be giv­en, minus a 3% trans­ac­tion fee (when pay by cred­it card or Pay­pal), if can­celled with­in 72 hours pri­or to the term start date.  Fam­i­ly who pay by check can avoid the 3% fees.
  • No refund will be giv­en on or after the term starts.  How­ev­er, the depart­ing stu­dent can bring in a replace­ment stu­dent to com­plete the rest of the term.  A brief ori­en­ta­tion will be giv­en to the new stu­dent and eval­u­a­tion reports will be devel­oped for both stu­dents.

Ques­tions or com­ments?  Email info@mrsplumberg.org

Please check out www.mrsplumberg.org or Han­wen School’s staff page for fur­ther infor­ma­tion about our instruc­tor, Mrs. Heather Hsieh Plumberg.