With the help of an iPhone app, Gavin Smith was able to talk with Wen Dingsheng, a visiting Chinese student. Although Wen Dingsheng didn't speak much English, the app translated what Smith, a fourth-grader, was saying.
That was just one of many ways students at Columbia Elementary interacted with and learned from the 31 students visiting from Jinhua, in the Zhejiang province of China.
Each of the visiting students, ages 9 to 12, was partnered with a student from Columbia Elementary, as Gavin was.
Lily Walthery, a fourth-grade student, and her family acted as a host family for two visiting girls, Lu Ye and Hu Yang. The girls went to an event at the Dentzel carousel Thursday night which was for host families and the visiting students and teachers. In addition to the students, two teachers and an assistant principal attended.
Friday night, the girls went to piano lessons at Lily's grandmother's house and then had a dinner and played music, Lily said. They also played Wii.
"It's been very fun," Lily said. "They also taught me how to write my name in Chinese."
The experience was educational for both visiting Chinese students and the students at Columbia Elementary.
Gavin said his partner would tell him how to say a few words in Chinese and would talk a little about the culture.
"I asked him if he likes it here and he said yes," Gavin said.
The visiting group arrived Tuesday night and spent time at school and then with host families. In addition to the students and teachers, 15 members of a Chinese education delegation arrived in Logansport late Thursday night.
A welcome party for the members of the delegation on Friday morning included a performance by the Logansport High School swing choir. The Chinese students also performed two songs and played flutes for students and faculty at Columbia Elementary and members of the delegation.