Two Days!

We have two days left and are tying up all the loose ends! Today Stephanie Fleckenstein kindly lent us her time again to give us more hands-on practice with otoscopy and tympanometry. Here are some pictures from today’s practice:



All of our books are finished and packed, presentations printed (we can practice on the plane!), and reservations made – all that is left is to jump on the plane and take an adventure of a lifetime!


Hearing Screening Training

Today Stephanie Fleckenstein, audiologist and clinical assistant professor, trained us on the hearing screening protocols we will be completing in the Tianjin orphanage. Stephanie has previously been a part of the China Project so she was also able to share with us memories and travel advice! Our group has already been trained on  screenings with audiometers, so today focused on things we weren’t as familiar with – otoscopy and tympanometry. Otoscopy is a visual examination of the ear canal and eardrum and tympanometry is a means of measuring eardrum mobility by creating changes in air pressure. We learned some great tips on performing screenings and keeping kids interested and calm. Here are some pictures from today’s training:


We’ll be practicing and perfecting our skills over the next two weeks on each other and our classmates – any volunteers? 🙂 Two weeks until we leave! What a countdown!

Adapted Book Project Progress

On Friday, we met as a group to get started on our felt storyboards. Liz purchased the felt, foam boards, borders, transfer paper, glue sticks for the glue guns, and much more to get us going. She made an example board and self-made felt animals to put on the board to show us as an example! We got right to it and created a sort of assembly line to get the boards started. Katie cut the felt, Natalie and Claire glued the felt to both sides of the boards, Monica trimmed the felt, Lauren cut the border fabric, and Liz glued the border fabric. In 15 minutes we had almost 4 boards completely done! Our goal for the week is to each have a board completely done and our felt board pieces printed and ironed on to transfer paper to use on the boards!
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Liz also brought a language board that can be used when playing with bubbles. We have decided to create language boards that can be used for many different types of universal play. We came up with ideas for several toys/games, such as cars, house, blocks, puzzles, and more! Each of us has chosen a toy or type of play and will modify a
language board to fit that item. The board will follow a well-known classification system and will include verbs, nouns, prepositions, etc. that are associated with that item.

Time is flying and things are really moving along! The anticipation is building and we cannot wait!

This post was authored by Leslie Van Winkle

A busy weekend

We’ve had a busy, but exciting, weekend! On Friday, April 12th, we enjoyed a potluck dinner with Ning and Wang, a couple who grew up, married and attended undergraduate studies in China. We enjoyed learning about Chinese culture from their perspective, eating a wonderful noodle dish crafted by Wang and various other delicious foods provided by students and faculty. We were also graced by a recital of a poem in Mandarin by Ning and her daughter. It was a nice way to start the weekend and relax before the China Project yard sale. Saturday we started bright and early at 6am to set up at Dr. Louko’s house. Faculty and students from the department donated a lot of really unique things and, though it was cold, we had a great day of fundraising! Here are some highlights from the sale:

ImageJogging in place at 7am to stay warm in the SNOW!

ImageSetting up some of our awesome donations!

ImageAlicia trying on a mask?

ImageDr. Gordon testing out furniture!

ImageLeslie, Alicia, and Katie taking a break and modeling some great stools (still for sale! $5 a stool – what a deal!)

A huge thanks to everyone who made this weekend possible. We all agreed that between everything we learned this weekend and such a great fundraising event, our trip is finally feeling “real” – under 40 days until we leave for China!

A post in pictures



This week we helped Dr. Hurtig clean out part of his lab so we can have a place to work:IMG_0220 IMG_0221 IMG_0223

We also started planning what tourist sites we want to visit when we are not in the orphanage or hospital…over take-out Chinese of course!

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This week we also worked concession stands at the last two regulation home basketball games to help fundraise for the trip. Here’s a few pictures from Tuesday’s game!

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The books are here!

Our bilingual books are here! Liz ordered some great children’s books which have both English and Mandarin text. We can officially get started on the Adapted Book Project!


A few of our bilingual books

We have each picked a book to begin our “homework”.  Over the next week we will be going through the books and picking out themes and thinking of different ways we might adapt each book. Things we’ll be looking for:

-Repetitive lines or target vocabulary

– We can use these to make language boards.

– These are especially good for encouraging verbal participation!

-Concepts that occur in a sequence

– Sequences are great for making storyboards! Children can participate by “building” the story on their board.

Key characters/illustrations

– We can use these to make pictures for our flannel storyboards


The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great character for a storyboard!


Each student could pick a color!

These books will be great for the kids in Tianjin, and a few might also be able to help us learn some Mandarin! Mandarin is a tonal language, and a few books came with instructions on tones and characters in the story:


Check back to see the progress we’ve made on adapting our books!

Adapted Book Project

We are very excited about one of our two projects that is under way for our upcoming trip!  Headed by Liz Delsandro, a clinical assistant professor at Iowa, the China Group has begun their Adapted Book Project.  This year we will be providing interactive books for the Tianjin Orphanage.  Adapted books are an excellent source of literacy enrichment as one book can be adapted in a variety of ways to make it interactive for the child.  When a book becomes interactive, children become more attentive and have more opportunities to learn. The number of ways that a book can be adapted is endless! For example, pictures can be made to attach to the pages of the book as the child is reading:


Or carrier phrases and props can be used to increase the interaction between the child and the book:


We will be purchasing books that are in both English and Mandarin, and then adapting the books in the Mandarin language.  Once we arrive at the Tianjin Orphanage, we can distribute the books and show the teachers at the orphanage how to maximize the children’s experiences with the new adapted books.  We definitely have some crafting in our future to make these adapted books!


This post was authored by Katie Devore