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Monday 22nd July - Day 7 - The first full day of school

Monday 22nd July - Day 7 - The first full day of school

Photo 133.jpegSince school here begins at 8.30, Miss Cox and Mr Cooper awoke students at 6.45 to allow time to have breakfast and be on the coaches for 7:30. It was then close to an hour journey in the Shenyang traffic to get to school for an 8:30 start.
Students began their day in their ‘Home room’ before heading to their first class which was Photo 134.jpegMandarin. Being beginners, with only the knowledge of basic greetings and numbers that Miss Cox had taught us in the Preparation afternoon, we had our own group for Chinese lessons. Our teacher/ ‘laoshi’ for the week is friendly and fast-paced Ms Angela who has high expectations for our progress! We started immediately by learning a few useful conversational phrases such as ‘my name is’ and ‘how much is that?’ But, most important (that we most definitely would have used in Beijing was Tai gui dian ke yi ma’ which means ‘Too expensive. Can you make it cheaper?’ We practised this by standing in a large circle and taking it in turns to repeat the phrases, in order to develop our confidence in speaking. All students embraced the challenge and Ms Angela awarded points to each table for their successes; this soon created some competition and eased the nerves, with the year 9 boys winning the morning’s competition. Afterwards, we moved onto the alphabet, key phonetics and tones, as well as numbers up to 100. The lesson finished with everyone learning and singing the Chinese song, ‘guo jia he guo li’ (a song about Nationalities). Miss Cox also awarded Ella a prize for being ‘Star of the Day’ and her exceptional efforts and progress throughout the lesson.
Photo 131.jpegAfter the Chinese lesson, we split into two groups for our rsecond lesson which was on Chinese culture and arts. Miss Cox accompanied the majority of the group in a session of traditional paper-cutting– an ancient art of intricate symmetry to create beautiful, decorative designs. In this lesson, students were taught the main symbols for Chinese paper cutting- the sun, moon, grass and water which would then be used on an equally folded red and gold square and cut to create beautiful symmetrical patterns. All showed excellent effort in this task but Alex’s (delicate and intricate) butterfly excelled.
Meanwhile, Mr Cooper was with the smaller group of boys who went off to learn the art of Photo 130.jpegCalligraphy; this beautiful and relaxing art form is based on 8 basic strokes that we all began with before building up to more and more complicated designs. Leon and Samee chose to skip the basics and head onto the advanced designs with much success. Jacob also showed his creative talents with the teacher describing him as ‘gifted’ in his new skill.
Afternoon lessons continued with a 2nd Mandarin session where Ms Angela continued the competitive challenges but this lesson included Chinese Horoscopes and the development of all knowledge and skills learnt in the morning. This time, it was the table with Leon, Zach, Michael, Ella and Libby who were the winners but all students did remarkably well and have learnt a great deal about pronunciation and important vocabulary for basic conversations in just one day!
Photo 135.jpegFollowing lunch, we split off into our cultural groups again with Miss Cox heading to Kung Fu and Mr Cooper to a Chinese knot-tying lesson. The Kung Fu was led by the PE teacher who organised students into two groups and with powerful and swift moves, as well as loud shouting counting the moves in Mandarin, students copied behind, before practising and repeating on their own. Ella and Sophie took the lead with Ella counting students’ in and their moves, whilst Sophie modelled the moves all needed to complete. Both were confident and showed excellent skills in leading others
Once students had completed their Kung Fu moves, they were then free to play sports: tash 12.PNGbadminton or basketball. When playing doubles, Kaden played with Alex and Miss Cox with Kim and the com petition was intense (mainly due to how competitive Miss Cox and Kaden are). In the end, Miss Cox and Kim won 25 – 20 and gladly ‘high-fived’ their rackets in glee! Meanwhile, the boys played the girls at basketball and the boys won so Miss Cox decided to take on Michael and Zack in a game of hoops. Fortunately, she won at this too so the girls were happy they’d matched the competition!
Meanwhile, in Chinese knot-tying, we were taught to weave bracelets and initially all struggled but gradually, with a little help, grasped the skill. Sam, Jacob and Samee, in particular completed professional looking bracelets for themselves or for gifts.
Finally we headed outside to play some more games including jump-rope where Lily and Kaden showed off their talents and many of the boys headed straight onto the football pitch.