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Last Day in Shanghai

Last day in Hangzhou

Today was our last day of school here in Hangzhou. Tomorrow morning we leave for Shanghai, which starts our trek home: bus ride, lunch, sightseeing, dinner, hotel, wake up, airport, fly, home.

After the morning ritual of announcements on the blacktop, outdoor exercises, marching to the rooms, and the song of the week (actually I don't really know if it is “the song of the week”), some of the children (Garrett, Sophia, Gabby, Rachel L., and Leo) had English with us! There were 50 plus students in the class.

Carol and I put on a good show of Jeopardy, a type of game show,  with questions about the Hangzhou area and places we have visited in China. Our categories were place, numbers, and random.  The point system was 15 for a new question in a category, 5 points for a question already asked and answered in a category, and 10 points for an answer in a category (in which they needed to come up with the question).  The students were divided into four conversation/ cooperation groups. They would group together around one of our INTL* students to come up with an answer.  They beat us 37 ½ to 15.

Next we taught the students the active song, “There was a Duke of York . . .” There’s a lot of repeating and action of standing up and down in this song. This was our transition from one activity to another. For our next activity, the students collaborated within their groups to think of words that started with letter “t”.  A traditional tongue twister was then taught by Carol called “How much wood can a woodchuck chuck….” The students then continued with their letter “t” to make tongue twisters.  Our INTL students stood up and gave the groups’ attempts at a twister while everyone repeated. It was great fun.

Math class was to follow, so we were unsure of how the transition happens, without a recess. We learned that we leave, the students get a stretch, talk break in the classroom, a small chime rings, and students sit down attentive once again.  Recess here is loud, lots of running in the halls, lots of in and out of the classroom, all of which is much louder than ours at home with much happening off the playground.  Interestingly, however,  when the school’s small chime resonates through the loudspeaker of the  5 story building multiplied over again thrice, the students immediately go to individual desks, sit, and look straight ahead, almost militantly . This is not true at home. Our bells at home are intrusive and sound like a traffic horn as opposed to the chime. Our students play for a bit after the buzzard and then go to their lines to talk, tickle, and otherwise continue their recess until guided by the teacher to move into the room.

We watched our students in calligraphy class, followed by art class. In art class, the students were taught certain broad and fine strokes using Chinese brushes. They practiced with water colors on paper using a particular branch with fruit as a model. After the practice session, the students painted a keepsake fan.  They’re beautiful.

Next our students went to opera class, which actually turned out to be a music appreciation class. The students compared Chinese dances and costumes in different countries, which was followed by interpretive dance usually props: sticks, silks, etc.

The pots of rice were then seen lined up at each classroom door, the signal for lunch. After lunch, the students had a few more activities before it was time for the Talent Show. The Talent Show involved all of our children and the fifth graders in at school. Many acts were presented by our host school, including saxophone, piano, skits, etc. Our students also performed in a fun stick game and some individual acts including Catrina and the violin and Christopher with kung-fu,

The children all met downstairs for a group photo with their host brothers and sisters. I tried to capture the feelings that were in play. The visual will always be present in my mind: east and west, hand in hand, heart to heart. The memories are valuable and not definable.

The teachers were given a goodbye party. Two of the four principals were there, plus the head of all of the campuses. The supervisor of the four schools was there as was the chairman of the Department of Education. We were quite honored

I assume I will be able to “blog” in Shanghai, but if not, please meet us out front of United in the International Terminal Friday morning. We will be collecting our baggage and then waiting for you. If you want to check our arrival online, the ticket is as follows: PVG (leaving 12:10 pm) to SF0  (arrival 7:51am).  UA858 is the flight number.

Over and out from Hangzhou!

*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.

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