Friday, 28 November 2014

More glimpses of China 'on the road' (er, Canal)

As a follow-up to Jasmine and Sierra's video posted a couple of weeks ago, here is a slideshow of photographs I took during the Project Week expedition I led at the beginning of April this year - tracing the entire route of China's historic Grand Canal from north to south, with stop-offs in Beijing, Dezhou, Xuzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou, and of course Hangzhou.

Participating in this wonderful journey were students Lauren Chillington, Ciara Jacob, Felicia Huang, Cheryl Lee, Sierra Chiao and Jasmine Topp, and staff members Mark Tang, Pierre Biret and Lorna Scott. Felicia's father, Walter, also appears here - treating us to a rather splendid roast duck dinner in Beijing.

Slideshow created by Mr Murphy

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Football for ALL!

Here is another set of photographs from our 'Tongzhou IDE' just before half-term (more photos of that activity here, and videos here and here). These were taken by school director Richard Pratt during the first afternoon, when - in collaboration with the NGO China Grassroots Football (CGF) - our students led a mass football training session for around 150 children from local primary schools.

Slideshow created by Mr Pratt

The music is Ella Fitzgerald singing It's Wonderful.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Hangzhou News - surreal edition

A couple of weeks ago, the municipal government invited our students to attend the final day of the annual Hangzhou International Expo. The main 'entertainment' for the day was rather more lavish than usual: a mass dancing spectacle involving nearly 30,000 Hangzhou citizens - part of a nationwide assault on the Guinness record for the biggest line dance. (You can see more of that magnificent folly here. I haven't been able to find out yet if the attempt has been acknowledged as a new record.)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Memories of the Grand Canal - Project Week 2014

As we are about to start contemplating ideas for next year's Project Week activities (for discussion at our upcoming Parents' Weekend'), this seems a good time to look back on some of the things our pioneering intake got up to during the very first CIS Hangzhou Project Week - from the 24th to the 30th March this year. 

Since China's celebrated 'Grand Canal' has its origin point in Hangzhou (branching off from the Qiantang River, just to the south of the Yangtze Delta) and is a central element of the city's identity, we thought it would be appropriate to consider the history and the continuing importance of this mighty thoroughfare. A group of six students and four adults flew to its terminus in the northern capital of Beijing and then returned to Hangzhou tracing the route of the canal - with stops along the way in the canalside cities of Dezhou (the 'capital' of China's solar power industry), Xuzhou (home to a bigger lake than Hangzhou's, and a collection of terracotta warriors smaller than Xi'an's but equally impressive), Wuxi, and Suzhou. We made a point of trying to use as many different modes of transport as possible:高铁, local train, bus, taxi, long-distance coach (on all of which M. Biret and I managed to sleep!) - and even a waterbus (for the very last leg of the journey in Hangzhou, from Wulin Square Wharf back to our local Walmart on nearby Gudun Lu).

Filmed and edited by Jasmine Topp and Sierra Chiao

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance Day

Ms Lam organised a special assembly for Remembrance Day this morning. In addition to recalling the suffering and sacrifice of soldiers in the Great War, she called attention to the contribution of the workers in the Chinese Labour Corps, who, although non-combatants, shared many of the hazards of the forward lines on the Western Front (their story has been largely forgotten, even in China and certainly in the West; but a campaign has recently been launched by British-born Chinese in the UK to try to ensure that these men too receive their due share of honour in these ceremonies of remembrance).

Will Baxter-Bray played the trumpet, and excerpts of WWI poetry were read by Vivian Gu, Jasmine Savage, and Celeste Yau.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Tongzhou IDE - 'Coastlines'

This short promotional film showcasing the Coastlines leisure company (our partner organisation on Tongzhou island, which offers kayaking and other water sports there) was shot by several of our Film students and edited together by Tristan Wong as part of a multi-media presentation on improving the company's branding and communication - one of our IDE projects (along with 'Orchestrash' and 'Culinary Capers') on our trip there just before half-term.

This is a particularly impressive piece of work, given that it was thrown together under extreme time pressure - the editing completed in barely an hour, and much of the filming (notably the kayaking clip) only being done at the very last minute. Tristan has promised to produce a more polished 'extended cut' for us shortly.

Monday, 3 November 2014


One of the optional projects for our students to engage in during our excursion to the river island of Tongzhou right before half-term was creating 'Orchestrash', a musical ensemble playing instruments assembled from discarded junk found in the neighbourhood... and then performing for the rest of the school at our farewell bonfire party (a "Bonfire Bonanza of Beats").

Filmed by Mr Murphy
(Apologies for the lousy picture quality: it was pitch dark, and I didn't manage to get a good viewing position! The sound, at least, is quite... authentic.)