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BRITISH HE

ANGZHO GU

HOOL OF SC

The British School of Guangzhou

Newsletter T

CEN

U

Issue 1 - Term 1 - 2013/2014

DO

DO DISCIM

US

A Newsletter for The British School of Guangzhou

To download a copy of this newsletter, please visit: www.bsg.org.cn


Head’s Message

Dear Parents, With any luck by the time you read this latest edition of our newsletter the stormy weather will have moved on and we will be enjoying the cooler temperature that often arrives in October. Plans for our International Day on Saturday 9th November are gathering momentum. We are hoping to match the sort of turnout we had last year with over 1,500 people enjoying the day. We now have over 50 nationalities at BSG and International Day is a day when we get to celebrate this diversity. Everyone who attends is encouraged to wear a costume to represent their nationality or, if they prefer, to adopt a country for the day. This year the Primary classes will be preparing for the day with a week of international themed activities. On the day teachers and student volunteers are planning to create stalls with an international theme. Parents as always are encouraged to get involved and to find out exactly how you can help, please contact the following staff representatives who will be very happy to have your support: Secondary Sarah.burgess@bsg.org.cn Primary Gemma.campbell@bsg.org.cn Foundation Nishanthi.Jayasinghe@bsg.org.cn Alternatively contact Dilek dilek.s.kalkan@gmail.com or Christie Christie.Greenhill@bsg. org.cn who will be able to put you in touch with country representatives. With outside vendors, lots of delicious food, performances from staff and students and lots of fun activities for everyone, it is sure to be a memorable day. Those parents or students who are able to offer a performance are urged to contact peter.sinclair@bsg.org.cn or naomi. rowan@bsg.org.cn who will be responsible for the stage shows. Primary students have begun to get really excited about their forthcoming residential trips. At BSG, residential visits are an integral part of our curriculum and we are proud of the way students respond to the challenges that they face. As in previous years you will be able to follow their adventures through the online blogs. At the end of October David Laird (Head or Primary) will be travelling to the annual FOBISIA Conference in Penang where he will be able to get an update on developments across the region and explore future opportunities for our staff and students. We look forward to hearing about FOBISIA developments when he returns.


“We now have over 50 nationalities at BSG and International Day is a day when we get to celebrate this diversity.� I have just returned from Hong Kong where I was able to meet with representatives from Nord Anglia Education to discuss the exciting opportunities that have begun to open up to BSG staff and students. Nord Anglia Education are the largest family of premium international schools in the world, and, through their global classrooms initiative, students from all 27 schools collaborate on a range of schemes. This year a group of students are taking part in a trip to Tanzania, so I am very much looking forward to seeing our own students benefit from similar opportunities in the future. As many of you are already aware the use of the British School for weekend activities is continuing to grow. As well as football and swimming we now have over 40 students who are improving their English at our Cambridge English Language Centre. It really is wonderful to see the facilities being so well used. It is also lovely to see parents and children making use of the playground facilities while they are at the school. This is something we very much encourage although we politely ask that you ensure children are adequately supervised and that facilities are left in a pristine condition ready for Monday morning. Mark Thomas


COMMUNITY NEWS

ActionAid Update By: Amanda Boby Following on from the success last year, having raised 72,620 RMB for ActionAid the focus on community action is now in full swing with a charity committee being established within secondary. The charity committee met last week to set fundraising targets for the whole school to meet. Overall they are looking to raise 80,000 RMB, with 50% going to ActionAid and a further 50% to GETCH (Guangzhou Education Centre for the Handicapped). Fundraising events will take place throughout the year, this includes the continuing of the second hand uniform sale, non-uniform days, house events, Movember, Secondary and Primary Young Enterprise ventures, International Day, British Day and through other fairs within the local community. On 3rd September BSG were visited by Helen Yuan (Communication and Partnership Manager) from ActionAid ( Beijing office). This gave secondary students and staff the opportunity to have an update on the projects that BSG and ActionAid work in partnership to support. After the presentation, Helen kindly stayed to hold a question and answer session with the students, this was beneficial for the students, especially the year 13 students who will be attending one of the projects for their residential at the end of September. Some members of the charity committee were also present to ask questions, therefore assisting them in realising their fundraising targets. Further information will be disseminated once the year 13s return. They will be putting together case studies, setting up a pen pal system with the students of the primary in Tiandeng and carrying out assemblies within the Secondary and Primary school. The Charity Committee also got the opportunity to visit GETCH, a Non Government Organisation in Guangzhou. It is an English training centre based within Haizhu District, that offer higher education to those with disabilities, that may otherwise have limited options in accessing higher education within Guangzhou. GETCH receives funding from 3 private kindergartens, but they also rely on the local community to support their centre through fundraising events. BSG’s charity committee are looking to support these events to improve the facilities on the centre. The students of GETCH will also have the opportunity to use the schools facilities such as the art department and sports facilities that they do not have access to these in their own centre. There will be plenty of ways to keep updated on community action within BSG throughout the year with newsletter and magazine articles, community boards within reception, the secondary VLE, primary blogs and communication books.


The ‘Saturday English’ programme at BSG has witnessed an extremely successful start and now have over 50 students enrolled in one of our many courses, which are all affiliated to ‘Cambridge English’. It has been a real pleasure to observe our younger students bursting through the front doors every Saturday morning, with renewed zeal, eagerly awaiting their lessons to start. On the other hand, our secondary students have really impressed us with their dedication, maturity and responsible attitude towards bumping up their examination grades through our focused examination preparation courses. Why choose ‘Cambridge English’ for Schools? § Excellent way to motivate your child § You can see exactly how your child is doing in English according to internationally recognised standards § You can see what level of English your child has now and how their English is improving § Internationally accepted certificates that open doors to education and employment For detailed course information and registration contact the Director of Saturday English- Ms Shaila Chainani Email: shaila.chainani@bsg.org.cn

Nurse’s Corner

Soon the weather will become very dry and cool compared with the summer days. In Chinese tradition we say; keep warm in Spring and cool in Autumn. That means you don’t have to put your coat on immediately, just keep yourself a little bit cool. That can help you better survive the weather in Winter. It is dry season, so make sure you have enough water, like 1.5L for normal daily life. If you have oxygenic activities, you need more and it’s good to eat extra vegetables and fruits. Perhaps you could Introduce a traditional soup called Sugar-cube Pear Soup. Cut pear into small pieces (without cores) and cook it with some water. Boil the water for 5-10 minutes, put sugar-cube inside the water and wait until the sugar-cube dissolves. The last step is to enjoy the sweet soup!


lower school news Lower School Activity Room & Coffee Shop For Hire We’re offering the chance to use our wonderful facilities on the lower campus for birthdays or other special celebrations that may come along. The Activity Room is available to hire for either a morning (9:00am-1:00pm) or an afternoon (2:00-6:00pm) with a fee of 1000RMB per session. The Coffee Shop will be open and a variety of hot drinks and delicious snacks will be available for purchase. Alternatively you can arrange your own catering for your party. Due to the nature of the equipment in the Activity Room, we must limit the ages of children using it, therefore all children must be 8 years old or below. If you would like to celebrate your child’s birthday party in our exciting and very spacious Activity Room, then please contact Miss Kathy (Head of Lower School) for further details Katherine.weir@bsg.org.cn.


Orientation Day By: Katherine Weir-Davis The first day of the academic year saw our exciting Orientation Day and Meet the Teacher Event. The day began with all our new families being welcomed to the school. They were able to meet their new teacher and teaching assistants, have a look at our wonderful facilities and spend time in the classrooms settling into their new environment. We then had a relaxing lunch where new and existing parents were able to enjoy the refreshments whilst meeting BSG parents. In the afternoon there was a Lower School specific presentation in the Hall, followed by our Year Leader’s presentations and finally parents and children were invited to visit their classes once again. It was a very exciting day, which was attended by an impressive number of parents. It was lovely to welcome so many new parents to our school and welcome back our existing families. The atmosphere in school was absolutely delightful, with so many smiles and happy children all eagerly anticipating the start of what promises to be another successful year at BSG. Thank you to all those parents who were able to attend this event and the support you have offered the school in the first few weeks of term.


lower school news

Playgroup By: Katherine Weir-Davis BSG Playgroup is now into its sixth year and we are hopeful that this year will bring as many new families to our community as in previous years. Children can enjoy playing with a large choice of toys, developing their imagination, building their physical skills and most importantly learning to socialise and interact with other children. With a ball pool, slides, stage area, trampolines, cars, and many other fun filled activities, our play area is an ideal place for children to enjoy themselves whilst developing at the same time. With the children happy, this gives parents the perfect opportunity to relax a little and meet new people. Snacks are provided for the children and parents can enjoy a fresh cup of tea or coffee in our coffee shop that has full view of the Activity Room. So, what are you waiting for? Come and join us on Friday mornings for a pleasant and relaxing experience for both children and parents. When – Every Friday 9:30-11:30am (except school holidays) Who – Children aged 4 years and below and Parent/s (children must hold an international passport which should be brought along on the first visit) Where – British School of Guangzhou Lakefront Campus, Tonghe Road 828, Nanhu Cost – Free of charge For more information please contact Miss Kathy at Katherine.weir@bsg.org.cn or telephone the Lakefront Lower School campus on 020-3725 9376


Settling Down In Pre-Nursery By: Monica Samtani Our Pre-Nursery Teddy Bears and Butterflies have been super busy this month not only settling down into their new classrooms but also into school life. We started off with some tears at the beginning of the month but now the children are slowly adjusting to their new surroundings and to familiar faces. In Pre-Nursery, we believe learning goes hand in hand with ‘playing’. The children have been playing with various toys in the classroom and they especially enjoy their time in both of our activity rooms, outside playground and role-play room, which is now our ‘supermarket’. We have also been experimenting with fun sensory activities, such as with ‘water play, play-dough and paints’! Our favourite activity seems to be ‘gluing’ and getting our hands sticky, for many this is a first time experience! Our children have also begun their specialist lessons with Miss Queenie and Miss Lou. We have even ventured out to our library for some quiet reading time and revel in the joy of getting to take a book home to share with families. It is our aim to continue to settle our little ones to build a strong foundation for them to then begin their journey of learning at school. We look forward to getting to know all of the children and we anticipate a fantastic year ahead of us.


lower school news

Nursery Off To A Flying Start By: Victoria Whieldon The Nursery Fishes, Ladybirds, Stars and Dragonflies have had a fantastic start to the year with all children settling in well and making new friends. We have been very busy learning all about our first topic ‘Ourselves’. We have been colouring, cutting, sticking, stamping, painting – you name it! We began by learning all about our faces and the way we look. We had lots of fun decorating paper plates with eyes, a nose, mouth and hair and have made some lovely displays to show off our work. We also made delicious edible faces from biscuits and sweeties! We then moved on to sharing photographs of our families and designed a beautiful sparkling frame for each picture. If children are missing their Mummies and Daddies we like to look at the special pictures together. We have also spent time learning about good things to do in our classroom like ‘good listening’ and ‘being kind’ to each other. I hope you all enjoyed the giant listening ears that we sent home, you could not miss them! The children have enjoyed a special story called ‘The Rainbow Fish’ which has helped us to start to learn about sharing with our friends. We made friendship necklaces from pasta to share with a friend or family member and created our own rainbow fish from clay. To top the month off we will be having a Chinese Mid Autumn Festival celebration where we will have the opportunity to come to school wearing fabulous bright red colours and Chinese costumes! Wow! What a wonderful first month in Nursery!


Lower School news

Learning Through Play In Reception By: Helen Jones In Reception we have made a great start to the year with lots of fun learning activities and challenges to inspire and delight all our students. All the Reception classes have set up different learning areas in their classrooms to enable the children to learn through play and exploration. As Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.� In our water and sand trays children can explore, tip, pour, scoop, fish, move, build, scrape, explore floating and sinking and feel different textures. We have been using coloured rice trays to trace letters and we have been learning our letter sounds by finding hidden letters and matching pictures in the sand tray and fishing them out using tongs. We have been threading and using chopsticks to manipulate and move objects to improve our fine motor skills in preparation for writing. We have been using scented play dough to further strengthen our hands and fingers by manipulating the dough, use and share tools, explore our senses, and express our creativity and ideas by working with others.


In our creative area we have explored colour and texture using paint, crayons, marbling inks, collage and glitter to make our class animal mascots. We have made self-portraits and we used a mirror to observe our facial features and colour match our eyes, skin and hair colour. We use a wide variety of construction toys to build, design, create, use tools, share ideas with others and test our ideas and thoughts to see what will balance, join and move and what needs to be adapted and changed. In our writing area we have been playing games and using equipment and tools such as a stapler, sticky tape, scissors, glue and a hole-punch to further develop our hand control skills when writing. In our maths area we have been learning numbers to 20 and recognising and naming 2D shapes through simple turn taking games, using the IWB, using shape blocks and completing counting activities and pattern work. The children have been exploring and using counting toys and cubes to count, sort, group and discuss their findings. We have started our Topic unit of work on ‘My Body and My Senses’ and have begun our journey to discover just how amazing our bodies really are. We have learnt the names of the different parts of the body and face and have sung songs, danced, moved our bodies and played games to help us remember them. We have tasted a variety of foods to tickle our taste buds and learnt how to classify food as sweet, sour, salty and bitter. All of these open-ended learning activities use exploration and play to develop knowledge and understanding so a child can make sense the world around them by tapping into their natural curiosity and desire to learn. They also provide a wealth of invaluable language and vocabulary development. Play based learning is successful when a child is in a relaxed and happy state of mind and where they feel safe and secure to take risks.


lower school news

A Fairy Good Time In Year 1 By: Gavin Fleck It has been a fun and exciting start to life in Year 1. Children from the Puffins, Bees, Zebras and Elephants have been enjoying their brilliant new topic; Fairyland. Most of the learning that the children have been doing has been based around this topic. The topic began with a visit to BSG from a friendly dragon. It came in search of some children who would help it bring Fairyland back to life. It wrote a letter to the children stating that so many people had stopped believing and reading Fairytales and as a result fairyland was disappearing. The children rose to the task, they began planning how they would turn their classroom into fairyland. Over the few weeks the children put their plans into action. They have developed numerous skills in order to make fairyland crafts and investigate fairytales A walk through year 1 allows you to see Jack and his beanstalk, castles, dragons, princesses, fairies, gingerbread houses and much more. The children have been as excited as the staff to progress through the topic. Each week has brought something new. This cross curricular learning that a topic like this allows is one that is fantastic. It takes account of the children’s prior knowledge, is guided by what the children are interested in and gives them ownership of what they are learning. Whilst we will be sad to finish the topic, there are equally exciting topics throughout the school year.


lower school news

Graduation Day 2012/13


upper school news

Year 2 Getting To Know You By: Kathryn Champness With the ‘Guangzhou’ topic unit well underway the Year 2s have been embracing their learning by taking it outdoors. Getting out and about to see, smell and hear the sights of this imposing city has been a great experience for all. In the second week of school Year 2 used the school’s local environment as an inspiration for their artwork. They all enjoyed taking in the view across the lake and created fantastic skyline drawings. The results were fabulous as you can see. Our next art project will also take us outdoors; we will be observing the majestic beauty of the water lily. We can’t wait!

Guangzhou Skyline by Katherine Chen The first outing, of many, was to Canton Tower – AKA ‘The Supermodel’. We were elevated to the dizzy height of 433.2m and were breathtaken by the view. The Year 2’s were able to put to use the geographical vocabulary they had learnt in the classroom, noting the natural and man-made features of the landscape. It was great to sit like birds in a giant nest and look down over the city while we ate our lunch. Who’d have thought that learning could be so much fun?


upper school news

Year 3 Cook Noodles By: David Barton When Mr Barton told Miss Hales that he had bought her some flour she started jumping up and down with excitement. Well that was until she saw the big white bag put in front of her! The children however were excited at the thought of making their own noodles, “it’s not difficult” said Mr Barton as quizzical eyes looked on at the demonstration. After the demonstration, the children went to their classrooms armed with only flour, salt and water as well as a set of instructions. Now, these activities can go two ways, the classroom can either look like a tranquil scene of concentration and focus, or like a sandstorm is just passing through. Luckily for the Year 3 Teachers and TA’s the scene was that of focus as to who could make the longest noodle. Some of the noodles were so long they fell off the end of the table and some children thought they could use it as a skipping rope! After the children had made their noodles they went and saw Mr Barton who was slaving over a hot stove, literally! All the noodles were cooked, eaten and opinions were shared. “Too much salt, too little, some spicy sauce would be lovely”, but overall everyone was happy with the results! The students loved making noodles and hopefully they can now all go home and make some for the parents to try!


upper school news

Year 4 Vroom! By: Alexandra Paul Year 4 launched their transport topic in style with ‘Wheely Fun’ races in the playground. Pupils brought in roller blades, skateboards, scooters and bikes amongst other ‘transporters’ and enjoyed an entertaining afternoon. The children had great fun sharing and exploring all the vehicles. We have studied transport through history, transport around the world and we have even come up with some ideas for how transport might be different in the future. A highlight has been the large transport artwork, which each of the classes have produced by working together and learning how to create a montage. As part of our ‘Vroom!’ topic the children have also presented their own research on a chosen mode of transport, counted the traffic at Tonghe Lu, improved their road safety skills, explored the National US Air Force Museum using an online virtual tour, interviewed a Pilot, learnt how a car engine works and much much more! The topic will culminate with an ‘Amazing Metro Race’ around Guangzhou.

iPad Adventures After three weeks of patience and anticipation, on 6th September, all Year 4 received their brand new iPad minis, with much excitement and delight. Immediately, they began learning how to use them both inside and outside the classroom. The tech savvy pupils have been quick to get to grips with the new kit – using apps to carry out tasks ranging from video analysis of performance in PE lessons to photographing and annotating shapes and angles in the school grounds. The pupils are taking the lead and recommending apps and demonstrating new things they’ve learned to do on their devices.


In every Year 4 class the iPad is enhancing the classroom learning experience and creating opportunities for creative and innovative learning. Year 4 pupils are understandably enthusiastic about their new way of learning. A pupil in 4AP commented that using the iPads in class has already made a huge difference. He said: “I’ve been using the iPad to find better vocabulary for my writing and using the rhyming dictionary in my poetry”. A pupil in 4MM said. “We don’t use them every lesson but when we do everyone smiles!” Some pupils admitted that they found it “a bit scary” when the iPad minis first arrived but soon discovered others felt the same and now confidence is growing throughout Year 4 as the pupils experiment and collaborate. We have had brilliant outcomes from apps like Morfo and Geoboard and an increase in student teacher communication with homework and questions being received digitally using the school email addresses all Year 4 have been provided with. The Year 4 iPad revolution includes using our iPads to count the traffic at Tonghe Lu, animating tongue twisters in English and recording detailed pictures of experiment apparatus in Science. Year 4 are excited to see what iPad adventures are round the corner for them next!

Free App of the Month: Lucidchart By: Alasdair Carr Lucidchart is a mind mapping tool that is great for use at home or in school! This free app is easy to use to create flowcharts, mindmaps, and graphic organizers. Lucidchart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucidchart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can re-size any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be re-sized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams. The best thing about this app is that people can work together on the same diagrams at the same time. This will encourage team work and will help with team tasks or projects!


upper school news

Year 5 Get Gassy By: Brian Schroeder In Year 5 we have been looking at Changing State in our science lessons. We have been discussing and investigating evaporation, condensation, precipitation and the water cycle. We have investigated the evaporation times of water from different locations in the school and then plotted our data into a graph. We also put flowers into a sealed container and tested whether or not flowers give off water vapour. To almost all the children’s astonishment the flowers DID give off water vapour as evidenced by the water inside the sealed bag. To further enhance our learning we also used a new water cycle model that the school acquired over the summer. We used a large halogen light to act as the sun. We then added water to the model ocean and ice to the upper atmosphere to cool down the water vapour that evaporated because of the sun’s heat.  After about an hour the children were able to witness clouds and rain forming where the ice was and then falling back to the model earth. The water then travelled down some valleys and back into the sea to complete the water cycle.The children were really curious about the model and were able to see the water cycle in action instead of just reading about it in a book.  It’s been a good topic and the children have learned a lot about solids, liquids and gases.


Primary Display Winners By: Brian Schroeder Primary teachers have been working hard this month to ensure clean and tidy classrooms. They’ve also produced some superb displays that really show off the hard work from our students so ealry on in the term. We’re celebrating this by presenting the best of the batch every issue! Miss. Hales has a lovely tree display that we like because it comes off the board and comes to life in the classroom. And now onto the winners!

Mr. Watson, Year 5, wins with a classroom so tidy that even Mr. Thomas can find no fault with it! The ultimate winner though is Ms. Paul, Year 4, with an amazing motorcycle display! Wow!


upper school

Year 6 Figurative Language By: Matthew Champness The news that Year 6 would be starting the English curriculum with a unit on figurative language … a) was music to their ears b) was received as deliriously as if all their Christmases had come at once c) cast its spell on the unsuspecting children

I’ll be honest. The first couple of lessons were bit of a struggle. (It always takes a few gos to shake out the cobwebs of the summer holidays.) Nevertheless, we stuck at it and I was delighted that the children eventually let their imaginations run wild. Simile is as easy as pie. It always reminds me of Rowan Atkinson’s BBC comedy character, Blackadder, whose use of figurative language creates vividly comic images. It’s usually in the form of a withering put-down – “Your disguise is as convincing as a giraffe wearing dark sunglasses trying to get into a polar bear’s only golf club” – but that just makes it all the more fun. Simile is probably the easiest form of figurative language to get to grips with – the trick being to avoid cliché. (“Easier said than done”, I hear you say.) Metaphor, on the other hand, is a can or worms waiting to be opened, so I’ll borrow from the Nobel prize-winning poet, Seamus Heaney. Heaney, who died in August this year, often referred to his Irish farming roots but chose a very different career to his father and grandfather: But I’ve no spade to follow men like them. Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it. The children in Year 6 ‘dug’ with their pens (actually, most used pencils for their drafts) and you can see some of the results here. Personification can be a tricky customer. Many of the children approached personification form a natural angle, taking ideas like the weather or trees as a starting point. It’s always hard to be objectively critical of poetry (and I would be biased, anyway) but I think they should all be thoroughly proud of their efforts. One of the hardest things in teaching creative writing is helping children to overcome the concern with ‘getting it right’. After all, it is often by taking risks that we create original ideas. Heaney’s final words seem quite apt here: Noli timere (‘Don’t fear’)


PRIMARY ASA FAIR


upper school news

EAL Update Welcome to the EAL Department  The EAL department extends a warm welcome to all our parents both new and existing! We thought that we would give all new parents a little bit of information about ourselves and what we do to support our students who come from a diverse range of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. The EAL classroom is where students from Reception to Year 13 come in order to receive extra English support and to make them confident independent learners in all areas of the curriculum.  We are very lucky at BSG as we benefit from an extremely well resourced department, which has a vast array of the best crosscurricular resources for teaching the English language. Our main teaching focus is the development of skills and grammar in range of interesting contexts. Our Head of EAL (Mrs. Shaila Chainani) has implemented many successful new learning strategies for our EAL children during her time as head of department and we work to a specially tailored curriculum that draws success from the very best materials and follow an integrated approach to teaching. This year we have a larger team of professionals, which means the provision our department provides is more extensive and completely individualised to the learning needs of our students.  We track and monitor the progress of every child on an individual basis and record all evidence a student has produced.  This allows us to track the English development of every child on the programme. We, the teachers of EAL at The British School of Guangzhou are all extremely proud to be a part of a department that enables children to become independent global learners.


Enni Chen, Year 3CH

Charlie Liu, Year 3CH

A Snapshot of Years 2 & 3 In this newsletter, we focus on our Year 2/3 group who have been learning English through the contexts of families, friends, parties and meetings.  We teach English through relevant and meaningful contexts so that the students are able to familiarise themselves in a situation they feel comfortable learning through.  This allows students to learn more naturally and makes the EAL classroom a safe, fun and stimulating place to be a part of.  Year 3 have been writing party invitations by email to friends.  This has been taught through scaffolding language; and at the end of the teaching cycle students have been able to confidently use their newly acquired English skills to write a piece of text without help.  The photographs featured are unedited raw texts produced by the students of EAL in year 3 and this work is a credit to how hard they have worked this early in the term. From the EAL team: Mrs Shaila Chainani, Mr Samuel Ryan, Mr Piers Hunday, Mr Matthew Arigundia, Mrs. Flora Burlingham


upper school news

Primary Music Update By: Peter Sinclair After School Activities and Clubs It has been a busy start to the academic year for music in the Primary School which many exciting opportunities for our students to be involved in many aspects of music making both in the curriculum and in after school activities and clubs. This term the following musical activities will be organised by the music department: Monday ASA - Upper Primary Choir (Nan Hu) Mr. Sinclair Monday DSA (12 -12:30) - Singing Playgrounds Song Leader Meeting (Nan Hu) Mr. Sinclair Tuesday ASA - Music & Movement (Lakefront) Miss Queenie Wednesday DSA (12:20 -1) - Lower Primary Choir (Nan Hu) Miss Helen Wednesday ASA - iDJ (Nan Hu) Mr. Sinclair Thursday DSA (12:20-1) - Primary ABRSM Theory (Nan Hu) Mr. Fred. Friday DSA (12 – 12:40) Primary Orff Ensemble (Nan Hu) Mr. Sinclair Upper Primary Choir (Y4-6) and Lower Primary Choir (Y2-3) Following the success and growth of the Primary Choir the decision has been made to split the choir. For the first time at BSG that there will now be an Upper Primary Choir for Years 4-6 and Lower Primary Choir for Years 2-3. Both Choirs are already busy preparing for a number of performances later in the term ahead of the busy Christmas season. Following on from last year’s successful performances, the choirs have once again been invited to perform at the Garden Hotel Christmas Tree Lighting, Tai Koo Hui Mall, the EFC Christmas Lunch and a Winter SingUp at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart this term with choirs with all international schools in Guangzhou. A letter and blog post will be sent out shortly to all choir members and parents with confirmed dates for your diaries. iDJ - Music Creation using Music Technology (Y4-6) Students in Years 4-6 will have the opportunity to create music of their own on ipad’s and PC’s under the guidance of Mr. Sinclair. They will be using software DAWs such as Mixcraft and Dance EJ to make real electronic music using samples loops and audio effects. During these classes students will be taught various techniques to compose their own music and learn how to mix and create music like a real DJ. Students will also have the opportunity to explore musical games and a range of listening materials to wider their appreciation of musical styles.


Singing Playgrounds The Singing Playgrounds project will continue again this year with all Year 5 & 6 choir members selected to be Song Leaders. Weekly rehearsals for all Song Leaders will take place on Monday lunchtimes to learn the songs ready for the playground sessions. Singing Playgrounds will take place on Wednesday lunchtimes at Lake Front and during Friday morning break at Nan Hu. Look out for the Song Stop where all children are invited to participate in the songs and games on those days. Some of the benefits of this exciting program are listed below: Singing Playgrounds aims to: • Implement a full and inclusive, fun programme of singing activities for the whole primary school community; • Inspire an everyday child-led culture of singing; • Raise the quality of singing, through developing the vocal skills and musicianship of all participants; • Equip a chosen group of children with the leadership skills, musical skills and vocal skills necessary to lead others in the playground; • Encourage and enable children to play, share, adapt and create singing games; • Offer singing games as a way of developing children’s personal and social skills and for development of transferable skills; ABRSM Theory Classes This year we will be offering students the opportunity to learn Music Theory in a friendly atmosphere. The course follows the ABRSM theory book but also incorporates some fun IWB activities. It is to be noted that in order to reach certain ABRSM instrumental grades, a level of theory certification has to be achieved. This program is offered to all students who wish to explore music theory but is especially directed at those who take part in one to one tuition at BSG. Instrumental Program Instrumental tuition will again be available for students in drums, guitar, piano, flute, and violin. Students on this course will be encouraged to take an Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examination as part of this study with the support of their teacher. This is an excellent way for students to explore performance and to receive a worldwide accreditation for their instrumental abilities. A letter has been sent out to all parents regarding finance and structure of the instrumental program but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Fred Zhang (Music Administrator, fred.zhang@bsg.org.cn). Staffing The music team would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest member of staff Mr. Fred Zhang, graduate of the Royal Academy of Music (London), who assumes the role of Musician in Residence (Pianist) and Music Administrator. Mr. Zhang will be working alongside Mr. Sinclair and will be accompanying the school choirs and supporting learning in the classroom across Nan Hu site. Please note that Mr. Zhang will be your first point of contact for any queries on instrumental lessons and other general music enquiries.


SECONDARY NEWS

Year 7 Moon Cake Making By: Alison Liu To celebrate the Mid-autumn Day, as part of our Chinese culture curriculum, Year 7 went on a trip to the Garden Hotel on the 16th of September to learn the history of Mid-autumn Day and also made moon cakes with the Garden Hotel chefs. We found that there are many great moon-cake makers in Year 7. In further news, on 18th of September, Pre-nursery to Year 13 students came to school dressed in their Chinese costumes to celebrate the Mid-autumn Festival. For lunch, staff and students enjoyed a festival themed lunch including some Chinese dishes and traditional moon-cake as desert.


Carnegie Reading Competition!

Calling all Key Stage 3 Readers!

To enter the competition you need to read the following books from the Carnegie Shortlist (Book Awards) and write a short review of each. Sarah Crossan THE WEIGHT OF WATER Roddy Doyle A GREYHOUND OF A GIRL Sally Gardner MAGGOT MOON Nick Lake IN DARKNESS R. J. Palacio WONDER Marcus Sedgwick MIDWINTERBLOOD Dave Shelton A BOY AND A BEAR IN A BOAT Elizabeth Wein CODE NAME VERITY

Introduce yourself to some fantastic books, improve your reading skills and give yourself a chance of a prize! All competition books are available on the Library Kindles or you can pay to download them yourself from the Amazon store with your parent’s permission. See Ms Hardwicke (CL27) or Mr Geraghty (library) for a competition form. Entries must be received by 13th December


SECONDARY NEWS

A Letter From Her Majesty The Queen By: Max Siegel, Year 9 In Year 7, Mr. Lowe suggested that we should draw a portrait of the Queen for her 60th Jubilee. We based our drawing on a recent picture of Her Majesty using an abstract theme. The result was a leopard print themed Queen portrait which we successfully finished and proudly hung up in time for the Jubilee celebrations. Last year, William Vaughan and I decided to write a letter to the Queen, wanting to share our artwork with her. To our surprise and delight we received a reply from Buckingham Palace a month later on behalf of Her Majesty in which she thanked us for the portrait. We were very excited about the letter, and both have a photocopy to keep forever. The original reply and portrait still hangs boldly in the school canteen.


SECONDARY NEWS

Driving Geography: A Visit To Honda By: Francine Hearn Immediately before breaking up for the summer holiday, Year 10 Geography and Business Studies finished the year by visiting a Honda car factory in Huangpu to learn about manufacturing and operations management in support of the topics currently being taught for IGCSE. The students were introduced to Honda through a presentation and a tour of the exhibition hall where they learnt about Honda’s policies and procedures and their aim to protect the environment. Students were then guided through two workshops, the fittings shop and the assembly line where they learnt about the production process, location decisions and methods used to limit damage to the environment. The Year 10 students thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the knowledge gained will benefit them greatly as they progress through their Geography and Business Studies IGCSE.


Improving Our Reading Skills By: Emily Hardwicke Students in Key Stage 3 now have the opportunity to visit the Library during Form time on a rota system. The first session will introduce them to the books available in the Secondary section of the library and also how the digital library works. To encourage students to read as much as possible, both for enjoyment and as a way of improving their English skills, a competition has been launched for Key Stage 3 students. This centers around the Carnegie Book Award shortlist and to enter, students will need to read all eight books on the list and write a short review. Completed entries will be entered into a prize draw with Amazon book vouchers on offer for the winning students. The books are available to borrow digitally from the library or can be purchased from the Amazon website with parental permission and read via the Kindle App on an iPad. Students should collect a competition form from Ms Hardwicke or Mr Geraghty and return it before the closing date of 13th December if they are interested in taking part. Good luck KS3 readers.


SECONDARY NEWS

The House System 2013/14 By: Sarah Burgess As we start the new academic year, the 2013-14 competition between Houses has officially begun. The House system is an important part of school life here at BSG providing students with an opportunity to meet people from different year groups, take part in healthy competition in a supportive and encouraging environment and providing a platform to encourage good behaviour and effort in school. Perhaps most importantly of all the House events are heaps of fun and create lasting memories for our students. Students across the school are divided into four Houses; Romans (blue), Normans (red), Saxons (green) and Vikings (yellow). Throughout the year students earn house points as a reward for academic achievement, sport and musical achievements and good behaviour. Regular inter-house competitions take place ranging from sport and games to spelling competitions. During these we place an emphasis on support and participation from House members rather than focusing solely on the winning. With more students than ever this year’s House competition promises to be the best yet. Secondary House leaders - Ms. Siobhan Dunningham (Head of House- Normans) This year, new Head of Houses have been appointed to lead their teams, hopefully, to victory. Mr. Joyce, Head of Roman House, has started off confidently, wishing to continue the success of the Roman House from last year. We also have Miss. Fish, who will be leading the Saxon House into the forthcoming house events. Mr. Delmotte has made an impressive start by already rejuvenating the Viking’s House display board which is perhaps expected from the Art teacher. For the Norman House, we have Miss. Dunningham hoping to improve on last year’s results. Each House has elected a Junior and Senior House Captains to assist in the organising and running of events. There was no time to waste as captains set to work in the House football competition which has been taking place on a Thursday after school. Romans Vikings Normans Saxons

Junior Captains: Peter Park and Lynn Ma Senior Captains: Leroy Li and MaoLin Huang Junior Captains: Sally Hong and Sarah Ryan Senior Captains: Phillip Sumner and Andrea Solis Junior Captains: Max Siegal and Lily Choi Senior Captains: Harry Cha and Debbie Lee Junior Captains: Lynnuelle Corocotchia and Bethany Jayesinghe Senior Captains: Jan Janeczek and Advaitha Byereddy


SECONDARY NEWS

Music Update By: Naomi Rowan The end of last year was packed full of events and excitement, with the first ever ‘Pianist of the Year Competition’ and ‘Secondary Performing Arts Festival’, launch of the ‘Advanced Vocal Group’, the annual ISMAG (International Music Association of Guangzhou) Battle of the Bands and Secondary SingUp!, British Day, Awards Day and hosting of the FOBISSEA Music Teachers’ Conference! Congratulations and thanks to all of those involved in each and every one of these events, but particular mention to Lynn Ma, the first ever BSG Pianist of the Year! Already plans for 2013-14 are well underway and a full calendar will be published shortly, but here are the dates for confirmed secondary events: 2013: Thursday 17th October

Secondary Performing Arts Evening

Sunday 3rd November Guangdong International Volunteer Expatriate Services (GIVES) Annual Fair - (Choir) Saturday 9th November

International Day

Thursday 21st November Company, London

“The Elephant Man” – Performance Exchange Theatre

Saturday 14th December

Taikoo Hui Christmas Performance

Friday 29th November Cathedral

Secondary Christmas SingUp! - Sacred Heart

2014: Wednesday 20th February BSG Pianist of the Year Final Saturday 1st March

BSG Secondary Battle of the Bands Competition

Saturday 22nd March

Secondary SingUp! - Sing-a-long Messiah

Thursday 26th/Friday 27th March Secondary Production - Bugsy Malone Saturday 19th April

ISMAG Battle of the Bands

Saturday 31st May

Secondary SingUp Concert

Wednesday 25th June

Secondary Performing Arts Festival

Further details will be sent out once all dates for the Christmas period have been finalised!


sixth form news

A Warm Welcome From Sixth Form By: Francis Burlingham I have been delighted to see our fledgling Sixth Form grow this year as we welcomed back many students into Year 12 following their success at iGCSE, as well as a number of students who are new to the school. We also welcomed the return of our new Year 13 cohort, following a successful first year in the Sixth Form and some excellent AS level results. Our numbers in Sixth Form have grown this year from 11 to 27 students. Our Year 12 induction days were a great success at the end of last academic year. We took our students Dragon boating and then set them a number of challenging tasks to complete around Guangzhou. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them give each other encouragement as they learnt how to coordinate their oar strokes. It was also great to see the enthusiasm and energy with which our students approached the challenges set around Guangzhou as they worked in teams to complete as many tasks as possible. These tasks ranged from busking, acquiring ‘unusual items’ and finding information about and photographing various tourist sites. These activities certainly helped the students bond as a group and helped to develop their team work and leadership skills in preparation for life in the sixth form. Finally each team gave a presentation with specific reference to the phrase, “With freedom and independence comes responsibility”. The sixth form staff team has also grown this year. Ms. Hearn continues with her tutor group into Year 13 and is now Deputy Head of Sixth Form. Mr. Moore joins us as Year 12 tutor. Mrs. Ellis continues as Sixth Form Careers and University Advisor, in charge of supporting students with university applications, personal statements and providing careers guidance. Mr. McKenna joins us as Year 12 academic mentor, whilst I continue to mentor the Year 13 students. As I write, the Year 12 students are preparing for a residential leadership course with Outward Bound in Hong Kong. The Year 13 students are preparing to travel to Jie An Primary School in Tiandeng as part of our ongoing commitment to the Action Aid charity. These should prove to be memorable trips and I look forward to hearing from the students about their experiences when they return.


sixth form news

Something In Common: A Work In Progress By: Francine Hearn Our sixth form common room is almost unrecognizable after the summer break as developments are well underway to increase its capacity to meet the growing needs and size of our student body. Several ‘interior designers’ in the form of students and teachers have each contributed fresh ideas to create a modern and clean environment conducive to learning. With Phase 1 of the development complete, the common room now includes several work areas including a quiet study zone, a break out area with sofas and laptop trays, group work areas, and the ‘must-see’ funky table and egg pods which are already proving popular. Phase 2 of the transformation will take place during the October holiday and our budding interior designers will be revealing the completed look on Monday October 7th- perhaps with a cutting the ribbon ceremony just to make it an extra special occasion!


Year 12 Support Primary ASAs By: Anjelica Polychronopoulos , Year 13 As older students, we have a responsibility to set a good example to our younger peers and provide support around the school where we can. The sixth form involvement in Monday night ASAs is a great example of putting this into practice as Year 12 students help to run an activity under the guidance of a teacher. The students have been placed in an area of their own interest where they can share their knowledge and expertise with the younger students. Noà has been spending time in the Art department: “I am currently working in the art department and working with younger kids from secondary years. I help them to paint and give direction on what types of media they can use to present their work to the teachers.” Brandon has been working in the IMovie ASA and is thoroughly enjoying his time: “Wow it’s very interesting and did I say VERY interesting! I help the kids use software and make them feel more comfortable in using IMovie” Through these words and my own sixth form experience I can see that we are already on the journey to becoming great leaders by teaching and helping younger children to enjoy and achieve. We enjoy using our knowledge and giving advice and are pleased to have this opportunity. On a final note Mathew had this to say: “On Monday’s I help the children play NFL (American Football) and I enjoy the smiles on kids faces when they are able to achieve and play the sport well.” To help is to learn and to learn is to help, we as sixth forms are all for opportunities and exciting experiences.


sixth form news

UCAS Applications By: Rachel Ellis As application deadlines draw ever closer the Year 13 students are in the midst of making final university preparations. Certificates are being collected, online applications finished, references written and final choices are being made leaving the sixth form common room a hive of activity. From the beginning of October, students and their parents will be attending meetings with the sixth form team for a final time to go through their entire application from university choices to personal statements before applications are officially submitted to UCAS. We have set an internal deadline of 15th October 2013 for the completion of applications. Although UCAS can accept most applications up until January 15th 2014 we know that universities start offering places as soon as the application window opens and delaying an application can decrease the chances of an offer. We also see no advantage of having applications weighing on the minds of our students and by sending them as soon as possible, Year 13’s can focus on their studies and getting the best grades possible for their A level exams. The application process has been a long but exciting journey not only for the students but for the teachers involved and for BSG, this being our first Year 13 cohort. Since January the students have had regular career and academic mentoring sessions and have each received one on one advice on how best to improve their personal statements from Mrs Ellis, Miss Hearn or Mr Burlingham. Students have also visited University and Career fairs, attended leadership trips, and have had ample opportunities to volunteer and gain work experience both in and outside of school. Every student has been forced beyond their comfort zone and each has demonstrated the qualities that will help them in the next phase of their education. All this has ensured that our students are well prepared for that final moment when they hit the send button!


The Student Council Recent house elections took place given rise to wonderful, new motivated leaders. Two captains from each house (one junior and one senior) were then nominated to become a part of the student council. The role of the council is to co-ordinate and make important decisions on school events and activities and represent the voices of their peers. Previously student council have ran projects such as the BSG Hoops for Hope event (charity), introduced student ID cards, made changes to the reward system, introduced ‘Student Voice’ (suggestion boxes) and organised Eco week. “It had been an extremely exciting year! As the first BSG student council we are proud to say that with the help of staff and students, we successfully accomplished our goals of creating a better environment and providing more extracurricular experiences for everyone.” – Carol Ye (Head of Student Council) The members of the “Student Council 2012-2013” were: Carol Ye, Milly Vaughan, Kelly Wong, Serena Liu, Linda Kim, Winston He, Judy Huang, Leroy Li and Eeshta Suresh. This mission is now being handed over to the “Student Council 2013-2014”, and hopefully in the coming years, it will continue to grow into an active and efficient group full of creativity and enthusiasm. With thanks to the outgoing council for all their effort and hard work, we welcome newly elected 20132014 student council committee.


sixth form news

Work Experience: IN THE RED Magazine By: Anjelica Polychronopoulos, Year 13 Published and having the honor to have written an article for ‘In the Red’ Magazine is something I never thought would happen to me. After applying and being accepted for a week long work experience programme at In The Red, I wasn’t sure what to expect nor was I expecting it to be as fantastic! Starting work on the weekend, I was asked to help out with their latest photo-shoot, which was about business women who were willing to let their hair down for one night. I was asked to interview all the models and ask them five party related questions of my choice. This gave me a real chance to get a feel of what working as a journalist is like. Confidence in your work and communicating well is the key to success, as well presenting your self in a professional manner to those you meet. Sitting around, interviewing the models and letting my imagination and ideas fall onto the page, the hours flew by. Not long after I was on to another mission, I had just arrived at work the next day and the Editor in charge gave me an article assignment. Now this is more like it, writing is my passion asI love exploring words on the page and seeing everything come to life. I was asked to present an article on Thailand Full Moon parties, however this article had to be writing as though I was there, experience it first hand. The planning started and the research was underway. I had figured out all my bearings on the page and the direction of the article I would like to go in. Once in to the zone and fingers ready on the key bored, I let my mind think and my fingers type. Reading over and over, correcting and adding I took one step back and saw my finished article on my laptop screen. Ready to call in the Editor to read my article was quite daunting as for the first time I had a professional looking and assessing my piece of writing. As she read the article (with a few giggles) my butterflies went away and a beaming smile appeared on my face as she congratulated me for being a now published writer at the age of 17 and still at school. She loved my article. With her advice on bored and an internship offer, I finished my weeks work and thanked everyone involved for this great opportunity to be part of the real word of business. With my mind already set on a career in journalism, this experience confirmed this decision for my future carrier. I enjoyed every moment and still cannot comprehended what I achieved.


SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL

Year 7: Sanya In the early hours of Monday 17th June, Year 7 met at Guangzhou Airport ready to embark upon an action packed week full of sun, sea, surf, hiking and kayaking. We had a fantastic week and the student’s took part in all the activities enthusiastically showing great levels of motivation throughout the week. These are some of the student’s thoughts of their trip to Sanya… “The first day of Sanya was really amazing, we went to the beach near our hotel and played some fun team activities such as beach football and the electric rope game. As the waves gently brushed the shore we went for dinner and ate mouthwatering deliciously flavored treats” “The second day was fun packed. In the morning we visited a sea turtle hospital where we learned how to care, clean and feed them. After lunch, we had to kayak through a river and to a nearby beach which wasn’t far but proved to be thoroughly exhausting because of the strong sun and extreme weather” “On the third day we spent the entire day hiking in a beautiful place called ‘Yanoda’. We did plenty of adventurous activities such as swinging over a river, climbing under and over a net and crossing a swing bridge. After lunch we had to climb stairs up to the top of a mountain to reach our bus. Even though it was exhausting, it was worth it when we reached the top and saw the amazing view of the rainforest, mountains and Sanya as well as feeling the gentle breeze blowing towards us” “On the fourth day we traveled to the beach to learn to surf. The breeze tickled my hair, as I stood on the surf board waiting anxiously for the wave to take me. I was so nervous when the waves rushed towards me but I stayed calm and waited for our instructor to tell me when to paddle. It was only when the wave was inches away from me when he shouted “paddle, paddle, paddle!” I paddled as hard as I could to catch the gigantic wave. As we picked up speed, we slowly stood on our feet and stumbled to get our balance. It was extremely difficult to stand up but once we stood up, it was as though we were controlling the waves and I will never forget that exhilarating feeling.” “The week finished with a morning of shopping in Sanya and then before we knew it we were on the plane flying back to Guangzhou. It was a very tiring week but the students and teachers had a thoroughly enjoyable adventure with memories that they will always remember.” “Sanya is the perfect place to go if you love water, there is water here, water there, water everywhere. Our trip to Sanya was fun and I would definitely go back. This year’s residential trip was valuable, memorable and I will never forget it”


SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL

Year 8: Dali DAY 1: Day one definitely was a long one. After a two hour airplane trip and another dull five hour bus trip, we finally stopped at our destination- the picturesque and atmospheric, Dali old town. As beautiful as it is, Dali old town is one of those uncommon serene areas in China that perfectly stays how it was meant to be in the old days. We were literally surrounded in streets of willows, traditional houses and women wearing the traditional costumes of the Bai people. We quickly separated into multiple teams and started a scavenger hunt over the whole Dali old town; each team was assigned a map and we had to go around the town to look for challenges set by the guides, with each challenge being worth a certain amount of points. The challenges included both team-building activities and quizzes about the local culture. Then later, dinner was served in the outskirts of Dali, right beside Cangshan Mountain at a local tea plantation. We had traditional Chinese food featuring baked pumpkins and roasted chicken. Some of the people enjoyed them, while others, did not…always the way! Evening time was occupied with playing a game of “Intruder”. People had to advance to the centre of a circle and try to snatch something away, while a ninja, blindfolded, tried to guard them and catch people out by shining a flashlight on them. Surprisingly, the teacher’s team won the most times, despite them being a bigger target for the ninja, compared to the others. We finally arrived at the guest house--Sam’s hotel. Surprisingly the guesthouse provided private wifi, most suitable for an online game with others which was exceptionally fast later at night and in the early morning…according to some people. (Phil) DAY 2: On the second day of the trip we woke up at 8:30am to an appetizing breakfast at the guest house we were staying in. The aroma of the fresh, sweet, sugary juice and yoghurt; the salty crispy taste of the toast made for a tremendous breakfast. Afterwards we split into two groups that did both biking and kayaking with an optional tie-die activity. The 20 km bike ride which lasted for about 4 to 5 hours was very tiring yet pleasurable at the same time because we got to see the magnificent scenery of Dali’s countryside: the tall slopped mountains, the vibrant blue lake, the old local houses and the greenery. When we finished the bike ride we were able to taste an extremely delicious local bread called ‘baba’ which I highly recommend. Kayaking was a different and exciting story because we played a number of games, had races and got to cheerfully splash each other. I really enjoyed kayaking because not only was it very enjoyable, it was also very relaxing because I felt very calm looking at the curvy waves dancing back and forth. As for the people who tie-died, I think they had a wonderful time too, because firstly, they were treated to chocolate ice-cream and secondly, they ended up making something that looked great. Overall I think it was a fantastic day filled with fun activities that we all enjoyed; that probably helped us get a bit more muscle (biking), showed us Dali’s beautiful scenery, allowed us to play a few games, try a tasty local bread and lastly made us get wet! (Keisha)


DAY 3: Hiking... A great way of sight-seeing your nature surroundings, smell the fresh breeze as it whistles past you, and hear the twittering birds as they sing a song- making you feel like your spirit has drifted far away, to somewhere enchanted. Hiking... A great way of torturing your legs as they start to ache and with your teachers demanding that you hurry up because you’re just so slow. Hiking... That’s what we had to do- us, climbing and making our way to the top of the mountain. Us, not liking the field of horse poop and tomb stones around us. US, whining endlessly like a bunch of seals: ‘ARE WE THERE YET??’ However, the hiking wasn’t that bad, really. In fact, it was quite enjoyable since it made us feel like a group of adventurers, trudging our way through a sea of horse poop and mountains of steep hills which challenged our stamina. The views were beautiful and but we needed to use a map and work as a team to navigate our way through which proved quite a challenge. Bickering and name-calling…that’s how we all started, but after a long awkward silence of hearing a lecture about team spirit, we eventually became rather friendly to each other; even with people we didn’t know so well, which led us into encouraging each other when we had a few fears to conquer, and best of all, celebrating, singing when we had reached the top of the mountain. It was joyous. A great, rewarding day! (Joyce)


SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL

DAY 4: This was the fourth and final full day although no one seemed to notice… we were full energy and enthusiasm as we had been all week. Today’s activities included rock climbing and dumpling making. After a nice breakfast by the lake with magnificent, breath-taking views, we divided ourselves into two groups. My group was doing rock climbing first so we headed off towards the mountains. The hills seemed to get steeper and steeper as the boiling, toxic sun shone straight on our bodies...however we made it there. There were four possible routes, which included one beginners, two intermediate and a hard one. The process of climbing is not that as easy as it looks...but when you overcome your fear and climb all the way to the top to see the absolutely amazing view of the lake, the farms and the far white dots of Dali town, you know it’s definitely worth it. After that, we hiked down with the same route as before..TIRING!. It must be quite amusing to see a person hiking down whilst grabbing grass around them and put on a brave face while struggling to not fall from the steep hill...hiking up seemed so much easier, without a doubt.   After our lunch, we started dumpling making. In contrast to the intense mornings activities, dumpling making seemed much more relaxing; we visited the local market buying some vegetables and meat, then headed back. Some of us were making dough, some of us were cutting up vegetables and meat. The dumplings came up great and more importantly we learnt the process of making them. Later, we met up with the others and had dinner, after that, we had a bonfire party which is the saddest bonfire I›ve ever been to...everyone was so emotional about the last week of school and people leaving. (Amy)


DAY 5: The last day was the saddest day of all, with rain to boost our emotions; pathetic fallacy can be a real pain. After the flurry of emotions we all felt last night at the bonfire, we were worn and tired the next morning, trudging down to breakfast with all luggage packed, ready for home. No one had much of an appetite. We loaded or bags onto the coach, and were transported to a local school in Dali, where we were to teach them basic English and art. Most groups decided on simple vocabulary, like «hello» or «what is your name». In art we delivered a creative lesson, to let the children’s minds fly and finger-paint what they wanted to. After saying goodbye to the children, we all got back on the coach, and headed to the airport. It was a long flight, and many took naps. When we landed, most of us were crying. I guess we all have to let go of people sometimes…as long as we keep in touch. (Max) I›m sure that everyone had fun on the trip, I sure hope the teachers did as well. We owe them a big thank you because, not only did we enjoy the trip, but also we learnt new skills, as well as how to work together, and some of us managed to face our fears too. Some of us earned some awards, some of us didn’t. But that›s ok because, it›s the fun and taking part that counts. Goodbye Dali and maybe we’ll see you again soon at some point! J (Lynuelle)


SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL

Year 9: Xiamen Upon arriving at the village in Nanjing, the first thing that we noticed was the breathtaking scenery. We fond ourselves surrounded by lush fields of green tea plantations and steep, towering terraces.  We were immediately drawn into the Hakka culture by visiting a Tulou, which is a communal house that can house an entire village. The second day started nice and early - 7:30am and we began by making our own lunch - a bit like Subway, but do it yourself. Afterwards, we visited a massive Tulou, one of the biggest in China which can house a staggering 38 families! Next on the agenda was THE HIKE, something which some people were looking forward to and others not so much. Tae was the first victim to lose his shoe to the mud and there were many, many more after him! Once we made it to the top, it was back downhill which proved very painful on the knees trying to clamber over the jagged rocks. At the bottom, there were multiple cheers and sighs of relief as we had managed to survive the treacherous four-hour hike up the tea mountain. To top it all of, we headed to the Volcanic Island Hotel, filled with beautiful views, soft beds and cold AC. Everybody was looking forward to a day at the beach the next day. Wednesday was the best day of our trip. We spent the day at the beach; surfing, playing, learning about the environment and building awesome art out of rubbish. Nobody knew how to surf at first but then our instructors Paul and XuanDa taught us, and everyone surfed pretty well. Feeling the wind slicing through your face it felt as though you were a bullet hurtling towards the beach. It was a truly sensational, enthralling experience. After that we rested, people played beach soccer and had water fights. There was another very important part of the day … it was Justin’s birthday! So, a cake was brought out for Justin we sang Happy Birthday and then the boys pushed Justin’s face into the cake! Delicious!   We started the forth day with orienteering. This was superb as we got a chance to explore Volcano Island finding hidden words, and making them into short stories/ poem. It was fun listening to the amazing poems we had created and to see how big and beautiful the island is. Later on during the day, we built the ultimate machine: a catapult made with bamboo sticks, a spoon and ropes. In order to do this, we got into teams of six and split up into different jobs, such as: project manager, engineer, politician, ambassador and gopher. We then used the catapult to throw water balloons at our guides (Paul, Olivia, Tina and XuanDa) and it soon became an awesome water balloon fight that left almost everyone completely soaked. It was really funny when XuanDa snuck up on Jeffrey, who was holding a water balloon and burst it on him! Finally, we checked into our nicest hotel yet, the Asia Gulf Hotel, we couldn’t wait to get in the pool the next day! On the final day of the trip we spent a fun-filled morning in the pool, playing games and devising our own synchronized swimming performances. We then packed up and went to Gu Lang Yu – a fascinating island that has a rich and varied history, as well as the world’s largest grand piano museum! We did a scavenger hunt so we could really explore the island, but most people only got as far as McDonald’s and the touristy shops. It was fun taking the ferry to and from the island, especially as we had an entire ferry to ourselves! We then made our journey to the airport where we made an emotional goodbye to our Insight trip leaders.


SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL

Year 10: Thailand Our motley crew of students & teachers and parents met in the predawn light at Guangzhou airport. Despite the early hour spirits were high – although, in the taxi Ms. Welch informed both Mr. Lowe and Mr. MacNeill that she was definitely not a morning person – and we embarked on our 2 legged journey to Chiang Rai with minimum fuss. Prior to our second flight we took the opportunity to avail Bangkok airport of its various forms of fastfood, including Mr. MacNeill who opted for a double Whopper, this was in preparation for a week of healthy food with no carbonated beverages or juicy burgers in sight. Our destination was the Maekok River Village Resort in northern Thailand and when we arrived we were welcomed with open arms by the staff and ushered to our rooms to unpack. The first night passed by with some delicious Thai food and some outdoor games before a much needed rest. Our first full day involved some serious preparation for our impending expedition. The charges of BSG were put through their paces with both kayaking and biking practice. Rumor has it that an enormous catfish lurks in the depths on the Maekok pond but sadly we didn’t catch a glimpse. I suspect he was disturbed by the sight of Orkhan and Viren trying to steer a kayak and decided it best to stay away.


In the afternoon the IA students brought all that they had learned from their practice events to use when planning their expedition with the extremely cheerful Charlie. Following some discussion about the route and how best to approach it, the students had to address their most important task- FOOD. We hopped onto a bus and made for the nearest town. The provisions for the expedition were purchased in the … wait for it … local Tesco. Yes, you read that right, despite only being a hop, skip and a jump from the Burmese border Mr. Tesco has established a capitalist outpost for all your grocery needs, although in this part of the word the Tesco livery is green rather than the white, red and blue that we are all familiar with. With their rucksacks stuffed with (some) healthy provisions we returned to the centre for some delicious dinner and in the evening the students had a scramble up the centre’s climbing wall. An I.A expedition demands a lot from its participants: commitment, determination and fortitude are but a few of the qualities required. I can safely state that every single one of the students displayed these qualities in abundance – and in many cases they pushed themselves to limits that I don’t think they knew they were capable. The first part of the expedition entailed a hike through some dense jungle. We scrambled up steep ravines, ambled past some beautiful lychee hill farms and scrambled through bamboo forests. The biggest challenge on the hike, other than not drinking all your water within the first hour (Ernesto!), was left till last when we navigated our way through a network of subterranean caves with only our head torches to guide us. After some much needed hydration, and perhaps the best packed lunch this teacher has ever consumed, we were ready for the next stage of the journey. Our challenge: to cycle for 45km or so to the campsite and to do so before dusk.

I have had a great deal of experience of working in the outdoors with young people and I was especially proud of how this group of students came together to conquer this challenge. Yes, it was tough, and yes, there were some bumps and bruises, and perhaps a tear or two, but we made it, albeit a little behind schedule. We arrived at the campsite a little after sundown to be greeted by the sight of our tents having already been assembled. Mr. Lowe and the non-IA group had taken pity on us and erected our tents. The students then set to the task of cooking dinner, with minimal fuss, and then some very tired heads were laid down on pillows. Despite the exertions of the previous day the students rose early, certainly earlier than Ms. Welch, and had managed to eat breakfast and clear up the campsite before 8am. We were ready for our final challenge. All that stood in our way was a 15km Kayak up the river. Following the arduous efforts of the previous day I was concerned that students would simply not have much left in the tank. Ha. I was mistaken, rather, it was the other way round and I had little left to offer. The students stormed up the river, leaving me to plod along in their wake. My progress was further impeded when Ms. Welch abandoned ship to ‘take pictures’ in the safety boat. I suspect that BSG may well be the breeding ground for some Olympic standard kayakers. Our final morning in Thailand was spent aiding the construction of an extension to a local school. This was an excellent opportunity for the students to see what kind of work goes into developing a rural school. Following a repeat of the outward journey, albeit this time with a bit of a mix up with the airline staff when a certain Mr. Gordon Wong was mistakenly served a glass of wine with his dinner (it was swiftly confiscated for ‘safe keeping’ by Miss. Welch), we arrived back in Guangzhou having grown in strength, spirit and experience.


SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL

Year 11: Taiwan By: Dalbert Ma & Caleb Habos Last school year, the Year 11’s (now Year 12) went on a residential trip around the island of Taiwan. Our main reason for being there was to trek up one of the island’s tallest peaks, Snow Mountain. While a large chunk of the trip involved being trapped inside a bus for multiple (never-ending) hours at a time, it was an experience none of us will forget.... The first day was spent solely on traveling, by plane and then by bus. By 9pm, we finally arrived at the foot of a hiking path, never truly expecting what was to come. After stocking up on food (mainly granola bars, the taste of which none of us may be able to stomach again), we headed up the mountain to our first cabin. On the second day, we rose early in the morning, earlier than most of us wake up for school. We ate a traditional camper’s breakfast then began our epic journey up Snow Mountain. Some found it an everlasting struggle of a marathon to the next checkpoint, while others found it to be a refreshing retreat from the husslin’-and-bustlin’ city life of Guangzhou. But what none of us can deny is the absolute breathtaking, picturesque views, whether it be from within the forestry of tall plant-life or from the edge of steep cliffs. It took us a total of five to six hours of hiking to get to the next cabin, which was situated on a huge open slope of grass. There we ate our lunch (hospitably cooked by fellow hikers), talked, played card games, and slept for the night.


SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL SPECIAL

Year 12: Thailand By: Anjelica Polychronopoulos (Year 13) Through the hills of Chang Mai and the waters of Phi Phi Island, memories were made and friendships were tested. From climbing rocks and mountains covered in scratches to the sweltering heat from the mid-day sun, a nice swim in the water sure did do the trick to cool us all off during our 44km journey through the jungles of Chang Mai!! On Day 1, we broke our 10km hike with lunch where we had to prepare noodles with boiling water in bamboo and carve our own chopsticks using a carving knife and leftover bamboo. We couldn’t wait for the day to end however the worst was to come after lunch by walking to the peak of the mountain! Eventually we made it to our camp site, having to par take in a practice rescue mission for the last 700 meters of the hike were made our own stretcher out of bamboo and carried Avinash to the end. Every few hundred meters we would alternate the carriers to keep a steady but fast pace.

On the last day we were up bright and early getting for our elephant ride through the jungle and river. It was a great time to relax and actually have the chance to take in the beautiful scenery without worrying about the blisters on our feet or the sun beaming down on our tired faces! As soon as the elephant ride came to an end, we set to work building rafts from bamboo, four rubber tubes and a few ropes and began floating down the river to our next stop with the promise of a nice relaxing cold drink and ice cream! Time really does fly when you’re having fun and we sure did feel that because before we could take another step we were on our mountain bikes about to complete our last leg of the journey, a 10 km bike ride! A few stops along the canal and a jump in the cool water boosted our energy and before we knew it we had made it! By the end it seemed our legs were moving but our bikes were not going anywhere! Feeling proud and accomplished, we had made it to the finish line! Struggling to walk and struggling to talk there was still a little something left in us to put a smile on our faces and gather around for one last photo, looking different to when we began our adventure. Not only was it fun but we also got the chance to see the city and enjoy our last day in Chang Mai before we were off to Phuket for the next stage of our adventure- diving!

On the second day of our hike we woke up to a challenge of completing a 20km walk. Once again the heat was out of this world and the sun so strong that our tan lines are hard to cover even now. Through the aches and pains, with one foot in front of the other we made it to the end of the hike! During the day we saw nothing but farmland, villages, wild life, crops and paddies! A true memory that I’m sure none of us will forget was having to cross a farming crop trying hard not to miss a step with fear of fall- As soon as we were off the plane and at our hotels the PADI Scuba Diving ing into the muddy crops books were out and the study began! At nights we would light the fire, pitch the Diving may look easy but once you get tents, cook dinner, tell jokes around the in the water and put all your knowlcamp fire, take a swim in the dam……. edge and new skills in to use fear as RELAXATION at its finest :) well as adrenaline take over your body and before you know it your under water diving like a pro!


After our water sessions in the pool, we were up for the next three days bright and early ready to catch the boats out to the islands of Thailand and begin our PADI scuba diving course. We had to complete all the skills we had covered in the pool, out at sea approximately 10 meters underwater. Seeing amazing fish and colourful coral isn’t just as easy as putting on mask and breathing with an oxygen tank, there are so many safety issues that MUST be addressed. All excited and impatient we completed our exams and also five scuba dives, which counted as our practical exam. Having everyone successfully pass both written and practical exams, we can all now say we are officially PADI qualified open water divers. Making sure we do remember the skills and safety before venturing in to the open waters. A huge thank-you to Mr. Wood and Mrs. Ellis, without their company and support day in and day out most of us would have been lost, literally! They truly mentored us and gave us hope to complete every challenge that came our way. Also a massive well done for the efforts of both Mr. Wood and Mrs. Ellis on being with us every step of the way, even up the mountains of Chaing Mai and the waters of Phi Phi island.


End of term events 2012/13 Secondary Swimming Gala


End of term events 2012/13 Awards Day


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BSG Newsletter Term 1, Issue 1 2013