I’ve just come to the end of my first week here and can’t believe how quick it’s gone! We have spent Tuesday – Thursday in a school called SISU Huangpu Foreign Language Primary School. It is right in the centre of the city and has over 600 students there. Children start school at around the same time as us however have shorter lessons- only 35 minutes usually. The start and end of every lesson is announced through music which is played into every classroom over a tannoy system. Although the lessons are shorter they have many more lessons than we do each day and so the children don’t go home until at least 4:30pm.
Children start primary school in what’s called Grade 1- which is the same age as our Year 2. We have seen lots of maths lessons this week, the children each have a textbook and workbook similar to like we do however they are expected to take these home and complete homework in them on most nights too. Lots of the classes we have seen have focused on Geometry as everyone in Shanghai uses the same maths textbooks and this is the particular module that they are working on at the moment. They also do arithmetic revision lessons too and have to complete lots of times tables tests- similar to how we do TT Rock Stars.
On the Friday we were lucky enough to watch a special showcase lesson where there were around 50 teachers joining us to watch a lesson with Grade 5 (Year 6). This lesson and teacher had won a prize for the best maths lesson taught last year and I was astounded at how quickly the children were able to answer the questions and problems that they were set; we also then got to ask the teacher who taught the lessons some questions too. The lesson all focused on division, the picture below was just the warm up questions!!!!
In school every lunchtime a different class bring in different products to sell to the rest of the school and they call this a bazaar- we went along to help out at a couple of these and during this time all the children are expected to try and speak in English- which is much better than my Chinese although the teachers and students were apparently very impressed with my ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’.
We’ve also had the opportunity to take part in some other activities too and I’ve had a go at making traditional Chinese bracelets and producing calligraphy artwork.
I’ve had a great time in this school and learnt lots already, the Shanghai teachers who are coming over to Colebourne are going to be showing us the sights of Shanghai tomorrow as we have some free time before we start work in our second school next week. In the meantime, Shanghai is home to the world’s second tallest building…can you find out what it is called?