Mysterious totems, picturesque sceneries, ballads of different styles, unique and brilliant cultures…. 2022, we explored the Americas together.
Without realizing it, the Closing Ceremony of the Carnival of the Americas was already upon us. During the past month, the children of SUIS Qingpu explored the rich and diverse cultures of the Americas in classrooms filled with different customs, interesting academic activities, brilliant and abstract works of art, passionate music, all surrounded by the unique charms of the Americas. The lively and fun lessons enabled children to encounter rich knowledge and grow in happiness!
A journey of interdisciplinary exploration – Our Chinese-language Group Enjoyed a Cultural Feast of the Americas
In this interdisciplinary inquiry-learning environment, the teachers of the Chinese-language group led students to focus on classic myths and stories, preparing a North and South American cultural feast by reading, acting, writing, and analyzing.
Through the reading of classic fairy tales, junior primary students compared and contrasted the similarities and differences between American fairy tales and Chinese fairy tales, and focused on the famous trilogy of fairy tales by the well-known American writer EB White, to learn and understand the basic concepts of novels.
After exploring in groups the allusions, customs, food and poetry of traditional festivals, the middle and senior primary students focused on the creation of American mythology stories using American mythology resources. At the same time, they were introduced to classic Mayan mythological characters, discussed the images of heroes in Mayan mythology, and then studied the similarities and differences of mythological Mayan heroes in order to understand the magical charm of mythical characters.
Take a Secret Trip with Math into the Americas
The older primary students looked back into important events and famous figures in American history from their investigations on “Year, Month and Day”, while inquiring into the differing types of celebrations and festivals. They used data to explore the human and geomorphic features of the Americas so that they could in turn use mathematical reasoning to formulate their desired trip plan for the Americas. There was also an energy conservation analysis of the Americas, where collected energy data struck students’ hearts directly, allowing the healthy and green energy concepts permeate their thinking.
The Opportunity of a Lifetime, with English in the Americas
Visit the Exotic Corridor of the Americas with our Bilingual team
The art teachers were very creative and taught the children to make many different types of exotic works of art. Look!
Grade 1 students decorated Canadian maple leaves using a variety of lines, designed beautiful dream catcher patterns, and made Indian feather bonnets by combining scrap-booking, line drawing and composition techniques. After exploring and learning the vibrant art and culture of the Caribbean, the Grade 2 students created an indigenous parrot, using the method of collaging geometric and organic shapes, which were full of vitality. The Grade 3 students used black clay and reusable materials to shape the Easter Island Moai stone statues with deep eyes, chiseled foreheads, high noses, sharp chins and stoic expressions. The Grade 4 students walked into the Maya civilization and used a variety of clay techniques to make and reproduce the reliefs of palaces in the city of Palenque. The Mayan characters and human figures on the reliefs were lifelike and full of artistic sense. The Grade 5 students drew inspiration from Brazilian artist Abraham Paratnik and created modern artworks rich in science and technology by using clay modeling, propylene painting, and wire assemblies.
Our PE teachers were not willing to be outdone, of course! They accompanied the students to understand and experience the unique sports and traditional games of the Americas on the playground and in the gym. Grade 1 students learned to jump, throw and catch a ball, and strengthened their basketball skills such a dribbling, passing and shooting. Students in Grade 2 and 3 experienced traditional First-Nations People’s games – hunting and raiding. In the games, they developed a deep respect for the talents of these indigenous peoples. Grade 4 and 5 students experienced the two most famous sports in the Americas – baseball and American football. They not only learned the sports’ historical background and basic rules, but also gradually developed new skills in catching and throwing the ball.
STEAM teachers explored the Americas from the perspective of children. The students in the early years explored the mysteries of human body structure through a review of outstanding North and South American athletes. The older students entered the physics world and studied force, learning that forces are everywhere, and deconstructed the various physical movements of the athletes from the perspective of forces. The inquiry-learning content of the children in upper primary was even more challenging. They explored tropical rain forest fires, understood the causes of the fires, attempted to carry out rescue operations with robots, and also discussed the development and protection of the Amazon rainforest, improving their awareness of environmental protection.
One of the most noticeable products of the Carnival resulted from the music team which, since the very beginning of the Carnival, has been preparing a wonderful performance for the Closing Ceremony. Let us briefly review the Ceremony’s wonderful performances!
The Carnival Closing Ceremony
Our Primary School singers, the Nightingales Choir, opened the first performance of the ceremony. They had prepared two songs from the Americas for today’s performance, “See you Again” from the United States and “Maquerule”, a traditional Colombian song.
Grade 1 students prepared three North American songs full of catchy rhythms and great choreographies. The songs were “Let’s twist again,” teaching us the famous “twist” dance, “Cotton Eye Joe,” a fun cowboy dance, and a hula dance called “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride”.
Grade 2 students introduced us to the amazing and tremendously popular Caribbean rhythms of the Chachacha and Bachata through instrumentals, singing and dancing. The Chachacha is one of the most famous Cuban dances, and “Rico Vacilón” is a famous song, representative of the genre. For the Dominican Republic’s musical rhythm of the Bachata, students danced to a children’s song called, “Vocales Infantiles.”
The Grade 3 students surprised us by singing in Spanish and dancing traditional South American songs. They showed us the vigour of the Venezuelan joropo with the song ” El Gavilán,” the beauty of the Colombian Bunde Tolimense with the elegant and graceful song “Chelelé,” and the sophistication and stylishness of the Argentinian tango while dancing the song “Quejas de Bandoneon.”
Central America is a region full of diverse cultural expressions. During this year’s Carnival music lessons, Grade 4 students focused on studying and preparing a traditional Costa Rican dance called, “El Tambito.” In addition, some classes focused on learning not only a fun and charming Mexican dance, but also the lyrics of the famous Mexican song “La Bamba.”
With these wonderful Closing Ceremony performances, our one-month journey of exploring the Americas came to an end. We are confident that students now know much more about the Americas, the land of dreams, thanks to their engagement with the various subjects’ inquiry-learning activities conducted throughout the entire month. There is no doubt that they have enriched their learning experience well beyond books. Let us look forward to next year’s Intercontinental Carnival!