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Everyday Life - 6th Grade Chinese Humanities Class

One of the main reasons I love my job is because I am able to see the rich education that our children are receiving. I decided to do a new series of blogs posts in order to share with you what I see on a daily basis: I'm fortunate enough to be able to go into the classrooms and see what our students are learning and how engaged they are with their teachers. The focus of my series is to give you insight into the everyday moments at INTL.* At first glance, it may seem so simple… an art project, a book report, a math lesson… but within these simple, everyday moments, you'll get a glimpse as to what makes INTL so special and why our students are happy and enjoy learning at INTL.

6th Grade Chinese Humanities 

Quite honestly, I don’t remember what I studied in history when I was in 6th grade.  Although, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t to the breadth and depth to what our 6th grade Chinese students are covering.

Last week I peeked into  Huo Lao Shi’s 6th grade Chinese Humanities class.  INTL’s middle school is structured in a similar manner to other middle schools. Students attend classes based on subjects and their teacher changes depending on the subject matter.  Specifically for our Chinese program students, they will take four courses in Chinese – language arts, humanities (focusing on China), art, and music.  In addition to these courses, they take additional courses in English ranging from math, science, English language arts, humanities (World History) and physical education.

In the video clip above, Huo Lao Shi is discussing Ancient Chinese history.  She started the school year by discussing the origin on humans and guided her students through discussions regarding the various eras.  For example, man discovering fire and then learning how to make clothes and farm his own food.  In my brief time with Huo Lao Shi and her students, they were discussing what life was like 6000 years ago in Ancient China.  In particular, they were discussing the types of pottery they made, and one student questioned how they were able to get brown shades in their pottery.  Thereafter, they moved on to a discussion bout how Ancient Chinese honored their loved ones after they passed.  Similar to Ancient Egyptians, they buried their loved ones with objects from their lives, duly noting that they were not just jewels or treasures.

After I left the classroom, I unfortunately missed Huo Lao Shi discussing how archeologists discovered that some people had more objects buried with them than others.  The students were asked to consider various reasons why this happened and they concluded that the buried individuals were probably wealthier than the others.  Huo Lao Shi challenged the children to think a bit deeper and asked them how, even back in ancient China, some individuals or families could be wealthier than others and asked what they could have that others did not.  It was concluded by the students, which was the ultimate objective of that day's lesson, that due to agriculture, the ones who could grow food were considered richer than the ones who could not. This lesson was so exciting and engaging that I was disappointed that I couldn’t stay to tape that portion of the class, as that is when the “interesting” debate between the students took place.

I look forward to my next blog where I get to share more every day moments with you... so stay tuned!

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

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