In Chinese culture, words are roots, idioms are branches and poems are trees. From December 3rd to 17th, Junior High School held the Festival of Chinese Poetry with various activities including calligraphy exhibition, knowledge competition, poster making etc. The teaching objective was to appreciate Chinese poetry, pursue culture genres, and celebrate the beauty of life, using innovative methods to educate and entertain our pupils at the same time.
As a bilingual school, Huili School Hangzhou not only pays attention to the acquisition of English, but also emphasises creating an immersive, language-rich learning environment for the mother tongue. We believe that it is extremely important for our pupils to establish a strong understanding of the rich and deep heritage and culture of China and being Chinese.
In the calligraphy exhibition, pupils first chose their favorite poems, and then carefully wrote them down on notepaper to reproduce the poetic sense “time was slower”.
I chose the poem “Mooring at the Foot of Mount Beigu” because of the exquisite duality of the second sentence, such as Ping-Kuo and Zheng-Xuan, showing a Chinese ink-wash painting of the river and the riverbank in my mind. The third sentence was written in an interesting and natural way through using the anthropomorphic rhetoric. The last sentence demonstrated a conflict by expressing the author’s homesickness and his positive attitudes toward life.
The poem I chose was Cao Cao’s “The Sea”. The style of this poem was bold and unconstrained, and therefore I chose the background paper that is matched to it. I appreciated that Cao Cao, who was old at the time, still had such a grand dream, which inspired me to have future ambitions and dreams.
I was amazed to see the calligraphy works created by my classmates, especially the neatness of the handwriting and their enthusiasm about calligraphy. Calligraphy is a cultural skill that has been around for thousands of years. These masterpieces handed down through the ages are treasures for our future generations.
In the knowledge competition, selected materials included “The Book of Songs”, “Chuci” and poems of the Tang, Song and Ming Dynasties which pupils have learned in Grade 6 and Grade 7. Besides these, there were different types of games, such as text clue questions, judgmental questions, multiple choice questions and poetry solitaires. While following the practice of thoroughly reading 300 Tang poems, it was more about asking pupils to understand, internalise and transfer the poetry. The knowledge competition was very intense and pupils thought carefully before answering each question, reflecting the Huili identities of “Inspired” and “Intellectual”.
What impressed me most about the competition was the third part, in which each school sent a representative to answer questions on the stage. When the pupils on the stage were thinking, the pupils in the audience were also thinking positively. It really surprised me because some of my classmates were excellent!
In the poster making process, pupils chose the topic based on Tang poetry under the guidance of teachers. Among them, there were many interesting topics with novel perspectives and various personalities, which reflect the Huili identities of being independent and individual.
Li Shangyin’s “Untitled” is full of his yearning for the partner. I would like everyone to have a deeper understanding of the poet, from whom I can also learn a lot. I think he is full of mystery.
Richard Tu and William Wang
In our impression, Li Bai is not only crowned as the “Fairy Poet”, but a person who is detached from everything. However, he is also an ordinary person with flesh and blood. In his life, there are joys and sorrows; success and failure as well. Through our interpretation, we hope that everyone can look at his complex life.
Kevin Yang and Felix Zheng
We chose Bai Juyi’s “The Song of Everlasting Sorrow” because it has been passed down through the ages. It was created when Bai Juyi traveled with his friends Chenhong and Wang Zhifu to Xianyou temple. It tells the love story of Yang Guifei and Li Longji, with ups and downs and a sense of irony between the lines.
Mark Fu and Jason Zhou
We chose the topic of “The Evolution of Tang Poetry”. We wanted to study the differences and commonalities of poetry between the early and the late stage of Tang Dynasty and how the four masters Wang Bo, Yang Lan, Lu Zhaolin, and Luo Binwang formed the law of poetry. In the glorious age of the Tang Dynasty, themes of poetry were mainly about admiring the natural beauty, yearning for the frontier fortress and praising heroism. In the middle stage of the Tang Dynasty, the number of poetry genres reached its peak while the harsh and ruthless reality turned the mainstream of poetry into realism. Besides, the new Yuefu movement represented by Bai Juyi ran through the middle stage of Tang Dynasty.