Today we share stories about three very creative and tenacious Huili pupils who are finding innovative ways to make their voices heard.
Geronimo Stilton is one of grade 4 pupil Bosco’s favourite books. The frosty kingdom in the book captivated him. Bosco has loved drawing since he was very little. Encouraged by his father, he decided to create a picture book of his own. So, The World of Nidhogg began to take shape.
Bosco took inspiration from his school when building this world. It features a campus that has machines that make ice, cotton candy, seawater and even an incubator for monster eggs.
▲Huili Shanghai 5th anniversary calendar - a design from Bosco’s‘magic campus’
When we look at Bosco's imaginary world, it is easy to see that Huili pupil-centred teaching provides endless opportunities for artistic development and personal expression.
In theme lessons, Bosco and his classmates designed products for people with visual and hearing impairments. Although they did not get the project funding, Bosco found the experience of innovation and collaboration to be very rewarding.
In 2022, Bosco held an art exhibition centred around the theme of his World of Nidhogg. He donated all the proceeds from the ticket sales to the Huili Shanghai Educational Development Foundation.
He still recalls the night he spent at school a year ago due to the lockdown. Friends of Huili (FOH) prepared sleeping bags for every pupil and teacher who stayed night at school in one afternoon.
"I felt especially secure to sleep in the soft sleeping bag. It was only later that I realised how difficult it was to prepare those things at the time," said Bosco.
The Huili Community's concerted efforts to demonstrate kindness at that time made him understand the power of charity.
▲Bosco in the educational farm charity programme
Bosco’s imaginary world includes monsters of the Nidhogg Kingdom and robots of the DN50 galaxy. His exploration of novel themes in the classroom, teachers’ guidance and peers’ appreciation all contribute to the world that he created. They nourish his creativity and drive him to express with confidence.
“Every day I come to school is like opening a blind box. It is full of surprises,” he said.
Ms Liu and Ms Xie are responsible for our Primary Journalists CCA.
When coaching pupils, they often asks them: “In a rapidly changing world, it is easy to get lost in so much information. How can we distinguish right from wrong and judge what we should believe? As journalists, how do we consider a problem?”
Raising questions is the critical first step in primary inquiry-based learning model. This is an innovative learning model that has been designed for many years. It breaks down the boundaries of the disciplines and surpasses the limitations of the traditional linear learning model.
This empowers pupils to draw connections between subjects and their relevance in the real world. They, in turn, come to understand their role in the world and the impact that their actions have upon it.
Although AI can generate news reports in seconds, our Primary Journalists aim to show the meaning of news in the modern era.
▲Young journalists in the CCA classroom
They analyse the news, prepare questions and encounter unexpected challenges.
“When interviewing grade 1 pupils, I came to realise that I needed to be flexible and patient. I had to rephrase my questions to be more relatable to them,” grade 5 pupil Yulin explained.
Our pupils read through the Xinmin Evening News to learn how a formal news article is written. With the scaffold built by the teacher and following the six steps of an inquiry-based learning model, pupils’ news content gradually took shape, as did their competence.
▲Young journalists involved in interviewing
Through this experience, our pupils learned that journalism requires an objective, professional attitude as well as curiosity about the world around them.
Our Primary Journalists CCA inspired grade 3 pupil Ray and his friends to start a publication that chronicles campus life.
They named it The Independent Students, and it featured fun and whimsical debates around questions like ‘Can dogs eat grass?’ and polls asking pupils questions like ‘Are you a proper sports fan?’
▲Ray introducing 'The Big Debate'
When he isn’t acting as the editor in chief of this publication, Ray likes to follow news about Formula 1 racing, especially his favourite driver Max Verstappen.
“A good headline must be compelling enough, with clear, attracting content, supported by facts and figures, and covering first-hand interviews with the people involved,” said Ray.
The depth of thinking about news benefits Ray's writing and develops his leadership skills. In fact, the content is so popular that Ray has 40 part-time contributing editors.
"I've observed that each editor has an area of interest, and I give them the appropriate direction. For example, Ivy has an eye for new stories; she is in charge of campus affairs. Daniel likes Sports, so that is what he reports on.”
▲Ray and his team members
So far, The Independent Students has produced eight issues and it has become a popular read in the Primary School.
This term, Huili Independent Students even became a CCA course, with Ray hosting it alongside English teacher Mr Ben. They will explore more creative projects with the editors.
▲On the front page of the first newspaper, Ray wrote: reporting for fun
Whether it is Bosco’s imaginary world, Ray’s English newspaper or our Primary Journalists’ first publication, our pupils are taking initiative to learn more and share their ideas with their peers in the Huili Community.
With our teachers’ help, they are equipping themselves with the tools they need to make a positive impact on the world.