Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pagoda and the zigzag bridge. Hu Family Mansion. Hangzhou, China #hangzhou #china #architecture #chinesegarden #bridge #travingram #asiaphotography #instatravel #architectureporn #travelasia #pond #bestplacestogo #chinesearchitecture

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Xi'an, the City

The capital of the Shaanxi province in the central-northwest region of China, the city of Xi'an is home to 12 million people. The city of Xi'an is over 3,000 years old. For 1,000 of these years, it was the capital city under 13 dynasties. In fact, around 750 AD, Xi'an was the largest city in the world, with over 1 million inhabitants. Historical ruins, museums, and cultural relics abound. It is most famous for the 3rd century Terracotta Warriors, which were discovered in 1974 and are now considered an eighth wonder of the world.

xi'an's location in china
 Xi'an was the end of the Silk Road. Its well-preserved massive city wall is one of the most complete city walls in China and one of the largest ancient (194 BC) military defensive structures in the world.  Several pagodas, such as the 7-story Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (652 AD) and the Drum Tower are also well-known. The Muslim Street is well-known for its good eats. Embroidery and paper cutting are two crafts of the region.

Xian A high-speed bullet from Beijing takes about 4 1/2 hours. The temperatures are hot in the summer 80°F (32°C) and cold (around freezing) but dry in the winter. Snow may occasionally fall but only lasts for a brief period.  Annual rainfall is 21.8" (553mm).

Xi'an is also an important economic, scientific, and industrial city. Electronics, aerospace technology, high-tech products, autos, and bio-pharmaceuticals are produced here.

Qin Ling Mountains

There are some areas of natural scenic beauty such as the Qinling Mountains (home to the Qinling pandas). The Hua Shan (Flower Mountain) is one of China's most sacred mountains. Perched on top of it is the Xiyue Temple. Mount Taibai National Forest Park is a zoo of China and has nearly 1,700 types of insects and animals, set in a natural environment.

BBC has a good series on Xi'an.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Xi'an Bound

In a few short months, I'll be departing the land of cheese and bratwurst and calling the city with all those clay soldiers my home.

Starting in August, I will be teaching art for grades 3-5 at Xi'an High Tech International School. This relatively new school was set up to meet the needs of a growing international community, including the neighboring high-tech companies. Samsung and Johnson & Johnson are two such companies that send large numbers of students to the school. In fact, 39% of the students are Korean. While there are 22 nationalities represented, a large percentage of the students are ethnic Chinese.
Campus (drawing)

The school has been busy constructing a brand new $130 million campus on a 66,600 sq meter campus. An architect firm from Washington, DC has undertaken the project. The campus has a 3-floor building for general classrooms, and separate buildings including an indoor sports center, indoor swimming pool, theater, and black-box theater. A state-of-the-art HEPA filtration system is installed.
Classrooms (PK-12)

Enrollment in the 2017 school year was 320, but they anticipate to have 400 students for this coming school year. More than half of that number is at the elementary level. The non-profit school is now a full IBO world school, with its newest certification of PYP occurring in 2016. Currently, the elementary school has one class per grade level, but this will be expanded to two starting in the 2018-19 school year. Class sizes will typically be between 12-22 students. With the increase in classes, it was decided that a second art teacher was needed.
Indoor Swimming pool

When speaking with the elementary principal (who is from Ireland), he said that art, music, PE, etc. teachers are called "single-subject teachers" at the school. Although he was good with scheduling, the principal (a former PYP coordinator and teacher himself) he wasn't all that knowledgeable about the unique aspects of such subjects. Therefore, those teachers were asked to design their schedules. For the upper elementary, students will have art for two 40-minute periods per week, typically as a double-period. There will be two art rooms, one of which contains a kiln room. Below are some photos of the yet-unfinished art rooms.

Art room with new tables

Unfinished and unfurnished art room

The school also has a Makerspace area and a Teaching &  Curriculum Center. For tech, the school has SmartBoards, iPad cart, MacBook Pros (more hopefully coming), a 3D printer, and some drones.

The school is located a distance outside of the main city of Xi'an and also is about 45 minutes away from the mountains.

Tomorrow I'll write a bit about the city of Xi'an.

Another adventure awaits!