International day 2015

I have said before, International day is my favourite school event. Always a great chance to get photos and see what a wonderful community we have here at TISA. This year there are 52 different nationalities from all continents, except Antartica. TISA Times, the school magazine, has this pie-chart showing where all the pupils come from.

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The day starts with a whole school assembly, there are about 700 pupils aged between 3-18. Last year the assembly was in the old gym, which was crowded, hot and it was very hard to see the stage. This year we were in the new gym, TISA5, which was a huge improvement. Plenty of space for everyone.

The assembly started with the Azerbaijani national anthem followed by the parade of flags. Students were picked from both Middle and Primary sections (where there are enough numbers) and every nation at the school has a flag. Then onto the performances, all the primary classes performed, fortunately the upper classes were grouped together otherwise it would have over run by even longer!

There was a second assembly in the afternoon, this is usually held outside on the field but Friday as the day the weather turned from summer to autumn, so it was back to TISA5. The Caspian Choir sang at this and there were performances from the Middle and High School students.

There was also the celebration of food for lunch, which is Katrine’s favourite part of the day. I didn’t go this year to take photos but I had good feedback from Katrine and Gregor. Katrine couldn’t pick a favourite food – though she said the Chinese table was extra yummy, Gregor’s favourite was the scones from the British table!

The students also take part in workshops though out the day, Katrine went to:

  • India – henna designs on her hand
  • South Africa – drumming
  • Scotland – highland dancing
  • Turkey – marble painting
  • Holland – learnt about rivers and dams.

Gregor went to:

  • Chilli – Zumba
  • New Zealand – played a traditional game
  • Trinidad and Tobago – Limbo Dance
  • Lebanon – wrote their names in Arabic and a dance.

2 Shakespeare performances in 1 week!

I don’t know how long it has been since I have seen any Shakespeare and now I have just been twice in the last week! First was to see the Globe to Globe production of Hamlet – this is a two year world tour from the Globe theatre company taking Hamlet to every country in the world!

The show was preformed in the Azerbaijan State National Drama Theatre, which is an impressive building and a grand auditorium. The show is a quick moving adaptation with the cast providing all the music and set changes (which were minimum) and several actors playing several parts. It shows the skill of the director and actors that this wasn’t confusing and it was always clear who they were playing.

I went with a group of friends and we were seated right up in the Gods (auditorium 2)  the view was slightly obscured by a random safety pole but there was no problem hearing anything. There was a bit of fun when the lady next to us had a toy gun on the floor next to her feet, it wasn’t immediately obvious that it was a toy which caused a few raised eye-brows.

The second Shakespeare was Midsummer’s Nights Dream by TISA high school, I took Katrine to this as her first experience of Shakespeare. It used rock songs though out the play, preformed by some of the actors as well as additional musicians, which tied into the plot really well. It felt a bit gimmicky at first but it was used to great effect and  made the flow of the story work very well. It also helped identify the  fairy characters and the humans and they danced to the music differently, which helped the understanding of this very complicated plot. Katrine got the main bits, I was impressed with her following the story. It was a very enjoyable night and didn’t feel like a school production. They are taking the show on an European tour in November!

First day of school

The traditional photo of the first day of the new school year. (2014, 2013, 2012 can be found here).

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Couple of important milestones for us this year. The first is a biggy – Katrine started in Middle school! Which would be Secondary in England, she would still be Primary in Scotland though. She is now in M1 (England – year 7, Scotland – P7, other places Grade 6). Very exciting to be moving in the upper corridors, with a timetable where you change classrooms all the time. That and they get lockers! Plus, and it is a major plus, they get their own laptops, which they can bring home with them.*
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The second is a milestone for Gregor, this year is the first year that he has returned to the same school after the summer holidays. The longest he has done at a school previously was 1 year, the shortest 8 weeks. He is going into P7 (England – year 5, Scotland P5, other places -Grade 4) and TISA is his 6th school.

  • TISA is a 1:1 macbook school, all students in upper Primary, Middle and High school have their own allocated laptop, either a Macbook pro or a Macbook air. Students in upper Primary have to keep their laptops in school.

Opening of TISA5

TISA (The International School of Azerbaijan) had the grand opening of the new sport hall – TISA5 – this week. The sports hall has been in use for the last term so this was really the official ribbon cutting ceremony.

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TISA5 includes a main gym, an activities gym with climbing ropes, climbing wall, climbing frames etc… a dancing studio, a workout gym with exercise equipment (parents can’t currently use this but there might be a possibly in the new school year) and a very nice lobby where we meet for Guides.

The ceremony started with a traditional speech and ribbon cutting, followed by a gymnastic display by the Azerbaijani Junior Gymnastics Team and finished off with food in the lobby.

TISA5 is a great facility and we are really lucky to have it.

Obligatory first day of school photos

Yep, it is the start of the new school year and also a new school. They are going to The International School of Azerbaijan (TISA), which is just across the road from our new house, so no more long drives to school.

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Both looking very happy to be starting and I swear Katrine’s legs have grown overnight!

There was an induction morning for new students on Friday so they already knew where their classroom are and had met their teachers, Gregor is with Mr Dave and Katrine with Mr Matt, and they already knew somebody in their class which really helps. There is even another Gregor in the same class as my Gregor, which has never happened before.

It feels a bit strange being alone in the house, we have been so on top of each other this summer that it feels very quiet at the moment. But I am already meeting loads of new people, I have found a netball group so I can keep that up, and I’m sure I will find lots of things to do soon. So this afternoon I am just going to enjoy the peace.