Monday, 12 August 2019

Hi-London Mystery Series

The Egyptian Crime (Alicja)

One day at the British museum, the staff was changing the exhibition in the Egyptian Room. They started to move the things around in the room, and they realised that something was very wrong. Why was the coffin of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun so extremely heavy? They decided to open the coffin and check. The truth was horrible. There, lying in the coffin were three bodies of young workers, all dressed in orange.

The staff called the police immediately. When the police came, they checked the scene of the crime and found a note that was written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Inspector already knew whom he should call to investigate this situation! Sherlock and Watson were called immediately!

Sherlock deciphered the note as saying “Good morning Mr. Holmes. It looks like you
need to find me. 87.663.” Sherlock was shocked but also thrilled. He returned
to 221b Baker Street and started brainstorming. What was the meaning of
these numbers? Was it a phone number? Was it a postal code? How could he
find this person?” He went into a deep trance for two hours and then he knew!
In London’s Chinatown, the dishes were numbered this way.

He took a taxi and went straight to Chinatown. He checked every single
restaurant and only in one of them did the numbers on the plates match.
When he ordered the food, the waiter said; “It did not take you long to find me,
Mr. Holmes. Follow me and I will show you something!”

Sherlock followed the waiter into the kitchen, and he saw something terrible.
The whole kitchen was full of dead bodies all in orange clothes and without
sleeves. “I wanted you to witness this, and you came here by yourself. What an
irony! Well I think orange suits you!” The waiter almost screamed with
terrible wild delight.

“You thought you could fool me! The great Sherlock Holmes!” Sherlock
answered. It turned out that he had a hidden camera in his hat, and the police
were following him the whole time.  In an instant, the waiter-criminal was
handcuffed! And that was the end of the Egyptian Crime! 

A Mystery in a London School (Ary)

It was a normal day, and in a London school, the students were studying in
their classroom all morning. Then they went to lunch. After lunch, the students returned to their classroom, and they saw a horrible thing! Semir was dead! The police were called immediately. When the police arrived on the scene of the crime, they found footprints on the ground.  They tried to
follow them, but it was very difficult. Finally, Sherlock Holmes, one of the most important detectives, was summoned.

Sherlock decided to interrogate every teacher and every student. Then he
went to the basement, and he found fingerprints! Apparently, none of the
students had seen the murder because all of the students were in the

After one hour, four students came to Sherlock. These students
were: Lady Alicia, Ben, John and Mary. They were all tall and thin. They had
long black hair, and they wore black sunglasses. Lady Alicia stood up to speak, and she told Sherlock what she knew. They had heard the shot, and although they had been at the scene of the crime, they hadn’t seen the criminal.  Lady Alicia had a lot of important things to tell Sherlock anyhow.

Afterwards, Sherlock went to Semir’s house, and he spoke with the parents of
the victim. After that, he spoke to the maths teacher. The maths teacher was a
bad man. He was very short and fat. The victim, Semir, had been very
intelligent, and perhaps the maths teacher was jealous.  Sherlock could see
that he wasn’t always friendly with the students.

After about fifteen minutes, the police called Sherlock, and they told Sherlock that the footprints on the floor in the classroom were the footprints of the headmaster.  Sherlock couldn’t understand it because the victim had died in the morning when the headmaster apparently hadn’t been at school yet.

The next morning, Sherlock went to the headmaster, but he wasn’t at school
yet! Sherlock called the police, and they told him that they should find the
headmaster fast because he could be a very big danger to other people. And then,
with sudden clarity, Sherlock understood the story!

The headmaster had had a secret relationship with the victim’s mother, and the victim Semir had found out the secret. Semir had gone to the wife of the headmaster, and he had told her
of the affair! So, the headmaster arrived early at school that fateful morning,
and he told Semir that because he had found out the secret, he had to die! The
headmaster took Semir to the basement, and he shot him! Afterwards, the
headmaster went to the classroom to make it look like suicide.

But Sherlock was too clever! Once again, he had solved the case! And that was the end of
the Murder in a London School.

Death in the Underground (Irene)

It was a normal day in London, and everything was the same as any other day.  When in the Underground, which went all the way to Notting Hill, a woman heard a strange noise. It was a shot! In fact, when she got out of the train, she saw a person who was dead! The blood was all over the place! The woman started to scream, and the other people in the Underground came to see  the dead body too.

The lady called the police immediately, and as she spoke, she was crying because it was so terrible. The woman told the police everything, and soon they arrived on the scene of the crime. The police interrogated everyone, but no one had heard a shot and no one had seen anything suspicious. By that point, they had discovered the name of the victim, Mrs. John.

Because this was a special case, the police decided to call Sherlock and Watson.  Sherlock arrived promptly and started to speak with all the people who had seen the body, but even for him, this case was very complicated from the beginning. Sherlock and Watson spoke with the police, and they asked questions like “What time did the shooting happened?”.  The police said that the crime happened around 1 a.m. when there were hardly any people
around because it was so late.

Sherlock and Watson started to investigate the scene of crime when they immediately found a strand of hair! They put it in a very small bottle, and they went to their house on Baker Street.  They went straight to bed because it had been a long day.

When they woke up at 8a.m., they started looking for the person who killed
Mrs. John in the Underground. They looked at the strand of hair with great
attention, and after a few days they finally discovered to whom it belonged!
The person’s name was Mr. Bell; so, they started to ask everybody if they
knew Mr. Bell, but no one knew him.  Finally, a very short man said that
he knew him.  He said that Mr. Bell was about 50-years-old and that he had a
moustache. Thanks to this information, Sherlock and Watson soon found Mr.
Bell’s house. Unfortunately, he wasn’t at home; so, the two investigators had to
wait for him behind a tree for two whole days!

When Mr. Bell arrived, they immediately caught him and took him to prison!  Of course, he didn’t know that Sherlock and Watson were waiting for him behind the tree! Before he was put behind bars, they wanted to know why he had killed Mrs. John. So, Mr. Bell told them everything.

Some days before the murder Mr.Bell and Mrs. John had entered a challenge, and the loser had to give the other 1 million pounds! Bell was the loser, and he had to give the money to
Mrs. John. But of course, he didn’t want to, and on that terrible night, Mr. Bell
had killed her instead!

After hearing this story, Sherlock said, “It seems that you aren’t a very good killer, because a good killer wouldn’t leave a strand of hair on the floor!” And then Sherlock and Watson went back to Baker Street, maybe to make themselves a cup of tea!

That is the end of the story of the Murder in the Underground!

Monday, 15 April 2019

My Madrid, My London

Lisa, who was with us last week, has lived in Madrid and now lives in Grasse.  Here is her comparison of Madrid and London.

Madrid and London are very similar.  They are both capitals of countries, and the two cities have very big airports.  The shopping is also very good in both Madrid and London, and a lot of people visit the two cities for business and tourism.  Furthermore, Madrid and London both have a lot of green areas and museums.

The two cities are also very different.  London is bigger than Madrid.  As well as more people, there are more metros/Tube lines in London.  The people in London are also more diverse.  When I walk through the streets of London, I hear Spanish, English, French, Chinese etc.  When I walk through the streets of Madrid, I hear mostly Spanish, English and French.  Also in London, the people start and end their days earlier.  In Madrid, the day normally starts at 9am.  At 11am, they usually have coffee and eat their lunches at 3pm or 4pm.  They have dinner at 9pm or 10pm and go to bed at 11pm or midnight.  How people live in these cities is very different.

Our Superheroes!

There is something about superheroes that always excites the imagination of our students.  Below are some of their superhero stories.

Friday, 9 November 2018

My Journey in London

Hello.  I’m 15, and I did a one-week course with Hi-London to improve my English and my writing. I also visited a lot of places in London, which I really enjoyed because I love London culturally speaking - it’s such an interesting city.

We visited a lot of museums, and I watched an amazing show about Charles Darwin ( It was so interesting!

I learned a lot about English history, which is important to me because, in my school, we only learn about French history.

I also spoke a lot in English with the teacher who was really nice. I feel that I diversified my vocabulary and also improved my English in other ways.

I also had homework writing essays.  I think it’s important for our future to know how to write essays - like for university.

I met really nice kids, and it was a good experience for me to work with kids.  It might be something that’ll interest me in the future.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Keeping up with a Family Tradition
By Misha

I had the pleasure to speak with two Italian families this summer, both of whom have been returning to Hi-London for 5 years and counting. Family traditions form the foundation of Italian culture, and it seems Hi-London has become a tradition for these two families.

Of course, we have families coming from many countries around the world, year after year. This year, I taught students from Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Brazil, Argentina, China, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, and many more.  Especially during the summer, well over half of our students were returning for the second, third, fourth or more time. That made for a very rich, international mix! And some would describe us as a family. Such deep relationships were built, with the group moving as one happy organism – together – by the end of the week.

I asked Bruna, the Italian grandmother of two boys and one girl, what had brought her family to return to Hi-London for so many years. She said that she and her grandchildren so appreciated this setting of international exchange. At an impressionable age, children from all over the world are brought together to study English, but invariably they learn so much more. They are introduced to other cultures, and so they quickly grow to accept diversity. They learn to seek it, respect it, and be inspired by it.

I talked to Lara, the mother of Emma, who has been a part of Hi-London since she was 9 years old. Emma is now 13 and started the Teen Programme last year.  She plans to be with us for another 4 years (!) Lara loves many aspects of our school. In the first year, she said she noticed Emma’s progress right away, and she has come to rely on our reports (given to the students who are with us for two weeks or more to track Emma’s growth over the years.

Our teachers give individual attention to each student, and if a student can stay for longer, there is great benefit. It allows us to monitor individual abilities in greater depth and to deliver the tuition and homework aligned to individual need. Also, we are better able to give suggestions at the end of the chosen term so that the student can continue to develop through the year until they return the following season.

There are other unique aspects that keep our families coming back to Hi-London, such as the variety of excursions and language immersion opportunities. Each week, the children and teens travel out into London to explore this great city through the lens of a theme base. We know how to engage our students with the exhibits and material in over 80 venues, museums, and sites across the city. And students sure do love to travel on London’s transport system, whether it be the Tube, bus, boat or train!

Underlying everything is the pulse of new friendships and the family-like vibrations that are built, encouraged and fostered. Of course, the young students have to communicate in English to build these new ties with others. This is such a beautiful motivator to witness! Even though the students may sometimes share a native tongue, more often than not, most of the group will be from different countries. So, this becomes a very different context from an English class back home.

And, at the end of it all, we send photos from each fun-filled week so that the parents and students have a visual diary. For sure, Hi-London becomes like family, like home, and for many – a lasting tradition.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Theatre: A Tool For Expression and Growth

For 20 years I have been working in theatre and the performing arts. It never ceases to amaze me how bodily expression and play inspires growth and change. To play, to tell stories, to enact characters, and to expand vocal and physical range is to explore and expand who we are.

As a teacher, I use various aspects of theatre and art to elicit responses from children as they learn a new language. People, especially children, hold latent knowledge of language. The use of gesture, mime, objects/props, and costume are all excellent methods for drawing out reaction or response to something. Theatrical expression helps to build new pathways in the brain that with repetition imprint and aid in the memorisation of new information. To elicit is to prompt, to trigger, to spark – and to employ theatrical methods as a teacher is to inspire and encourage students to express themselves in the broadest sense.

I have been teaching at Hi-London since the beginning of the year. In this time, I have worked with a wide range of children/teens with varied levels of ability in the practice and understanding of the English language. Children pick up a massive amount of information and very often know more than they are aware of. It is so vital to encourage the leap between knowledge that is there inside somewhere, latent, and to draw out that knowledge into the practice of speaking and action.

The ability to listen, to focus, and to express are key to learning language. In children, progress can be made quickly if they can be stimulated to take a risk. Play and storytelling are great ways to help children feel at ease. Even before they can formulate or understand words, gesture can be used to cross the boundaries of difference and culture. Gesture can communicate even before words are spoken, and once the children feel safe within the community of a group, they are much more likely to grow. Playing games, drawing and storytelling are excellent methods to build foundations for new skills in communication of a new language, and Hi-London provides the incredible cultural backdrop of one of the greatest cities of the world. There are so many contexts and themes to draw from. Each of our week-long courses are theme-based around a topic which helps the students to stay focused and to create meaningful memory and experience.

One week, the theme was London Jungle. We began the week by reading the story Why Elephant Has a Trunk (Tinga Tinga Tales). At the beginning of the week, even when many words were not yet understood, pictures, gesture, and a theatrical delivery provided the aid to build understanding. Repetition is key. Therefore, to read the same book a few times during the same week was important, and as the children grew more familiar with the story parts, they remembered and filled in information.

During a workshop at a zoo that week, one of the workshop leaders used simple gesture for each animal which the children had to then repeat as they named the animal and its habitat. Gesture is a powerful way to memorise information. In theatrical performance, text is always accompanied by action to clarify the meaning of the story for the audience, but it is also employed to anchor the text in the actor’s memory.

The London Jungle week culminated with the making of animal masks and a re-enactment of the elephant story. Each child chose an animal to perform, and they were encouraged to voice new information from the week as they played. Growth was born easily, naturally and spontaneously from the excitement of theatrical play, interaction, and a city which holds infinite possibilities!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

London vs. Berlin

By Pia

Although a river flows through both of them, London and Berlin are two cosmopolitan cities with their own characteristics and histories.

When taking a first look at London coming from Germany, there aren’t too many differences to Berlin one is able to realize. People are busily walking around, the traffic is bad, tourists are blocking the footpaths all over the place, and the whole atmosphere is nothing else but hectic. Those are characteristics that London and Berlin share, but when you take a second, closer look  at London, there are more differences than one would have thought in the beginning.

The first rather obvious difference are the buses and taxis. Many tourists get attracted by the look and system of the buses since they are double deckers, but the system is the same in Berlin; so, that doesn’t draw a lot of attention. However, the colour does. London is famous all over the world for its red buses.  In Berlin, the buses are yellow. Also, the look of taxis  differs from the one in Berlin. While in Berlin they are a kind of yellow and don’t need to be a specific type of car, the taxis in London are all black and from the same company.

Another difference are the older buildings. During the war, most of Berlin was destroyed, which caused the population to build new apartments but also buildings for public use. Therefore, Berlin has much newer and higher building than London.

In general, people seem to be more dressed up and wearing business clothes in London while in Berlin, clothing is more casual even in the business district.

Another point which makes the cities differ is that London is known for its great musicals while Berlin isn’t a musical city at all but well known for theatres.

Another characteristic to mention is that Berlin has far more parks and forests within the city and even downtown than London.  London does have its green areas just not as many.

One of the biggest differences between Berlin and London is probably that the United Kingdom still has a monarchy while Germany doesn’t. In London, you see pictures of the Royal Family in almost all the stores while in Berlin, it’s just not part of the society.

All in all, one can say that although both cities are well known in the world, are the capitals of their countries and have citizens who seem to have the same daily life, they still have their own individual characteristics which make them both interesting and important in their own way.