Educational Assistant Training Program

​​Good afternoon, 

I’m reaching out because we have set our first filming date for the Educational Assistant VR Training Program

Here is a little bit about this first filmshoot: 

Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, July 10th, 2018

Location: Second Street Elementary School

Roles: 4-8 students, 1 student with IEP in Escape Behavior

This is our filming attempt, and we are excited to try out some new and innovative ideas. We are looking for 4-8 students who will be playing the parts of regular classmates, engaged in an interactive lesson on tectonic plates using modeling clay. We are also looking for a student who is interested in playing the role of the student with escape behaviors. This student will be acting out in the classroom, depending on how the EA responds in the ‘chose your own adventure’. 

As this is a ‘chose your own adventure’ story, we will be needed patient actors who can ‘reset’ back to previous scenes and follow instructions. If you know anyone else, grades 7-9, who are interested in taking part, please let me know. I will ask you to please confirm if you would like to participate.  Please fill out the attached form, giving the Burnaby School District permission to film you.There will be compensation for your time. 

It is quite an exciting time to be developing Virtual Reality Content and I am looking forward to showcasing some of the local talent of Burnaby Students.

Thank you,

Ms. Neumann

 Parent Permission Form

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Update

In response to the approval of the trans mountain pipeline project, many protests have made an appearance in an attempt to counteract this motion. The morning of March 16, 2018, just a day after environment minister Catherine McKenna publicly stated that she stands by the government’s decision regarding the pipeline, a protester expressed her discontent in a very dramatic fashion. Now, not only was the pipeline approved by the environment minister less than 24 hours prior to the protest, Kinder Morgan was also granted a permanent injunction to ban protesters from disrupting work.


The scene that unfolded right before 8 am on March 16th resulted in an arrest. A 19 year old female protester had chained herself to a work truck partaking in the assembly of the pipeline, preventing it from moving. After refusing to remove the chains multiple times by the authorities, she was arrested for mischief. However, she was not the only one present at the protest this morning. According to Trans Mountain workers, “This morning, we had people physically obstructing our gates and some equipment en-route to our Burnaby terminal.”

Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster will probably collide with Earth or Venus

Remember that car that Elon Musk sent into space a little while ago? Well, it was originally intended to orbit in between Earth and Mars, but by using up all of the Fuel in the second stage, rocket, it will now be going to the asteroid belt. Wonderful.


Though it’s just a very large PR stunt, scientists from the University of Toronto, led by astronomer Hanno Rein, have managed to calculate the path of the roadster in the next 100 years or so! Despite the science seeming very frivolous, as a matter of fact the procedures used in this fun little experiment could contribute to how we track near-earth asteroids. Unfortunately the mathematics gets a little uncertain after 100 years, but it is calculated that there is a high probability in the next 3 million years that the car will crash into either Earth or Venus.


So, if a hypothetical space mission in the future were to encounter the car in space (before the crash) would it be in pristine condition? According to Rein, no it won’t. Micrometeorites would damage the windshield extensively, and all organic compounds would not handle solar radiation well. Metal stuff like the chassis will fare better in space, but the roaster won’t look so good after a couple thousand years of travelling through space.



Kim Jong Un impersonator

Relatively recently, in Pyeongchang, a man attending a women’s hockey game drew a couple stares from practically everyone in the stadium. Why you may ask? Well, this man was dressed up as the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and was waving around a Korean Unification flag and posing for selfies. Needless to say, he was kicked out when somebody alerted security on his actions.


While he was there in the stadium, he managed to cause great confusion among a North Korean cheerleading delegation who gave very mixed (but mostly confused) reaction to his getup. This was when he was escorted away by security, all while complaining, “I just want to see the game, so what’s the problem? I’m about to miss my game.” Apparently it was for his own safety.


This is possibly the second time the man, who hails from Australia, has caused a stir at the games; given how there was a previous kerfuffle surrounding a Donald Trump impersonator and a Kim Jong Un impersonator who dressed up a posed for selfies at the opening ceremonies.


Given how things are in reality with the USA and North Korea, the future seems pretty bleak. Pyeongchang 2018 has done a wonderful job of lightening the news, and sometimes in turbulent times, we need a little more satire.



Chaos in School

On February 14th, yet another school shooting had occurred. This mass killing took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, located in South Florida. The culprit is 19 year old Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the targeted high school. He was armed with 7 rifles, one of which was an AK-47, and is currently charged with 17 counts of murder which consisted of both students and teachers. A user by the name of “nikolas cruz” had also previously posted a comment on YouTube stating,  “I want to be a professional school shooter.”, as well as an Instagram account under his name which showed many pictures of himself with his gun collection.


The deaths and injuries caused by school shootings affect everyone from family members to fellow students and teachers. To experience a close friend or loved one die at a presumably safe environment can cause a lot of trauma and emotional drawbacks. For one, parents that would expect their child to return home safe, having learned something new, to suddenly tell them that their child has been shot dead at school is extremely heartbreaking. Students at school that might have witnessed their own close friend and teacher take bullets to the chest can cause extreme anxiety and in even worse cases, PTSD.


However, the friends and family of the injured and deceased won’t be the only ones that are affected. The family of the shooter will also receive backlash. The thoughts of, “I have been raising a killer and I didn’t even know,” and others alike, as well as blames of raising their child wrong can be just as emotionally damaging.


After this incident, there are now a total of eight school shootings in the U.S. this year. With that in mind, it is important to remember that all drills happen for a reason, whether it be a fire drill or a lockdown, and procedures should be reviewed every so often. When drills are scheduled, they should be taken seriously as they are to help prep you if a life threatening situation does occur. It is also important to be aware of others’ behaviors. If inappropriate or threatening comments and actions arise, informing a teacher, counsellor, or any adult with authority can possibly prevent an endangering incident.




Now for a little reading…

Hey all! For the month of March, the BETA minischool has been getting into a variety of different things. One of the most notable is our project about banned books for Freedom to Read week 2018.

Even in Canada, many pieces of literature are challenged and asked to be banned from schools and public libraries on the grounds that the topics they cover are “inappropriate” or “unsuitable for their age group”. So, for Freedom to Read week, our focus is to become aware of why books are banned and why we believe they shouldn’t be banned.

We kicked off the unit by reading RED: A Haida Manga, a Haida story based off of the Japanese manga style. The book, despite seemingly nothing being wrong with it, had been challenged on numerous occasions for being an example of cultural appropriation, which is when “elements of a minority culture are adopted by members of the dominant culture”.

For the rest of the unit, every student got to pick one book that had previously been banned and was tasked with reading it. After we finished reading, we were asked to go into why it was banned, why we think it shouldn’t be banned, and evidence for those reasonings. When we return to school after spring break, we’ll be coming together to discuss our books and the things we came across.

Time for a party?

It has been a great month in the BETA mini school. Even though everyone shaved about 5 years off their lives stressing about the 90 hour IDS check-in, all of the presentations were amazing. We saw some fascinating Independent Directed Studies, with inquiry questions ranging from “How did the Tudors affect religion in England?”, to “How does the nervous system rely on electrical impulses to work and how can it be affected by external electricity sources?”. Everyone had splendid presentations, and were obviously very interested in their topics. Each member of the class was also able to give feedback on their peers’ inquiry questions and final presentation ideas, to help them complete their projects to the best of their abilities.

As the end of the final IDS check-in presentation approached, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I know that I had felt like this dark cloud was constantly hovering over me, whispering “IDS… 100 hours… Reeesssearch…”. Needless to say, we had to celebrate this special occasion, and it also happened to be the last day of school before the break, and Akira’s birthday! I had planned a birthday party for him (AKA I bought snacks and brought him peanut butter), so for 1st and 2nd block we ate, listened to some great tunes (including a sing-a-long to Let It Go) and played our favorite board games, which also tied in to our upcoming humanities project.

Kyle and I also got to experience playing a VR game with Ms. Neumann for the school VR team who are creating a game to teach kids fractions. It was an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

In conclusion, everyone was sad to leave the mini-school for the break, but thrilled to have some quality IDS time to get ahead before the final presentation!

Stress of IDS and Cow Eyes glaring at you?

Doesn’t it just feel great to have IDS finally off our chests? Assuming you did well on it of course, I know I am glad it’s out of the way and I finally get to play Fortnite with my friends. I think in general though all of us did well on it and met the 90 hour quota. I remember the days leading up to this and all my friends and I were freaking out. We had to do literally like 8 hours a night for a straight week to get this finished. One of us even took my advice of “Settling is the key to happiness” and settled for 80 hours. The days leading up were stressful to say the least, but at least it’s over now.


In the same week we also dissected cow eyes. I thought it was a very fun and educational experience. I found the cow eyes texture to be rather disturbing though. It was cold, squishy and EXTREMELY sticky the whole lab I had chunks of muscle, fat and who knows what stuck to my fingers. When we go to the point of opening up the eye I squished a little too hard and cow juice hit me in the face, all this doesn’t have competition with what was by far the worst part of the lab. The smell. It smelled like week old urine and it was so strong. It was unbearable. I know I’m making this outo to sound like and awful experience but in general it was more funny than anything. I think most of us had a good time and I think we all needed a break from the drill and grill  math we were doing.

Another update from the grade 8’s of Minischool

As the end of March (at school) draws nearer and nearer, the grade eight minischoolers, their teachers Mr. Murray and Ms. Neumann, and Akira, accomplish even more unimaginable feats, such as reciting circumference over diameter, presenting IDS mini presentations, surviving parent teacher conferences, and more! As my job to report their doings, I present to you: Week two (well, what I mean is after seven days, before which I am calling week one) of March with Minischool eight!


A disgusting cow eye dissection began the week with moans and groans from grade eight minischoolers. Ms. Neumann may not have made the best of choices by forcing her students to  not only handle slimy, smelly, and gag worthy cow eyes recently cut out of the cow without gloves *cough* non of the other grade eight classes had to touch it without gloves *cough*, but also cut it open to reveal it’s inner parts, while having vicious black liquid spew out; but, we will forgive her, as she is one of the wonderful minischool teachers, that are the foundation of (not anymore boring) Alpha Secondary.


On international Pi day, March fourteenth (3/14), minischoolers celebrated with a pi reciting contest. Whoever could recite the most digits correctly would be winner to a free meal, a caramel apple crumb pie (yes, pie does count as a meal). After the pie was won, Ms. Neumann made an amazing announcement: The pi-off would from now on be an annual tradition!


The next occurrence was check-in number two of IDS, or Independent Directed Studies, something the minischoolers have been working on since the dawn of time (aka September). For grade eight, the topic is chosen by the participant, but it must be research based. Each person must have done ninety hours of research by now, to meet expectations. For the rest of the year (well, until May), students will be working on their final presentation.


For the second time this year, Ms. Neumann and Mr. Murray had the chance to speak with the parents of the grade eight minischoolers (and nine, of course) about their daughter or son’s academic performance so far. Whether the students did or didn’t do well, who the heck cares? No one, of course! They’re the amazing grade eight minischoolers!


Finally, a very special event recently occurred. Celebrated worldwide each year, the birthday of Akira is one of the most recognised holidays of all time! In the minischool classroom, grade eight minischoolers took the time to have a wonderful, dogtastic party for this very special dog. With food, music, and board games galore, everyone had a blast (especially Akira, though he didn’t play any of the board games). Three cheers for one student in particular, who went out of her way to organise such wonderful festivities!


But now, as spring break draws closer, March is almost at an end. To all of those who are reading this, I would like to tell you what a pleasure it has been to recount the wondrous deeds of the grade eight minischoolers, their teachers, and dog.