Secret Santa

Winter break is almost here but before that is Secret Santa. For the last day of school we were suppose to make a treat or present that you made at home. We chose the people to make our presents for two weeks ago. The point of Secret Santa is to gift something for someone without telling them. The rule for us was we weren’t allowed to spend money on this gift. We had to make things at home like food and others. When drawing names we had a chance of getting someone from the grade 8 minischool or the grade 9 minischool. On the last day of school everyone hands theirs in and get their present. Remember that school will be on January 8. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

IDS: It’s coming along!

Hey Alpha, it’s Beta Minischool here!

The first quarter of the year has passed and Beta Minischool’s I.D.S projects are about a quarter finished. It’s amazing to see all the intriguing and fascinating project everybody is working on! For those of you who don’t know what I.D.S stands for I.D.S is an acronym. I.D.S, stands for Independent Directed Studies meaning that all these superb projects are being created on each students own time outside of school. I.D.S topics in Beta Minischool range from Virtual Reality development, to photography, mountain biking and instrument designing and creating! There are so many projects that are really amazing this year in Beta Minischool! Students are well ahead of their various projects with a quarter of the project done. All of these projects are quite interesting but several students are already ahead and have over 80 hours of work done.

We can’t wait to see the final products of I.D.S if this is just a quarter of what the finished projects will look like. The students here at Beta Minischool have been working hard on there I.D.S projects and it looks like their hard work will payoff in the end. That’s our update for the week here at Beata Minischool and we hope to update what happens with our I.D.S project soon.

A rush in December for the grade 8’s

  In all the scramble to log as many hours as humanly possible, cramming as much work without defying the laws of time, each student trying for a 40, or if they procrastinated too much, a 30. Some just gave up in the final stretch, planning to do 30, or even 20 before the finish line. Some has been a good-two-shoe and done 40, or a staggering 50, months before the due date starts to be seen on the horizon.

    To add the the frenzy of IDS check-ins, series of classes has been spent learning about China and Islam, religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and much much more. In conclusion, it’s safe to say that most of us are quite knowledgeable in the arts of ancient religions now.

    On top of all that, there’s the science fair check-in looming over us, keeping us in constant stress along with other projects and homework, such as the dozens of math questions, tons of ornaments being printed in our frantic rush for christmas decorations.

BETA’s in for a busy month!


BETA 8 Happenings of December

This month has been a little shorter than the others in terms of actual length, but not at all in terms of workload. The BETA grade 8s have been working on a few different projects and topics during this month.

For Humanities, we have been doing in-depth exploration and research on some of the biggest and most influential religions in the world today. We kicked this unit off by doing research and a series of questions for the religions of Islam and Christianity. But this was just the introduction to our bigger project after that, the World Religions project. Every student picked a slip of paper on their box that would have one of six religions written on it (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism). Each student would research their religion and answer questions, such as how their religion has influenced the world, what its main principles are, and more. Our final test on this subject was on December 21st, during which we all got together in groups with one person studying each religion and worked together to answer the questions on the test.

In math, we have been doing a bit of variety. At the beginning of the month, Ms. Neumann brought in a mini Christmas tree that is currently sitting in the corner of the class. After we all worked together to calculate the approximate surface area of the tree, we got to work in making 3D models of ornaments that we have been printing and hanging on the tree for the past few weeks. The ornaments are designed to represent what Christmas and the holiday season in general means for each of us. After a little bit of mishap with some of the printing and what we all thought could very well be the end of our 3D printer, our little tree is now fashionably adorned with all our tiny creations.

After we had all finished our ornaments, we were working on calculating the surface area and volume of geometric 3D shapes. Cubes, prisms, cylinders, you name it. Both our pre-test quiz/review and the test on the unit itself were this week. If you haven’t noticed, lots of stuff was due for this last week, which is unfortunate but supposedly inevitable considering the time constraints we’re dealing with here.

And one extra little thing that we’ve been working on that cannot be categorized into a specific subject is our Secret Santa exchange. Every student both, grade 8s and 9s, drew and were assigned a specific student from either class that they would have to make a gift for. By make a gift, that means it has to be handmade and not just bought from a store. The exchange will be on December 22nd during each class’s respective Christmas celebration party.

That concludes the BETA happenings for this month. As we delve into the holiday break with a fresh bed of snow on the ground, remember to stay safe and get your winter tires.

Push Ups: The Ruling of the Minischool

This month at Beta has certainly been a busy one, with everyone scrambling to complete the final projects our wonderful teachers have been throwing at us. What with IDS check-ins, Science fair check ins, 2 math unit tests(!!!), and much more, we have all been going slightly crazy (our teachers included; Ms.Neumann has been known to cuddle up with Akira on the floor when it all gets too much). As you have probably guessed, we are all desperate for the winter break when we can finally relax (I mean not really, there’s still IDS to do/catch up on not to mention Science Fair- oh sorry am I being to negative?).

And being this close to the end of the year, we have all gotten a little bit chatty. This has triggered a new punishment in the Grade 8 Mini-School: Push ups. It’s pretty simple. If you are getting too distracted and talkative (usually in block 2 ‘cause that’s when we all wake up), Ms. Neumann and Mr. Murray have the right to say “(Insert name here)! 5 pushups!”. Usually followed by a “Hahahaha sucker” from the rest of the class and a “What???” or a “Ms. Nuhmann??”” (You know who you are), from the victim of the penalty. Then, the person just gets on the ground and does the- No, of course not? Who do you think we are, well behaved, kind and respectful kindergarteners?

No, push-ups take much longer than that, and the person doing them tries their hardest to make them as distracting and funny as possible, kinda like a “take that!” for our teachers.
“You make me do push-ups? I’ll make sure NO ONE is working! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA” (etc etc). It’s not a serious punishment, and Ms. Neumann is never reaaally mad at us, cause we’re her duckies! We’re great! But sometimes, the push-ups are totally useless (ok, all the time), and that person continues to be annoying. So what do you do, if someone in our class is annoying you

“Ms. Neumann, can I give (Insert name here) pushups?” Followed by a half yes half chuckle from our Scimatics teacher. That is the ultimate goal in our class. To have that in-deniable power over someone, to force your friends to cave-in to the work-out you order, to laugh evilly while watching them do their push-ups and calmly sip the hot chocolate you bought from the coffee cart that morning; It’s the best feeling in the world. Most of us have fallen victim to the push-ups at least once in our class; even the distributor herself.

It was a calm day in the mini-school; 2 work blocks (WHOOOO) due to the absence of our incredible Mr. Murray, and the fact that they were (like I said), throwing projects on us, and we needed some time to catch up. The 3D Printer was running, as usual, printing the last Christmas ornaments, when Ms. Neumann noticed it doing something strange. I won’t give you the details of her offense, but our wonderful educator said to herself, “Aw, now I need  to do push-ups”. And of course, we all immediately encouraged the event, as she walked to the head of the class to prepare. She completed the punishment with a frequent push-uper (who was doing the exercise thanks to the orders of yours truly), and he led her in a very dramatic and very useless warm up.

Finally, they were ready, and got onto their hands and feet. 1! Each push of her arms was a glorious sight for us all, us who had all suffered so much in the same way! 2! Her face began to turn red, and we laughed until ours were as well! 3! She kept going, each one better and more enjoyable for us than the last! 4! We got out our phones and started filming the marvelous even and taking pictures, not wanting the moment to pass with no photographic evidence! 5! She had completed the set, getting up immediately, as if she could make us all forget it had happened, but we never would. Those push-ups will always be the best push-ups ever completed in our class, and I know we will never top them.

So there you go, person reading this blog. Push-ups have become a norm in the Grade 8 mini-school, but I bet Ms. Neumann wouldn’t want this posted without a disclaimer; We all love both our teachers very much, and all understand that the push-ups are just a fun in-joke within the class, and please don’t get offended or write to the school all mad saying “Do you know what my kid is doing in that class I am so offended right now!” I mean, I’ve never had to do any *hair flip*, but I bet with this slightly cheeky report, Ms. Neumann might give me some when I get to school tomorrow.

Sincerely, The girl in class who is “allergic to fun” (which one is it you’ll never know)


An Update from an Akira Admirer

The other day in the Beta Mini-School (December 19th) during second block, we were having a math quiz *shudder*, a lead up to the test later that week *another shudder*. The test had been going for a while, and finally, someone was finished. They were told to read a book silently until everyone else was done, and walked over to the bookcase to pick one up. But glancing out the window, they exclaimed “It’s snowing!” This began a flurry (get it) of excitement in the room, everyone trying to catch a glimpse outside, Ms.Neumann trying in vain to get us to be quiet and continue our test. I finished up a couple minutes later, and went as well to get a book.

And it was true; it was snowing. But this wasn’t the lame, sleety mess of snow we had seen earlier, disappearing before it had even stayed on the ground. This was real, good quality snow. The ground was already covered with a thin white layer, and my heart leaped with excitement. I got a book to read and went back to my desk to wait for the test to end. And 20 or so minutes before the end of the block, it did, and we corrected our classmate’s work, all very preoccupied with the fluff on the ground outside. There were 10 minutes left, when Ms. Neumann announced that we would be going out there to enjoy the white blanket we had seen grow. I rushed to the corner and grabbed the leash, than told our huge and incredible husky malamute Akira that we were going for a walk! He leaped up in excitement mirroring ours, and I rushed to get my coat.

I was totally unprepared for the snow, as was most of the class, but I ran to the door, eager to leave the class. And we did, Akira on his trusty leash, everyone following the beautiful dog. But he was sad. And we were confused. He was outside, not only taking a walk, but in his natural habitat, snow falling all around him. He should be happier than ever, right? But he was still sad, because he had to wear his raincoat. Ms. Neumann realised how sad he was, and made a decision which would benefit his happiness, but probably not the cleanliness of her house; taking off his jacket. If a husky gets wet, they stay wet for 3 days; but Akira’s evident joy of being free of the raincoat was better than cleanliness.

We walked to the field, and as we arrived, Ms. Neumann took off his leash. The large flat land used to be grass, but now it was covered with a thick layer of snow, which kept falling as we stood there. Then, Akira started to run, running faster than I have ever seen him move before! We chased him to the end of the field, never running out of energy, as Akira look SO CUTE. He galloped around, moving like any average dog, as if all the energy he hadn’t shown us before had been saved up for this moment.

He finally slowed down, but the fun wasn’t over yet. There is nothing cuter in this world than Akira in the snow. He bites it, he jumps for it when we throw it, he runs all around in it! We witnessed a rambunctious Akira vs Ms. Neumann playfight, we tried to pet him as he ran past us, we chased him some more! There wasn’t a sad or even serious look on our faces, just smiles of pure joy. None of us had ever seen Akira this happy, not when we gave him food, not when he reunited with Ms. Neumann (those videos were so so so so cute though they still kill me whenever I think of them), not when we gave him a really good scratch. And then we arrived at the hill.

The hill was, like everything else around us (including ourselves), covered in snow. Akira paused at the top, a little nervous, as some daring classmates tried to slide down on their feet (spoiler alert; they fell over). Suddenly, our adorable pet dashed down the hill halfway, then dashed up again, doing a small circle. He galloped down again, going much further this time, his face in the most adorable grin, the happiest dog in the world. He kept going, down and up, us all laughing and yelling “OH MY GOSH HOW CUTE!!!” at the top of the hill. But eventually, he tired out, and walked over to a corner of the field. We all thought he was going to go number 2, but he just lay down, satisfied with the crazy play-time he had just had. We all ran over to him to pet him (obviously), and we took some amazing pictures of us and our beloved dog.

The bell had rang, so we began the walk back to class, all laughing and talking about Akira and the snow, and how close Christmas was (5 days as of writing this!!). It had been a perfect 10 minutes, and really made me realise how amazing our teachers were. When I think of any other teacher in the snow, I think of all of them standing back trying not to get wet, watching me and my class have fun. Never have I had a teacher act the way Ms. Neumann and Mr. Murray did; running into the snow, laughing along with all of us, not having any fear of getting wet, or ruining their hair, just going all in. I was so happy for the rest of the day, and in the moment, so thank you Mr. Murray and Ms. Neumann. You guys are truly unique teachers in that way, and I wish I could explain it better.

This will be my last post on the Beta blog for awhile, since I’ve already done all the other blog posting jobs (oh no, I still need to do bottle recycling). So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and an amazing New Year, and hope to return to the blog in Quarter 4!

Sincerely, Akira lover #7889999

Getting ready for Christmas!

Quite a lot has happened this month at our beloved BETA minischool; afterall, it is nearing winter break 


and the ever joyous Christmas Season! For one thing, nearing the end of one semester has called for the seriousness of many people; assignments handed out months ago are being demanded, many people are realizing that procrastination is as deadly Akira’s cuteness.

I will start off with a personal non-favorite; IDS checkup. For the few who are not aware of what IDS is, it’s our Individual Directed Studies. For most, we each have a goal of amassing 120 hours of our own interest-fueled studies by the end of the school year. So in the chaotic week of mid-December, all the little mice who delayed their work scurried frantically to not get screamed at. However, most were pleased to know that in the end, all their frantic making up and genuine hard work paid off; most were repaid by at least one exceeding mark. Same thing happened with science fair, so many of us were so preoccupied with the ever exceeding demands of IDS, that we completely neglected our duties to the minischool by doing such little things on our science fair project. However, we picked up our pace and were rewarded with a relatively relaxing other half of December.

However, we did take our time to enjoy december; as the entire minischool. We played some creative music to help our focus; and Akira, our ever beneficial classroom dog with also busy at work along with us. By taking a long soothing nap, he soothes us along the way. We discovered that by the prospect of a little to eat; Akira would chase us, do tricks and entertain us, bring us into the Christmas Cheer. Ms. Neumann also entertained us with Akira stories and pictures; they are some of the cutest in the world. After a long period of relentless writing and studying, seeing Akira as a puppy was truly the most refreshing thing that could happen to anyone. I must say, Akira’s level of adorableness is truly out of this world! Indescribable with the current level of language we have today!

To get the classroom looking Christmasy, Ms. Neumann assigned us a fun, creative and educational assignment (for the Grade 8s); we got to decorate a Christmas Tree. Not an ordinary Christmas Tree, and decorated with not ordinary ornaments. But a class Christmas Tree and with 3D printed ornaments; 3d printed ornaments that we all designed individually on Tinkercad and printed.

We also had an advent-like calendar shaped like a stocking. It’s like the little calendar with chocolates behind the paper flaps that many people had in their childhood (including me). This time however, instead of little pieces of milk chocolate, we all anticipated the daily reading of the often incredibly lame joke; that strangely induced laughter among us all.

Altogether, this month was quite fun, and it was a great experience. You could truly feel the Christmas Spirit in the air, everybody jolly and merry and having a great time while still producing some amazingly fabulous work. Like the old saying goes (I just made it up) Positivity leads to Productivity; and I think that was truly the case!

A look at gr 8 in December

A lot of things were going on in December, such as getting ready for the IDS and Science Fair check-in. Everyone’s projects are starting to take shape, and they’re looking really cool! Along with IDS and Science Fair, the students have learned a lot on the history of China, and the Mandate of Heaven. The students are also learning more on religions in history, and volume and surface area in math (Sir Cumfrence?), and are getting ready for the upcoming Christmas and winter break!

Oh, speaking of Christmas, the Minischool has their very own Christmas tree, decorated with unique ornaments they created from a 3D modeling program called Tinkercad. Each ornament is made from a student, which portrays what Christmas means to them. Our Beta tree is filled with Christmas memories!

The students in both grade 8 and 9 have also started Secret Santa! They drew other student’s names, and they are making their gifts for the other students.

Akira’s doing just fine, as usual — sleeping around the classroom, taking walks outside, looking like an adorable, big fluffy marshmallow and earning treats from the students. Sorry that we’re overfeeding him, Ms. Neumann, but he is just too cute. We just cannot resist.

Thanks again for listeni– err, reading! See you next time.

BETA Bits of Business

Hello Everyone! This time for Beta Bits of Business, I’ll be talking about our very own Ms. Neumann, and her talent in kayak-polo! On the 11th, Ms. Neumann left for Argentina to compete in her first international kayak-polo tournament. Ten days later, she returned with her prize: a shiny silver medal! Woohoo! I think I can speak for the entire class when I say we were very proud of Ms. Neumann. Of course, when she was at Argentina, she didn’t forget about us. She returned with a sweet chocolate treat called an alfajores. It’s nice to know that even in the midst of a competition she still remembers us.

When she returned, so did the sweet fluffy marshmallow we call Akira return. That was also call for great celebration in our class.

November in the BETA 8’s World

BETA 8 has been quite spoiled this month with not one but two field trips. But before we even started those field trips, we had one of the most fun educational units I have ever received. It was a cross-curricular unit on the Black Death. While majority of the unit was conducted in October, the most fun event, was on November 2nd. After studying biological warfare at The Battle of Caffa, we recreated our own Battle of Caffa which had a warring tribe throwing corpses infected with the Black Death at their enemies. We recreated this by creating catapults out of popsicle sticks, marshmallows, and rubber bands. We then shot paper balls at each other around the classroom, which resulted in the most fun I ever had with diseased corpses.

Later on we went to Gastown, Vancouver, with the rest of BETA, where we toured many famous areas of the city and saw some really nice architecture, like this steam clock.

We ate lunch at the Pacific Centre, and saw an outdoor concert at the Vancouver Public Library. It was a unique concert because it was played at many different angles, which projected sound very well.

Around the middle of November, we had an employee of HTEC come in to talk to us about hydrogen fuel cell technology. It was an interesting presentation that showed us alternative fuels were plausible, and will be very accessible in the future. The presentation included many well defined explanations about the technology.

A couple weeks later, as part of our collab course, all the Grade Eights at Alpha had a field trip to Science World where we had a lot of fun, by learning about many different parts of the Scimatics curriculum. The highlight of the day was when we went to the movie theater upstairs and saw a really cool movie called our Beautiful Planet on a huge immersive screen.

One noteworthy event during this month was that BETA was missing one of its key members for over a week. Ms. Neumann traveled to Argentina this month to compete in the Pan Am games at kayak-polo. She returned with footage of her playing amazingly, and some Argentinean candy. During her absence, Mr.Murray was our main teacher with a couple substitutes coming in here and there. We learned about WHMIS symbols, and 3D printing as projects that she gave to us while she was gone.