Playing With Fire

This Month we played with Fire. This may sound dangerous to let VERY responsible 13 year old students to play with fire but Ms. Neumann said she had everything under control. The project we did was called california snowballs. Ms. Neumann taught us how to be safe with fire and how not to get hurt. She had students come up and measure the liquids using a graduated cylinder. A graduated cylinder looks kind of like a test tube with Measurements on it. The specific one we used had a max measurement of 25 mL.

We also had a yellow tub of water just in case things went wrong. After mixing the two liquids we had a snowball. Now picture this, you have a snowball in your hand but instead of a snowball its a slushball. That’s what it felt like. Ms. Neumann then lit the slushball on fire and one by one we went up to “play with fire”. To make sure you didn’t get burned you would have to soak your hands in water creating a protective barrier and then scoop up the burning slushball from the bottom. 

This was a very fun experiment and i want to do something like this again.

                                 

A Challenge for Mr. Murray

Welcome to a mostly anonymous semi-fictional BETA Bits o’ Business report!

You may have noticed the contraction in the first sentence. As other BETA Bit writers have mentioned, there was a Poetry in Voice competition in class! As exciting as this was, something else happened…

The week before the presentations:

“All Y’all that’s spicy!”  a voice blurts out.

Mr. Murray sighed.

The owner of the voice that uttered the contraction using sentence was rebuked, and the owner of the offending voice apologized. Profusely. Repeatedly. Whilst claiming it wouldn’t happen again.

Similar scenes play out in different forms all over the week.

Finally, presentation time arrived.

The Day before the presentations began:

A group of students are talking to Mr. Murray. The topic of Mr. Murray’s memorization skills are brought up, and a bet is quickly made.

The bet in question?

Can Mr. Murray memorize a poem of the student’s choosing in one night, to prove that it can be done?

Cries of the Iliad, the odyssey,  and other epics are heard!

Mr. Murray smiled in what appeared to be a confident manner.

The Wager was set. Should he lose, the class may decide an appropriate punishment.

Presentation day:

The suspense grew as students arrived on the day of presentations.

Poems were hastily recited.

Print-outs were read over.

Encouragements were received.

The first poems were read.

It is not my job to describe them. That, I leave to others.

Mr. Murray was questioned.

Where was his poem?

He regretfully informed the class that he had lost the bet.

However, the class could choose: Punishment or an Extension.

Someone threw around some words, full of contractions.

Mr. Murray grimaced.

Punishment?

Extension?

Punishment?

Extension?

The vote was tied.

Absent people were messaged.

Still the vote remained tied.

A compromise was suggested. An extension over the weekend, and a poem.

A poem using a contraction in every sentence.

Improvised.

On a random subject of the classes choice.

Epilogue:

The weekend passed. Poems were presented. All of the presentations were amazing, but only two could continue to the next level. A vote was undertaken, yet I shall not publish the results.

Soon Mr. Murray shall present his “Poem”.

Mr. Murray asked for his topic, as well as contractions he must use.

For two minutes jumbles of frantic consonants were scribbled onto the board.

And then it began.

The class before, everyone was working on IDS. Certain people were very far ahead, or very far behind, and Mr. Murray performed his poem, where the few understandable words were about IDS, and how much had been completed, as well as how much more could have been done, had the class not been interrupted so many times.

There are two existing videos, but I do not have either.

It was hilarious. It was sad. It was unintelligible, and this BETA bits o’ business report is now finished.

Creative Presentations in Electricity!

Coming into the new year, everyone had their creative juices restored after a long winter break. In order to harness this creativity and use it to its fullest potential, Ms. Neumann has challenged us to make a presentation about the current war between Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. However, this was not to be just an average presentation, but rather, she challenged us to create a creative and different presentation that is engaging, doesn’t have any negative views on these scientists, and has to be full of accurate facts that show how they were as scientists. As the presentation time rolled around, we saw all sorts of different and creative means to show off this newly acquired knowledge. Those presentations ranged from videos, to drawings, to memes, to personality test, and even a roll of film.

 

The videos we saw in class were mainly focused around “dank memery”. The likes of Sam and Nathan showcased their talent to create original, funny content while still making it educational. Their audio was clear and easy to understand. Peter and Josh also created a video which was much more tame but still memelicious nonetheless. Both groups were able to finish and present a true masterpiece during class, and proof of it is that the entire class enjoyed it very much.

Harry and Shaw-Ern made a creative twist on YouTuber “Jacksfilms” video “THE PRIVILEGE QUIZ”. They ask a series of questions which all have 3 options to answer with. Depending on which answer you chose, you’d get a certain amount of points and by the end the total number of points you have accumulated will determine whether you are more like Edison or Tesla. The majority of the class were smack dab in the middle, between Edison and Tesla.

Quinlan, Celina and Sunnie all did amazing work for their presentation. Quinlan and Sunnie both drew Edison and Tesla’s faces and then added a lot of information around it. Sunnie’s was very clean and elegant whereas Quinlan focused a lot more on the information. I’m still not sure if Quinlan intentionally made Edison look like one of the moai statues on Easter Island, but it was a nice touch. Celina created a short story were Edison and Tesla are attending a wizardry school, and a competition to use electricity effectively put Edison and Tesla up against one another. Everything in this category was very well polished but the Grammy goes to Celina for the inclusion of Edison and Tesla as bug eyed anime characters.

The memes created by Brian and Spencer are worthy of being included in the next edition of Meme Review (link in the description). Many lunchtimes were put into the making of these top quality memes. The editing was done very well, and there is definitely no lack of creativity when it comes to the vast selection of memes. Everything from “do you know da wae?” and “understandable, have a great day” made this a very interesting and enjoyable presentation.

The last presentation, by Chloe, featured a fake roll of film with pictures drawn onto it. In other words, each major scene in Edison and Tesla’s life was summarized by a picture, and text, all written on one frame of the film. This was done very well, and led people to believe what it would actually look like if it were played in a movie theater.

All in all, having a creative presentation at the start of the year was a great idea, and resulted in some amazing projects.

Life of a Minischooler at the end of a term

After the break, we’ve seen a significant amount of stress flowing in the atmosphere of our classroom. The end of a break always does bring such stress, you may say, but of course it’s much more than that. The constant cram of redundant math questions, simple one may say, but doing hundreds of them brings no good to the mind.  The constant reminder of nearing deadlines…. Science fair …… IDS which is agreed by many to be the “Intense death sentence”, and it never fails to disappoint from its definition.

The start of yet another seating plan, bringing the smell of the devastating bottle recycling bin to many unfortunate individuals.  Of course I can’t continue with such pessimistic views, as we have signified the end of the bottle recycling program, replaced with the less rancid fundraising program which will continue to bring our class income. We yet to see the result of this change with the first launch happening this month, how exciting….

A large scramble of fractions and tests thrown at us, a particular test question striked us with relatability,  a student has five hours before going to sleep they have to spend …..[fractions of time on ___] do they have 30 minutes to play drums. Amusingly the fractions have added up to over their available time length, of course this was a mere typo, but still a very good representation of the average mini school student’s night before a deadline.

To end on a brighter note, our immensely adorable beloved dog Akira. Perhaps the only member of our classroom that brings joy to everyone. Eating snacks in the minischool classroom brings an attentive pair of large puppy eyes near you, and so begins the Akira wars; basically a series of events where a group of students consecutively “steals” Akira from each other by leading him to their desks. This ends in three possible ways, someone running out of food, Ms. Neumann intercepting, or Akira falling asleep.

 

That’s all for now…

 

Heading into a new term

As the Minischool gears up for the due date of science fair, everyone has been hard at work on their projects, catching up on math, and scrambling to finish overnight humanities projects. However, this means that we are all overworking ourselves, between projects and procrastination, and the loving company of Akira has become a precious commodity.

 

Each and every day, a subtle fight occurs in which top fighters take out food and other tasty morsels to lure the dog to their side. However, now that we have a new seating arrangement in which we do not sit in two long rows, and we do sit in small groupings of 2, the war heats up, with more competitors. Akira will come running with a longing face towards your table when you hold out food, although he does not stay for long before another morsel catches his nose. Callings of “Sit. Down. Good Boy” happen as often as every couple of minutes, but after he lays down by your side, he might hop up a few minutes later to pursue another piece of food. He goes back and forth between us, perhaps gaining a few pounds along the way. Some argue that the getting up and running around is enough exercise for him to work it off, but who can argue with the privilege of the dog lying beside them?

In other, more academically related news, (see how easy it is to get carried away with the dog?) we have had an extremely math heavy quarter, plowing through 2-3 chapters within the course of just a couple of weeks. Additionally, we will all be moving on to our second semester classes nearing the end of January, leaving most of us away from the fun of Home Ec and Tech Ed, and into French.

Poetry in Voice

In the past few weeks, the minischool has been catching up on homework during Tutorial Days. We have recently started a poem project where we had to pick a poem, memorize it, and present it for a school competition.

Some of the poems include: “Lonely Land”, “The House on the Hill”, “Blanc” and even one called “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes”.

Semester 2 is here and the new classes are…. New. Report cards have not arrived yet, but they will be coming really soon. Though the teachers have assured us already that we all got good marks, it’s quite hard not to worry about them, especially being in this class. And of course, we cannot forget Akira. The classroom dog is still as cute and fluffy as ever and is always eager to eat from other people’s lunches! It seems as though the Akira disease is getting stronger and now everybody in the class wants him to themselves. We would get up now and then to bribe him with treats and convince him to sit by us. Of course, it never really works:) but what would you expect from a dog? Thanks for checking out our blog and actually taking the time to read our posts!

Grade 8’s tackling a new year!

It’s been two weeks already since the end of winter break, and the minischool is still as busy and lively as ever! So far, we have already finished a project on historical Africa and it’s empires. Each group had a specific empire or kingdom that they had to research about. We got to use a microphone for the presentations, though half of us did not know how to use it properly. In humanities, we studied the bayeux tapestry, feudalism in Europe and Japan, Britannia’s government and a few facts here and there about vikings (turns out, English is derived from Viking and they did not usually wear their helmets.) There were quite a few tests and a lot of homework on fractions for scimatics, and people scrambling to finish up their science fair projects. We have been working very hard on them since before winter break and are quite nervous to see how they will turn out.

Due to the smell and the flies of the bottle recycling bin, the bottle recycling crew is now the fundraising team that will host fundraising events to raise money for the our class. (Akira the husky is barking his approval in the background.)

With all this schoolwork, of course, you would think that we would always be super focused and concentrated during class time, but that is not the case. With Akira wandering around all the time, none of us can resist giving him a piece of our food, playing with him or simply just petting him. This always leads to distractions, which leads to no work. But I guess that’s what happens when you have a classroom dog. Thanks for reading!

 

Classroom Arrangements

With the start of a new year, Mr.Murray and Ms.Neumann have emplaced a seating plan in order to (hopefully) better our learning.

Starting the school year in September, all of the tables were put into two pods, and we were encouraged to sit within the front half of the class, to help us bond, and cooperate. This proved to be trouble, and looking back, it’s surprising how little damage came from it. The next seating plan(ish) had us separating out so that we were diametrically opposite from our neighbors, essentially meaning that no one sat directly adjacent to anyone else. Similar to the last one, troubles arose pretty quickly, and no solution could be found, at least until after winter break. Returning from the break, we immediately greeted with the surprise of a new seating plan. This new seating plan consists of every student having a table to themselves, and all of the tables are separated from each other, in order to reduce unnecessary talking between students. Another feature about this new seating plan, is that now students no longer have the choice for where we sit since all of the positions are predetermined.

As of writing this entry, this seating plan has largely helped our focus in class, but has not yet fully resolved this problem. This leads me to think that there is possibly a need for another seating plan that will systematically solve this problem. The plan that seems the most plausible is to firstly find out which pairs of people cause this problem the most, than using a bit of planning, separate all of these said pairs, so that they won’t be causing as much of these issues. Hopefully a simple solution to this problem presents itself soon.

The Swearing Rule

As the new year rolled around, some students found that they have not yet adapted back to school behaviors, and continued their foul language. This quickly prompted a rule to be set in place in order to both help reduce the use of inappropriate language in the classroom, as well as educate them about the usage of that particular word throughout history. This rule requires that if a student uses a word that is deemed foul and/or extremely unkind, they have to write a 500 word essay regarding the true meaning about that word, how the meaning has changed throughout history, and also the usage of that word in history.

As soon as this rule has been emplaced, the usage of foul or cruel language has rapidly dwindled, with the rule only having been used once so far. Hopefully this successful trend continues on into the future, abolishing certain foul words from our classroom.