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

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.



An adventure in learning for the grade 8’s

At the school once known as Boring Alpha Secondary but now Alpha Secondary, life continues to be great. The grade eight minischoolers with their teachers, Ms. Neumann and Mr. Murray, as well as Akira the dog, continue to amaze the world. To give readers a view of their achievements and such, some of their more recent activity is recorded here.


The grade eight minischoolers recently handed back some answered questions to Mr. Murray, regarding a graphic novel that they’d previously read in class, called Red: A Haida Manga. It featured a hundred and eight beautifully watercolour painted pages, of blended traditional haida artwork with japanese manga.

Akira, being a real graphic novel fan, absolutely loved this project, and handed in his answered questions as a very well detailed, deep minded, thoughtful write up.


B.C. Skills Canada offered many fun skill based challenges, some of which the grade eight minischoolers took part in, along with the grade nine minischoolers. The two challenges that they did were the spaghetti bridge challenge, and the wind turbine challenge.

In the spaghetti bridge challenge, competitors had to design and build a bridge using only uncooked spaghetti and hot glue. The goal was to build a lightweight bridge that can hold a kilogram in weight for sixty seconds.

In the wind turbine challenge, competitors had to design and build a fully operating wind turbine, using wood, tape, and glue. The goal was to build a wind turbine that can generate large amounts of energy.


Not long ago, the grade eight minischoolers were observed in the school library, making books cool again! After having a presentation on banned books and banned book week, they got to choose their own banned books (banned in other countries, that is). They’ll be reading the book (duh) they chose, and writing a small report on it’s banned-ness.


Finally, The grade eights together (all of the grade eights, that is) ventured on a day-long bus ride to different places of worship; a Hindu temple, a Sikh Gurdwara and a Jewish Synagogue. The building of the Hindu temple was beautiful, the food at the Sikh Gurdwara was delicious, and the seats at the Jewish Synagogue were comfy. The grade eight minischoolers, having already studied these religions and more, had no trouble filling in the info sheet that everyone was given.

The only sad things were that Akira couldn’t come, and that you couldn’t bring any of the food home afterwards!


That’s it for this week, all. The grade eight minischoolers and their teachers (also Akira) continue to be amazing, and so I continue to tell you about them!



Cow Eye Dissections

This week most of the Grade 8’s did a Cow eye dissection. We were told that we were going to do this after the worm dissection but i never imagined that it would be so disgusting and smelly. When we got our Cow eye out of the fridge we had to warm it up with our hands. It was covered in cold fat and muscle that we had to cut out for our paper. After clearing off all the fat and muscle It was time to cut open the eye in half. We made a small incision with a razor and then cut the rest with our scissors. As I was Snipping at it some black liquid called Aqueous humour. It smelled like the worm but x10 worse. Afterward the lens came out. It was really cool and would magnify things if you were to put say text under it. The lens was surrounded by a gel thingy that is called the vitreous humor. The next thing I put on my paper is called the Cornea which is the front of the eyeball. After that we Cut of the Optic nerve which is connected to the Retina/Cones. The Retina/Cones is located at the back of the eyeball and reflects light so cows can see certain colors.  

BC Skills Canada

At the start of March, both the grade 8 and 9 mini – school went to KPU for the BC Skills Canada competition. We were given the options to participate in either the spaghetti bridge competition or the wind turbine competition. Now, unlike other schools we only spent 1 day preparing for this competition meaning that did not have an advantage, however, we still tried out best. The day we spent preparing, we were given only 5 hot glue sticks and a package of noodles. In addition to this we only  had about 1 hour to create our structures, which was not enough time. Meanwhile, other schools had done their science fair project on spaghetti bridges and had already built and tested them many times.


Anyway, before I get too carried away, let me define the spaghetti bridge competition rules. (I was not in the wind turbine group so I can’t really talk much about it) Our bridges had to be done in 2 hours. The goal is to build the lightest bridge that could hold 1kg of weight underneath it for 60 seconds. We were given Catelli spaghetti, hot glue guns, and glue sticks, and a loading platform that must be somehow incorporated into the design. The minimum side length requirements are 500mm for length, 100mm for height, and 50mm for width.


Now, out of the grade 8 mini – schoolers, some groups decided to go light as that would get them nearer to the top 3 if they managed to hold the weight. Meanwhile some groups decided to go heavy in order to hold the kilogram in the first place. Unfortunately, only one group out of the minischool 8 class succeeded in holding the weight. All the other ones had collapsed. To add to that, the group that had succeeded had came in dead, last. However, after we finished building we were finally able to look forward to one thing. The food. We were all hungry, children waiting to be fed, and we were… kind of.


Here’s the thing, the spaghetti bridge mini – school kids had signed up for the last lunch slot. Meaning that all of the food was pretty much taken. Some of us managed to get 2 whole slices of pizza while others had to live off of 1. My sources tell me that the groups before us had pop, and they were even making “pizza sandwiches” by stacking pizza and then eating it. Yet still, some were complaining about “still being hungry” afterwards. Luckily, Mr. Murray saved the day and managed to talk some of them out of eating all the food, that way we at least were able to eat enough to last the day. Overall, it was a pretty fun day and I do hope we are able to do this again next year. Now that we know what designs are enough to place in the top 3 I’m sure we can definitely do better if we got the chance to try again. Thanks for reading! 🙂