Letter to Future Sixth Grader

Hi there! I’m Sonia, and I just finished Grade 6. Grade 6 is known for many very fun things, such as the PEAK trip, the Greek and Roman Day, the Water Gala and many more. In the beginning of sixth grade, you might feel rather shy; uncomfortable with the new campsite. But in the beginning of sixth grade, the teachers will guide you through the lockers, the classrooms and the schedules. After the first couple of weeks getting used to Middle School, you’ll feel absolutely fine. In Semester 1, you get to have two spices: either Art, Media/Study Skills, Drama and Old Testament. All spices are really fun, and I especially enjoyed Art and Media. Also, core classes, which are math, science, language arts and social studies are separated into two classes. One includes math and science, another includes social studies. In math and science, you get to do many fun labs and math activities. For science, first you’ve got to go through the learning part, then you have those really fun science labs where ¬†you get to see the effects of density, states of matter, and the earth’s heating cycle. In math, you get to pair up with your group to work on math problems and do class activities on graphs and data. Grade 6 Math and Science class is super fun!
Hope you enjoy it ūüôā

Ancient Greece CYOA – Reflection

My CYOA was based on the Trojan War. It takes the perspective from a made up Greek brother of Patroclus, cousin of Achilles. Me, Andrea and Emily wrote about how Ireneaus, our made up brother of Patroclus, always was so jealous about his brother always having Achilles’ favour. Our story talks about how Ireneaus makes choices whether he wants to fight for his nation or fight for his dreams of joining the great city of Troy. Our planning of who was writing which line was very well organised, because we had a small trap branch that Andrea could do, and the longer branch that actually led to a happy ending was split between me and Emily. I wrote about how Ireneaus would choose to fight for Troy and become a great general, but ending up dying in every way. Emily wrote about how Ireneaus would choose to remain a general and flirt with the Trojan princess, Polyxena. Andrea would write about how Ireneaus would fight for his nation but die trying to win Achilles’ favour. It took us a couple days to plan out the entire map of the story, but we finally split the branches equally after a couple arguments of who would do the general side. ¬†Then Andrea was the first to finish her branch, then me, and Emily finished her branch the day before it was due. Even though me and Andrea had to do some pushing on Emily’s progress, we managed to finish it in time, and we even managed to lengthen our paragraphs so we had more information about the choices that we provided. In the end, we were very satisfied with our final product. Click HERE to visit our CYOA.

End of Year Reflection

Language Arts and Social Studies:

This year is just one out of the three years in Middle School. Compared to fifth grade, sixth grade seems to start a whole new life, a different one then the rest. But one of the many things that haven’t changed about me is that I never really read non-fiction. Notice all the books on my book list have been fantasy books. All those years in Upper Primary, when my teacher told me to start reading non-fiction, I never really did it. Same in sixth grade, I just keep reading fantasy. So far, I’ve read the¬†House of Hades twice,¬†The Serpent’s Shadow thrice, the entire¬†Inheritance Cycle series, and I’m finishing¬†The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel series too. The books I read also affect how I write, because I’ve always admired how the writers always write in such a detailed way, exploding the moment, but at the same time they don’t go off topic. Reading fantasy also just inspires and sprouts some more ideas about writing in my mind, like how I could mix two series together and make a new story, or perhaps jumble together all the series that I like and make a fan-fiction story.

Reading the Percy Jackson series have also sparked my interest in Greek mythology. We’re now studying the Greek culture and their legacy, and I’ve noticed that the civilisations that we are studying follow what time they existed. For example, we started with evolution and mutation from science, at the same time we also were studying about hominids and their scientific names. Then we moved on to the geography of Mesopotamia, then the great Egyptian civilisation. We skipped studying about ancient India and went on to reading about ancient China and their great philosophies. We studied their old dynasties and read about how the old dynasties fell to the newer ones. After the ancient Chinese, we started studying about the ancient Greeks. Later on in the year, we’re planning to study the ancient Romans. You can notice that first we studied about the hominids, and they were the very first to appear in the world. Then it was Mesopotamia, then Egypt, China, Greece and finally to Rome. It all follows the timeline. All the civilisations we have been studying all focus on the seven characteristics of civilisation. We studied the ways that the ancient Egyptians lived, read about the ancient philosophies of China, compared the different hominid species far before time, studied the map of Mesopotamia and listed what benefits they had from their location, and saw how important the gods were to the ancient Greeks.


This year, we learned many new things for math, such as box plots, new algebra technics and so on. We reviewed some things that we learned before in fifth grade, but we also added on to the knowledge we already had. As a mathematical thinker, I think I am one of the ones that understand the fastest when we learn new things. When we learned the box plot, I was one of the first to understand what the first and third quartile was. Compared to last year, I think my precision and modelling have stayed the same, but in fifth grade, I had found problem solving difficult. Now, I think I’ve overcome the problem solving difficulty.


Last year’s science was nothing like sixth grade science. Last year, we just learnt about variable and how they could affect a experiment. This year, I think that I really started to go in depth about the science around us, density, states of matter, boiling point, the water cycle and so on. This year, for science, I enjoyed it because I really actually started learning something that I found cool. As said from above, I think that it’s strange, how in the beginning of the year we learnt about mutation, Darwinia and all in science. At the same time we were learning about the evolution of humans and how scientists found evidence that humans came from apes. This somehow connects because I think the teachers want us to apply the knowledge from science and put it as a puzzle piece into what we were learning in social studies. I think throughout the many labs of science, I think my observing level has increased because of how much understanding we have to take in while experimenting the labs.

Work Habits: 

I think my strongest in work habits is organisation, working independently, meting deadlines, reflecting on work, punctual and respecting the class rules. I think my weakest is contributing in class and probably working with others. These two work habits have been my biggest struggle because I always find it hard to always to contribute, coming with answers like I was born to do it. Also, I’ve found from experience that you can’t really trust someone with a important job when they aren’t like you. When you do it individually, you see everything your way and you see it as what you satisfies you. In a way, it’s sort of selfish, since it’s saying that you will only be satisfied if it’s in what you think is good. Over the year, I’ve tried teaming up with my friends whenever a group project is available. I would try and understand more in depth of what I was being taught, so that I could contribute more in answering the questions.

Overall Grade 6:

This year, the most highlighting part is probably PEAK because it was so well planned, and I had a lot of fun with my friends in Beijing. I’m most proud of is changing myself, making myself different from what I was when I was in 5th grade, or in general, when I was younger. ¬†The most challenging of all was the change from my friends in 5th grade to 6th grade, and the actual difference of the two campuses. Before sixth grade, whenever I saw Middle School, I saw a American local kind of school, with very clear borders on who was popular and who wasn’t. Now, this year, I had to adapt to this American local looking school with the clear lines of who was popular and who wasn’t. The moment I realised I was in Lantau house, and all my other friends from fifth grade were in all the other houses except for Lantau, I knew that I had to try to fit in. Now, I have found friends that are much better then the ones I had in fifth grade, which is a great relief because I always seemed to have less friends during fifth grade. I look forward to camping in seventh grade, where we get to choose where we want to camp.

‘I Love Hong Kong’ Challenge

Don’t ask me why it’s called ‘I Love HK’ challenge.

I don’t get how Hong Kong and¬†Confucius¬†are related. Maybe Confucius was born in Hong Kong? Nah, he was born in a cave.

This challenge asks you to select one of Confucius’s many quotes and expand on it. I did the quote:¬†I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

This is my poster I did on Photoshop:

January 27 – Weekly Monday Reflections

  1. Discuss with classmates on a team what were some things from the previous week that you did in our classes? In a team it will help to remind you of all that you have done.
In math, we just completed — or is still working on the math test for multiplying fractions
In science, we went to the Denser Sensor and found out how and why liquids separate when they are put together
In social studies, we are starting the project where we make a map of China and India out of either food, clay or play do, LEGOs, or Minecraft. And we finished a test there too.
In language arts, we are still learning about run on sentences on NoRedInk.com
Now it is your time to do a written reflection with detail about your learning last week. Use the following questions to help guide you:
  • What were some of the¬† important learnings that you remember from last week? Give examples or how you learned them if you can.
  • If you could tell someone who is not at this school something about your learning what would it be?
  • What are some questions that you still have from these learnings last week?
  • What goals do you have this week?

I remember how we went to the Denser Sensor lab, and we combined a lot of mysterious liquids together, to find which liquid was densest or the least dense. I learned that even though the volume stays the same, the mass can still affect the density of a substance, which causes liquids to layer.

I would tell them how kid-friendly my social studies teacher is, because we just started a project where we can use candy, clay or Play Do, LEGOs, paper or even Minecraft, many of which kids enjoy doing.

I’d like to ask, in science, can objects still layer in only one type of water, for example, water?

This week I strive to finish the social studies project that we just started today.

January 20, 2014 – Weekly Reflection

  1. Discuss with classmates on a team what were some things from the previous week that you did in our classes? In a team it will help to remind you of all that you have done
  2. In Mr. Banaszewski’s class social studies, we studied about the topography of India. Mr. Banaszewski gave out an activity of making a map of India so it highlights the land features of India.
  3. Also in Mr. Banaszewski’s language arts class, we studied run-on sentences on the website NoRedInk.com. NoRedInk.com gives you sentences that have problems in them and it lets you correct the mistakes, so you can easily improve your grammar.
  4. In Mrs. Ballard’s science class, we went to the Sink Or Float lab and gathered information about which items sunk or floated. Then we made a graph on this data. To find out more, see the post ‘Sink or Float Lab’ -> also on my blog.
  5. Also in Mrs. Ballard’s math class, we learned how to multiply fractions, and the rules of when you multiply a number bigger then one, then the answer would be bigger then both numbers. But when you multiply a number smaller then one, then the answer would be smaller then both numbers, meaning it would be in decimals. Very complicated sometimes.
  6. Now it is your time to do a written reflection with detail about your learning last week. Use the following questions to help guide you:
  • What were some of the¬† important learnings that you remember from last week? Give examples or how you learned them if you can.
  • If you could tell someone who is not at this school something about your learning what would it be?
  • What are some questions that you still have from these learnings last week?
  • What goals do you have this week?

  • I think the important learnings that I remember last week was the rule in math for multiply numbers with decimals, because that will always apply to the problems that have to deal with multiplication and decimals. I would tell someone not from this school about the great system that we use to learn grammar, using fun websites and awesome games.
  • Why do some plastic float while some sink? (From Sink or Float Lab)

  • I aim to do well in the Social studies test, and also hope the All Strings Concert this Friday will be successful, unlike last year.

January 14, 2014 – Weekly Reflections

1. Discuss with classmates on a team what were some things from the previous week that you did in our classes? In a team it will help to remind you of all that you have done.

For math, we started Unit 5, about multiplying fractions and how drawing a diagram shows the steps to multiplying fractions. In math class, we also talked about why the strategy we use to multiply fractions makes sense without having to draw a diagram.

For science, we started another unit about the Properties of Matter. We went to the lab a couple times, each time finding the density of a new object. We learned how Archimedes solved the king’s problem about the crown of gold, and how he found the formula of density: D = M/V

For social studies, we also started another new unit, this time studying Ancient China and Ancient India instead of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. We studied the geography and the topography of China and India, and how India is the subcontinent of southern Asia.

For language arts, we used a website called Grammar Gorilla (or something like that) to test how well we could spot run-on sentences, whether they were fused or comma splice. Our teacher gave us paragraphs so we could spot the run-on sentences as a practice.

2. How it is your time to do a written reflection with detail about your learning last week. Use the following questions to help guide you:

  • What were some of the¬† important learnings that you remember from last week? Give examples or how you learned them if you can.
  • If you could tell someone who is not at this school something about your learning what would it be?
  • What are some questions that you still have from these learnings last week?
  • What goals do you have this week?

I remember clearly how, in science, we demonstrated the density of the class by going into different sized rooms. I learned about the density of the class because I could feel that in the smaller room, we were more compressed¬†together¬†then we were in the classroom. That’s how our teacher taught us the density of different objects, from cakes to gold.
I would talk about how much we learned about density, about the vocabulary sheet that we are planning to use for the unit of Properties of Matter. I would tell them the story of Archimedes, the great Greek mathematician and physicist, about how he found the mass of the king’s crown. I would also tell them about the different run-on sentences that we learned, then introduce them to the website Grammar Gorilla, so they might have a chance to practice their run-on sentences spotting skills.
I’m sure we’re going to learn this later on in the science unit, but I’m still wondering what ‘pH’ is, and what it has to do with acid and ‘base’. I thought that ‘base’ was the bottom of a shape, not some acid solution. When I was completing the vocabulary for science, when I came across the word ‘pH’, I thought it was something on the Periodic Table (which it probably is). Then I found this picture that had the letters ‘pH’ in the middle, then the rainbow colours surrounding the ‘pH’. My first thought was: What does this acid solution have to do with colours? Why is the rainbow included with acid?
This week, for science, I have a goal to find out the answer to my question: What does acid have anything to do with rainbow colours? Maybe it’s the colour of the acid when you add different substances into it, or maybe it’s the different kinds of acid, like the green acid represent the bright green section.

We Were Silent

On We Are Silent day (November 22), Hong Kong International School participated for the We Are Silent program. In our class, the Anacondas, a few people got sponsors to donate money for their silence, but the whole class was silent all the way through. An hour and fifty minutes was how long our class was silent for the ones who are silenced. On that day, most people found it hard to keep silent, since they weren’t used being silenced. That way, we know how hard it is to not be able to speak up for your rights.

Being silent for that class has some good and bad things. Lots of people in the class could focus much more better then usual, since they weren’t distracted by other people. With people actually concentrating, we got more stuff accomplished. Without talk and distraction, ¬†we weren’t that distracting to other classes and behaved the way we should be everyday. But being silent for the class made it hard for us to ask questions. What if I don’t know what to do, Mrs. Ballard? What if my computer¬†glitches¬†and suddenly shut down but still has battery? What do I do here? What do I do there? We can’t simply shout out or raise our hands to ask, we had to use whiteboards and markers. Most people either pushed away their questions or waited until the end of class to ask them, since they didn’t want to be tempted to talk.

Now, after the We Are Silent day, people know how frustrating it is to not speak up for yourself. What if? But-! Wait! These voices could not be heard when the silenced spoke. I have an idea! But nobody listens to you. They ignore you. They think you’re invisible. That’s how the poor feel. That anger, the frustration, the resentment, the annoyance. That’s why we’ve got to help the ones that feel the anger, frustration, all the bubbling resentment under the mask. Those feelings must be calmed down.

Just like my language arts teacher did, we should put up a Keynote presentation that shows a clear list of what our schedule is for the day. That way, while we’re silent, we know what do to next. Simple, clear and straight forward.

Instead of donating money to give them support, people who want to help the silenced would physically go to the poor places and bring a few people over to their city. Then a few people from their city goes to the poor place and try out how hard life is. You need to give a person experience in order to make them learn. So it’s like trading people over, like a test for those who want to go to the poor places. This way, the poor people can physically see the other people from different places.