Grade 8 Reflection – Playlist

Flaws by Bastille, Bad Blood

This song is about the singer having flaws and weaknesses that he’s trying to hid (“You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve, and I have always buried them deep beneath the ground”). The singer addressing someone who accepts their flaws and doesn’t care about them. He reaches out to the person and they help him, convincing him to accept himself and embrace failure (“Dig them up. Let’s finish what we’ve started. Dig them up, so nothing’s left untouched”). The central message of this song is to show how we all tear ourselves apart to try to be perfect when we should just accept ourselves (“Look at the wonderful mess that we made, we pick ourselves undone”)

I chose this song because in the second semester of 7th grade, I’d experienced some major failures that I couldn’t get over. I tried to “bury them deep beneath the ground” and hide them from others. I couldn’t accept that I could fail like this, but over the summer between 7th grade and 8th grade, my family helped me embrace failure. They helped me realise that life wasn’t perfect and that what was done cannot be undone. That helped me start strong in 8th grade, with renewed determination to not be beaten down by failure.


(clean version)

Focus by Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman

Although Focus by Ariana Grande might seem like song about love, Grande herself announced that there is a deeper meaning to this song. In the first verse, “I know what I came to do and that ain’t gonna change. So go ahead and talk your talk cause I won’t take the bait”, Grande declares that she doesn’t care what the world thinks about her, she’s just going to be herself and keep working hard. When she says “focus on me”, she actually means focus on who she is. She wants people to focus on who she is, not what she looks like, what she’s wearing, the colour of her skin etc. She wants the world to know who she is a person. To quote her exact words, she said “The more we realise how much we have in common , the more we listen to each other, the more one we become”.

I was inspired by this song and how Grande wants people to know that she is not just the looks and the fashion, she’s more than that. So I was inspired by her message, and in the beginning of 8th grade, I chose not only to embrace my flaws and imperfections, but also to make new friends and focus on who they are, and not what they are.


Chasing the Sun by The Wanted, Word of Mouth

Chasing the Sun by the Wanted is not only a song about partying and enjoying life, but it’s also about pursuing your dreams. “They said this day wouldn’t come, we refused to run, we’ve only just begun, you’ll find us chasing the sun” talks about how people discouraged the singer(s) and told them this dream was impossible in the beginning, but the singer(s) refused to be brought down by words and continued to pursue their dreams. I also interpret this song as one where it tells you to aim for higher goals, even when others discourage you. If you think about it, chasing the sun is like trying to catch the moon. It’s impossible, yet this song is telling you to pursue the impossible, because nothing is impossible.

During the course of 8th grade, this song inspired me to set higher expectations and to keep on going even when others discourage you. This song told me that nothing is impossible, and with time and effort (We’ve only just begun, until forever comes, you’ll find us chasing the sun), anything can be achieved.


Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz, Black Star Elephant

This song, by Nico & Vinz, is about following what you believe in and not doing what everybody else is doing. In this song, the person isn’t sure the road he’s travelling is the right one, but he follows his heart and believes that it will lead him somewhere (Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay? Am I wrong for saying that I choose another way?). The person in this song wants to do something unique and follow a path that others have not travelled on yet, even when he can’t find where the road leads to (I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing, just ’cause everybody doing what they all do. If one thing I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow, I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home). The song encourages others to not let people control their lives and not be effected by other people’s opinions (walk, walk, don’t look back, always do what you decide. Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel). The person in the song is telling those who are different and seeking a different path in life that they are not alone and to fight for what they believe in (Fight for yours and don’t let go, don’t let them compare you, no. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, that’s just how we feel). 

Reflecting back on this year, I think this is the song that summarised 8th grade the most. Ever since I transitioned from Upper Primary to Middle School, I’d always been the ‘follower’, and not the ‘leader’. I’d always walk in other people’s shadows and footsteps, never hesitating to think about making my own path. It was until after 7th grade did I realise that for me, following people’s footsteps just wasn’t going to work. For me, the best path was my own. This song encouraged me that there is nothing wrong with following what I believe in and going against the flow, and assuring me that I wasn’t alone in this journey.


Drag Me Down by One Direction, Made in the A.M

In this song, One Direction sings of not letting others discourage and humiliate one. This song sings about how the singer will let nothing stop them (All these lights, they can’t blind me, with your love, nobody can drag me down). It gives an upbeat melody that emboldens others to not let anything drag them down. This song was produced after One Direction’s member Zayn Malik left, so it was sung with passion in a way that the band members were not going to let Zayn’s departure drag them down.

I chose this song because it inspired me to keep going and never give up even when life was tediously challenging. It renewed and rekindled the fire of determination that burned in the beginning of the year (I got a fire for a heart, I’m not scared of the dark). In many ways, it helped me through challenging obstacles in the course of 8th grade.


Who We Are by Imagine Dragons, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This song is a song produced for the famous movie, Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s a song about accepting who you are as a person (It’s who we are, doesn’t matter if we’ve gone too far, doesn’t matter if it’s all okay, doesn’t matter if it’s not our day). This songs says that it doesn’t matter if you fail in life, if you succeed in life, because in the end, you’re still who you are. Other people might judge you for being who you are (they say we’re crazy), but like what the previous song said, don’t let them drag you down.

I chose this song because it represents how I’ve changed as a person from when I was in 7th grade to now in 8th grade. It shows how when I was in 7th grade, I would care too much about everything, but now, through 8th grade, I’ve learned to accept who we are and live with it. There’s also a verse that really fits into middle school to high school transitioning: What we are don’t look clear. ‘Cause it’s all uphill from here. In this verse, the person questions their identity, just as we as teenagers are searching for our identity. “‘Cause it’s all uphill from here” represents how it will only get more stressful and intensive in high school life.


See Me Now by Little Mix, Salute

See Me Now is an uplifting song also talking about overcoming obstacles after failing or being discouraged. It starts out with this verse: I feel the rain on my skin, wash away all the pain I was in. I see the sun in the sky, no longer know how it feels to cry. This verse means now the main character is free from all the pain and misery that they were once in, and the song continues to say how it’s their time to shine (Somebody turn out the light, ’cause right now must be my time to shine). This song also has a reminisce feel to it, when the verse says “They said I couldn’t, they told me that I wouldn’t but if they could see me now. They’d see I’m something, that I’m not scared of nothing and the world will hear me shout“. So this song inspired many to keep fighting, until you are no longer afraid. (Drop me in the ocean, I’ll swim. Put me in the lions, I’ll roar. There’s a survivor within, so much stronger than I was before).

I chose this song because it illustrates the change I’ve been through since 7th grade until now. Before, people told me I couldn’t do this, or I can’t do that, and I believed them. I agreed with them and let them drag me down, and that was my mistake. Learning from my flaws, I didn’t let that happen in 8th grade, and the change I’ve been through has been roughly illustrated by this song, See Me Now. 


See You Again by Wiz Khalifa (feat Charlie Puth), Furious 7: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Even when this popular hit was dedicated to Furious 7 actor Paul Walker, See You Again is also a nostalgic song about friendship. Described to have a sense of longing and sadness but also uplifting as well, this song not only talks about the mourning of a lost friend, but can also be about someone you’ll miss but have hopes in seeing again (We’ve come a long way, from where we began. Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again). It beautifully illustrates the power of friendships and how they are never truly lost when someone dies (Everything I went through you were standing there by my side, and now you gon’ be with me for the last ride). There is a hopeful and yearning tone that leaves the audience on a huge cliffhanger.

I chose this song as because in the end of 8th grade, many people are leaving and there are many farewells that we ought to bid. So when I was thinking about these departures, I thought of the wistful yet hopeful melodies of this song. I thought of all the friends that had come with us for so long, and how these friendships had to be worn thin over distance (A friendship turn to a bond, and that bond will never be broken, the love will never get lost). As our journey ends, this song can be the “bond that will never be broken” in our friendships.


Album Cover:

Grade 8 Reflection Album

Full Playlist: 

NaNoWriMo – Reflection




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This is me and Weilyn. We just finished our NaNoWriMo story, which is 30,076 words.

Overall, how did NaNoWriMo go? What went well? What did not go well?

What went well for NaNoWriMo was that both of were really determined to get a lot of words. Over Thanksgiving holidays, we really crammed the writing into every spare minute, which resulted into over thirty thousand words. Also, we often reached to a general consensus during the planning and outline of the story, agreeing on what should happen next in the story plot.

I think what didn’t go well was that we didn’t spread the writing evenly. In the beginning of November, we wrote the outline, then occasionally someone would add a couple thousand words. At the second to last week we started to panic about having not written anything much, yet that week was a test week. So I think we should’ve planned ahead instead of doing it all in three days.

What did you learn about yourself? (Did you grow in writing or discipline or any other areas)?

I learned that I don’t like writing in limited time, because I believe that creative writing, that is, good quality creative writing, only comes naturally through the course of time. So when there’s pressure and other influences, the good writing and good ideas won’t come naturally as it would if you took your time. Plus, cramming it all into a month would make you eventually get sick and tired of writing about the same story. On the other hand, if you leave the story be, you’ll naturally want to go to it because either you miss writing about it or you simply like writing. I’ve realised that applies to me, because during the month I got sort of sick of writing, yet I knew that if I didn’t have a time limit I would actually like writing the story.

What is the end result? Are you cleaning up a short part to get published?

Currently we’re still at the middle of the rising action, not even close to the climax. We’re thinking of completing it if we have free time, clean it up and find a publisher or self publish it.

Unit 2: Reflection

Unit 2: Challenges of a Growing Population

Of the entire world, China is the country with the highest population so far. With a whopping around one billion people living in China, China has been facing overpopulation problems ever since the country started to thrive economically. From this unit, I learned that as a country, China has experienced many droughts throughout its history. These droughts led to famine which eventually rose the death rate, or the amount of people who died every year in the country. China has many ways of achieving to its ultimate goal, to reach zero population growth. One example was the One Child policy, where every couple was only allowed to have one child in their lifetime. This rule was commonly seen as a unfair one because in accidents like a gas leak, some couples’ only child would be lost in the explosion. Even now, China’s one child policy still holds, but the bonds have loosened slightly. Even though the one child policy was cruel, it’s efficient on moving China towards it goal on achieving zero population growth. From this chapter, we also learned that China has problems with its growing population because with more people, the demand for energy use rises rapidly. Therefore, if China could control the population growth, then it would lessen the demand for energy use.


As a learner, for Unit 2 I would aim for the same badge that I got in the last unit, the second highest one with the gold tier. I’m not sure what it’s called this unit, but in Unit 1 it was call Bartolome De Las Casas badge. I hope to achieve this by reading thoroughly and actually understanding the key points of what the chapter wants to teach me. Then I’ll write down the key points and study deeper into it with my notes.


In the Unit 1 reflection, I set a goal for Unit 2. I wanted to try to determine if China’s population is decreasing at all. I also wanted to challenge myself to find the reason why China’s population topped the highest in the entire world. And I have found evidence for both goals. In my first goal, I saw in the TCI textbook that the one child policy did decrease China’s population, which meant that on a graph, the slope would start to drop a little. I found that China had many ways of trying to achieve zero population growth, whether it was about the one child policy or the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Either way, I did find out that nowadays, China’s population is starting to get under control. My second goal was to find out why China’s population was the highest. I gathered the evidence simply from what I learned in Unit 1. China’s geography is very suitable for settlement, which meant that along the coast, near south east China, economy would rise quickly as to because of the easy trading by sea. Some of the most populous cities in China are along the coast, for example Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen or Guangzhou. So when there’s a fertile place, it attracts people to settle there because they might find better jobs there. Since China’s east coast was rich with fertile soil, the most of China’s population condensed all in the coastal regions, resulting high population. (Picture taken from TCI Chapter 30 – China: The World’s Most Populous Country)





Just last week we had our fall parent conferences. For social studies, we discussed about class presentations, challenge by choice options and how much time I was spending each night on homework. We’ve only had one class presentation in quarter one, so there wasn’t much to say. But my teacher did mention that in semester 2, there would be a presentation on whatever subject the student wanted. I immediately chose three options: stellar, mythology or computer science. And then in quarter one, the Challenge by Choice options were introduced, on which the teacher, Mr. Pierce, suggested me to go to extra field tripes or reading/other clubs. Finally, we talked about how much time I was spending on homework every night. You can see a essay I wrote last year about “Is over scheduling of activities after school harming students?” that can elaborate about why a student might have little time to spare for homework. I told my parents and teacher that I spent about 1.5 – 2 hours every day on homework, and Mr. Pierce pointed out that I wasn’t paying attention to the time limit in the planner. The time limit was the fact that each sixth grader should only spend 60 minutes on homework, seventh graders should only spend 70 minutes, and eighth graders should only spend 80 minutes. Since I was spending too much time on homework, Mr. Pierce suggested me to start relaxing and actually learn how to use time carefully and smartly. As a goal for quarter 2 and the rest of the year, I plan to use time more quickly and efficiently to leave some time to sleep.


Unit 1: Reflection

Unit 1: Maps and Geography

The first unit of social studies was titled “Maps and Geography”, so expected, we learned a lot about maps and geography. Our unit started off with one of the main questions: In ten years time, will people still be using paper maps? Debates were risen about this question, which led us to the next part. We questioned ourselves about what maps include. From that, the KTW (Know, Think, Why) Chart was born. In this chart, we listed what we know about maps, what we think we know, and why. This chart helped us a lot through the unit. As homework, we were assigned to complete two packets from the textbook. Personally, I think these packets really challenged what you learned from class, helping us improve on the test. Then we looked at what makes a good, interesting, informational map. One website that showed us lots of interesting maps was a website called 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World. The picture below was taken from the website.

Map of Europe Showing Literal Chinese Translations for Country Names


That was one of the most enjoyable parts of this unit. I really loved how enjoyable our teacher made this class really interesting, fun and engaging. I really liked how even though the assignments or homework might take some time, the class is unique and enjoyable. I also really like how there’s a lot of systems, like the China Chair, the Current Events Slips, the Elysium Field thing, and the Prize Box. Some may be bad, like the $2 box, where if you lose something you need to pay in order to get it back. The money goes to the charity.


Another cool system that our teacher made was the Badge Award, given out after each unit. For this unit, there are four badges: the Neil Armstrong badge, or exceeding above standards. Bartolome De Las Casas Badge is like meeting expectations, with three different tiers like Gold, Silver and Bronze. The Ferdinand Magellan Badge, which is like approaching standards, also separated with Gold, Silver and Bronze. And the Marco Polo Badge, which represents the developing badge. I was given the Bartolome De Las Casas Gold badge. I agree with the badge I was given, because I hadn’t expect such a low badge, but I also think I don’t deserve the Neil Armstrong badge. From the grades from the assessments and the work habits, I think the Bartolome De Las Casas badge was the most fit for me.


While studying for a test, I found that taking notes on all the main points of the textbook just didn’t work. It was tedious work, and sometimes I didn’t get what the main point was. So instead, for the summative, I studied by reading the two chapters and doing the reading challenge. I especially like studying with the reading challenge because it questions you like the actual test. Similar to last year, I found that using the reading challenge and reading through the chapters again can be really useful when studying for a test.


For Unit 2: Challenges of a Growing Population, I want to set a goal to try to determine if China’s population is decreasing at all. I also want to challenge myself to find the reason why China’s population topped the highest in the entire world.


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.