I didn't have anything to write for a long time, but now I have something really important to write about! 5th graders were working on proposals, and the unit was called 'Green Dragons'. We worked on Green Dragons for about at least two months. I was with Melissa, Peggy, and Ellie. My group worked on the project called 'Color Coded Recycling Bins'. I chose this idea, because though we have a recycling bin, I barely saw people using the recycling bins, so I thought this was a big problem. These are the reasons that I thought my group's idea was sustainable: For Ecology, our idea fits, since it's eco friendly and good for the environment. For Economics, there are no problems, because the wood that we are going to use are from local sources, so they are cheaper. For Politics, since it's recycling, people will agree to do it. Lastly, for Culture, recycle doesn't affect any culture, but instead it helps cultures. 

    We made a survey and send it to 5 - 8th graders, so they could write what they were thinking about recycling at SSIS. We tried to prepare our proposal and infographic as well as we could. First, we each made a proposal by ourself. Next, we made a infographic, and we included ideas that we found out during our survey and when we were researching about recycling in the internet. After that, we added parts of the proposals that we each had. 

    I thought we would get a green light, because I really thought that there were big problems about recycling at SSIS. My group was really nervous for the first pitch. I was in tank 3 and in my tank, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Papaseit, and Ms. Tina was there for the judge. Since we didn't have any reasons that our project was sustainable, at the last minute before we started our first shark tank, we decided to add the reasons about sustainable. And the next day, we found out that we passed the first shark tank. The most interesting thing I learned was how SSIS was sustainable and not sustainable.

Mr. Sylte talking to us...

    The most challenging part that I thought was that during shark tank, some people were talking fast and their voice was quiet, so it was hard for me to hear even though I was next to that person.

    I think that my group did well on memorizing the lines that we had. Each person at least had three lines. For the final shark tank, some people were struggling with the lines they had more line, because they had shorter lines.

 

The final shark tank!

 

Yesterday, grade 5 did something called a 'Hackathon'. A 'Hackathon' is an activity where people work in small groups to come up with and develop ideas to improve something. For us, the goal was to make SSIS more sustainable. The idea that we were working on was 'Reduce plastics'. I was with Ellie, Kim Anh, Brooklyn, and Sheryl. There was something called 'STAR' and each of the letters meant something. S meant situation, T meant task, A meant action, and R meant results. Our (my group's) situation was people are using too much plastic in our cafeteria and many other places. Our task (solution) was to try not to use plastic straws, reuse bottles and cups, when you go to coffee shops, bring your own cup or glass, and try to use other materials than plastic like metal. For action, it was asking the cafeteria to not sell Pocari Sweat, Dasani, and Revive, since they were all in plastic bottles. Lastly, for results, if our project worked it would be good, because then that means we are trying to reduce plastics! And if the other schools were also doing what we were doing, our world would be better!

My group working on Reduce Plastics in our laptop...
My group writing ideas on the sticky notes...

Our idea is sustainable, because... There are four things. For ecology, our idea is helping the environment by reducing the plastic, because there are a lot of plastics thrown away. Second for economics, SSIS might be able to afford it, because maybe Mr. Sylte could send an email to all the SSIS teachers about reducing plastics, and then the teachers can tell all the students. Next, for politics, Mr. Sylte might agree, because it's hard for everyone to reduce plastics. Lastly for culture, it would fit in people's culture, but it might be hard to change their behavior.

We did gallery walk for about 15 minutes. After that, teachers discussed and chose six, but my group wasn't chosen. The teachers told us that the program was called 'Shark Tank' and Shark Tank chooses about 10 groups out of 30 groups. They present and then the judges choose to give them a red, yellow, or green light. Green meant it's doable, yellow meant it's doable, but you need to work more on it, and red meant it was not doable. For us, three groups got green, two groups got yellow, and unfortunately, one group got a red light. I was sad that my group wasn't in the Shark Tank, but it was fun.

 

   Last week on Tuesday, the 5th graders went on a trip to Cat Tien for three days. Our unit was Ecosystems and Sustainability. We went to learn more about Ecosystems and Sustainability. We all met at the school plaza until 8:00 am. When we all arrived at school, Mrs. Johnson told us if we were in Group 1 or Group 2. I think since there were too many students, teachers divided us into big Groups, 1 and 2. I was in Group 1 with other friends. It took four hours to arrive at Cat Tien. After my group arrived there, we ate lunch and then we went to a place to ride the boat. We had to go across to Dao Tien to the primate center. Dao Tien was a small island next to Cat Tien.

    My two most favourite/interesting things were at Dao Tien on the first day. When my group arrived at Dao Tien, our guide Ms. D was waiting for us. Also, she told us a lot about gibbons, before we met them. She told us that gibbons were only in Cambodia and Vietnam. I was really happy and excited that gibbons were only in Vietnam and I was seeing them. When I actually observed them, they were cute and some of them were small. Before teachers said to bring money for souvenirs if you wanted and I brought some. I bought a gibbon doll at Dao Tien.

    My second favourite activity was Bonfire. I loved this teacher-led program. Mr. Edwards told us a game that we could all do. It was called "If you love me honey, then SMILE". So boys had to go to a girl and girls had to go to boys and say to each other "If you love me honey, then smile". They had to answer "I love you honey, but I just can't smile", but if they smiled, they needed to ask others, but if they didn't smile, they could just sit down where they were sitting. Ms. Fox told us ghost stories and at last, Mrs. Johnson told us how to roast marshmallows well. We got to have two marshmallows and it was really good.

Picture of Bonfire

    The most interesting/important that I learned was that it is illegal to keep bears/gibbons as pets. For gibbons, it's because they see humans in the house, and so they will try to copy what we are doing, like walking with two legs. For bears, humans try to get their bile, because they think the bile bears' bodies will help get rid of their sickness.

Me, with Candy and Tina...

The challenging part for me at Cat Tien was the group challenge "Human Knot". One of the teachers chose a small team. I was with Eliza, Melissa, Peggy, Minho, Ben and Ji. We had to hold each hands, but you couldn't hold hands with the person next to you, and you couldn't hold two hands with the same person. The goal was to untangle the knot. My team FAILED! It was pretty hard, since it was my first time doing this challenge. But even though it was hard, it was pretty fun. I hope when I do it next time, I untangle the knot.

    Next year if there would be one more day, I think there should be more group challenges. Because I was in Group 1, but even though we had group challenges on the schedule, we took too much time in one thing(challenge). That's why we couldn't do any group challenge except for human knot for 20 minutes.

     About three weeks ago, we started a research project. I chose Earthquakes for my research topic. I don't really have a reason, but I chose Earthquakes, because I just wanted to research new topics that I didn't know before. I found resources for my topic by finding books in the library and found some articles and websites in Google. It wasn't that hard to find sources about my topic, but most of the good sources were for middle/high schoolers. Still, I found a lot of good sources for my age.

    I learned about highlighting important information, organizing notes, taking notes well, outlining, writing in my own words, and writing leads when I was preparing about Earthquakes.

    For my research and writing, I think I did well on writing with my own words and wrote a good lead. If I did this again, I would explain more how supporting ideas link to my main idea.

    I chose Pages for my format. I chose Pages, because I wanted to try a new app. My project turned out pretty well.

    There is something called CARP  that my class learned. C means contrast, A means alignment, R means repetition, and P means proximity. In my design for my topic, I think I did contrast, alignment, and proximity well. For contrast, I chose good colors for each other; for repetition, I lined up pictures and words really well; and for proximity, I put pictures and paragraphs that were related to my topic together.

    During this unit (project), I learned a lot about earthquakes. It would be good if we did this unit again.

    This is my project on Pages: Earthquakes

 

 

     At school, we each started a reading goal for three  weeks. My reading goal was reading a book that was longer and just right for my level, and read at least 100 pages or more. I met the goal, since I read every day, and chose the just right book for me. But since it's fun, I'm going to keep reading.

    I read a book named The Books of Elsewhere, the first book. The genre of the book was fantasy and the author was Jacqueline West. 

      Summary:

      The main character is Olive, who is an adventurous and brave girl. Her family buys a new house that Ms. McMartin used to live in, but now she's dead. Olive finds three cats, and she finds out that there are secrets in the house, but she doesn't tell her parents. After a while, she finds out that the three cats were spies of an old man...

I think readers that like fantasy or mystery will enjoy reading this book.

If you enjoy the book, then this is the second book:

    About 2 weeks ago, I had to choose my own science experiment. Ms. Rayle told us that we could do it by ourself or with a partner. I chose to be with a partner and so I was with Isabel. In the beginning, we couldn't really think of an idea, but when we were look in Youtube, we found an experiment named "Lava Lamp". The materials were Alka Seltzer, a plastic bottle, water, vegetable oil and food colouring. But even though we were trying to find Alka Seltzer, we couldn't find it, so instead of using Alka Seltzer, we mixed citric acid and baking soda.

I learned that for my experiment, the vegetable oil and water+food colouring separated few minutes after the experiment ended. Also, I learned that some experiments take time,  like Ryan's experiment, which took 2 days.

The favorite or most interesting part for me was trying the experiment. When we really experimented with the lava lamp, the bubbles were going up and down and at last the vegetable oil and water separated from each other.

Next time, if we had to do the experiment again, I would really buy the Alka Seltzer, try it with the Alka Seltzer, and compare if there are differences.

    So far in vietnamese, I learned a lot of words and my class also wrote short and long paragraphs in Google docs on every Friday. My teacher Ms. Ha taught us about fruits, read us some of the vietnamese books, some new word and more. 2 weeks ago, Ms. Ha started something about flowers. So she made groups and My group was group 2 and I was with Minho and Ben. She said that when ever your team behaves well, then when the class ends every time, she will give one flower. But she wouldn't give us if we didn't behave well, so to get the flower, we had to behave well.

My family  <---------- The link to my google doc.

 

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     The whole 5th graders did The Amazing Race yesterday. The Amazing race is a race where there are teams and each team solves challenges. I was Team 8: Purple Team and I were with Dan, Jessica and Kiwan. The chaperone for my team was David's mom(Ms. Yen).

Picture of My whole Team!
Picture of My whole Team!

     To me, the challenge that I liked the most was called "Code Breaker" and the challenge took in the Book Store. Ms. Chi was there for the station. I liked it a lot, since you had to solve math related and I like math A LOT! There was a sheet the Ms. Chi gave. We had to solve and show Ms. Chi the answer. So we separated girls and boys, but we still helped each other. When we finished, we found that it was about what you should do when you got problems about Peer Pressure. I solved it easily with Jessica, because there were hint by the number(Eg. Letter:B, Number Below: 22).

After finishing the challenge!
After finishing the challenge!

    To me, the challenge that was most challenging was "What's my Content?" which was Mr. Edwards station. We had 2 challenge that we could have chose between What's my Content and The Hunt, but for my team, we thought The Hunt was harder, so we chose What's my Content instead of The Hunt. For What's my Content, there were lists of foods that we had to find and we had to list the lowest ~ highest sodium. The reason that it was hard to me was, because my team didn't really read the challenge carefully, so we had to find the food, clean up where the foods were, find again, and clean again, since we didn't read directions carefully. We solved it by reading directions carefully about 5 more times. Also, my team had problems with sodium, because some of the foods didn't have sodium and it had Salt instead. Luckily, we found a guy that looked like American, so I asked him. "Excuse me, can I ask you a question? Is Salt same as Sodium?" and then He answered that salt is sodium. So that is how we solved the challenge.

The Picture of the guy who helped us and my group!
The Picture of the guy who helped us and my group!

    I think my group did well in the race, since we were fast, knew where the challenge took and solved challenges quickly. Well, we sometimes had fights, but at least we were in 3rd Place!

   Next time, I think I can do differently by reading directions carefully many times before I say I am finish! And if there is a race next year, I would improve running and cooperating with others. Also, I think the challenges should be closer to each other, because it took a lot of time to walk. So next time I think the challenges should be harder and the places should be closer. Well, even though, my group had fought a lot, this was the best day ever!!!

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      Last Thursday, the 5th graders went to Buu Long. There were Team Building games and outdoor adventures. Before we got in the bus, we divided into two groups. Each group went into different buses. When I got in the bus, I sat next to Helen and we were at the seat right before the back row of seats. Well, my head was getting a bit crazy, because at the back, four boys were sitting (Kris, Ji, Adan, and Ryan) and they were pretty loud. Plus, I was also talking. It took a lot of time to arrive there and finally!! We arrived there after 2 hours. I was Team 1 in the big group. Team 1 went to outdoor adventures first and Team 2 went to team building games. The teachers told us after we eat lunch, we will change. It might be a bit confusing, but before we started the adventures, we divided into three smaller groups. I was Team 3 and I was with Thoa, Peggy, Kim, Eric, David, Daniel and Ryan. Plus, our teacher for Team 3 was Mr. Edwards. 

      For me, the best team building games were Star Wars and Cooperation Maze. In star wars, there were lots of hoops that was circled shape. For this game, all the people in Team 1 (The big group) played. There were about 18 hoops. The person in Phat Tire told us instructions for Star Wars. So he told us that our feet HAD to be in the circle and you can be with other people. The most challenging part of Stars Wars was that people in Phat Tire were taking hoops out, so if there were 18 hoops at first, at last there were only 1 hoop. After we only had 1 hoop, not everybody could get in. Everybody went in the hoop and they were all pushing each other. But luckily at last, Kris found out that we could have only put our feet in and sit down outside the hoop.

Friends playing Star Wars
Playing Star Wars

     For Cooperate Maze, we only did it with small group. There was a tarp with 6 by 6 grid. So we had to remember the path. You can make up order like who went first and I went after Kim. The challenging part was that when you step to a grid, the instructor will say yes or no. He had the answer for the tarp, so we had to find the path for it. Also, when you stepped the grid wrong, you had to come back the same way you went. Luckily, Eric got the way!! Everybody in my team was happy and thought we were finished, but we were not. Everyone in our team had to all go and finish the maze.

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     To me, I liked Abseiling and Ziplining the most. For Ziplining, You had to go up the muddy hill and wait in the line. The sad thing was that it only took 18~20 seconds to arrive in the other side. When I got on, I got calmed and relaxed. My shoes got SO dirty, because when you went up the hill, there were lots of mud and plus, it rained so it was REALLY MUDDY.

  For Abseiling, I liked it, but I didn't like it a bit, because I was too scared. I am really scared of heights and the abseiling was 30 meters. I was really scared, but I kind of thought it would be fun. When I did Abseiling, OUCH!! I got a cut at my left leg and my left elbow. It was still fun. But Too Bad!! When I finally finished, I fell in the water!!!

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   I hope I go to Buu Long again!!! It was so FUN!!!!

 

 

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     An example scenario:

     You are at a friend's place for a sleepover. This is a really popular student and it's the first time she/he has invited you to her/his place. Once her/his parents are asleep your friend suggests that you both sneak to the liquor cabinet to try some of the alcohol her/his parents have stored. What should you say to your friend to dissuade her/him from doing this?

    Answer:

    My answer to this is... If this happens to me, I will dissuade her by telling her that alcohol makes you bad like it doesn't make you grow when you are a kid. It's unhealthy, you might get drunk. You will really like it when you are an adult, since your taste buds change when you begin to be an adult. The most important thing is that if you drink too much, you might die!!