Monday, February 8, 2016

Assignments: February 12

Try out Merriam-Webster's fast-moving vocab test here.

If you have a keyboard, start class by warming up your fingers with 10FastFingers. (If you have a
device without a keyboard, skip 10FastFingers or borrow a laptop from someone else.)

Record your score here. Expect to do this every week.

Natasha, please map out the yearbook pages (spread by spread), and create a month-by-month article/author list.

If you have a past or an upcoming story (i.e., the talent show in December), you should work on that yearbook article today; otherwise, you may pick a news story.

If you are in 5th grade and log into Newsela, use the following code: G5TX5W
This week, we will be writing our articles in the "inverted pyramid" format of newspaper writing:

Below are stories to inspire ideas:
  1. How did the world look in....?
  2. Are girls meaner than boys?
  3. Natasha: winners of the New York Times' comics contest
  4. NYT VR: How to Experience a New Form of Storytelling From The Times
  5. Skills and Strategies | Fake News vs. Real News: Determining the Reliability of Sources
  6. Make an editorial cartoon — contest
  7. College bound: Our President's daughter
  8. Water on Mars, The New York Times
  9. Dogs hurting have special place to heal or Kitty-cats on display
  10. What causes a blood moon? (Leo)
  11. Don't Toss That Sour Milk! And Other Tips To Cut Kitchen Food Waste (Mia)
  12. Captain Underpants visits Green Apple
  13. Wacky Birds (Kasama?)
  14.  Testing Neurons With Ultrasound
  15. Students can’t resist multitasking, and it’s impairing their memory. 
  16. Have you been following news this week? Take The New York Times' quiz.
  17. Crash Course: How to videos to help you learn
  18. Science videos for fun 
  19. Can you read emotions? 
  20. What's going on in this picture?
  21. Kids National Graphics 
  22. Time Magazine for kids. Check out the kid reporters.
  23. Kahn Academy
  24. Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Black Panther Comic for Marvel
  25. Images from Pluto
  26. Indonesia’s ‘Mud Volcano’
  27. Can’t Swallow a Pill? There’s Help for That  
  28. The mementos of Ernest Hemingway 
  29. 6 Tiny Cavers, 15 Odd Skeletons, and 1 Amazing New Species of Ancient Human: The inside story behind a spectacular new hominin find, The Atlantic
  30. Homo Naledi, New Species in Human Lineage, Is Found in South African Cave, The New York Times
  31. Cats of New York, The New Yorker  Cat photography: Smile, The Atlantic 
  32. Is this 8-year-old's newspaper better than ours?, Columbia Journalism Review
  33. Cave Paintings
  34. Zombie Spiders: How a parasitic wasp larva turns an orb weaver spider into a slave that builds a web to host the larva's cocoon.
  35. Coal, Gas, Nuclear, Hydro? How Your State Generates Power
  36. Shaun the Sheep Movie’: Designing the Characters
  37. Editorial cartoons (Natasha?)

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Hillwood BBQ

The Hillwood BBQ was started by Mrs. and Mr. Grantz. Mrs and Mr. Grantz wanted to start the Hillwood BBQ so that they could start to get to know parents and new parents better and have a nice chat and sit down with them. They like to see all of the kids play with each other and play games like tag, jump rope, or board games if they don't want to go outside and play.

Mrs. and Mr. Grantz's best memory of the barbeque was when they did the Hillwood Academic BBQ at the cabin. They enjoyed having the barbeque event there the most. That is where the original event happened and where it started. All of the park rangers that worked at Muir Woods were welcomed to come. A lot of people baked food or brought food to put on the table for people to enjoy and eat together. It was the best place to have it.

This is their first year having the traditional Hillwood BBQ at the school. Having it at the school is much easier for Ms. and Mr. Grantz because now they don't have to go back and forth from the cabin to bring food. There are a lot of treats, candy, and food brought by parents or made by Mrs. and Mr Grantz. Parents like too see their kids play with other parents' kids and get to know each other better as well. So many people love to come and meet new people and kids. I really hope it will continue for ever.



Ms. Kathy Tom teaches 2nd-4th grade. She teaches Science, Math, Grammar, Social Studies, Spelling, Phonics, and additional categories for individual grades. Ms.Tom has been teaching the 2-4 grades at Hillwood for around 14 years now, and turns everything that is really boring into something fun! She focuses on getting her students to their full potential. She has been here longer than most of the other teachers, and does not plan to say goodbye anytime soon. Many students adore her and have a hard time leaving and saying goodbye. She takes time with every grade and every student if they need help or don’t understand. She takes the kids' ideas and incorporates them with her work. She is native to San Francisco and is Chinese-American. When she first started teaching here, she worked with K-1st. She plays dodgeball and many other games outside.

Pajama Day

On February 2, every student comes to school in their pajamas. It started as a tradition, every year, for Jojo’s birthday. On Jojo’s 1st birthday, Mrs. Grantz got the idea of letting every student come to school in their pajamas for his birthday. Mr. and Mrs. Grantz love seeing the children happy. Now, it is less about Jo and more about the fun and excitement of wearing pajamas to school.

All the kids love pajama day because the day is full of fun and activities. It gives the kids a chance to wear comfortable clothing to school and have fun with it. For lunch, the school usually has pizza. Students are instead able to watch a movie because we don’t go to the park. Students have lots of fun and always have good memories with their pajamas.

Jojo talks about pajama day, “I like pajama day on my birthday because it is very fun. I don’t want it on my birthday because I don’t want it about me. It changed the most in 2015 when it stopped being about me.” He doesn’t have many memories of pajama day, but he hopes that he can make lots more.

Friday, January 22, 2016

International Day

International Day is a day where we celebrate all of the student's cultures. The students either dress in Hawaiian form, in their school uniform, or where they are from. Most of the students like to dress as where they are from. Some of the students have the option to bring in food from there culture. The K - 1 can bring desserts, and 2-8 bring the main course. The food that the most of the students bring are delicious.

The parents usually like to come to this event to see their kids participate in this special event. They are allowed to come either before or after lunch. The lunch is in the school yard and is set up at 12 pm. Our afternoon teacher, Ms. Caine, makes a banner to put on the fence. Also, the students write a paragraph about where they are from. After they are done and presented to their class, it is hung on the fence for parents and others to see.

I interviewed one of the principals, Mrs. Grantz, to see what she thought about International Day. Here is what she said:

Me:  What is your favorite thing about International Day?

Mrs. Grantz: I like to see all the kids dress up, and I get to learn more about them every year.

Me: When did this start?

Mrs. Grantz: I don't exactly know when, but more than at least a decade.

International Day is a very famous tradition at Hillwood. It is so fun to see people tell things about their heritage.

Max the Dog

Mr. and Mrs. Grantz have a dog named Max. Max is four-years-old and a black lab that loves to have fun! This wonderful playmate joined the school when he was eight weeks old. Before Max, a dog named Zack was the star! Unfortunately, Zach passed away at the age of 14. It was a bittersweet day finding out the tragic news on the first day of school.

When Max was little, he was a very rowdy dog. However, now his transformation is incredible!  Max now has a wife named Ellie, and maybe later, he will even become a father! Max has spent a lot of his time with Ellie and his dog walker; but when he is with his dog walker, everyone at school misses him very much. 

What do you like about Max?
Jo: He is very kind, and I love to play with him. 

What do you do with Max?
Jo: I feed him treats and kibble. 

Field Trips

The field trips are admired by many students at Hillwood. Hillwood has had field trips since the school opened in 1949. The students have been going to places from the Academy of Science to the Pumpkin Patch.

At the Academy of Science, we explore all the new exhibits. A favorite exhibit is the rain forest. It's usually the first thing that we see. The rain forest has many reptiles such as snakes and frogs. It also has an ant farm. When you get to the top of the exhibit, there are a bunch of butterflies flying around. Another favorite exhibit is the earthquake exhibit. It explains the 1906 earthquake by shaking the room to make you feel like you're actually in it. It also explains what you should do during such a big earthquake. The Academy of Science is fun because it teaches kids about history and science like the dinosaurs, and it's really fun for all the children.

Another really fun field trip is the Pumpkin Patch. The kids get to go through the maze. There's other fun activities, such as the haunted house, the train ride, pony ride, and the bouncy house. After all the kids get to do their favorite rides, they pick a pumpkin. Most kids get to pick the big pumpkins. However, some kids like to pick the smaller pumpkins because they think they're cute. Then the kids get driven back to school and take their pumpkins home.

A very tiring field trip is the walk-a thon. At the walk-a thon, we gather up all the kids at Hillwood, and we walk to the Marina Green field. At the Marina Green, the students get water, and get to play around for a little bit. Some kids like to play duck, duck, goose, or tag. After the break, we walk back to school, and we eat hot dogs for lunch. After lunch, people get rewards for those who donated the most money for the walk-a thon. Then after that, they tell us how much money we raised for the school.

Written by Maddie P. and Grace M.

Ice Skating Field Trip

On December 8, the upper-grade class went on a field trip to an ice-skating rink. The ice-skating rink we went to is the Union Square Ice-Skating Rink, in downtown San Francisco. We left school at around 9 o'clock and then, we took two buses to the ice-skating rink. We went to the ice-skating rink as a little treat for the class.

We had a lot of fun. It was really good that there was hardly anyone there. We basically had a private rink. The entrance fee was $13, and the rent of the ice skates were $7. Some people had a difficult time putting them on, but everybody eventually got them on and got on the ice.

We stayed there for about 3 hours. After the ice skating, we had hot chocolate at the ice-skating rink and it was really good. The hot chocolate was around $2. After that, we went back to school and had Mac and Cheese for lunch.

The Fun we had at the Holiday Show

On December 11, 2015, the school had a holiday party! We celebrated the holiday season by opening our Secret Santa presents. Every year we choose Santa’s Deputy and two elves. These acts are usually played by the 8th and 7th graders. This year Mia was Santa’s Deputy and Natasha and Caroline were the two elves. After everyone received their gifts, each class returned to their classrooms and prepared for the talent show.

The families of the students started to arrive and the talent show began. Everyone in the school participated in The Grinch Play, partly written by our music teacher, Mrs. Schmitt. We called it “The Grinch Who Stole the Hillwood Show.”

The cast included Finn as the Grinch, Grace and Savannah were the narrators, Leo was the Grinch’s dog, and Mia was the MC. During the play, Hillwood students performed songs, mini plays, and dances. It was a night to remember, but not for the Grinch. The Grinch stayed grumpy as ever just as the dialogue was written in the original play. Eventually, the Grinch enjoyed the play after seeing the parents and kids still having a blast.

After the show, the families went up to the Grantzs’ living room for food, beverages, and to enjoy themselves and interact with the parents. The upper graders went out for Starbucks, and the younger kids had an option of playing outside or watching a movie. After about 30 minutes, all the students went upstairs and got food. After the older kids ate, they were allowed on electronics. At around five, people started to leave.

Overall, the talent show and holiday party was successful and fun. Everyone enjoyed the change in the talent show. Mrs. Grantz said, “I thought that it was fantastic this year. I thought that it was a great idea. The parents loved it."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Summer School At Hillwood

Summer school is a program our school has when the academic year ends. Students go there to have fun and play. The first month of summer school is for going there just to play. On the second month, something called Summer Session starts. This is when kids go on field trips and do various art projects. Last year, many people were in summer school. It was very fun.

In the morning, we play electronics. We play many games, such as Clash Of Clans,, Minecraft, and many more. After electronics, we go to play at the park. Sometimes, we bring our lunches there and do picnic at the park. When we go back, we do arts and crafts. On Tuesdays, we go to the library and then have reading time for 30 to 40 minutes. After reading time, we go outside and play in the yard. We play games such as dodgeball and monkey in the middle.  After that, we have snack time. We eat an assortment of many different snacks for each day.  At 3 p.m., the day is over, and we have a little bit more of electronics time. Then our parents come to pick us up and we go home.

Summer school is very fun and everybody should go to it at least once. Many students go there. On average, about half of Hillwood participates in this fun program. Many students are excited for the coming of summer school of 2016.

By Leo and Kasama

Friday, December 4, 2015

What makes a planet round

 What makes the planets round. The easy answer to that question is gravity. If you don't know what gravity is what makes objects fall down. When a planet is really big the gravity pulls everything towards its center. And in the end it looks like a sphere. Even though the planet might look perfectly round but it actually isn't. A planet spins on its axes and parts of the planet bulges out.
If you want to find out more about this you can go to

China's "Floating City" was most likely a Mirage

Gumdrop Bins Help Give Gum A Second Life

Gum can be very annoying to us people when it sticks under our shoes, but at the same time it can taste very good. The thing is, gum does only bad to the environment and nothing good. This is because the main ingredient in gum is synthetic rubber and it is not biodegradable. Thanks to a new company named Gumdrop Ltd, this problem might be fixed.

The company, which is based in the United Kingdom, has invented a little pink bin. People who pass by can easily dispose their gum. Once the bins fill up, they are brought to the company's factory and they are used to make things out of the disposed gum. It is used to make things like rubber boots and phone cases. When the project started, the company was concerned that people wouldn't just dispose gum, but also other products. To solve this problem, the company has created a filter which gets rid of the extra garbage.

In 2009, the company was inspired to start this project after seeing the dirty gum-filled streets in London. To see if this would work, they set two bins inside a men's restroom at Southampton Airport. The project was extremely successful. The bins fill up about 5 times a year. Three years later in 2012, the bins were adopted in a Legoland right outside of London.

The company hopes to carry the bins all around the world. Their main goal is to reach the USA; this is because 59% of the population eats gum. The company has also made a product called Gumdrop On-The-Go, which is a portable version of the bin that can be attached to your key chain.

My opinion is that I think it is cool how this company is taking action and making products out of disposed gum. I hope they can expand its lineup of bins into other countries.

The New Amazon Drone Is Faster, Bigger, and Better

A couple of years ago, a man named Jeff Bezos, who is the founder of retail giant Amazon Inc. said that the company will be introducing the Amazon Prime Air, which is a drone that can deliver your packages in 30 mins. Plus, it happened to be one of the biggest shopping day of the year: Cyber Monday. However, the FAA turned them down. But the company would not stop trying.

This year, on Cyber Monday, Amazon put out a video of the drone and how it works. The drone is blue, white, and yellow, and is larger than the drone released in 2013. The drone can fly 55 mph and is a hybrid and also has a rear propeller that allows it to fly like an airplane. To avoid traffic, the drone can only fly an altitude of 400 feet. The drone has sensors to watch out for anything is coming its way.

Unlike the other drone, this one does not just drop it on the ground from a high point. This one finds a little landing space and puts the package down safely. If the package was released at a high point, it could fall into someone else's hands. The person who is receiving the package would be told when the drone is coming.


2 slightly hurt in natural gas plant fire in West Texas

In Orla, Texas two people have been slightly hurt in a gas-plant fire. This event happened in west Texas and near the Mexico border.

Anadarko spokesman say this occurred on Thursday by accident. If you don't know what Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is the natural gas processing plant.

There was no huge damage caused by this fire. The owner of the plant is The Western Gas Partners and is based in the woodlands.

An Anadarko spokesman said, about 200 people work there and only 2 people suffer very minor injuries. The spokes man says that the fire is now isolated in one part of the plant and is very contained.

Many buses were used to transport workers from the plant to a close part of Mexico as precaution. Officials were worried that the fire would spread throughout the plant.

Also the traffic was rerouted to U.S. 285 near the plant.

Friday, November 20, 2015

jo's post

Ms and Mr Grantz  and BBQ im righting what they do for hillwood next month i will interview Ms and Mr Grantz

Sophia's Yearbook Stories

1. Washington DC Trip: With Mia and Nicole
-Due: April
-Who we are going to interview: Mrs. Grantz, Mia, and Caroline  

2. Holiday Party: With Mia and Nicole 
Due: February 
Who we are going to interview: Mr. P, Mia, and Finn 

3. Pajama Day: With Nicole and Mia 
-Due: March 
Who we are going to interview: Mattigan, Noah, and Savannah 

Mia Yearbook Stories

Washington- With Nicole and Sopia.
Start writing in April-May.
Interviewing me, Mrs. Grantz, and Caroline.

Max- With Caroline.
Start writing when Max comes back.
Interview Max's dog walker and the Grantz's.

Christmas Party/Talent Show- With Sophia and Nicole.
Start writing before (preparation for the talent show)and after.
Interview Mr.P, me, and Finn.

Pajama Day- With Sophia and Nicole
Start writing after and during pajama day.
Interview Mattigan, Noah, and Savannah.

Nicole's Yearbook Articles

1. Washington D.C.- With Sophia, Mia, and Nicole
2. Due: April 
3. Who we will interview: Mia, Mrs. Grantz, Caroline 

1. Christmas Party- Sophia, Mia, and Nicole
2. Due: February 
3. Who we will interview: Mr P, Mia, Finn 

1. Pajama Day- With Sophia, Mia, and Nicole 
2. Due: March
3, Who we will interview: Mattigan, Noah, Savannah 

caroline yearbook stories

ice skating
mrs carvjal and leo