Friday, November 20, 2009

Upper-Graders Head to City Hall

On Monday, November 16, the upper-graders of Hillwood went on a field trip to San Francisco's City Hall. We toured this majestic dome learning about its history, looking at valuable objects and artifacts, and found out facts about San Francisco that we never knew before.

Some things that are memorable include the San Francisco flag, city flower, and the architecture. Most of the walls with designs were handcrafted and made from wood from Manchuria.

Brigette and I also learned about the San Francisco flag. On the flag, it has a phoenix emerging from the fire standing for the 1906 earthquake. On it, there are also the Spanish words: "Oro en Paz - Fierro en Guerra." When translated, it means "Gold in Peace, Iron in War."

Our city flower is the Dahlia. Its color and beauty symbolizes the life of San Francisco and the spirit of the people who live within the city.

And that was our field trip!

For some history about City Hall, read last week's post previewing our trip.

Photo of students: Ms. Woods
Photo of flag and building by Brigette and Irene

Photo of Dahlia is from the San Francisco Dahlia Dell.

City Hall in Pictures

These photos highlight our tour to City Hall on Monday, 11/16/09. I think the most interesting aspect of the building was the amazing detail of the architecture, it gives a sort of 'Renaissance' feel to it.

By Brigette

Hamlet, a Ghostly Tale of Shakespeare

You all can go on Saturday to the great Hamlet written by Shakespeare.

This ghostly tale is about a prince whose father died. Hamlet, who is the prince, suspects his mother in the murder because a week after Hamlet's father's death, the queen got married to Hamlets uncle. Hamlet had a girlfriend named Ophelia.

This takes place in Noe Valley, 451, Jersey Street, at the Noe Library.
November 21st ~ Show at 2:00 pm / Q&A with the cast at 3:00 pm

No ticket or reservation needed — just come and enjoy the show!

The White House Turkey

Since 1947, The National Turkey Federation, or NTF, and The Poultry and Egg National Boards, or PENB, have donated a turkey to the White House every Thanksgiving.

Most domesticated turkeys live 18-24 months and wild turkeys live 3-4 years. Usually the turkeys participate in the event when they are 22 weeks old, and there are always two turkeys so they always have a runner-up.

Wild turkeys can fly short distances up to 55 miles per hour. Domestic turkeys can't fly because they weigh twice as much as wild turkeys. Above is a picture of Harry Truman who was president in 1947. Right is president Eisenhower.

If you would some fun Thanksgiving activities, please read my other Herald post.

‘I Am What I Learn’ Final Contestants Announced

The "I am What I Learn" contest, by the US Education Department, has just named the final eleven contestants from hundreds of videos submitted. You can vote on the videos until December 4.

submitted one, too (shown in this post below). We made a two minute video about how education is important to us.

Some of these contestants didn't make that good of videos, but some of them were good. The video that I recommend the most is the one that was made by Kevin Phu. He practically made a music video about how education is important to you. Kevin is from Massachusetts.

‘I Am What I Learn’ Video Highlight

This video is very good (you can watch them all here). It tells you that is is good to be diverse (for example, learning more then two languages). Without an education you can' t get a very good job. This girl teaches us that you have to get a good education and also help the environment.

This video is very moving. It must of taken plenty of work making a song and a great video. This video was made by Kevin Phu at Watertown High School in Massachusetts. He tells us the you have to work hard to get somewhere.

Troy Simon's story is very touching. It tells you that even if you hit rock bottom you can still come back to the top. When life gets hard to must try and keep trying till you reach the best that you can get. This story tells people that you should never give up.

I Am What I Learn Review

I thought that Kevin Phu has the best video because, he makes a point, and at the same time he makes it fun and cheerful.

I thought that Troy also made a good point and a touching story to go with it. nicgiomagic has a very good story with a good point, but he uses his hands too much. I thought that Lenderman100 was kind of childish and had no point, and I did not enjoy it. All of the other videos were all right, but I don't think that there the best.

I am What I learn Contest

Out of all the videos, I thought that Troy Simon's video was probably the best because he probably worked the hardest to get to where he is right now. I also feel very bad for him.

I think that Kevin Phu did very good with his video.

Turkey Fun

This is a cartoon that I made about a Native American, a Pilgrim, and a turkey. The Native American and the Pilgrim really want their turkey but the turkey senses something suspicious. You can make your own cartoon here, on the National Geographic website.

If you would like to know about Thanksgiving turkeys and the White House, click here.

The National Geographic website also shows you how to make the Thanksgiving wreath shown on this page.


  • A grapevine wreath (available at craft stores)
  • Real or artificial fall leaves
  • Acorns
  • Berries
  • Wide ribbon
  • Craft glue
  • Puffy paint
Wrap the ribbon around the wreath as shown, and knot in place. Tuck the stems of the leaves, acorns, and berries into the wreath. When you are happy with the arrangement, glue everything in place. Write holiday messages on the ribbon with puffy paint.

The Funny Game

Today at National I play funny game called Funny Fill-In.

You just pick a bunch of words sort of like Mad Libs. Next you wait for a couple sec. to load. Finally the words that you type in will go into a paragraph.

You can send the paragraph to a friend or print your paragarph and this game is very education because kids can learn new words.

By Brandon

Look Who's Reading the Herald

Look who is reading The Hillwood Herald! The Exploratorium. Well done, everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

History of Berlin Wall

After World War II's end in Europe (1945), Germany was divided into four sectors, each one controlled by one of the Allied Powers, which included the Americans, French, British, and the Soviet Union. Conflict between the Soviets and the other powers split Germany in half, the East and the West, even splitting the country's capital, Berlin into East and West Berlin.

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who occupied the eastern side of Germany, prevented foreign help from other nations to fly into West Germany with supplies, the Berlin Blockade. Other nations wanted to help, so the Berlin Airlift was devised.

In the 1950s, West Germany benefited from economic success, so East Germans were looking to live in West Germany.

Construction of the 87 mile long Berlin Wall started in 1961, funded by the GDR and closing crossing points. Many Berliners were cut off from jobs. Money changed, the economies changed, and ideas changed between the two sides. The rift between East and West Germany remained, that rift separating families. Several died trying to cross the wall.

President Kennedy and President Reagan pleaded with the GDR to take down the wall.

Under international pressure, the GDR allowed travel between the two sides in 1989. In 1990, the Wall of Berlin fell.

Sources: Wikipedia, Cold War Flies, New York Times, German Missions in the United States

by Brigette W.

A Visual Story of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

On November 9, 2009, was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The wall was knocked down at the end of the cold war. The wall was about 100 miles long, and about 136 people died trying to cross it.

I got these photos from The New York Times and Google images.

The New York Times ran a special interactive package in which people could submit their own photos from the fall of the wall.

Read Brigette's story about the history of the wall.

Our Upcoming City Hall Field Trip!

On Monday, November 16, we are going to go on a field trip to City Hall. This trip will be part of our social studies lesson.

City Hall, located in San Francisco, California, was opened in the 1800s but then damaged by the 1906 earthquake. It was restored in December of 1915 and is now the fifth largest dome in the world. Numerous couples have married at City Hall but the most famous is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio.

The Board of Supervisors are there to help discuss problems with their districts. Our district supervisor is Michela Alioto-Pier, and she also manages the Catheral Hill neighborhoods, Cow Hollow neighborhoods, Presideo Hill neighborhoods, and some others.

The City Administrator is Edwin Lee and he was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom. His responsibility is to manage all the policies and regulations made by the Mayor, board of supervisors, and voters.

And last but not least, Mayor Gavin Newsom! Mayor Gavin Newsom works from day-to-day to "chair the city council" and governs, specifically, San Francisco.

Picture Credit: Google Images
Sources: Wikipedia, The City Hall Website,

An interview about the exploratorium 40th anniversary online surprise

The Exploratorium's 40th anniversary was last weekend and during that time on the Exploratorium website there was an online activity called "Surprise."

The activity was that you need to print out a paper and there is a little sign that has 40th in it. Next you need to go on the Exploratorium's website and click on the word surprise. Then put the paper in front of the computer and the 40th sign should be facing the camera and you will see a surprise.

Here is a video of how it's made. You may also want to watch Julian F.'s photo essay about the Exploratorium.

The Healthly Game

I played a game called My Pyramid Blast Off. You type in your name, gender, and your age. You must pick healthy foods to fuel the pyramid rocket. The fuel must be up to 2000 so it can blast off to planet power. Well, if you fail you could start over if you want to.

The point of this game is to teach kids what are healthy foods. The pyramid or food pyramid tells which foods are healthy and not healthy. If you healthy you can do awesome things, and if you eat to much junk food you might be lazy.

You can also do sports to also stay healthy. So eat right and go outside and do sports.

The lower-grade students might like this game.

By Brandon

Icky, Gross, Parasites

Did you know that you can have parasites in you? Well, don't freak out because of this fact.

About 85-95 percent adults have parasites in them. They are very gross to look at up close. Parasites are generally thought of as a Third World problem, but that is not necessarily the case. Anyone can have parasites.

The Disease Control in 1976 found out that six people selected at random had at least one or more parasites in them. Isn't that gross? Parasites can be a very serious public threat. People keep on talking about them, but slowly people begin to stop listening and paying any attention to them.

New York City's RadioLab did an hour-long segment about parasites. Here is the orignal RadioLab audio podcast.
Read this blog entry by RadioLab. Watch the different videos, and embedd several onto you page. Also, read and link to this article by Dan Zimmer, the king of parasite. He made the video below:

Written by Rubina H.
Information and photo from

Happy Friday the 13th!

Today is Friday the 13th -- yes, the superstitious Holiday Friday the 13th.

Let me tell you the history of how Friday the 13th. It all started in 1869 when Gioachino Rossini, a famous composer, died. Another theory is that 13 is is an unlucky number and Friday is a bad day since Rossini died on this day. All this made people superstitious.

Twelve is considered very lucky, but for some unknown reason 13 is irregular. Rossini composed the Barber of Seville. Rossini is the most popular composer in the world.

Source: Wikipedia

Last Weeks Interview

Last week Julian F. interviewed me, Anya, about how a kitty got the swine flu. This kitty got swine flu from humans. Animals also can get H5N1 from humans. H5N1 has killed millions maybe billions of birds. I also wrote about tips on how to stay healthy by just washing your hands.

Video Caption

Here is Irene T., a fellow Hillwood Herald reporter. She is being interviewed by Anya J. about her article on Hillwood's Fall Open House. In the video, Irene talks about the five W's of the event: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. There is also a flier included.

The Making of the Berlin Wall

Construction of the Berlin Wall started on August 13, 1961, which fell twenty years ago and was anywhere from 20 to 100 feet some places.

The wall had a lot of security. It had a watchtower, and everything from spike mats and vehicle ditches to, to tank traps.

This graphic from The New York Times show that the Berlin Wall was no regular wall.

Below are some close-ups that I found interesting.

Wordle about sports player

This is a wordle about my favorite sports players.

City Hall Wordle

Wordle: Upcoming City Hall Fiel Trip

This is a wordle I created about the upper grader's upcoming field trip to City Hall.

Julian's Video

In this video I talk about the 40th anniversary of the Exploratorium and that I did a video on it. If you want to see it, click here.

by Julian Farr

Make Your Own Superhero

Marvel Comics has a "Create Your Own Superhero" website that allows people to design and show off their own super hero.

Here is the latest Herald creation.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hillwood's Fall Open House: Nov 12th, 5-7:30 P.M.

Hey everyone! Please mark your calendars for next week's Open House!

Next Thursday, the wonderful directors of Hillwood is hosting an Open House for prospective families. If you are also a prospective parent, here is a small description of Hillwood:

Hillwood Academic Day School has been in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco for 60 years, starting in the year of 1949. School lessons are held in a Victorian house. True, it has a small amount of students but do you want your child/children to be cared for? Do you want your kid(s) to test averagely and above? Will you want them to have hot meals during lunch? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then Hillwood is right for your child/children. Mr. and Mrs. Grantz, the directors of Hillwood, truly care about the students here. They are friendly and can always make you smile and laugh.

Most Hillwood graduates have fond memories here. From the wonderful basketball challenges to the awesome over-nights at the Grantz family's cabin in Muir Woods. Also, most Hillwood students test well enough to get into the high schools of their choices. They have gone on to some of the best high schools in San Francisco such as Lowell, Saint Ignatius, and Sacred Heart.

For lunch, Mr. and Mrs. Grantz hired Ms. Martha to cook for us. It's all fresh, not frozen like those big schools. Some of the student favorites are hot dogs, pot stickers, and macaroni and cheese. It's all fresh off the stove straight from the pots.

Well, we hope very much for families to come. Once you're child is here, it is like he/she is part of a family... a very big family! Everyone is welcome to the Open House on November 12th, from 5 to 7:30 P.M.

There will be light refreshments served, along with provided child care. Hillwood students should come and in uniforms.

Well, I will see everyone at the Open House next week. It will be a pleasure to meet you!! ^^

*Photo Credit: Julian F.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Exploratorium Turns 40

To celebrate its grand opening 40 years ago, the Exploratorium will host special events for free admission all day this coming Saturday, Nov.7th.

The Exporatorium started when famous physicist and professor Frank Oppenheimer founded it in 1969 to give people a hands-on experience of learning with a financial aid of $50,000 from the San Francisco Foundation. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has grown enormously, featuring hundreds of interesting exhibits.

Even before founding the museum, Oppenheimer was already world-renowned for his paticipation in the Manhattan Project and work with other important projects. In Oppenheimer's later years, he was awarded the Gugghenheim fellowship and went abroad to devote himself to physics, where he saw European science museums. He was inspired and wished to do the same in the United States. He got his wish.

by Brigette W.

A Photo Essay Celebrating the Exploratorium's 40th Anniversary

This is a photo essay celebrating the Exploratorium's 40th anniversary by Julian F. Don't miss reading the other Herald stories celebrating the anniversary.

Here is Brigette's story about the Exploratorium and its founder.

Here is Lance's story about what is happening over this weekend.

40th Anniversary Celebration Weekend

This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the Exploratorium. The upper-graders went on a field trip to the Exploratorium last week.

This upcoming weekend the people who made all those amazing inventions we saw will actually be there. From to there will be many bubble activities. You can also see someone do a trans dissection of a cow eye. At to you can take a tour behind the scenes on History and art.

Here is a list of all the weekend events.

The above photos, from the Exploratorium, are pictures of the tactile dome inside in the light and outside. The tactile dome was a favorite of the field trip.

The Amazing FLU!

It starts off with just one simple virus cell entering your body, then ends up with you getting very sick, and sometimes dying. The flu spreads very fast but the immune system has to be faster to catch the viruses. There is a cell that guides the virus down to the control center so it makes more.

This video was so realistic that it was quite disturbing, even though I learned about the flu. I think these graphics were a little too good.

So now after you have watched this video, you should think twice about covering you nose when you sneeze and always wash your hands.

Also, read Anya's story about the cat that caught the swine flu and what humans can do to avoid catching spreading the flu.

Photo and video credit:

The Kitty with Swine Flu and Tips on How to Stay Healthy

The 13-year-old kitty who got swine flu. Now what do you think about that? This Iowa kitty caught the swine flu and is still recovering. The kitty caught the swine flu from people.

In 1004 the big cats from a zoo in Thailand. 147 tigers died and 2 rare leopards died probably from raw infected chicken meat. In 2006 a cat in Germany died of H5N1. Millions of birds have died of H5N1.

For humans the strangest thing is the vaccination for swine flu goes through your nose. Kids under 9 have to have a booster shot one month after the vaccination. If someone has asthma or other health issues they have to get a shot instead.

You can stay healthy just by washing your hands, you can stay healthy by taking vitamins, and you also should get all your shots.

Listen to this audiofile from the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, about what kids and their families can do to keep healthy.

Read Zack's story about how the flu attacks

Super Hero

Marvel Comics has a "Create Your Own Super Hero" website that allows people to design and show off their own super hero.

I made a super hero at It was fun to make a super hero because you can make a hero if you are bored. First I picked a body then I add some stuff on my hero last I colored. Last I named my is hero I called my hero Rumbler. Now I saved my hero now its on The Hillwood Hearld.

This website is enjoyable to kids and parents too. Even little kids can do it.

By Brandon

Exploratorium Time Line

The Exploratorium has this cool thing called the "Time Line."

The photo with the fly in it inspires me because it is gross, but not only that. Also because the fly is interesting to look at up close.

Look at it's wings, they are almost transparent. Actually they are transparent. This fly must be very small. Don't you think so? It's eyes are red. I think it is a fruit fly, and it has little hairs on it's body that are called bristles.

This looks like some type of gas.
It looks like a gas fireplace inflating. It looks cool but it also looks too artificial. It doesn't have that look of natural causes in it. It has all of those colors in it that mix perfectly fine. The orange,purple, and yellow mix perfectly. The blue and green mix together too.

These are like some type of sea weeds. They are probably very fragile.
They have that look of a very brilliant picture drawn by a brilliant artist. They also look like they can be eaten (by fishes, of course).

Writen By: Rubina H.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Final Cut for the ‘I am What I Learn’ Contest

Here is our final version of our video. Below is one of the earlier versions. All entries are due on November 2.

You may want to read Irene's post on the contest or watch the informational video from the White House below. Also, read the requirements (image on this page) and on this White House page.