Friday, May 27, 2011

Preview the Hillwood Yearbook

Take a look at the first forty pages of the Hillwood yearbook at, where we are getting the book printed on demand for $26.95 per book (not including shipping). You can still order a book directly from Blurb. You can even order last year's book here.

Every student is pictured in the yearbook at least twice, and the book was written and produced by the upper graders. Anya Jensen designed the cover artwork, and the photographs were taken by the upper-graders, the Grantzes, and Mr. Clarke.

If you ordered your book with the school, you should receive your copy on the last day of school. Once the books are passed out, everyone can sign each other's book as a token remembrance of our time together at Hillwood. Just imagine reading your yearbook in 25 years!

New Design for the Nerdy Catapult

Today Jay, Erion, Zeke, and I are reaching the end of are Nerdy Ninja Catapult. We have changed our design, so instead of using Popsicle sticks we used pieces of wood and a hot glue gun. We now are in need of duct tape, a buzzer, wires, a light bulb , 4.5 ft. piece of wood, and four twenty inch pieces. We didn't use Popsicle sticks because the where too small for our giant catapult.

Recycled Village

So far, our village has started. We are also making a Christmas time village so it will be snowy and with Christmas trees. We need more yogurt cartons for houses. We are going to bring cotton fiber for the snow on the ground. Next week, we are going to build a wind mill out of a 1 liter soda bottle and 1 foot wooden stake. Also, we are going to bring in pizza tables for picnic tables in the park. Angela made snow flakes out of cotton balls. We will also make a forest with Popsicle stick trees.

Next week, I am going to build a windmill. We are going to put the snowballs Angela made into plastic spoons used as blades for the windmill. Also, we are going to use a motor to make a fan to blow the windmill.
Even though we are not making a project that was assigned before, we are allowed to enter
this project because we are using a motor from the motorized challenge.
By Anya and Angela

Medusa Is About To Be Created :)

Jenn, Kayla, and me, Rubina, are going to bring Medusa the Catapult to "life".

We might need these colors of paint:

  • Green
  • Red
  • Turquoise
Jenn and Kayla are tying cords around our wood to make the framework of the catapult. The string is being held down by super glue out of a superglue gun.

Jenn already attached one of the wheels to the piece of wood. we are now doing the other one. we only need two wheels. Next week we will continue the one and only. . . "MEDUSA"!!!!!!!!

Written By: Rubina H. and Kayla T.

Monday, May 23, 2011

On the Heels of the Maker's Faire, Google Announces Kid Winners of Its Science Fair

The judges for the Google Science Fair just announced the contest's 15 finalists out of 60 semi-finalists. According to the judges, all of the students’ projects asked interesting questions, many focused on real-world problems and some produced groundbreaking science that challenged current conventions.

There were three categories: 13- to 14-year-olds, 15- to 16-year-olds, and 17- to 18-year-olds. In July, the finalists get to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. to present their projects to the panel of finalist judges, including science luminaries, technology innovators and one Nobel laureate. They are vying for prizes that include $100,000 in scholarship funds, real-life experiences at CERN, Google, LEGO and Scientific American, and a trip to the Galapagos Islands courtesy of National Geographic Expeditions. The event will be streamed live on ourYouTube channel so make sure to tune in.

Here are few videos of two of the finalists, the winged keel and a wind turbine:

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Nerdy Ninjas

The Nerdy Ninjas return to the planet Earth to save the world with their new super extra nerdy popsicle stick catapult. The Nerdy Ninjas are none other than the nerdy Jay, Erion, Zeke, and Nikita. We are building the one and only Nerdy Ninja catapult. The Nerdy Ninja catapult will be made with 44 popsicles sticks for the structure, hot glue to hold it together, and cardboard to hold the deadly nerdy launching bomb projectiles that go BOOM!!!!!!!!!! to save the Earth and stop the Alien War.

Medusa and Her Team.

Our team is called "Medusa and her Minions". Our team consists of Jennifer, Kayla, and Rubina. We are making a huge pop-fly for PBS Kids. Our whole group goes to Hillwood. Our pop-fly is going to be made out of
  • Bungee Cords
  • Planks of Wood
  • Paint
  • Nails
  • Hot Glue Gun
Next week we are going to make the form and the week after that we are going to paint the invention. Then, our pop-fly is going to be done and we will present it and see if it even works.
Our pop-fly is going to be 3.5 feet long and 4.0 feet wide.

Our whole team has seem Judy and Adam and we have submitted some of our other mini works to PBS Kids. Our whole class, 5-6, has interviewed Judy and Adam.

For more information about Judy and Adam posts that we made, you can just type in Design Squad or read this post.


Written By: Rubina, Kayla, and Jennifer.

Team Wind

Anya, Angela, and I are going to make a miniature city out of cardboard, plastic, bottles, yogurt cartons, and water. We are hoping to make a small windmill that can spin by making a fan to blow air and houses out of yogurt cartoons. We will also make little trees, bushes and other figures like humans out of cardboard. We also hope to make a stream with real water. We will add pizza tables as picnic tables in the cardboard made park.

We are doing this project because we have been doing the Design Squad Challenges for the past year and this is one of the challenges. This challenge is where you take one of the challenges from the before and make it over sized.
Our class got connected to the Design Squad by meeting Adam and Judy who work for the Design Squad. The have designed real cars and built electric dresses. Adam and Judy came to our school so we could interview them.

Anya is going to build the windmill, Angela will make the trees, bushes, and picnic tables, and I will create the houses.

By: Angela V. and Faryn D.

Are catapult "Medusa" is awesome :)

Jennifer, Kayla, and I, Rubina, are doing a big version of a pop-fly. Our pop-fly is called "Medusa". First all, let me name you our materials.

  • 2Boxes
  • 2 Bungee Cords
  • Wheels
  • Paint
  • Wood

The pop-fly is going to be 10ft by 15ft. Our pop-fly will be painted in many colors. We are going to green, greenish lime, greenish turquoise, and just lime. On our support board, which is going to be made out of complete wood, we are going to paint a portrait of Medusa herself. On the sides of the board that the boxes are going to be on, we will paint slimy snakes slithering up the board. The boxes that are going to hold the ping-pong ball, that we are going to catapult, will be mini pictures of petrified soldiers that attempted to kill her. The petrified soldiers will be facing each other. We are going to draw all of this in order to make the pop-fly scarier and more fierce to viewers. After all, it is called "Medusa"!

Written by Rubina H. Kayla T. and Jennifer L.

Anya's, Angela's, and Faryn's Windmill

This is a video on how we are going to build a windmill for our village.

First, we need to buy supplies for the windmill: a wooden stake, a hammer, a plastic water bottle, and a drill and 3 nails. Then, we need to cut off the bottom of the water bottle. Next, you cut off the bumps on the bottom of the water bottle, which makes the blades. Then, you drill a hole in the middle of the blade. After that, you cut a piece of plastic off a water bottle. You nail the piece of plastic onto the stake, and then nail the blade to the piece of plastic.


Friday Assignments

Congratulations, everyone — the yearbook is headed to the printer. What were a few of the last-minute changes? A change of uniform:

Today, we will settle on our PBS Kids Design Squad entry and make the supply shopping list. We will divide up into two teams: Anya, one team will be making your design; Nikita, Jay, and Erion, you three will combine your designs into one.

Each team should answer the following questions from the entry page (first answer them in a blog post; next week, we will include them when we upload our entries):
  • Tell us about your team.
    (What's your team name/story? Who's on your team?)
  • Describe your project.
    (What activity did you build big and why? How did you build it?)
If we have time, we will watch a TED video about a 14-year-old Malawian boy who built a windmill to power his family's home. Now at 24, William Kamkwamba, who spoke at TED, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Science in the Classroom — What Does Your Saliva Look Like?

Jessica, a teacher with a master's in science and a specialty in fish, comes to Hillwood each Friday to teach us about science.

Our usual science focus with Jessica is genetics. Some of the experiments we did include extracting genes from a strawberry, building a model of DNA, and looking at my saliva under a microscope. My saliva had a big black hairy dot crawling under microscope lens

Recently, we looked at zebra fish eggs under a microscope. The fish eggs had big heads and tails. One of the eggs looked like a leach and the other one looked like a ball with three large dots. With zebra fish, you can easily track the genetic changes in each generation. You can do this by just observing the fish.


At Hillwood, we have a walk-a-thon to raise money for improvements throughout the school. (Over last summer, the bathrooms were renovated.) Miss Caine started the walk-a-thon last year, and she is again leading the way with fundraiser this year. Miss Caine also helps with the kids at the end of the day, during after-school activities. When we need her, she is here to help.

For the walk-a-thon, all the Hillwood kids and teachers walk 20 minutes to Crissy Field. After enjoying the park, we then walk back to the school, which takes 20 minutes. After the walk, we have a BBQ at Hillwood, which is just a nice time to hang out and enjoy each other's compony.

The money we raise gets saved up in a bank account, and the Grantzes talk with the teachers and parents about what other improvements might be made at the school each year.

Last year, the Hillwood kids raised more than $3,000, and this year, we are hoping to raise over $5,000! Each student usually raises their money, from family and friends, in $25 amounts.

 By Kayla

Upper Grades

In the uppers grades, we read many books and had many field trips. We read books like Freak the Mighty, Flowers for Algernon, Walk Two Moons, Macbeth, The Pigman, Maniac Magee, The Giver, Beowulf, and part of The Odyssey. Field trips we went to are City Hall, San Jose Tech Museum, Beauty and the Beast, a math play, and The San Francisco Symphony. At City Hall, we helped to pass a law to make McDonalds sell healthier Happy Meals. We helped by showing that even students want healthier meals.

Mrs. Woods is the uppers graders teacher. She has been teaching for 26 years. She has been teaching at Hillwood for 2 years.

By Angela and Anya

Current Events

The upper grades at Hillwood have an assignment every week called current events. We pick a newspaper article on Monday and get it checked by Mrs. Woods. Then, we write our own article about it. The articles the students write are due Thursday and presented Friday. The reports are supposed to be one page long. Some of the most often reports are on the Japan crisis, the San Bruno fire, Osama Bin Laden, and The Giants world series win.

Ms. Schmitt and music at Hillwood!!!!

Ms. Schmitt is the music teacher at Hillwood. What she does is come in every Wednesday and sings songs with us. We each have a music book and we all decide which songs we want to sing. Usually our favorite songs are:
  • "The Battle of New Orleans"
  • "Super California Surfers"
  • "Swing Low Sweet Chariot"
  • "YMCA"
  • "16 Tons"
  • "Let It Be"
  • "Blowing In The Wind"
  • "This Land Is Your Land"
  • "The Erie Canal"
  • "Yellow Song "
  • "Dock Of The Bay"
  • "If I had Hammer"
  • "Penny Lane"
  • "Rockin Robin"
  • "The Unicorn Song"
  • "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"
  • "Katy's Dumplings"
Ms. Schmitt has many more songs in her book but these are the ones that I was able to gather.

Annually, Ms. Schmitt has a children show at Randall Museum. She invites children from Hillwood to be the Toodala Ramblers who dance and sing in the backgound.

Ms. Schmitt's band members names are: Gayle, Ted, Craig, Tom, and Liz.

Written By Rubina.

Mrs. Okamoto Day

Mrs. Okamoto Day is a day we have at Hillwood to remember Mrs. Okamoto and to celebrate the San Francisco Giants baseball team because she was a really big fan of the Giants. Mrs. Okamoto was a great afternoon supervisor that had the same job as Mrs. Caine. Mrs. Okamoto was working at hillwood for 53 years.

On Mrs. Okamoto day we wear orange and black clothes or Giants attire. We also eat hot dogs, chips, and pie. We hang up a Mrs. Okamoto Day sign that is orange and black. This year was special because the Giants won the world series. On Mrs. Okmoto Day we have a longer lunch and still have school work.

Photo one: Fiona Mihailousky, Parisa Shapoorian, and Mrs. Woods at Mrs. Okamoto Day.
Photo two: Nikita Kupriyanov, Erion Hom-Duong, and Jay Jaber are getting ready for a balloon toss.
Photo three: Nikita Kupriyanov and Mr. Grantz at Mrs. Okamoto day.

Welcome to Hillwood

For new students, welcome! We want to give some highlights about what happened this year:

In September, we had a fun start to the school. Last years 4th graders moved upstairs and into 5th grade.


In October, the 4th graders and lower went to the pumpkin patch. The 5th-8th graders went to City Hall to help pass a law to make McDonalds sell healthier Happy Meals. The 5th-8th graders also went to a math play.


In November, we went to the San Jose Tech Museum.


In December, we had a winter talent show and winter break.


In January, we came back to school from winter break and 2011 began!


In February, we had book orders.


In March, we had a Pajama Day where we can come to school one day in our pajamas.


In April, we had picture day. We also had no school on Good Friday. We had spring break too! Also, we had a field trip to Beauty and the Beast at Mercy High School. The 2nd-6th graders went too.


Now its May and its Teacher Appreciation Week. Also, we had the school's annual Walk-a-Thon, a fund raiser where students walk from Hillwood to Crissy Field and back.

By Angela and Anya

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cast Your Vote!

Take a look at the 40 regional finalists, selected from 400 state finalists, for this year's U.S. Doodle 4 Google contest. This year, there were a record number of submissions — more than 107,000 from talented student artists from every state across the country. From Stilwell, Oklahoma, to Woodinville, Washington, Googlers are visiting the schools of the regional finalists to celebrate their incredible artwork along with thousands of their teachers, friends and classmates.

The doodle team, volunteer Googlers and guest judges helped determine the 40 regional finalists. Whoopi Goldberg and Jim Davis, Garfield the Cat's creator, among others lent a hand to help decide the top doogles. Now comes one of the most exciting parts of the contest, accordign to Google -- your votes! From now until May 13 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, you can cast your online votes for your favorite doodle (one vote for each of the four grade groups). On May 19, Google will announce the national winner at our awards ceremony in New York City. The national winner will receive a $15,000 college scholarship and $25,000 towards a new computer lab for his or her school, and the winning design will appear on on Friday, May 20. All of the top 40 regional finalists will also have their work publicly displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and at SFMOMA in San Francisco.

Image: Google