Friday, November 30, 2012

iMovie in Progress

Today, I experimented with iMovie, a movie editor. The class is planning to create a music video by changing the words in "Call Me Maybe". We already created the words, written by Anya, Natasha and me but we have not made the video yet. Claire, Mia, and Oliver sang in front of the camera on the computer and I downloaded the video, after a long progress, onto iMovie. It was fun to add a beginning photo with the title.It was also fun to figure out what all the buttons in the application do. After a while, I finally found out how to add words to a video (just drag a theme and place it on top of a video). I also found out what the small button to the center right that looks like a small globe (it shows a globe and you can pick a location a line can go from, like from Hawaii to New Zealand.

Radio Hillwood Update

This just in! The Radio Hillwood has been updated with all kinds of christmas songs! Check them out!
Today I went to a blog that is called Math Chimp. What you basically do is pick your grade, type your email and password. After it will show you what you would like to work on, example fractions. There are different subjects in math.It will show you games with fractions. If you practice every day you will see a difference in your math skills.I recommend this to students who want to study for a test or want to play on it jest for fun.

Pasta car vs. Toy car! Who is Faster?

We've were on a site called DESIGN SQUAD NATION. On that site there are many games and videos based on your imagination, on how you can build many things, creatively. There are many choices from what you can choose from and you can also make up your own. We decided to try one of those ideas. We decided to try to build a pasta car. All we need to build it are:

1. lasagna/ half a bag
2. tube pasta/ half a bag
3. spaghetti/ half a bag
4.glue, mostly hot glue gun
5. ring-shaped mints

We will show you how you do it on DESIGN SQUAD NATION,

Let's preform in the talent show!

On December 7,2012 at Hillwood there will be a talent show! Every year we have two talent shows one in the spring and one during Christmas. This year like any other year, the children who want to preform have to sign up. All the students from each grade will preform with the spanish teacher and the music teacher Ms.Schmitt who usually is the person who sets up the talent show. There will be snacks and beverages. The show starts from 1:30-2:30. After the show there will be a parents only party in the Grantz's home. while the adults are upstairs the children will be in the school play yard The parents party will be from 2:30-4:30. Children have to be picked up by 4:30. School resumes January 2 on a Wednesday.

Every year for the Christmas show we also have secret santa it is where you draw a name of a classmate of yours and you will buy a gift for your classmate you've gotten but the gift has to be $15.00. Make sure you don't tell the person you got!

Un Ballo in Maschera

The Metropolitan Opera is having a production of Un Ballo in Maschera. The stunning cast includes Sondra Radvanovsky, Marcelo Alvarez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Stephanie Blythe, and Kathleen Kim. The conductor is Fabio Luisi. You can read the synopsis here.

Luciano Pavarotti, featured in the video, was a very famous tenor. He was born and died and Modena, (October 12. 1935 - September 6. 2007). His mother worked at the same tobacco factory as Mirella Freni's, (Fregna's) mother did. (Just like Carmen from Bizet's Carmen.) Mirella Freni gave an interview to the Russian press, and there she stated that it is very rare for the soprano to be friends with the tenor.  

 You can enjoy more operatic posts on the Freako Diva.

Written by: Rubina Rostoman

We wish you a marry christmas and a happy fundraiser!

Merry Christmas(and Hanukkah)to you all! This year, all Hillwood's hopping for is help us with our fundraisers!We need your help to raise money for a field trip for the upper graders.You can donate,or you can buy! We are currently selling wreaths for your door! We have 4 different types of wreaths momentarily. All you have to do is go to

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Questo e il Baco di Tosca!

Left to right: Joel Sorensen, Massimo Giordano,
Nicola Luisotti, Angela Gheorghiu, Ryan Kuster,
and Etienne Julius Valdez.
Angela Gheorghiu has now recovered from her sickness and has sung two performances of Tosca at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Really recommend going and seeing it. A heart-wrenching thriller! For those of you who didn't read my other post, you can find it here
Castel Sant'Angelo
This production of Tosca is conducted by Maestro Nicola Luisotti. The cast includes Angela Gheorghiu, Massimo Giordano, Roberti Frontali, Christian Van Horn, Joel Sorensen, Ryan Kuster, Ao Li, and Dale Travis. 

ACT I. Cesare Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, rushes into the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle to hide in the Attavanti chapel. As he vanishes, an old Sacristan shuffles in, praying at the sound of the Angelus. Mario Cavaradossi enters to work on his portrait of Mary Magdalene - inspired by the Marchesa Attavanti (Angelotti's sister), whom he has seen but does not know. Taking out a miniature of the singer Floria Tosca, he compares her raven beauty with that of the blonde Magdalene ("Recondita armonia"). The Sacristan grumbles disapproval and leaves. Angelotti ventures out and is recognized by his friend and fellow liberal Mario, who gives him food and hurries him back into the chapel as Tosca is heard calling outside. Forever suspicious, she jealously questions him, then prays, and reminds him of their rendezvous that evening at his villa ("Non la sospiri la nostra casetta?"). Suddenly recognizing the Marchesa Attavanti in the painting, she explodes with renewed suspicions, but he reassures her ("Qual' occhio al mondo"). When she has gone, Mario summons Angelotti from the chapel; a cannon signals that the police have discovered the escape, so the two flee to Mario's villa. Meanwhile, the Sacristan returns with choirboys who are to sing in a Te Deum that day. Their excitement is silenced by the entrance of Baron Scarpia, chief of the secret police, in search of Angelotti. When Tosca comes back to her lover, Scarpia shows her a fan with the Attavanti crest, which he has just found. Thinking Mario faithless, Tosca tearfully vows vengeance and leaves as the church fills with worshipers. Scarpia, sending his men to follow her to Angelotti, schemes to get the diva in his power ("Va, Tosca!").

ACT II. In the Farnese Palace, Scarpia anticipates the sadistic pleasure of bending Tosca to his will ("Ha più forte sapore"). The spy Spoletta arrives, not having found Angelotti; to placate the baron he brings in Mario, who is interrogated while Tosca is heard singing a cantata at a royal gala downstairs. She enters just as her lover is being taken to an adjoining room: his arrogant silence is to be broken under torture. Unnerved by Scarpia's questioning and the sound of Mario's screams, she reveals Angelotti's hiding place. Mario is carried in; realizing what has happened, he turns on Tosca, but the officer Sciarrone rushes in to announce that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo, a defeat for Scarpia's side. Mario shouts his defiance of tyranny ("Vittoria!") and is dragged to prison. Scarpia, resuming his supper, suggests that Tosca yield herself to him in exchange for her lover's life. Fighting off his embraces, she protests her fate to God, having dedicated her life to art and love ("Vissi d'arte"). Scarpia again insists, but Spoletta interrupts: faced with capture, Angelotti has killed himself. Tosca, forced to give in or lose her lover, agrees to Scarpia's proposition. The baron pretends to order a mock execution for the prisoner, after which he is to be freed; Spoletta leaves. No sooner has Scarpia written a safe-conduct for the lovers than Tosca snatches a knife from the table and kills him. Wrenching the document from his stiffening fingers and placing candles at his head and a crucifix on his chest, she slips from the room.

ACT III. The voice of a shepherd boy is heard as church bells toll the dawn. Mario awaits execution at the Castel Sant'Angelo; he bribes the jailer to convey a farewell note to Tosca. Writing it, overcome with memories of love, he gives way to despair ("E lucevan le stelle"). Suddenly Tosca runs in, filled with the story of her recent adventures. Mario caresses the hands that committed murder for his sake ("O dolci mani"), and the two hail their future. As the firing squad appears, the diva coaches Mario on how to fake his death convincingly; the soldiers fire and depart. Tosca urges Mario to hurry, but when he fails to move, she discovers that Scarpia's treachery has transcended the grave: the bullets were real. When Spoletta rushes in to arrest Tosca for Scarpia's murder, she cries to Scarpia to meet her before God, then leaps to her death.

Sources: Metropolitan Opera (synopsis excerpt).
You can read more operatic posts on the Freako Diva.

Written by: Rubina Mazurka

Le Nozze di Figaro at the Met!

Has anyone ever heard of Le Nozze di Figaro? No? How about The Marriage of Figaro? No? Yes? The Marriage of Figaro/ Le Nozze di Figaro is a comic opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Johnathon Miller's 1998 production of Le Nozze di Figaro returned to the Met this season. The 11/29/12 performance of Le Nozze di Figaro had been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. They still have a performance on 12/10/1212/13/12, and 12/17/12.

Gerald Finley, Maija Kovaleska, and Mojca Erdmann as Count Almaviva, Countess Almaviva, and Susanna.
The performances are conducted by David Robertson. Guess what was very untypical about this Mozartarian opera? There was a piano. A piano? What?! Yes, a piano in Mozart's orchestra. Dan Saunders accompanied the singers during the recitative moments. What about the harpsichord? Yeah, I know, Mozart recitatives should be performed with a harpsichord. but David Robertson decided to make something untypical in this production. The 1998 production itself is very Mozart like and a typical Figaro. That is the one main reason why David Robertson added the grand piano. Craig Rutenburg,  the director of music administration at the Met, said that David believed that adding a grand piano into the orchestra made it historically accurate. 

By the time Wolfgang Amdeus Mozart reached adulthood, the fortepiano was the most popular instrument. Mr. Rutenburg also explained that whenever the Met tried to usse a grand piano in its huge concert hall the sound ended up being petty and puny.

The stunning cast included Ildar Abrazakov as the cunning Figaro; Mojca Erdmann as his even more cunning bride, Susanna; Maija Kovalevska as the suffering Countess Almaviva; Gerald Finley as her unfaithful husband, Count Almaviva; and Chrisyine Schafer as the pageboy, Cherubino.

Written by: Rubina Mazurka

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bitter - Sweet Premiere of Tosca at the SF Opera

Patricia Racette as Tosca

Puccini's masterpiece Tosca has always been famous in the operatic circle, and it remains so till this very day. On November 15, Angela Gheorghiu premiered in SF Opera's production of Tosca, but only sang the first act. Unfortunately, she suffered an intestines flu, and the doctor said that she was dehydrated. David Gockley, general director at the War Memorial Opera House, came out during the intermission in between the first act and the second act and announced that Ms. Gheorghiu will not continue singing, and that she is now rushed to the hospital. Melody Moore, Angela Gheorghiu's cover, sang the rest of the performance. We all hope that Ms. Gheorghiu gets better soon.

Angela Gheorghiu and Massimo Giordano as Floria and Mario
The stunning cast includes Angela Gheorghiu as the diva Floria Tosca burning with hatred, love and jealousy; Massimo Giordano as the lustful and rebellious Mario Cavaradossi; Roberto Frontali as the cruel but determined Baron Scarpia; and Christian Van Horn as Angelotti.

The second stunning cast includes Patricia Racette as Floria Tosca, Brian Jadge as Mario Cavaradossi, Mark Delavan as Baron Scarpia, and Ryan Kuster as Angelotti.

Angela Gheorghiu as Floria Tosca
Even though Angela Gheorghiu felt ill and had to leave before finishing the performance, the first act was still great. Ms. Gheorghiu's voice was quiet small but she still projected and her voice remained glamourous. Ms. Gheorghiu's cover, Melody Moore, managed the role quiet well. Her voice was much louder than Gheorghiu's.

Massimo Giordano as Mario Cavaradossi
Massimo Giordano was a great Mario. His high notes and charismatic stage presence made him the perfect Mario for our Floria, Angela Gheorghiu. What one expects more, I believe, is more rebelliousness in the character. Mario Cavaradossi and Cesare Angelotti are both liberals. They are rebelling against the government. Mario Cavaradossi has to have more devotedness in his actions, as well as the music. Mr. Giordano managed the music extremely well, but I didn't see enough excitement in him when Cavaradossi found out that Bonaparte was the victor.

Roberto Frontali as Baron Scarpia              
Last, but not least, Roberto Frontali as Baron Scarpia. Mr. Frontali's deep and rich baritone projected across the whole stage, making him the true Scarpia.     The one thing I would have not minded was more laughter. For some unfathomable reason, Scarpia seems to be a character who's sinisterness shows through not only in his actions but also in his laughter.

You can read the plot of the story here and more operatic posts here. Thanks for reading!

Written by: Rubina Mazurka

Friday, November 9, 2012

Watch This Video

In this video, I am interviewing Anya about what she wrote about. She told me to watch how many times the people in the white shirts pass the basketball. I counted 15 but don't think I am right I may be wrong. Watch the video and see if you can see a suspicious thing in the video! Make sure you look carefully and pay attention to the people in the white.

Favorite Ten Top Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs have many different personalities, they also like doing different things.  They only have one thing in common, they love their owners.  Here are the top ten favorite cats and dogs.

Top Ten Favorite Dogs:

Labrador Retriever
Golden retriever
Yorkshire terrier
German shepherd
Shih tzu
Miniature schnauzer

Top Ten Favorite Cats:

Maine coon
American shorthair

photo link by

Keep it green

Hey this is my first Animoto video I hope you like it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Still Not Sure How the Electoral College Operates?

Don't worry — understanding the U.S.'s electoral college isn't easy. While reporters of The Hillwood Herald have been working to explain the electoral college over the last month, here's how The Economist, a U.K.-based publication tells it through video.

The video looks back at past elections to help illustrate the process. You can watch the video here.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is an educational website that teaches subjects. Today, I went to the website and used it. I first clicked Practice. It lead me to a page showing different levels of math. I clicked addition and subtraction and it led me to another page. The next page showed addition math problems. I typed the answer into a little box to the left and clicked "check answer." My answer was right and another button appeared saying " Next question." I clicked it and the another question appeared replacing the first one.g

There are also plenty of  videos on different subjects to watch such as videos on solving certain types of math equations.

Technology Causing Short Attention Span

Teachers are saying that students that play video games and watch too much TV are developing short attention spans.  Ms. Hope Molina-Porter says that teachers are part of the reason attention spans are getting shorter, because teachers are changing their lessons for students with short attention spans.  Vicky Rideout is a researcher  who has found that children and teenagers from ages 8 to 18 spend twice as much time on their electronics than at school.  Around 75% of 2,462 teachers say that computers help students to find resources for reports.  Though, nearly 90% of the same teachers say that electronics make students easily distracted.  If you want to read the full article on the New York Times click here.

If you want to test your attention span watch the video below.

Giants won World Series 2012!

Giants won the World Series 2012!!!! The San Francisco Giants won the World Series again! On October 28 2012 sf Giants vs. Detroit Tigers, the score was 3 to 3 both teams tied. Buster Posey  hit the ball which allowed Brandon Belt to run home which made the score sf Giants 4 and Detroit 3!! This point was scored in the last inning and everyone went crazy, in San Francisco!!!!!!! There was 10,000 people at city hall to watch the game on the jumbo screen, The Giants players were at the Detroit Stadium. San Francisco Giants players celebrated with one another with champagne!! The Giants won 2 World Series within 3 years that is so amazing. When they won the World Series in 2010 it was really special because this is the first World Series they won In a long time. Let's always congratulate the Sf Giants for all their hard work even if they win or lose. We love you Sf Giants!!!!!!!

Giants Parade A Go-Go

Yesterday, November 1st, there was the Giants Parade. The parade was in Downtown. It was very crowded. It started at 11:30 and ended in about an 1hr. Here are a few pictures of the interviews and the parade and a short video. ENJOY!

High School Application Help

The 8th Graders Mind Map
The 8th graders at Hillwood decided to help students applying to high school.  We made a map to show the steps of applying to high school.  You can check out the map, and make your own map, here.  I will put a picture below.

Where Do Presidents Come From in comics make for a fun read

The book Where Do Presidents Come From is rated highly both by me and The New York Times. This book tells people about the up and downs of being the President and how our Constitution was started. My favorite character is the crazy bunny.

This book was rated five stars and was highly recommended. You can find it in Amazon for $10.75, if you do buy this book I hope you like it.

Mel the fish video

    Have you ever wondered how a marine fish reserve can benefit things other than the fish and coral? Well, marine reserves are a win win for every one. There are three main benefits in marine reserves.
1. Protects biodiversity
If the life in the reserve can replenish its self it makes a much better environment.
2. Increased biomass
The healthier the environment, the healthier the fish. The healthier the fish the bigger and fish in marine reserves on average grow 450% bigger than fish outside fish reserves.
3. Spillover
Because the fish grow so large and big in numbers some go outside the reserve where the fishermen get their catches.
Theres even a bonus benefit is the tourist. people make money by letting scuba divers into the marine reserve to see all the big fish and reefs. This gives others more money.
So in the end, the fish are happy, the fishermen are happy, the tourist are happy, and overall the whole planet is happy.

to see a video of Mel the very weird fish talk about marine reserves watch the click here

This vid is made by a marine biologist I know, Enric Sala.

Also, heres another video I made

Welcome, Hillwood Herald reporters!

If you would like to begin class early, please practice typing at the website 10FastFingers. Or select music for The Herald's Internet radio station. Any one interested in adding some Halloween classics to the song list?

Angela, Anya, & Rubina: Did you feel as though you finished sussing out the high school application process on Please show Ms. Moorhead your final mind map. (Remember, you can use the website Lino (bd7ecfa9) to brainstorm ideas.)

Angela: What is Khan Academy? Write story about how someone might use this site?

If you're after another assignment, consider writing about the history around the Presidential debates. What can you say about the role of "character" and "personality" in these debates?

Anya: Read this New York Times article and then write a review regarding researchers' latest findings about our attention spans.

If you're after another assignment, consider writing about the history around the Presidential debates. What can you say about the role of "character" and "personality" in these debates?

Rubina: Great initiative with your pose from Thursday. Because we are a publication targeting young people, please contemplate a way to work in a "learning moment" into your story. Talk with Ms. Moorhead re: how you might do this.

Then, Rubina, move to this New York Times opera story and slideshow. Might this be worth a post?

Natasha: Can you write a story the Giants' parade? SF.gate might be a helpful source, as well as the Giants' main website. After you finish your story, consider making an Animoto video.

Kennedy: Surprise me — what's your top story of the week? The BrainPop website might be fun to explore.

Asiana: How are the upper-graders coming along in their Washington DC fundraiser. How far are we from our target? Can we still order See's candy?

Claire: Pick an animal story to report on from National Geographic Kids. The following is a video that might also provide inspiration:

Oliver: Please write a review of Where Do Presidents Come From?: And Other Presidential Stuff of Super Great Importance. You will want to take some screen grabs from Amazon to accompany your story.

    Electoral College: How we elect our President in the United States

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Sea of Trees

It's a beautiful place and the first thing you say is Hey, we should go there! And maybe you should just don't be surprised when you find wallets, credit cards, and signs begging you to reconsider taking your life.  After San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the Aokigahara Forest is known for the enormous amount of suicides that occur in this so-called "paradise".

The Sea of Trees lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. In many Japanese legends, the Sea of Trees is associated with demons and other supernatural creatures.

There is a book titled Kuroi Jukai in which two lovers take their life in the Aokigahara.

It is also believed that the act of Ubasute has taken place in the Aokigahara more than once and probably still takes place. Ubasute, also called "obasute" and sometimes "oyasute", literally means "abandoning an old woman". During Obasute, an old woman is taken somewhere desolate and left there to die. A poem was written to commemorate the story:
In the depths of the mountains,
Who was it for the aged woman snapped
One twig after another
Heedless of herself
She did so
For the sake of her son.

Aokigahara is not only known fo its suicide record but also for its ghosts and myths. In japanese mythology, a corpse cannot rest alone. If a corpse is lying alone, the soul of Yurie will scream all night. The Sea of Trees was nicknamed the "Purgatory of Yurie". Hikers recall seeing apparitions and it is said that you can see the faces of the dead if you look hard enough into the tree bark.

The suicide record is really high and is increasing each year. In 2002, 78 bodies were found. In 1998, 74 bodies were found. In 2003, the count rose to 100 bodies. The numbers grew at such a rate that the government stopped making the numbers public in order to preserve Aokigahara's reputation. In 2004, 108 bodies were found within the Sea of Trees. In 2010, 247 people attempted suicide but only 54 succeeded in actually taking their lives. The suicide numbers increased more quick than usual during March, the end of the fiscal year in Japan. In 2011, the most popular ways of taking your life was either drug overdose or hanging.

(You can read about the fiscal year here. You can also read more posts on the Freako Diva.)

Written by Rubina H. with the help of Liza P.