How to Master 8th Grade

To DO:

  1. Do your homework
  2. Listen to the teacher and pay attention during class
  3. Try not to procrastinate, use your time wisely
  4. Do your homework the day you get it (e.g. since science/math is scheduled like: class, gap, class, gap, do your homework the day you had class)
  5. Join extra-curricular activities
  6. Respect teachers and other students
  7. Make friends with students from a variety of grades
  8. Have fun

To NOT do:

  1. Use your laptops unwisely (e.g. to game, to watch Youtube videos)
  2. Bully students under your grade (you’re still not the boss even though it seems like you’re on top of the “food chain”)
  3. Use your phone during class (turn off your ringer to avoid loud, awkward calls)
  4. Worry. Don’t worry; it’s still Middle School. Even in Algebra 1, you still get second chances on tests. Reasonable extensions are also permitted at times.
  5. Miss out on seasonal sports
  6. All the opposites of what I have listed in the To-Do List!

Reflection: Explorer’s Insight- A Travel Magazine

Humanities never lost its pace even towards the end of the year. We were assigned a big project requiring great responsibility. Each class was packed with practices and steps to create the final project: a travel magazine. In the beginning, we were randomly assembled into groups of three or four. We each chose a minority in China we were interested in; mine was the Naxi Minority because I have been to Yunnan, the province where most Naxi people are scattered.

A few days in, we also had a field trip to the Beijing Ethnic Park to take photos of our minority, observe their architect, costume, and learn about their culture. The magazine was divided into three sections: travel writing, infographic, and map. My group members, Khushi and Cameron and I, worked at various speeds. In the first day of design making, I have already formatted my travel writing into magazine form and also my infographic and map. Unlike me, they did most of their work toward the end. There were some frustrating moments and proud moments when we held our product in our bare hands. Overall, it was experiential!


A magazine infused with outstanding experiential travel writing, comparison with other minorities, and information on China’s top three main minorities. A must read!

A Seedling Then, A Flower Now

Explain a theme. Write a thematic response in which you show understanding of one of the themes. Support your writing about theme by including MLA formatted quotes. Remember that one word (love, fear, friendship, family) is not enough and be sure to include a thematic statement (yes, a sentence).

Growing up, to no longer be a child, may be the most difficult part of a person’s life. This transition from a child to an adolescent is referred to as “coming of age”; it is represented as the theme in the book, We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Nielson. Every child will approach this stage with a different story; it might be through pain, tragedy, confusion, or happiness. Or it might start with moving in with another family.

Thirteen-year-old Stewart Inkster is academically excellent but socially clueless. Fourteen-year-old Ashley Anderson, on the other hand, is the queen of the social ladder. Who on Earth would think Stewart and Ashley would be crossing each other paths? So when Stewart’s dad moves in with Ashley’s mom, we can infer epic things are bound to happen.

Continue reading A Seedling Then, A Flower Now

How characters relate to other characters in important ways.

Dear Mr. Schroeder,

In Red Scarf Girl, a historic memoir on the Cultural Revolution, Jiang Ji-Li unravels her experience during those dark days and the importance of family. With the Cultural Revolution well underway in 1966, policies in schools and workplaces had been drastically modified. Jiang Ji-Li at twelve years-old had always been and accustomed to being the leader and exemplar student in her class. However, opportunities began to be stripped away from her and she suddenly finds herself losing confidence when her classmates label her a black whelp. This is because her family belongs to one of the “Five Black Categories”. She learns that her grandpa was a landlord, a bourgeoisie, someone the revolution wants to wipe out. Her confident and proud exterior began to shatter, she whispers her desire, “I wish that I had been born into a different family. I hated grandpa for being a landlord” (Jiang 69). This shows how just her grandpa’s class stance had such a huge impact on her life.

Towards the end of the book however, Jiang Ji-Li changes her point of view on her family. After two years into the revolution, she witnesses not only her misfortune, but innumerable neighbors’, classmates’ and also her own families’. Day by day she learned, so when her grandma was force to sweep the streets every day, Jiang Ji-Li stopped trying to become someone the society wanted, all she wanted to do was to protect and take care of her family: “I no longer worried that she was a landlord’s wife. She was my grandmother” (263). This thought expresses how other characters in her life have changed her ideas. And this character is family. Jiang Ji-Li wraps up the memoir by delivering her opinion: no matter what the world thinks, family comes first.

Sincerely,

May L

Red Memory- A Collection of Narratives

This is a collection of heart-wrenching narratives based on the devastating Cultural Revolution. Written through the eyes of a high school girl in Beijing, it is relatable, real and captivating. Li Xi Wang is a name that symbolizes the main character’s parent’s hope for her to have a bright future unlike them who are peasants. She will channel her thoughts and unveil the enveloped her discovery piece by piece. Li Xi Wang’s initial personality was shaped by her parents, molding and pressuring her to get into an elite high school. However, her character soon transforms from the quiet caterpillar into a completely new and adventurous butterfly; she will turn her back on her parents’ longings and follow her own desire.

The narratives follow a chronological order of the actual Cultural Revolution and are accompanied by conflicts she faces along the way. She is torn between multiple external and internal conflicts: join the Red Guards or pursue her university dream? Betray her parents or stay obedient? Obey Mao or rebel? Every action she makes also brings out a moral, “don’t go with the flow”, “follow your dreams”, “learn from mistakes”, just to name a few. Prepare to be hooked!

Change and Continuity:

Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 and the arrest of the Gang of Four marked the end of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. However, the results and consequences still resonates in Chinese politics and society, changing China. The affliction and violence of the revolution changed Chinese citizens’ ideas, cultures, customs, and habits. Citizens are suspicious of the society and of each other because they have once been betrayed by their own family and friends during the revolution. Also, numerous people lost faith in their government altogether.

However, on the positive side, after Deng Xiao Ping regained power in 1977, he opened China to the West. Deng also created the Gao Kao system, similar to the SAT, helping to reestablish the education system. Life seemed to recover and people became more free in their actions, dreams, thought, and speech.

Although the revolution left deep scars and changed China, there are still continuities. Chinese people remains patriotic as always, and even today, still view Mao as a legendary leader and with great respect.

Change and Continuity:

Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 and the arrest of the Gang of Four marked the end of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. However, the results and consequences still resonates in Chinese politics and society, changing China. The affliction and violence of the revolution changed Chinese citizens’ ideas, cultures, customs, and habits. Citizens are suspicious of the society and of each other because they have once been betrayed by their own family and friends during the revolution. Also, numerous people lost faith in their government altogether.

However, on the positive side, after Deng Xiao Ping regained power in 1977, he opened China to the West. Deng also created the Gao Kao system, similar to the SAT, helping to reestablish the education system. Life seemed to recover and people became more free in their actions, dreams, thought, and speech.

Although the revolution left deep scars and changed China, there are still continuities. Chinese people remains patriotic as always, and even today, still view Mao as a legendary leader and with great respect.

We created a CommonCraft video on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. We picked five major events within the span of the ten revolution years that carries the audience chronologically throughout this crucial Chinese history. The turning points were: the start of the revolution in May 16, 1966, Chaos from the Red Guards in 1967, the “Down to the Countryside Movement” in 1968, “The Lin Biao Affair” in September 13, 1971, and lastly, the End of the Revolution in October  1976.

To produce this educational video, we first, as described above, chose specific turning points of this revolution that best show the causes and consequences of this history. Later on, we all dived straight into the writing process to elaborate on each point. When we finished them, we commented and gave feedbacks to one another in class. I made some changes to their script and I took on the role of being the main script writer. Annabel’s job was to skim through the final script and decide on possible icons for key vocabularies and Charlie needed to find those icons online. At home, we recorded two paragraphs of the script. Many icons were drawn as well, for example specific dates. When we gathered all the necessary parts, we were ready to video. The setup for videoing was epic! We spent two hours after school and a entire class period to complete it.

All three of us collaborated really well, we took on roles we were best at and the product is spectacular. For self-assessment, I believe I met all the criteria in the Student as a Learner rubric. I was responsible, completing every assigned task on time and consistently had a positive attitude, encouraging my peers to try our best. Without a doubt, we all had good collaborative skills!

Anticipation/Reaction Activity Summary

The statement “education and knowledge is the most important defense a person has” triggered the most though-provoking discussion. We were skeptical on this topic because the votes were divided evenly between each section. We began questioning each other if education is really as important as we thought, however, we haven’t reached a conclusion. Our discussion was mainly focused on unifying our opinions by debating and constructing upon each other’s’ ideas. A conversation between Lilian and I was the most memorable. In our small conversation, we developed a variety of scenarios to justify if knowledge is or is not the most important defense. For example, if a pistol is pointing right above our heads, can by saying specific intellectual words provide us with safety? Overall, the discussion definitely caused my points of views to dither.

Narrative Lead

I burst up from my bunk, panting. “You alright Sergei? It’s the third time tonight,” Jaro whispers across from me in the darkness. A glimpse of orange light passes through the window and scans his face along with the nine other people I share a room with. Hunching my shoulders, I run both my fingers through my head and nod.

The image of the gun firmly pressed against my forehead and the finger lingering on the trigger is still vivid. “I’m…I’m fine, g’night,” I mumble, pulling the thin blanket over me. Who can it be that wants me dead? I admit I have been a spy for Germany, but they haven’t found me, they haven’t caught me, and they haven’t shot me! Now that Russia and Germany signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact just yesterday, I’m fine. Right? Questions dance in my mind as I lay awake with the sounds of snore accompanying me. Figures shift in the shadow and the bedsheets shuffle. I’m still wide awake. Who can it be that wants me dead?