Passion Project Expo 2015

So this happened today!  Our 5th (we think) annual Passion Project Expo… we had Greek Temple…  canvases of art… medicinal plants… a robot that could solve a Rubik’s Cube… video games designed and played by students… photography displays… music… guitar playing… singing… cookies and great recipes…. weapons of anime… balloon animals and swords…. handmade wooden lacrosse sticks… felt arts… the constitution for a free Scotland… book reviews… poetry… novels…. sketchup designs for a house…. pencil sketchs and drawings….  thank you for sharing your passions with us.

An April/May Mash Up of Adventures and Movements

Ms. Brown has been working with us while Ms. Abbot has been on a temporary assignment in the office while Mr. Appel on leave.  A huge THANK YOU to Ms. Brown for jumping in and teaching us Math, French, PE and coaching Badminton!

Students have been active in:

  • Beginning Band – regular classes and participted in a Beginning Band Day at Pitt River Middle with Mr. Balser
  • Advanced Band – regular classes and attended Kiwanis Festival and earned Silver
  • Choirs – regular practices and attended Kiwanis Festival and earned Gold
  • Track and Field team – regular practices before school and at lunch and participated in the District Track Meet at City Centre
  • Badminton – we’ve had grade 6 intramurals, grade 6/7 intramurals and grade 7 teams, students participated in the District Finals this week for Grade 7s
  • Rugby – practices and tournaments continue and the season is close to wrapping for 2015
  • Dueling Duos – a pared down reading competion this year for the novels: “The Crazy Man,” “The Garbage King,” “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” “The Zen and the Art of Faking it”;  Semi-finals went this week and finals will happen next week
  • Chess Club – has been running on rainy days in the cafeteria
  • Magic the Gathering – a dedicate group of gamers has expanded into the cafeteria and now several students from across the school play on a daily basis

We all had the opportunity to head over to Charles Best and watch “The Drowsy Chaperone.”  The show received “2 thumbs up!” from all who attended.

The incoming grade 5’s came to visit and had a tour of the school.  Many of us know incoming students and we look forward to working with them next year.

We participated in the Bear Aware session offered by the City of Coquitlam . There is a cub and sow living in Mundy Park. We learned to be respectful of the bears and ways to help project them.

We also participated in GEERing Up workshops.  The workshops were awesome and we loved the hands-on activities. Summer Camps are available and more information can be found here.

For the past two weeks HUB has been at Hillcrest. We have learned about road safety, bike maintenance and participated in a skill builder and neighbourhood ride.
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After our Travel Smart assembly, we were geared up and ready for Walk n’ Roll. Last Wednesday morning students who walked, wheeled, carpooled or bused, received a cup of lemonade and had the chance to enter for some amazing prizes.

This week, the grade 6’s have kicked off our Model UN.  We are learning about the countries we are respresenting and starting to learn about energy sources.  Our Model UN is for the UNDP and the topic is “Sustainable Energy for ALL.”

We have also started our VEX IQ robotics unit in Math/Science.  We set up our kits and are working on building our first robots!


Renaissance 2015

Our grade 7 and 8 students took part in a 2 week Renaissance unit, along with all of our school’s grade 8 students. Kids had the choice of 6 different modules to choose from, 2 of which they would participate in. Topics covered included learning about: da Vinci’s inventions & the impact they’ve had on the modern world; the witch craze; warfare; art; design & architecture; Shakespeare. Students learned about the historical implications surrounding the aforementioned topics and then created presentations to showcase at a Renaissance Fair on Wednesday.

Family members and our whole school was invited to walk around and see what our students had learned. There were demonstrations from learners who had built some of da Vinci’s inventions; dramatic productions of some scenes from various Shakespeare plays; replicas of paintings and sculptures by artists such as Michelangelo, Titian, and Bruegel; and much more!

Here are some photos showing some of grade 7 & 8 students’ final products. Thank you so much to all the teachers and students involved for all your hard work!


Mighty March Mailing

March was split with a two week Spring Break this year, so we’ve had a week on either side.  Ms. Abbot is helping Miss Tambellini in the office, while Mr. Appel is on leave.  We welcome back Ms. Brown to Yellow Team to cover some of Ms. Abbot’s and Mr. Appel’s teaching load.

1. The Grade 6/7’s continued to learn about the Earth’s crust and demonstrated their learning through a variety of edible and colourful means.

2. The grade 6’s finished up the unit on non-fiction text features and reading strategies by designing a textbook page on Rome or Greece, using the 6 Historical Thinking Concepts.





E_T-textbook page













3. We finished off Table Tennis with a recreational and competitive tournament. And we have continued raquet sports and started badminton this week.  Students also had the chance to do sessions with iCycle through Cycling BC prior to Spring Break.

4. In Math 6, students have finished the unit on Fractions, Percent and Ratios.  Students are moving on to the next unit with Ms. Brown and have started a “Dinner Party” Math Project today.

5. Grade 6’s have continued to work on mastering verb conjugation and learned the verb rap this week.

6. Grade 7/8’s continue to work together in Humanities. Students are currently participating in the Fuedal Games.  The students were assigned a role/status within the Game and have been learning how the social hierachy influenced the events of history.  Students have also been working on their “iPorts” – autobiographies about their role and character in the Fuedal Games.

7. Grade 6’s have been learning about self-regulation this week and completed a survey about the types of activities that they need to help them regulate at school and at home.

8. Students have 4 weeks left in their current exploration class.  The grade 6/7’s are in Express Yourself and DraMus and the grade 8’s are in Tech Ed, Home Ec or Art.

9. Students brought home a permission form for our next field trip.  Parents please sign and return as soon as possible.

10.  Have a great and safe weekend!



February’s Fabulous Facts

Groundhog Day gave us hope that Spring is coming and we have enjoyed the mild weather over the past two weeks – outside for DPA, walks to the pool and ice rink, and lots of foursquare at nut break and lunch.

1. Ms. Trieu and Div 9 joined the grade 6’s for PE/DPA this week and learned a new game, Skittles.  It was a highly competitive game.  We are looking forward to next week and either a new game or a re-match.

2. The grade 6’s joined Green Team for an Activity Afternoon and walked to the Poirier Ice Rink for an afternoon of skating.  Over the last 4 weeks, students not participating in the Ski and Snowboard Club have had the opportunity to swim, to skate and to bowl.  We’ve had an amazing time!  “I liked being able to go
swimming and skating with my friends,” Alex said.  “Swimming was great because I was swimming with my friends and diving board was open.  Plus I got to talk with
my friends as we walked to the pool,” Yoonha said.  “Skating was fun because it is easy for me. I got to see a lot of my friends from Green team and that was
good,” said Ryan.Activity Afternoons

3. We have finished the Percent, Ratio and Fractions unit in Math 6 and are continuing to learn about decimal fractions and place value.  Supplemental review materials have  been posted on

4. The grade 6/7’s are working on an earth’s crust unit in science.  They did a rock classification and identification lab and played a game, “A Rock is Born” that had them go through the rock cycle.

a rock is born

5. In French 6, we are learning our verbs – er, -re, -avoir and -etre.  This week we played verb tic-tac-toe.  Also very competitive and may lead to a championship game later in the term.  Students still need to work on memorizing the verb conjugations.

6. The grade 6’s are working with Ms. Abbot and Ms. Trieu in the library on non-fiction reading strategies.  We focused on zooming in on text features and non-ficition text features.  Students examined foreign language newspapers to find effective text features.  They applied these strategies while researching their earth’s crusts projects.  We will be continuing to work on inference and questioning strategies in the coming weeks.

7. Science 8 students are working on human body systems and are creating models of each system.  Check out their works in progress….


8. The grade 6/7s ended the week with a trip to Zone Bowling and two energetic games of 10 pin bowling.  Thank you to Zone Bowling in Coquitlam for an excellent field trip!

9. The grade 8’s visited their catchment secondary schools.  Ms. Ruhr came back very excited about the different courses offered to the students.  We had students visiting Charles Best, Port Moody and Centennial.

10.  Happy Family Day long weekend!  Enjoy!

January’s Jingled Jottings

Welcome back!  We have started the new year with a busy week.  Students are back in class and busily working on new assignments, projects and content.

1. Grade 6’s completed a formative assessment on the upcoming Math units.  Ms. Abbot has been able to personalize their math programs to better meet their learning needs.  Students are working on a variety of learning outcomes for Percent, Fractions and Ratios.  Some students are working on more advanced concepts, after showing mastery of the required curriculum and other students are learning the concepts.  Additional resources have been posted in the edmodo group for Math 6 for challenge and review.

2. Grade 6’s have also started their first online Literature Circle.  They have three assignments due over the next month.  They were able to select a plot assignment, a character/setting assignment, and a final project from a list of choices.  Students are also required to submit a weekly written response on their novel by Monday.  The novels this month are: “Flush,” “Hoot,” and “Scat,” by Carl Haissen, “Moon Over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool, and “Island of the Unknowns” by Benedict Carey.  Students have the choice to complete the assignments and responses on one book or multiple books.  Assignment details and due dates have been posted to edmodo.

3. ‘Tis the season … to dance!  Grade 6’s have started a dance unit in PE.  So far, we have learned: the chicken dance, the Electric Slide, the Patty Cake Polka, and the Tennesse Wig Walk.  The grade 7/8 class continues to focus on fitness and have started basketball.

4.  The grade 6/7’s are currently in Art & Dramus explorations.  In Art, students are making mitts with zen doodles that are catching snowflakes.  In Dramus, students are working on preparing speeches.  They will be presenting a story about themselves or something they are knowledgeable about.  Dramus students are also learning drums and guitar.

5. In the exploration enrichment block this term, a group of students are working with Mr. Purych and are learning computer programming using SCRATCH.

6. The grade 6’s have been working on #onelittleword in HCE this week.  This was a challenge we saw on twitter

“One word that you can focus on EVERYDAY, all year long! One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live for 2015 and beyond. It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guide your steps. Discover the BIG impact one word can make”  ~ #oneword365 website

The Langley School District had a challenge out to all the teachers and classes so we thought we would join in too.  Here are some of our #onelittlewords

7. The grade 7/8’s are continuing to work together on Social Studies this year.  They are currently working on projects on World Religions.  Each of the grade 7’s are working in a group to present about a Christian denomination and the grade 8’s are currently learning about Hinduism and Buddism.

8.  Ski and Snowboard Club starts today and will run for several weeks.  Students will be leaving Hillcrest at 11:30am and will spend the afternoon in a lesson and then on the local mountain.  There will be activity afternoons happening while Ski and Snowboard Club happens for the grade 6’s.  Permission forms have gone home for swimming and skating.  And a permission form for bowling will be going home shortly.

9. It is also the time of year when our grade 8’s begin to explore the different options for secondary school.  There are many specialized programs within the school district that may meet your child’s learning needs.  Please watch for information about open houses and program information nights.  At the same time, we have also presented to students wishing to apply to attend MACC next year.  Thank you to Natalie, our student speaker this year, for such an articulate explanation of her MACC experience.  If you are applying to MACC for the 2015-16 school year, please see the SD43 Gifted site for application forms and more details.

10. There are many extra curricular happening at Hillcrest right now.  Basketball and Wrestling seasons are underway.  Dr. Who Club meets weekly.  Ski and Snowboard Club is starting.  Spirit Squad and Me to We Club continues.  What are you participating in this month?


Happy holidays (& an update)

Thank you to all the families who donated to Hillcrest’s food drive! Our school raised hundreds of cans and boxes of food for Share, as well as $200 from the sugar cookies sale hosted by our Me to We club.

Grade 6 students wrapped up a HACE unit on behaviour, and students will be graduating from the associated unit’s ‘detective school’ tomorrow. Congrats!

Hillcrest’s Spirit Squad also hosted a turkey lunch for its members & their guests. A fun time was had by all; thank you, Spirit Squad!

Tara, in grade 8, did what no other student has done before: she used every single white board marker colour that Ms. Ruhr had in order to illustrate her solution to a math question. Take a look at this beauty:











To wrap up our Grade 7 unit on Judaism (as part of our World Religions unit), students have been asked to either try the dreidel game with friends and/or family, and/or to make latkes at home. Kids were sent home with instructions for the game and a recipe for latkes, but Edder’s family has also shared their own latke recipe with us (thank you)!

Avidan-Shavit Latkes Recipe:

  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Peel and grate the potatoes, and squeeze out any excess liquid. “Smoosh” the potatoes and the onion together.
Add eggs, flour, and salt. Mix until smooth.
Bring about 2 cm of oil to a boil in a large plan. Using a spoon, take from the mix, and place gently in the boiling oil and flatten. Turn over when brown. Place on a paper tower to remove excess oil.
Serve with apple sauce and sour cream on the side. Enjoy!
Happy Hanukkah!

Continuing with our World Religions theme, please take a moment to enjoy a performance of ‘The Dreidel Song,’ as performed by many of our grade 7 students by clicking here. Move over, Glee!

Grade 8 parents, please ask your kids about Buddhism or Hinduism, as they covered these eastern religions these past couple of weeks!

On behalf of Ms. Ruhr, Mr. Wiskar, Ms. Brown (who has been in for Ms. Abbot), and Ms. Abbot, we wish you and your families safe & joyful holidays with those you care about! See you all in the new year!

First week of December!

The first few months of the school year have been flying by! It’s been a whirlwind of class building and assignments and field trips and all sorts of other fun things! The holidays are just a couple of weeks away, and we have more than enough to keep us busy leading up to them.

In the past couple of weeks…

  • Our MACC team concluded The Grey Area Science/Language Arts unit, which had us conducting experiments, hypothesizing, making observations and coming up with educated conclusions.
  • We decorated our classrooms in preparation for the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays (even Mr. Wiskar couldn’t stop his students from infusing his class with holiday cheer)! 😉

    Mr. Wiskar's daughter doing her part to decorate our classrooms.

    Mr. Wiskar’s daughter doing her part to decorate our classrooms.

  • The whole school participated in Wonder Day in celebration of R.J. Palacio’s wonderful book on the power of kindness.
  • Our school did an amazing job of collecting canned and boxed food items for our local Share food drive. We also collected items for Hillcrest’s Pet Tree and Angel Tree so that animals and families in need can enjoy some holiday cheer this Christmas.
  • Ms. Ruhr’s class learned about the different parts of speech and participated (unknowingly, at first) in creating a story using this mad lib. The words we chose fit the story rather well (for the most part)! I am including this just in case you want to try this out with your family and/or friends (at the request of Division 13). 🙂
  • Term 1 report cards are being sent home today.

Also, Random Acts of Kindness continue to occur on a pretty regular basis. I am humbled by the kindness and generosity of spirit that so many of our students are demonstrating daily.

Have a great weekend!

Field trip to the Noons Creek Hatchery

Guest post by Yunmin, grade 6 student

Our trip to the Hatchery turned out to be quite interesting. The first day, we all went to a large field with artificial grass and soil for lunch, because we left the school at nutrition break and reached the hatchery at lunchtime. We sat at the bleachers and ate our lunches, and then people started playing capture the flag on the field for about 40 minutes.

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That’s when the teachers got everybody to walk down to the hatchery. The guy there (I think his name was Dave) showed us a large chum salmon and another big Coho, but smaller than the chum. He squished milky liquid out of the chum called milt. He squished a single, orange-red egg out of the Coho.2014-10-27 13.30.47

He told us if those two things get mixed and fertilize, it can hatch into a baby salmon. We also learned there is no Sockeye salmon near our area. We walked to the boardwalk and talked about fish. That’s when we spotted a bald eagle! We eventually spotted three and saw them capturing fish.

Our second day was unfortunately canceled because the ending of a hurricane was coming and it was dangerous to go there in that weather. We went to the hatchery again the day after, and like last time, we ate lunch first thing. Then we went down to the hatchery and there Dave was showing us a totally rotten, fly-filled Chum salmon. It was the same chum we saw last time. The salmon had sort of decomposed over the days and boy, did it stink! There probably were at least a thousand flies on it! But then when everybody was about to get interested in the chum, something else caught their attention. It was a great blue heron, on a stone in a stream of water right beside us. Some people were very close to it, but it didn’t seem to really care. Dave said it was so used to people around it, it just didn’t care anymore.

We went to the boardwalk again, but we went farther in, to a place we hadn’t been to before. We eventually landed on a bridge. We were given sensory worksheets to fill out – we had to write what we saw, what we smelled, what we touched, and what we heard. For example, we saw a Heron and Chum salmon, we touched some trees, we smelled the salty smell of the sea, and we heard the sound of water flowing downstream. While we were working on that, we spotted another eagle gliding (it suddenly dropped to the water, and when it was about to touch the water it flew up again)! Dave said the animals there included eagles, chum, heron, weasels, bears, cougars, and more.

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People wrote & observed so many things that some of them were way beyond my thoughts. The trip to the hatchery was very fun. We should go to field trips like this more often!