British Columbia: What We THINK We Know


In the past few weeks, we’ve been excited to receive visits from students in Mrs. Smith’s class in British Columbia.  We want to learn more about where they live, but first we asked ourselves what we already know about their home.  Some of our ideas may not be as accurate as others, but in the coming days, we’ll investigate which of our statements are true and which not.

Here’s what we think we know:

British Columbia is a province in Western Canada
The people there are British!
They have British accents.
It’s very cold there much of the year.
The scenery is very green…lots of evergreen trees grow there.
British Columbia is in the Taiga Biome (someone’s paying attention in science class!)
Hockey is the big sport (others said no, it’s rugby).
Skiing is also huge.
British Columbia has recently hosted the World Cup.
Many American television shows are filmed there.
It’s the only other country with “American” football.
The people there speak French (others said nope, British Columbia is the only Canadian province where French is NOT the language).
The people there like maple syrup!
The flag is red and white striped with a maple leaf.
The time zone is Pacific, same as California.

Mrs. Smith’s class, how did we do?  We’ll post again after we learn more!

Visiting New Zealand!


One of the fun things about blogging is that we can exchange ideas with other students in other parts of the world. For a couple of years now, Mr. Webb of New Zealand has had his students visit us in Texas, and we here in Austin have enjoyed our visits to their town in South Taranaki.

Here’s a funny conversation we had about those visits this week:

Sure enough, we did some investigating and found out that New Zealand is so far ahead of us in time (is there a better way to say that?) that when we are in 7th period class, it is already the next day there! As we blogged at 3:00 P.M. on Monday, Oct. 19, it was about 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in Mr. Webb’s class. Wow!

I think we need to have a Skype session soon to get our students talking “face to face”!

Meanwhile, we’ll explore the Taranaki region of New Zealand by browsing this website.


Learning About Serbia, Part 2


Pixabay CC0

Pixabay CC0

Well, we’ve done some research, and we’ve discovered some interesting facts!

Serbia is in Europe! (the southeast part)

The Serbian currency is based on a unit called the dinar.

Like us, Serbs drive on the right side of the road.

Serbia is led by a prime minister.

Serbia gets snow in the winter, and there are many popular ski resorts there.

When it’s 4:00 PM here, it’s 11:00 PM there–seven hours ahead of Texas.

The total population of the country is smaller than that of New York City.  This was a surprise!

Serbia is the largest exporter of raspberries–how cool is that?!

“Vampire” is a Serbian word that is spoken all over the world.

We also watched this travel video about Serbia.  It’s such a beautiful place!


Learning About Serbia


What do we think we know about Serbia?  Here are some of the student responses we got when we asked that question today:

“It’s in the Middle East.”
“It’s in Africa.”
“It’s in Europe.”
“It’s in Russia.”
“Serbia is near the Balkan Peninsula and Ottoman Empire.”
“Serbia is mostly desert.”

(Obviously we need to work on our geography!   Even the map included in our blog post didn’t help some of us.)

“People in Serbia don’t speak English.”
“The government is democratic.”
‘The government is communist.”

(Hmmm…some investigation needed here.)

“Serbia used to be part of Soviet Union, but it fought for its independence.”
‘Serbia played a role in the beginning of World War I with the assassination of an archduke.”
“The primary religion in Serbia is orthodox Christianity.”

We’ll do some exploring and be back tomorrow with a post about what we learn about this country and our new friends there!




Visitors from Southeast Europe



How cool is it to have visitors from other parts of the world?

This week, several students will see comments have been left on their blogs from students in Mrs. Milacic’s class in Kragujevac, Serbia. We’ll spend some class time this week learning more about that country.  What do we want to know about Serbia?

Meanwhile, check out this photo of Belgrade, the capital city there:

Pixabay CC0

Pixabay CC0

Would you like to read and comment on the blogs of Marija, Andrea, Vlada, Milica, Tamara, Janko, Tamara, Stasa, Tijana, Jana, Bogdan, Luka, Dimitrije, and Djole?  You’ll find those links on the sidebar of their class blog…but first you’ll want to use the Google translate widget on the class blog’s home page to translate their work into English!  Check out the students’ “About Me” pages and find someone who has interests similar to yours!

Image Credit, Map: By Dgaulle (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Spotlight on Fiction and Descriptive Writing from Periods 4 and 6


Pixabay CC0

Enjoy these stories from Periods 4 and 6…but beware, some will have you shivering with fright!

 “The Woods” by Audrey

“An Amazing Cycle” by Andrew

“Alone” by Hiya

“2072, Chapter 2” by Emma T.

“Gone” by Sarika

“Cold” by Ella C.

“Darkness, Part 4” by Annabelle




Spotlight on Fiction from Periods 2 and 3



Do you enjoy a good story?  Many of our bloggers are working on original fiction.  Pull up a chair and lend an ear to these intriguing tales:

“The Calling” by Kelley

“The Decay Method” by Tae-Kyung

“Morph, Chapter 1:  The Apocalypse” by Hunter

“The Agony” by Annie

“Johnny Stories, Part 1:  The Wagon” by Ryan

“The Visitor, Part 5” by Christopher

“In the Shadows” by London

“What Do You Think You Saw?” by James


Image Credit: Drew Bandy via Compfight

Art and Writing Contest


Pixabay CC0

Pixabay CC0

Wow.  As we’ve been sharing our writing via our notebooks, group work, and blogs, it’s become apparent that we have many students who are passionate about writing!  There are some young authors among us, and it’s wonderful to see.

Scholastic has a program that showcases the work of young writers and recognizes their talent.  Check out the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards:  a competition designed to honor the creativity of “young artists and writers, filmmakers and photographers, poets and sculptors, video game artists and science fiction writers.”  There are 26 categories in the contest.

Are you interested in participating this year?  The contest specifics that pertain to our part of the country are found here for writing and here for art. Choose a category, read the guidelines, download the forms, and start polishing your work, because the deadline for submission will be here very soon:  December 16, 2015.  Category winners receive scholarship awards and the opportunity to have their work exhibited and published!

One such winner is former West Ridge Middle School student Arthi Kozhumam. Arthi has won Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention awards for her poetry.  Congratulations, Arthi!  We’re proud of you!