IB Retreat Reflection

From August 17-18, all the Grade 11’s went to the Hong Kong Gold Coast for our IB Retreat. This was a really fun experience as I was able to learn about the IB DP programme through the various activities and talks we had. I was also able to bond with my peers through being able to spend time with the friends I already know, as well as the random roommate selection, which allowed me to bond with people I don’t know very well, and get to know them better, thus make new friends.

One of my favourite activities from the Retreat that I really enjoyed was the Crossroads refugee simulation. I found this the most interesting, as I did not know what to expect going in, but after the simulation was over, I learned a lot more about the world we live in today. During the simulation, we were split into groups as that was our family, and had to make paper bags with only limited amounts of newspaper and glue made out of flour and water. We had to sell 10 paper bags to store owners to earn money, and use that to pay for the expensive rent and food and water prices to the landlord. There were also resources that could have benefits for our family but at a high cost that most of us couldn’t afford. I remember I felt quite stressed when folding the paper bags, as we had to make more in order to earn more money for our family and whenever we didn’t have enough money we had to give up other items that we had like shoes or phones. However, I learned that in reality people have to give up their children or their bodies to pay the high rent cost. I was able to be put in the shoes of people in poverty, and experience the feeling of having no dignity or pride, and having a sense of injustice, as each round got harder and harder. The discussions we had after that reminded me that what we did was a simulation so we knew it would be over, but in the real world, this is happening everyday in people’s lives, and is almost a never ending cycle. This has taught me that even a small difference can make a big change, and no one is too small to make a difference, and overall this was a great experience that I have learned a lot from.

Another activity I enjoyed from the retreat was talking to the alumnis. I liked talking to them because I was able to learn a lot more about the DP programme as they have been through it before, and I was lucky to be able to talk to an alumni who knew a lot about the arts since she took theatre, and since I am taking visual arts at a higher level, I was able to learn more about what to expect in the arts. After talking to them, I learned that DP is not just a ride in the park, and is different than what we were used to in the MYP, hence I know that I have to put a lot more effort to do well these next two years.

During the second day, there were a lot of seminars led by our teachers, and they were all special and interesting in their own ways. One of the seminars that challenged me was Mr Tyrrell’s, as it made me question about our existence and our thoughts and whether they are true. He made us think about the way we perceive things in the world, and tried to get us to try thinking of nothing, which was pretty hard to do, as our brains are working and we have many thoughts that we can question about on a daily basis. This is a way of finding our path, as I would have to think deeply about what I want to do, where I want to go when I’m older, and a lot of thoughts have to be taken into consideration to build a pathway that works for me. Furthermore, another seminar led by Mr Smeed that was challenging was learning to accept failure. We played a game where we had to make a circle and not catch the ball by dodging it in a creative way. It was challenging because I am used to just catching when a ball is thrown at me, but it was a good experience as it taught me that DP won’t be as easy as we think, and there are times where we have to accept failure and learn from it to improve and be even better.

Other than Challenge, another one of the Retreat themes was Passion. The seminar about CAS which was led by Mr Hamilton encouraged me to go and do more community service that I am interested in, and it connects to what I learned during the Crossroads simulation, as I want to make a difference in our world even if it’s small, it might help someone a lot. I learned that CAS is not just for the hours and is not something we have to do because it is mandatory, but instead, we should do the service because we enjoy it and are passionate about it, and want to make a difference for an issue we care about. Furthermore, this also ties in with the Taking Action seminar that was led by Ms Safaya, as she showed us that our actions should be about something we are passionate about, and that it can be carried out in a direct or indirect way. This is also a way of trying to find our path, as I want to know what I am passionate and not passionate about in order to create a pathway for the service that I am going to do.

Lastly, I enjoyed the yoga session that Ms Van de Broucke led, as it allowed me to relax my mind and body after all the seminars where we had to think a lot, and it was a good way to put a close to the two days of the Retreat. Overall, I enjoyed the two days of the IB Retreat as it was a memorable experience because I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about the DP programme, create closer bonds with my peers, and learned a lot more about the world around me.

Service as Action Reflection

How did you become more aware of your own strengths and areas for growth?

As a member of The Reading Tree, I became aware of my own strengths and areas for growth through participating in Kids4Kids sessions where I read, played, and taught English to local children. From this, I became more aware of my strengths with children, as I was able to interact with them communicate effectively with them despite the children not knowing much English. I did this by using more simple English words that would allow them to understand the activities we are doing, and talk to them by asking questions about themselves, such as what’s their favourite colour. This allowed me to develop a strong connection with them, and let them feel more comfortable around us. Furthermore, since this year was my first year doing this type of service, at first I didn’t know what to expect, but after going a few times, I enjoy doing service with them, as it gives me an opportunity to connect with our local community. I think that for my areas of growth, I need to be less shy when approaching the children, and be able to have more control with them by adapting my behaviour depending on their personalities and character.

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This was the email sent out as a reminder, and the names are crossed out for privacy reasons.

How did you undertake challenges that developed new skills?

I took a continuous first aid course for a total of 30 hours, and the whole concept of first aid was a challenge to me as I was not familiar with it, but I was interested in finding out more. During the course, I had trouble with remembering how to do some of the bandaging, as we needed to know how to do this for the exam of our first aid certificate, and got confused as to which type of bandaging I had to do for different situations. However, because of these challenges, I listened carefully to the presentations, asked questions, and additionally practiced some of the more challenging types of bandaging at home. This allowed me to develop a new skill, as I know how to do CPR and bandaging for different situations, gained a deeper understanding of first aid, and as a result, got my first aid certificate.


My first aid certificate that I received after completing the exam

How did you discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities?

As a member of UNICEF, I helped plan the bake sales we did this year. Since I was part of the fundraising sector, I discussed and helped organize logistics regarding what goods we were going to bake, the price for each good, volunteers at the booth etc. With everyone’s enthusiastic contribution and effort to baking and being at the booth on the day, we were able to have a successful bake sale. This was successful due to the money we earned and donated to Mother’s Choice.

During a CAS week trip to Chang Rai, Thailand, we went to one of the schools to interact with the local children. Before we went, I helped discuss and contribute ideas as to what games we should play with the children when we arrive, and thought of what we could give them as presents. We organized a stationery collection drive, where anyone in the school could donate any type of stationery, and we brought it to the kids as resources they can use at school. When we arrived at the school, we played games such as soccer, jump rope, and a huge parachute, and it was overall a very memorable experience that has stuck to my mind. I think this was successful because despite our language differences, we were able to make the children happy by playing with them, and they were sad to see us leave.


Using the huge parachute to play games with the children

How did you persevere in action?

I persevered in action when I was a volunteer for UNICEF’s Family Fun Fair booth, as I am currently a member of the club. We initially planned to make and sell cotton candy, but before we opened the booth, we found out that the cotton candy machine was not working. As there were around five of us at the booth, we had to act quickly as some were trying to fix the machine, and some were trying to come up with alternate solutions if the machine wouldn’t work. In the end, we could not get the cotton candy machine to work, so our solution was to sell hot chocolate as our product instead, which was an appropriate alternative for everyone.


My friend and I who volunteered for the UNICEF Family Fun Fair booth

How did you work collaboratively with others?

I worked collaboratively with others when I volunteered for the UNICEF Poverty Simulation. This simulation consisted of various booths with activities which would allow the CDNIS Grade 4 students feel how poverty and being discriminated is like, thus giving them an insight of our world today. The booth I was in charge of was the “store” booth, where if a group of G4 students had enough money from the other booths, they are allowed to buy an item from the store depending on how much they had. The prices of the goods were more expensive, which allowed the students to have a sense of what people in less economically developed countries lives are like. Not only was I required to work with my fellow club members who also volunteered to ensure the whole simulation ran smoothly, but also with the Grade 4 students, in order to make sure they had fun whilst learning about the message we want to convey.


Group picture with some of the UNICEF club members and the Grade 4 students after a successful simulation

How did you develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding?

I was able to develop international-mindedness in various service opportunities that I have completed. In UNICEF, I was able to get a better idea of the United Nations, as well as the Millennium Development Goals that are related to our mission. In The Reading Tree, I was able to communicate with local children who knew minimal English through Kids4Kids.

During CAS week this year, I went to Fujian, China. This allowed me to develop international-mindedness as I didn’t know much about the culture, but I learned that the people live in these houses called tulous, and we were lucky enough to help some families repair their houses by making our own cement and putting them in the gaps of the tulous, as they are made out of mud bricks, which can deform after a period of time. I understood their culture more through this experience, as well as the living conditions and environment in Fujian.

As a member of the 1st Hong Kong Canadian Scout Group, every year in December there is a Canadian Commemorative Ceremony which I participate in. Each year, we each lay a poppy on a grave to remember those who fought for Hong Kong. This year, I was lucky enough to be part of the three people who help raise the Canadian flag at the ceremony, and since I have participated in this since 2010, I was able to feel even more connected to our school and our community as a whole.


Flag raise at the Canadian Commemorative Ceremony at the Sai Wan War Cemetery, December 2016

How did you consider the ethical implications of your actions?

I think that all that all the service that I have done has influenced my target group for the better, as I was able to achieve something for various communities that go beyond Hong Kong.

When I went to Taiwan for the Mandarin Immersion Trip our school hosted, I did community service by visiting and performing to elderly home in Kaohsiung. I performed the diabolo, which was a new skill I learned, a skit, and left handwritten messages for the elders before we left. Even though what we did was not life-changing and was quite small, I still think we were able to achieve something for this community, as they clapped along to our performances, and were very enthusiastic, hence making them feel happy and entertain them.


Certificate received for performance and dedication to the Elders

I was a Junior Student Ambassador from 2013-2015, where I was able to work closely with the school community and create a better welcoming environment for new students. We organized orientations before school officially started so the new students can get familiar with the school, and held various events throughout the year to ensure a smooth transition, and that they were involved. By doing this, we were able to provide new students with people they could go to and trust while being new at CDNIS, and provide them with a place of support, where they would be welcomed any time.


Junior Student Ambassadors Photo

Inter[sections] Film Reflection

To what extent has the film raised the target audiences knowledge and understanding of how the theme/event influenced the central characters?

I think the film has raised the target audiences knowledge and understanding of how the Handover of Hong Kong in 1997 influenced the three individuals that were interviewed. In this film, the event was brought up a lot, as the film’s purpose was to show the different perspectives of the three diverse interviewees, a mom, who is an entrepreneur and was in Hong Kong during the event; a dad born and raised in Malaysia, who works in the business industry and was in Hong Kong during the event; and a mom, who is a housewife and was in Vancouver during the event, and bring them together through the central theme of the handover.

In our feedback survey, one of the questions we asked were ‘Does this film show a balance of different perspectives of diverse individuals relating to the 1997 Hong Kong handover?’, where out of the 14 responses, 13 (92.9%) said yes, and 1 (7.1%) said no. This shows how showing the different perspectives of the interviewees was one of our strengths of the film, as our purpose was met, and it has started to raise the target audiences knowledge about the handover. In our survey, we also asked ‘After watching this film, what impacts of the handover did you learn through the interviews?’. Here, the film definitely raised the target audiences knowledge and understanding of how the handover influenced the interviewees because our audience did learn something new after watching the interviews, such as how it was difficult for people figure out whether the handover impacts would be positive or negative, and a lot of people were not sure what would happen.

Through the interviews in our film, our audience were able to understand how each interviewee felt during the handover. However, I believe improvements can be made to make a greater impact on our target audience by making them more engaged through footages that relate more to what the interviewees are saying, and by providing more information about the handover through narrations. Overall, our film included a range of questions that were useful to showing the perspectives of the three diverse interviewees, thus raising the target audiences knowledge and understanding of how the Handover of Hong Kong in 1997 influenced them.

Feedback for iBook

Hiii everyone!

Even though our group’s iBook isn’t completely finished, and is messy at the moment, we have the causes, symptoms, a little bit of the treatment and quiz for you. I would really appreciate if you could give feedback on those sections, and it would help us improve our book so that it is suitable for Grade 5-6’s.

Here is the link to our iBook:


Hong Kong Has Expanded Me

I think Hong Kong has expanded me because there are many different people who live here, as it is easy to get in. Since there are so many people living in Hong Kong, there are many different cultures and beliefs. Since I go to an international school, I am able to meet people from different places around the world, and know more about where they are from. I feel that Hong Kong hasn’t really limited me, as there are many cultures around, and a lot to learn from. I think that Hong Kong celebrates a lot of different traditions, as its very international. For example, we celebrate Christmas, Halloween, and Chinese New Year. In America, they might not celebrate Chinese New Year because they might not think its significant to them, and they don’t need to celebrate it. So living in Hong Kong all my life has expanded me as a person, and has made me more open about many different things in the world.

This Year In French

I thought that we were encouraged to ask questions, and to participate in class activities. I also like how it wasn’t so hard, and we could understand most things that were being taught to us.

I think when we did the book On y va, we sometimes got bored of it since we had to work for quite a long time, so this is something they could improve on.

Overall, I thought French this year was fun and that I improved a lot over the past year.

CAS Week and The Other Side of Truth Similarities

Last week I went to Chiang Mai in Thailand for CAS Week along with some people in my grade. CAS stands for Community, Action, Service. I found that when we went to Thailand I could relate to a novel we’re reading in English class, The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo. Sade and Femi are the main characters in The Other Side of Truth, who were illegally transported to England since their family who lives in Nigeria are in danger.

Being in a different environment and culture, we have to learn how to say simple words in Thai in advance, like hello and thank you. This helped us have simple conversations with the local kids we met at a school. Sade and Femi however knew some English when they went to England, but this also helped them interact with their classmates at their school. When going to local markets to buy food, we sometimes got odd looks from the people there. When Sade and Femi arrived in England, they got odd looks too. This is probably because they aren’t from there and they seem new and don’t know what the place is like. In Thailand, a lot of the houses are made out of bamboo, wood, straw etc. For Sade and Femi they had to get used to the skyscrapers in England, so this is also a similarity for us getting used to something we haven’t quite seen very often.

Overall I had an amazing experience in Chiang Mai and could relate to The Other Side of Truth which is quite interesting, since I’ve never thought of relating them before.

Here is a picture of a house in Chiang Mai. You can see it is made out of straw, wood, and some bamboo.

Here is a picture of apartments in England. You can see they are not as low as the house in Chiang Mai, and are made out of more expensive material.

Credits: http://www.rent.com/blog/apartments-around-the-world-renting-in-london-england/

Community and Service

On Tuesday morning, 17th Dec, some Grade 7’s spread Christmas joy and Seasonal Cheer to the school community by singing Christmas Carols on the 9th floor lobby.

Didn’t it feel great to make so many people happy?

Honestly, I didn’t think people will watch, clap or sing along, but when I saw the joy on some of the kids faces, it made me feel more confident. I really enjoyed seeing their happy faces with delightful smiles and also seeing some teachers sing along.

Wasn’t it wonderful to see the youngest members of our school adoringly watching you and singing along with you?

Like I said for the first question, I didn’t expect so many people to sing along and watch us. It was quite cool to see lots of little kids gathering around us and just watching us. It was an amazing experience.

Aren’t you glad you took a little bit of your own time to share with others?

I am quite glad I took a little bit of my own time to share with others. Not only this got counted as Community and Service for term 1, but I got to share some Christmas joy and Seasonal Cheer to our school community. Christmas isn’t just about receiving presents, its about giving to others and sharing your love, joy and cheer to the people around you.


It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.  ~W.T. Ellis


Rachel 🙂

Fractions with Terminating and Non-Terminating Decimal Representations

Not long ago, we had our summative assessment on fractions with terminating and non-terminating decimal representations. I was actually quite surprised with the mark I got, I was expecting it to be lower.

What I did well was my work was well presented and my descriptions are very clear and I used charts/graphs and tables in my work.

I can improve on showing more understanding of the patterns between terminating and non-terminating decimals and to read the instructions more clearly, since I didn’t really follow them.

Overall, there is still room for improvement but I’m satisfied with the marks that I got.