Monday, December 24, 2012

Fall Orchestra Concert

Recently, I had my first concert in orchestra this year. This is my second year in Camerata Strings.  We practice every Saturday from 9:00 to 11:30. The conductor is really nice and she picks beautiful pieces or us to play. Everyone must practice there part during the week, so we could play it together on Saturday.

My day started early in the morning because I needed to get dressed in a white top and a black skirt and black, shiny shoes. I had to be at the dress rehearsal at 11:30 because we needed to practice on stage. There was a lot of waiting around for our groups turn on stage. Finally, it was our time to perform. I was very nervous when I got on stage, but after we finished playing, there was a lot of clapping from the audience which made me feel very excited. 

We played Fiddles out West,  Sahara Crossing, DECKorations, and Starfleet. Fiddles out West was a very melodic, fast, and a light piece. Sahara Crossing, was a very slow piece. When I play this piece I imagine people crossing the desert suffering because they don't have enough water. Deckorations is a happy piece When I think of  it, I think of all the holidays in December. Starfleet was my least favorite piece. It didn't have much melody and my mom didn't even record it.

Here is a video of our performance. I am kind of hidden behind some of the older kids. I am sitting right behind the blond girl in the front. Sometimes you can see me peek through. I will try out again for first violin in January. I hope I will make it this time. 

Which was your favorite piece?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Spending Time with Grandma

A few weeks ago, I went to my grandma's house. Each of my siblings gets to spend one day with grandma alone and today was my day. In the morning, my grandma took me to my orchestra practice. I play the violin in the junior orchestra and we practice every Saturday morning. After orchestra practice, I went to grandma's house. When I first came, we cooked schnitzel and borscht. Borscht is a kind of soup that is red because it has beets inside it. It also has other vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage and red peppers.   It was delicious.

Then we took a nice walk with their dog Elsie, and picked flowers . When we came home, we planted flowers. My grandma cut some of the bad leaves off and I made a hole in the dirt and stuck the flower inside it. I hope it will grow! When we went inside, we played  domino's. It was a very close game but I won.  

Late in the afternoon, grandpa and I took another walk with Elsie to a high school field. There was a huge hill that Elsie really wanted to climb so my grandpa let him. Elsie went racing up the hill and he pulled me all the way to the top. It was very fun. When I got home, we had to get ready to go to my cousins birthday party. My grandma made my hair in two ponytails. It looked very cute. Spending a day with grandma is interesting and fun.

Do you have someone that you like to spend a day with?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Edublog Nominations 2012

I am very excited to be part of the Edublog nomination process.  I have been blogging for one and half years and have made many friends from all of the world.

Here is my list of blogs that I nominated:


Best Class Blog

Mrs Yollis’ Classroom Blog

Mrs. Yollis helps make her classroom interesting through blogging. She has a new interesting post up almost every week and supports her student bloggers by leaving comments on their blogs.  She also comments back to many of her readers on her blog.

 Best Student Blog

Miriam's Magical Moments

One of my favorite student bloggers is my older sister Miriam. She was a finalist last year for the best student blog. She has been blogging for two and a half years and has taught me many things about blogging. She has a new and interesting post up a couple times a month and always responds to all her comments.

Best Twitter Hashtag


I love the #comments4kids hashtag! When I publish a new post, Mrs. Yollis tweets it out using this hashtag.  I always receive many comments from teachers and students.

Library/Librarian Blog

The Bulldog Readers By: Mrs Hembree

Mrs. Hembree is a great librarian who inspires children everywhere to read. She has interesting posts about  books I can read. I also really like her Summer reading contest. She wanted to see us reading in the most interesting places and ways. All we had to do is send her a photo of us reading and she posted it on her blog. 

Check out these great blogs!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Fall Piano Pieces

During the end of summer and beginning of fall, I learned two new pieces. They are both composed from different periods of music. The first piece is Invention No. 8 by Bach. He is a German composer and was born in the baroque period. I have played many pieces by him that were slow. This piece is very fast and it sounds like a bird flying in nature.

 The second song is Sonatina in C Major (Op. 20 No. 1) by Kuhlau. He was born in Germany, but was a Danish composers during the Classical and Romantic period.When he was seven, he lost his right eye when he slipped on ice. Even though he was born to a poor family, they still afforded to pay for piano lessons. Kuhlau escaped to Denmark to avoid going to Napoleon's army, and in 1813 he became a Danish citizen. During his lifetime, Kuhlau was known as a concert pianist and composer of a very famous Danish opera and other pieces for the piano. He composed over 200 published works and probably even more would have been published if his house didn't burn down with many of his unpublished pieces. This Sonatina consists of 3 movements. The first and third movement are fast. The second movement is slow and only has a few lines of music.

Can you tell when a movement ends and another begins? 
Which movement was your favorite?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hannah's Fall Concert

In the past two months, Hannah learned 4 new pieces, all written by different composers.She learns new pieces really quickly and memorizes them fast as well after playing them a few times. Her hand is still small and it is sometimes hard for her to reach all the notes and play fast. She is getting better with practice.

Her first piece is Sonatina in C major by M. Clementi. Clementi wrote during the Classical period. This piece has 3 movements, a fast movement, a slower lyrical movement with a beautiful melody, and a fast lively movement.  Of the 4 pieces she played, this one was probably the hardest.Which was your favorite movement?

The second piece is Sonatina in G major by Beethoven. Beethoven also wrote during the classical period. This piece has two movements and they are both fast with a very nice melody.  It is a very famous piece and both Miriam and I played it 2 years ago. This piece is probably my favorite.

The third piece is called Wild Horseman by Schumann. Schumann was a German composer, who composed during the Romantic period (1810-1856).  When Hannah plays this piece, I think of people riding horses in a horse shows.

Finally, the last piece she played is called Musette in D major by Bach. Bach is also a German composer who composed in the Baroque period. When I think of this song I think of waves hitting the shore at the beach. This piece has a gorgeous melody and Hannah plays it beautifully. Our piano teacher believes that it is important for us to play Bach, so we are always playing at least one new Bach piece.

Which piece was your favorite?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Trip to the Orchard

On day a day when we had no school, my friend and I went fruit picking in an orchard. The owner of the orchard invited my friend and I to pick fruits from their trees. They had red apples, Granny Smith apples, lemons, avocado, oranges, and tangerines.

Apples all over the ground
Most of the trees were dwarf trees so we were able to reach the fruit and pick it right off the tree. Many of the of the apples fell on the floor, and were bitten by squirrels and other animals.  When we were finished picking the apples, we had a bag full of them. The apples were much sweeter than the ones from the store. However, the avocados weren't  ripe enough to eat, but we still still picked them and brought them home to ripen. When they were ready, my dad made guacamole from them. we made some lemonade with the lemons that we picked. The lemonade was  was very sour, but adding some sugar made it taste delicious. As we were walking back to our car carrying all the fruits, we saw tangerine trees. Tangerines are one of my favorite fruits and we get some too. When we started picking them, we realized that we were extremely hungry, so we ate almost all the tangerines that we picked! 
picking apples

Granny Smith Apples

    Look at all that we collected!
    All the trees planted in a row

    Have you ever picked your own fruit or vegetables? 

    Did it taste better than from the store?

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Fun in the Sun

    Our pool
    The teachers at our school had a staff development day, and all the students had a day off from school. In the summer, it was really hot, and we went to the beach many times. Surprisingly, the weather has still been very hot, and we decided to spend the day at the beach.

    When we arrived, it was already noon, and the tide was high. Usually, the weather at the beach is colder, and there is a nice breeze.  Today, however, the sun was shining and the air was very still. We spent most of the time in the water to cool off . Soon the tide went back and left us with soft wet sand. This left us plenty of room to make a pool large enough to fit everyone. We also went boogie boarding on the waves.  I practiced some gymnastics and played frisbee with my mom and brother. Best of all, we laid down on the cool sand and let the sun warm us up. It was a splendid way of spending time off of school.

    Laying out in the sun

    The weather has been really strange. Just last week it was raining and my aunt took this fabulous photo of a rainbow.
    Photo by my aunt Elana

    What do you you like to do on your day off?

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

    Piano Pieces I learned Over the Summer

    Over the summer, I learned many pieces that are composed in different periods, of music. The first piece is called Bourree II from French Overture by Bach. Bach is a German composer from the Baroque Period (1685-1750). To read more about Bach, you can visit my sister Miriam's two earlier posts. One post describes counterpoint, which is when you can hear two melodies in one piece. The other post is about Bach's life.

    The piece that I am playing is a bourrée, which is a French dance from the 1600's. It is very slow for a dance, but it has a very beautiful melody.

    My next piece is called Fur Elise by Beethoven. Beethoven was born in the Classical period (1770-1827). Nobody knew who Elise was, but they believe her name was Therese whom Beethoven loved.  Beethoven wrote this piece in the year 1810 when he was almost deaf, and in 1817 he became deaf. It is sad that Fur Elise was not published until 1865 when he was already dead. Miriam also played Fur Elise.

    My final piece is called Valse Melancolique by Vladimir Rebikov. Vladimir Rebikov was born in the late Romantic period (1815-1910). He learned how to play the piano from his mother. This piece has a beautiful melody with a lot of feeling.

    Which is your favorite period of music?

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Tide Pools at Leo Carillo State Beach

    Sarah on top of a huge rock
    On Sunday morning, we went to Leo Carillo State Beach. This is special beach that has tide pools. Tide pools are rocky pools of ocean water.  The only time you could see the tide poles is when it is low tide. Tide pools usually have star fish, mussels, and clams. When we arrived to Leo Carrillo State Beach, it was high tide, and we couldn't see any tide pools. Then, we played and swam in the ocean and I climbed a big rock all the way to the top.

    Low tide
    A couple of hours later, it became low tide and we were able to see the tide pools.  We found many interesting shaped and colored rocks. On the sand, we also found a long piece of kelp which is a type of seaweed. Kelp grow in shallow oceans. Kelp can grow up to 110 feet tall. That is as tall as a 10 story building! The leaves are called blades and they have gas-filled bladders growing next to them. The air bladders make the kelp float to the top of the ocean so it could get sunlight. My sister and I were jumping rope with the kelp. When it was low tide, we still couldn't find any animals, but we still had a great time at the beach.


    Gas-filled bladders

    Miriam jumping rope with kelp
    beautiful rocks

    Have you visited tide pools?

    What did you see?

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Trying Something New

    At the meet with my best friend Ellie
    All year I have been practicing gymnastics so I decided to try a new sport, swimming. I joined my brother and sisters' swim team. I practiced 1 hour 5 days a week. We began our workout with my favorite part, 2 dives in the big pool. We then started our swim workout with six laps freestyle to warm up. In the middle of the work out, we put our fins on and took out our boards. We did 4 laps kicking freestyle and 4 laps kicking butterfly. Finally, at then end of our work out, we did 2 laps freestyle, two laps breaststroke, and two laps backstroke for the cool down.

    Miriam and Hannah
    After a month of swimming with the team, I had my first swim meet, and I was very excited. I competed four events, Individual Medley (I.M.), 50 yards (2 laps) freestyle, 25 yards breaststroke, and 25 yards butterfly. I.M. is 4 laps with all the strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. My time on this event was 1:58.49. On the 50 yards freestyle my time was 49.10 secnds and on my 25 yards breaststroke my time was 27.07 seconds. Finally I had 25 yards butterfly and my time was 28.00 seconds.

    I practiced gymnastics in the morning and did swimming in the late afternoon. Now that school is starting, I need to make a choice, continue with gymnastics or switch to swimming. I enjoyed swimming a lot, because it was so hot, and it felt good to jump into the pool, but I think I am going to stick with gymnastics. I would miss it too much if I quit. Next summer, I want to go back to swimming and maybe, I will try make it to Junior guards, a beach life guard program.

    Below is the video from our swim meet.

    Have you ever tried anything new?
    Did you stick with it?

    Sunday, August 19, 2012

    Summer Music Fun

    Every summer the city puts on a couple of outdoor music concerts near a lake where we live.  My parents, siblings, grandparents, great aunt, and friends all get together and go to the concert. Everyone brings a picnic dinner and desert and we sit on the grass, eat and listen to music.My great aunt and Grandma brought the most food. My great aunt made chocolate cake especially for me, because I like chocolate cake.  While the music is playing, all of the kids run around,  play tag, ball, Frisbee, and have a good time together.

    There is a large band on stage and usually someone singing. One of the bands played music by Elton John. The singer looked and dressed up just like like Elton John.


    Have you ever been to an outdoor concert? 

    Did  you like the music they played?

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Final Days of Summer

    It is not really the last day of summer, but it feels like it because school is starting soon. The past few days, it has been so hot (over 100 F), that we have been going to the beach almost every weekend and some days during the week. The beach is usually about 20 F degrees cooler than where we live.  At the beach, we play in the sand, make sand castles, pick shells and look for sand dollars, and best of all go swimming on our boogie boards. The water is very refreshing from the hot summer days. After playing, we get hungry and our mom packs us lunch.

    Sand dollars, also called sea biscuits or sea cookies, are flattened shells that are found in shallow waters right under the sand. Each sand dollar has a five petal design on the top and they look very pretty. At the beach we found them in many different sizes, was 4 cm in diameter, and the smallest was 0.5 cm in diameter

    Starting a new year is very exciting. We already bought school supplies, and new clothes since most of the clothes from last year are small. We also have to wait to find out which teacher we will have in the fall.  Every year, we have a new teacher and new students in our class. It is hard not knowing who will be in my class, and whether I will have friends from last year in the same class with me. However, it also gives me an opportunity to make new friends every year.

    What have you been doing during your vacation?
    How do you prepare for a new school year?

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

    Movie Night at the Park

    Over the weekend, my family and I went to a movie night in our neighborhood park. The park is located high on top of a mountain. From the park, I could see the beautiful view of the mountains, homes, and best of all the sunset.

    When we first came, we ran around and played in the park. Two friends from school live close by, and they also came to watch the movie. We all sat on the grass and had a picnic with pizza, cookies, and red vine licorice.

    The movie started when the sun began to set. There was a huge blow up screen on which the movie was shown. This was my first time viewing a movie outside. It was extremely hot in the day, but at night it got chilly. Thankfully, my mom packed pants and sweaters for us to wear. When the sun set, we saw numerous stars shinning above.

    The movie was called Daddy Daycare. This was my first time seeing this movie,  and I thought it was hilarious. The movie was about two fathers who try to start a daycare at there house. At first, the kids go out of control and don't listen. Finally the kids really like the daycare, and the two fathers learn to take care of the children and even teach them many new things.

    Have you ever seen a movie outside? 
    Did you like it?
    What is your favorite movie?

    The Gala Finale Orchestra Concert

    At the end of May, I had my final orchestra concert of the year. We have a total of three concerts every year. On the day of the concert, we had to come early because we had a dress rehearsal in a gorgeous hall. When we got of stage after our dress rehearsal, we brought our lunches and our games and played for an hour until it was time for us to go on stage.

    Here are the songs we played: The first song we played sounded slow and sad.Some violins had a solo part, and they played the high notes which usually is the melody and the rest of the violins played the lower notes. The second song sounded very fast and happy, but it wasn't my favorite.  The next song we played was also very slow, but I thought sounded the most beautiful. It was my favorite.   The final song was also very fast and loud. The cellos started playing first and carried the melody, but then the violins took over and we all played together. Which was your favorite?
    In front of the concert hall

    • Recuerdos De La Alhambra By Francisco Tarrega
    • David and Michael By Carrie Lane Gruselle
    • Along the River By Elena Roussanova
    • Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest By Hans Zimmer

    Once we finished our part, the older children in the philharmonic played their pieces. They sounded amazing, and they even had a soloist sing some opera pieces.  Since it was our last orchestra concert, we had a reception for everyone that performed that day.  It was also a chance for me to see up close some large percussion instruments. Do you know their names?

    At the reception we had cookies, cupcakes, and drinks.  We were all tired and hungry and it was the perfect ending to a long day.  Next year I am going to try out for first violin and see if I make it. I hope I do!

    Which is your favorite instrument in an orchestra?

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Hiking the Kalalau Trail to the Napali Coast

    Taro fields
    Today we went to Ke'e beach to hike the Napali Coast. It is located on the North Shore, and this long and steep hike was our last adventure on the island before we left for home.  The drive to the North Shore is beautiful with many green Acacia trees, thick forests, and taro fields.  

    We started our hike at Ke'e beach and wanted to go to the Hanakapi'al Falls. The hike was extremely strenuous and we ended our hike at the Hankapi'al Beach.  To get to this remote beach you had to hike 2 miles. The trail was very steep, going up and down.

    The first quater of the mile was straight  up, and it was boiling hot but it was very green and beautiful. There were also  many trees with tropical fruits on them.  When we finally arrived, we were at the top of the mountain, with  beautiful view of Ke'e beach and the Napali Coast. The week before, we went on a boat to snorkel on the Napali Coast, but today we were exploring the mountains by hiking to get an up close view. From above, the water off the coast was torques blue and a darker blue as you move away from the coast. Once we passed the Coast Viewpoint, the hike went mostly downhill and we ran most of they way, slipping a few times into the mud. When we finally could see the ocean, we had to cross a big river in our shoes. The water was cold and refreshing from a long hot hike.  

    Beautiful turquoise water
    Hiking up

    View of Ke'e Beach
    View of Napali Coast

    Most surprising,  when we got to the beach, it started pouring rain and we hid underneath some large trees that were like umbrellas to have lunch and to rest. The rain also made the the trails  muddy and the rocks slippery.    While eating lunch, we saw some wild cats, that my little sister Hannah wanted to take home with her.  They were all very skinny, probably because they don't get a lot of food. They ate some of our turkey that fell on the floor.

    Hankapi'al Beach

    Crossing the river

    After lunch, we went down volcano rocks to the sandy beach. This beach had dark tunnels to hide from the sun or rain. The waves at the beach were huge, but the water was very warm. There were gorgeous mountains around this beach.  Also, there was a stream, that was even warmer than the beach, which came from the waterfall. On one side of the stream, there were tadpoles of black poisonous frogs.

    When we were driving back we saw a  magnificent sunset with the colors red, orange, and  yellow.  It looked like fire burning in the sky and it was the perfect way to finish our day.