Our Novel Study – “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang

Division 6 has begun our first class novel of the year, “Front Desk”. This New York Times best seller, and award winning book is based on the life of the author, Kelly Yang (although the main character is named Mia in the book). Here is a short summary of the book:

“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?” (Amazon.com)

This book deals with many themes, such as immigration, racism, bullying, poverty, having big dreams, and the power of the written word. Students are making connections to their own lives and experiences, while also linking this knowledge to our Social Studies unit on Immigration. So far we are enjoying the book, and the class has lots to talk about in our discussions.

Here is a link to more information about the book, and the author.

Our first Explorations

Division 6 has spent the last 5 weeks Exploring various topics that interest us. Students chose a topic, skill, or area of interest and learned about it each week during our “Explorations” time. They began by gathering a list of resources (books and websites) that would help them along the way. They set an end goal, and made a plan for the steps they would need to accomplish each week in order to reach it. Finally, they presented their learning to the class. We had a wide range of topics, including:

  • coding
  •  visual/special effects in movies
  • miniatures
  • Diwali
  • history – Ancient Egypt & the evolution of man
  • Japanese
  • construction
  • graphic design
  • and many more!

Our first Explorations was a huge success. I look forward to seeing what you all explore next!

What’s happening in the World? We’re learning about current events!

There is a lot happening in the world right now, and some of it happening very close to home! Our next unit in Social Studies is Current Events. In this unit we will be looking at a different current event each week. We will be reading articles and watching news clips to help us understand what is happening, and why it is happening. Our Big Questions in Social Studies right now are:

What is happening in the world right now?

So what? Why is it important for us to know about?

Now what? What might be the effects of these events? What will happen next??

As we discuss these events we are connecting our learning to many other areas. This week we discussed the floods in BC, and connected to our knowledge of landforms in Science. We are also learning about media awareness, and how to determine if a news source is reliable or not. Each current event we discuss will lead us to new learning. 

How can you help?  I know that watching the news can be scary for some kids. We are going to use CBC Kids News as our main news source. It is age appropriate, and a suitable reading level for Gr. 4/5.  Watching news clips, talking about current events in your home, or reading about them together will be really helpful to your child’s learning. Asking your child the three Big Questions (What? So what? Now what?) will help them to summarize what they know, and healthy discussion about different topics will help them to formulate their own points of view on the world around them.

The Book Fair is coming!

The Scholastic book fair is coming! Our class will get to visit the book fair to purchase books on Monday November 29. Because of Covid restrictions, we will not be able to have a preview of the books, or visit during recess. Lunchtime visits will be limited to 30 people at a time.  If you wish to purchase books on Monday, you can see what is available here. This link will only be active after Monday November 29. This year, you can also order books online, and have them delivered to your house (with no delivery fee). See the main Brentwood Park website for more information.

Happy shopping, and happy reading!

Happy Halloween from Div. 6!

Happy Halloween! I hope you had an awesome weekend! This week was absolutely BLAST. It was filled with super fun Halloween-y activities.

  One thing that I know everybody enjoyed was this Friday because it was Halloween at school! We went on a pumpkin walk and saw lots of cool pumpkins- congratulations to Yoo Joon who was a winner in Div. 6! Your pumpkin was awesome because we could see the details in your Canucks logo. In the afternoon, we watched a fun movie called Hotel Transylvania and everybody ate lots of candy. We also had music with Ms. Harris. We learned a pattern called Witches Wizards; we would do a pattern to a song that would get faster and faster and faster and then it would stop. We loved the song! In the gym we played basketball and some dodgeball. These were some fun activities! (We are sure to have more fun) HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

We have also been trying to “SCARE HUNGER” by collecting food for the Food Bank. Our box is OVERFLOWING with donations that will go to families in need. Brentwood Park is one of the few schools that collect food all year round for the Food Bank. Thank you for your generosity Division 6!

By Zia and Ms. Willis

This week in Division 6 – October 15 edition

What a great week it has been with so many fun things! But I think we should just narrow it down to the three favorite highlights:

Our first favorite highlight was the design challenge, which we now do every week: we made stylish shoes out of paper. We were able to use other materials, for example, tape, glue, markers, etc. We learned a lot about teamwork in this project because we randomly picked groups, so we had no idea who we were working with. People worked together very well considering it was almost their first time doing it. We shared our projects in a circle of all the shoes. People used lots of different techniques to make the shoes stylish, for example wrapping the shoes with string/yarn. This project was fun.

Our second highlight would be the gym, especially for the kids who play soccer. We played four corner soccer, which, if you don’t know how to play is just like soccer but with four teams, the goals are benches flat on the corners, and you must hit the goal to score which means you can’t shoot too high. That is a bit of a problem for the people who shoot with power. This was fun even for the people who are new to soccer. I know that we all enjoy gym.

Our final highlight was probably the Writers’ Workshop because it is a very calming and peaceful time for people. We have very creative writers in this class. I love that everybody is so focused during this period.

Overall, this has been an amazing week for div 6!

by Zia Walji

Welcome to Division 6!

Dear Parents and guardians,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and give you some information about your child’s class this year.  I am looking forward to a year of learning, personal growth and creativity with this group of students.

This is my 15th year teaching in Burnaby, and 7th at Brentwood Park.  I have taught a range of grades, from one to twelve, but most of my experience is at the intermediate level.  My background is in Art Education, Curriculum development, Assessment and Differentiation.  I have recently completed a Masters of Arts in Expressive Arts Therapy and Psychology, and I am very interested in using the arts for both social/emotional and academic development.

I hope that you will see I strive to create a classroom that is safe and inclusive of all learners. Building a strong sense of community is important to me, and I want everyone to feel that they are a valued member of that community.  Division 6 is a classroom of diverse learners and I want every student to receive the instruction they need at their level, but are also being challenged to push forward in their own learning journey.  I also want my students to pursue their curiosities, ask questions about the world around them, and be inspired in their creativity. This year will require your child to play an integral part in their own learning and our classroom climate will be one of growth, not perfection.

I am excited for the year ahead, and I’m looking forward to getting to know all about this wonderful group of kids!  If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.




Ms. Willis

Div. 9 Artists are in the Burnaby Art Gallery!

In the Fall, Division 9 completed a photography project that we presented to Ms. Lewis as a retirement gift. The photos had so much meaning that we decided to use them to create another art piece for the Burnaby Art Gallery Arts Alive exhibition. This year the theme was Connection, and who is a better “connector” than Ms. Lewis! We are so proud of our work!

If you would like to visit our art work in the gallery, please call to book a time slot. Here is more information about how you can book.  

Words Writing Contest Winners!

Every year, for the last 36 years, the Burnaby School District has recognized excellence in writing through the Words Writing Contest. This year, Division 9 submitted 6 pieces of poetry and prose. This takes a lot of courage to put yourself and your writing out there for others to read! I want to congratulate all of you who shared your talent for writing.

Two students in Division 9 had their writing chosen to be published in the 2021 Words Anthology! Congratulations to Luke and Chloe!  Here are their winning pieces:


        I slowly walk to the place I asked her to meet me. When she arrives, my mouth opens slowly and says, “will you be my girlfriend?” Then the moment I have wanted, her response… but she simply says “no” and walks away. I stand there for a split second. Then my heart drops and shatters like glass. Tears start streaming down my cheeks as she walks away. I start walking in the opposite direction with my eyes glued to the ground and tears dripping continuously. I walk home hoping my heart will heal fast knowing it will take some time.

By Luke Zhang

My Wish

I stagger toward my bed feeling like a car with no gas left. Not even a little. Suddenly I hear my big, bossy know-it-all sister hollering. “Sophia! Come help me with the dishes!”. That’s it. I can’t take it anymore. Tears stream down my face. I go downstairs to find mom. As usual she’s working in her office. Her face is lit by the computer screen. I rub my red eyes and go to my (special) closet. I always go there when I’m upset because there are pictures of my grandma there. I miss her soothing voice and her vanilla scent. I miss her warm hugs and inviting smile. I wish……I wish she was here right now.

By Chloe Song

Willy Wonka Worlds – The 2021 ADST Design Showcase

Over the past several years, Brentwood Park has held an ADST Showcase (ADST stands for Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies). We often use cardboard and recycled materials to create our projects. This year, the focus for our school was on the process of design. When we create different designs, we go through a process of

  1. Ideating – finding an idea, building on others’ ideas, and pursuing an idea to develop. Ideas can change through the process, and that’s okay!
  2. Making – we choose different materials and technologies to help us make things. In this project we used lots of cardboard and other recycled or art materials.
  3. Sharing – we share our designs with others and we think about our successes, challenges, and what we could change in the future.

Please come by our classroom window display to see our Willy Wonka World projects!