Middle School Program Happenings

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Follow all of the happenings in our Middle School Program right here.

Final Suicide Prevention Ad Campaign projects

posted May 9, 2015, 12:33 AM by Jason Brunken

We wrapped up the final project/assignment for the year today. In groups, students were to design an ad campaign with logo, slogan, and ad for the Taipei City Government that targets teens. This was an assignment to go with our unit on teen suicide and other issues facing teens using the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Today, each group presented their projects to two marketing and design experts. Those experts heard the groups' ideas and provided feedback in both design and marketing.

Before viewing the recorded presentation, take a minute and see the work from each group below. 

Audrey, Wendy, Jacqueline, Sabrina - Hand + Hope = Life

Matthew, Kris, Nicole, Lulu - Together we are better.

Sean, Jacob, Austin - We care about you.

Project Presentations

Below is the recording of the presentations. We ran into some technical difficulties after we started with an echo that started up for no reason. We couldn't stop and restart because it was a live broadcast, but most of the feedback and presentations should be ok. 

Teen Issues Jigsaw Activity - final products

posted Apr 24, 2015, 8:33 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Apr 24, 2015, 11:55 PM ]

In groups, students learned about an issue facing teens that is also related to teen suicide and our unit novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. After researching and learning about the issue, they had to teach the class about it. Judging from the presentations, we should all be experts now. Take a look at the class's hard work below.

Bullying and Cyberbullying


by Sean, Jacqueline, and Austin

Teen Suicide

Sexual Harassment and Assault

Free digital tools to use with your final project

posted Apr 24, 2015, 5:59 PM by Jason Brunken

While you are welcome to create your ads and logos on good old fashioned paper, you may want to use digital tools. Our graphics design expert will be better able to help polish your design if you make digital files of your work. Try some of the free tools below when designing your ad campaign.

Image and Logo Design

Final project: Suicide Prevention Ad Campiagn

posted Apr 18, 2015, 1:28 AM by Jason Brunken

We're almost at the end of the year, and it is time for your final big project. For this project you will be working as part of a "marketing team" inside the Happy Kids Marketing Company. Your boss, the CEO, has sent you a letter outlining what your team needs to do in the coming weeks. With your group, work together to complete the tasks and prepare for the presentation on May 9th. Remember, for this assignment you will be presenting your projects to two real marketing and design experts: Justin Brunken, a marketing manager for CED and co-founder/vice president for The American Outlaws, and Nick Evans, a graphic designer for Union Bank and Trust and owner of his own design company To The Moon Studios. Follow the links to see some of their work.

Read the task letter from the CEO below and see the presentation to learn more about what you need to do.

Thirteen Reasons Why Blogging Assignment

posted Mar 20, 2015, 1:00 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Mar 20, 2015, 1:08 AM ]

Thirteen Reasons Why can be a very disturbing book. It deals with some uncomfortable, but very real and very serious issues that students encounter in their lives. Your goal as you read this book is to think deeply about the characters, their choices, and the events of the story. 

That is not all.

The nature of these issues demands us to talk about them...together. This may be hard for many of you so I give you the power of the Internet. Each week you will be asked to make a post on the Thirteen Reasons Thoughts and Reflections website at 13reasons.happykidsschool.com.tw. Your posts should share some of your reactions, reflections, and thoughts on the reading for the week. There you can asks questions and make connections to your own experiences. 

Another part of this assignment is to leave comments on the posts of at least three of your classmates. Think of this as a discussion, but one that takes place online and one where you do not have to say things to each other's faces. I only ask that you try your best ad be respectful of each other's feelings and thoughts. There will be no bullying on this website. It is a safe place for all, no different from my classroom. 

Teen Issues Jigsaw Activity

posted Mar 20, 2015, 12:48 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Mar 20, 2015, 12:51 AM ]

A jigsaw activity is where different groups of students learn about a small part of a big topic and then share what they learn with rest of the class. In this case, you will be learning about some major issues that come up in our novel. Many of these issues are at the center of our novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, and to better understand it, we are about to learn about these issues.

You will work with a group to complete this assignment. The assignment is to learn about one of the jigsaw topics (bullying, depression, suicide, and sexual harassment/assault) and then prepare a presentation or lesson that teaches the class about it. You can read more about the assignment in the document below. I am looking forward to all of your awesome presentations and learning a lot.

Finishing up Forbidden City

posted Mar 6, 2015, 8:14 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Mar 6, 2015, 8:14 AM ]

We have just two weeks left in your Forbidden City unit. The readings from the last few weeks has taken through the climax, the brutal crackdown by the CCP at the hands of the PLA and Alex's struggle to survive. We will be working on the following in the coming two weeks.

Reading Quiz
In class on March 7, we will be taking this class. It is available online, so if you miss class, please open the it up here and take it when you have a chance.

Tank Man
We will spend a some time watching the footage of the "Tank Man" who rose to be a powerful symbol of resistance after the military crackdown. We will be discussing the moment and writing a reflection about it. Take some time to watch the footage. If you are not moved by this man's actions, you have no emotion.

Novel Discussion
We will be discussing the last part of the book both weeks. Please finish reading and come prepared to participate in the discussion. You can find the discussion questions here.

Final Assignment: Survivor's Tale
You have now finished reading Forbidden City. You know about the protests, the people involved, the city, and are familiar with the story of one fictitious survivor. Now it is time to role play. For this assignment, you will pretend you have just survived the night of June 4, 1989 in Beijing, and you are now sharing your tale with the world. Learn more below or open the assignment here.

Design a Monument to Democracy and Freedom

posted Jan 23, 2015, 4:47 PM by Jason Brunken

In this assignment, you will role play with your team that you have been tasked with creating a symbol for democracy and freedom. All over the world, people have found ways to build embodiments of their hard-won freedoms. In the US, there is the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell. The Tiananmen Square protesters had the Goddess of Democracy. Protesters in Taipei last year used sunflowers to symbolize their push for more power to the people. Read the scenario below and then begin work on the tasks listed after to complete this assignment.

For two weeks now, people from all over the city of Taipei have occupied the plaza in front of the Presidential Office Building. This space was once the avenue where then military dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) used to parade the military (his source of power) in front of the people. Now, people are furious at their democratically elected president for pushing through laws that limit freedoms of speech, assembly, and the press. Some even fear the President, with the help of the legislature controlled by his party, will begin taking away the people’s right to vote before the next election. 

In the past few days, the energy of the protests has nearly faded away. Protest leaders are worried the protests will fail if more people can’t be inspired to join the movement. Looking at history, they have decided that a symbol is needed to give people something to focus on. They have asked famous designers like you to create such a monument. It should an attractive structure that can be built to face the President’s Office. It should be instantly recognizable as an embodiment of the ideals of the protest: Democracy and freedom are sacred!


Research symbols of freedom
Take a minute to look through the slideshow below that shows some famous monuments to freedom and other symbols of freedom and democracy around the world. You can also do your own research.

Design your monument
With your group, think of a design for a monument that you think would work well in this situation. Then use one of the following options to create a sketch or model of your design to present to the protest leaders.

Justify your design
You will need to prepare a written justification of your design to the protest leaders as well. This is a typed statement that explains your design and the choices you made when designing it. For example: Why did you choose the color red? What does it symbolize? 

It is highly recommended that some group members work on this justification while others build the model.

Present your design
After you have finished your model and justification, you are ready to present your design to the protest leaders. This will be a short presentation where you unveil your design and explain it. You are trying to sell it as the symbol for the movement. Remember the award if your design is selected.

Happy building!

Letter of Complaint Assignment

posted Jan 17, 2015, 8:16 AM by Jason Brunken

One privilege that we often take for granted is that we are free to complain to our leaders without fear of reprisal. The student protesters in China in 1989 did not have that freedom. There was no outlet for them to communicate their complaints to their leaders. Protest and demonstration where the only tools they had.

The freedom to speak and complain to your leaders is a right not everyone in the world has. Cherish it and take advantage of it when you can. This week's assignment teachers you one way to communicate your concerns and complaints to your leaders: a letter of complaint to the president or mayor. Yes, you should think of something you are unhappy about with the country or the city and write a formal letter in proper block format to either President Ma or Mayor Ko telling them about the problem and offer some suggestions for fixing it.

Read more about this assignment below and follow the links in the document to get resources on how to write this letter.

Getting to Know Beijing

posted Jan 9, 2015, 5:28 PM by Jason Brunken

When you begin reading any novel, it is important to get to know the setting. This is especially true with historical fiction novels. Forbidden City takes place in the center of Beijing, China in 1989. To get a good understanding for the issues of this time period and how they affect what happens in the novel, you should view the videos posted earlier.

Much of Forbidden City shows our main character, Alex, travelling about and around the city. It can be difficult to envision his travels without taking a closer look at the place itself. We will do this with two assignments. 

First we will learn to use Hanyu Pinyin, the romanization system for Chinese used in both Taiwan and China (though Taiwan uses about 4 different systems). Romanization of a language means using the Latin (or Roman) alphabet to write languages that do not us the the standard alphabet (like Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, etc.) Review this packet that compares pinyin to standard Taiwanese Zhuyin Fuhao (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ). When you are finished, complete the worksheet and turn it in for points.

The final activity we worked is a 3 part map assignment for Beijing. This will be used using Google's Maps Engine. Follow the instructions on the sheet below to get started. This is a group activity, so check first to see if you already have a group to work with.

Instructions for Beijing Map Assignment

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