This will be our last month reading Edward O. Wilson’s Letters to a Young Scientist. This book has proved a very fertile ground for developing our own ideas about ourselves, our future careers, and the end of the book also gave us a great opportunity to talk about ethics and morality, and to explore cases where ethics and morality can sometimes come into conflict. I remain very impressed by these excellent students and their outstanding work.


In our periodical class, we spent several weeks reading about Taiwan’s election. Before the election took place, we read quite a bit about what challenges the candidates faced and the electoral landscape and how it has changed in recent months. We talked about the Chou Zi-Yu scandal and how it may have affected the outcome of the election. We also discussed the results of the election and read an article from The Economist talking about problems that Taiwan and its new government may face in the coming years. I know this is an important topic for the students and that the most important element in a successful democracy is an engaged citizenry. The students also had a chance to interview a family member about their electoral choices, which gave them a jumping-off point for a very interesting discussion.


After spending a little time last month working on writing good settings, I felt that the students needed some extra practice with this skill, so this month again we have been working on strong descriptions of settings and incorporating settings into our writing. We wrote another personal narrative with setting and also one fictional story. We have also been working on writing book reports, which is an important foundational research skill that we will continue working with into the month of February as well.


Great job, Level 9 students, and happy new year!