Welcome to the 2014-2015 School Year! To start off in the blogsphere I your Writing Whisperer am bringing back one of the very first articles that I wrote here at the school about the Mid-Autumn Festival, enjoy!
This Monday September 8th, is the full moon and the brightest moon you will see in the whole year. Many call it the “Harvest Moon” as it appears in autumn, the season for the harvest. Going back a bit, people used to call “fall” or “autumn” simply the “Harvest” as it’s the time of year when all of the grains and crops in the fields are taken in. People around this time of year have for centuries honored the abundance of the season with special offerings and prayers to nature. Many still do it even today. So let’s hop in the autumn hay wagon and head on over to see a real harvest event in action – the Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival. You may even know about this festival if your family celebrates it.
Mid-Autumn Festival in Hangzhou, China
In several countries across Asia, including Korea, Vietnam and predominantly China (the latter a place your Whisperer has traveled to!) people celebrate a unique harvest festival known in Chinese as (Zhong Qiu Jie), the Mid-Autumn Festival. Its so much a part of Chinese culture that it’s a national holiday! Similar to our American Thanksgiving, families get together and enjoy a specially prepared meal in their home or go out to eat with others close to them. Most people bring a treat which has come to be a symbol for the day – the mooncake. These little auburn pastries are circular in shape to represent the full moon that the festival falls upon and is the reason why people also call today the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival. Inside you will find egg yolks, nuts or pastes made of ground-up lotus plants or red beans. People also light lanterns and watch performances of traditional lion and dragon dances.
This harvest get-together has lost much of its historic agricultural roots but the moon remains an important part of the occasion. An old Chinese legend relates how Chang ’E, the young wife of an immortal, saves her husband’s life by taking an elixir of immortality. She is then magically transported to the moon where she remains to this day as its resident deity. Unlike Artemis, Diana or other moon deities, she actually “lives” on the moon instead of symbolically personifying it. She is not alone and is joined by a benevolent rabbit who if you look closely appears to be pounding a meal from a large pot (his head is the right eye of the man in the moon!).
The rabbit in the moon’s story comes from India where on earth he was one of the kindest and wisest of creatures. One of the head gods decided to test this rabbit and so disguised himself as a traveling peddler. When he approached the rabbit’s friends they all offered gifts to feed the peddler. As the rabbit had nothing to give he instead offered himself up as a sacrifice and almost burns himself on a funeral pyre. The god then realized the pure and benevolent spirit of this little rabbit and saved him from death and revealed his true heavenly form. To teach the world an example, he raised the rabbit to the moon to forever be its guardian spirit!
So as the summer heat dies down and autumn coolness comes back, look out at the shining full moon and say a little hello to the rabbit and his goddess friend in honor of the harvest. If you can try some moon cakes in our local market that sells Asian specialties such as 99 Ranch Market.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival Everyone!
Stay tuned for more blogs for the rest of the school year! Tell your friends about us and like us on Facebook and post on Twitter!
Hi Everyone, the Whisperer is back from a long hibernation period and ready to bring you exciting news, helpful educational information and brief holiday histories (I know, no New Year’s through Easter blogs) for your enjoyment and learning! We are definitely ready for more spring and upcoming summer activities but in the meantime check out what we at Areteem have been busy with the past few months:
Beyond our concentration in mathematics and science programs we have been reaching out to various education organizations as well as becoming members of them. Part of our involvement with these groups has entailed attendance at their yearly events.
Our School Booth at the World Journal education fair held at the Irvine Chinese School in April
In January we participated in the Fourth Annual Preschool-12th Grade Fair on January 5th at the Irvine Marriott Hotel held by the OCPSA (the Orange County Private School Association) for private schools in Orange County. At events like these we usually bring along our booth and talk with families about our programs such as the onsite and online classes, our summer camps and any other activities that we are currently doing. We were able to meet with many families at this popular event as well as talk to other administrators representing a variety of private education institutions across Orange County.
Other organizations that Areteem is proud to be a part of are the California Association for the Gifted (CAG)and the National Association for the Gifted (NAGC), both of which help gifted students as well as supply resources to inform educators and parents how to best benefit and provide for advanced students in the academic world. Our school sent representatives from our administration team, including yours truly, to network with schools and gifted groups at the CAG’s 61st Annual Conference in February. It was a fun three day event as we were able to attend different lectures by educators to learn more information about what is “in the know” with gifted education. It was held at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel, right across from Disneyland, and it was quite a warm season then for us!
Outside the entrance to the CAG conference in February
All throughout the rest of February and early March we were happy to have sent out many scholarship certificates to students participating in both local and regional MathCounts competitions all across the USA. Math Counts is one of the many competitions that our students participate in as our classes have helped students to better compete in these competitions (please refer to our website for more details about the individual competitions). We want to wish congratulations to all of those students who received a certificate from Areteem Institute!
In April we were involved in two big events to help spread news of our school! On April 12th, we attended the Irvine Chinese School close by our Irvine office location for an education fair hosted by the Chinese language daily newspaper, the World Journal. This event allows Chinese-speaking families in Orange County to come and learn more about how to better prepare their students for college and what programs can help them to achieve this goal. At this event we demonstrated how our online classes work by showing families video recordings of some of our math classes taught by our academic director Dr. Kevin Wang.
Recently on April 26th we were proud to sponsor the first STEM Festival (for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at the LA Math Field Day at Glendale High School, bringing together students from fourth to eighth grade across Los Angeles county schools to compete against each other in a morning full of challenging competitions! After the students had completed their last round of competitions we were asked to arrange a series of activities for each grade level that pertained to the STEM subjects.
Saifur’s Video Game Design Class with the Sixth Grade Students
We invited many participants to come join us including Bob Barboza who engaged the fourth graders with a sound display where students created music just by moving their hands across the surface of a machine without touching it! The six graders were treated to back-to-back sessions with Saifur Rahman, one of our school’s technology teachers, giving students an introduction to video game design on mini computers (see picture above) and our director Kelly Ren leading students through a series of mental math challenge games. The seventh and eighth grade students were involved in some engineering work when they had to create their own unique paper airplanes by using different materials, a lesson conducted by the education outreach of the Casio company.
By far the “best of show” at the STEM Festival was Chef Mauro Rossi who brought along his colleagues and student cooks from The Art Institute’s North Hollywood campus for some cooking experiments. This institution allows its students to master the visual and culinary arts, amongst other areas of interest. Mr. Rossi and one of his colleagues led students through a series of science-focused activities where in one classroom they had to mix different liquids and substances together to create edible food while in another classroom students had to taste-test tea and coffee and access the quality, color and content of both. The students ended up having a blast and were able to take home a few worksheets and edible concoctions! We were so lucky to have such talented people show off their stuff before the different grade levels. At the end of the event we handed out trophies and Areteem backpacks too students in attendance, what an exciting day it was!
Chef Mauro Rossi of The Art Institute and the Fifth Grade students experimenting with FOOD!
We are continuing this rush of enthusiasm as we will also be part of the OC Math Field Day hosted by the OC Math Council that is coming up on Saturday, May 17th at Capistrano Valley High School. We will be participating in a number of activities as guest judges as well as be present to answer any questions that people may have about our school and its programs. We plan on giving out goodie bags to all students present at these day long competitions so we hope to see many people, including maybe some of you, there!
This summer we are radiating with so much activity from our college residential summer camps, our onsite weeklong summer camps in Irvine and around OC as well as our summer online classes, you should check out both of the websites for Areteem and Math Zoom for more details!
Thanks everyone and look for more up-to-date information from the Writing Whisperer here at Areteem Institute!
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1/16/13
ARETEEM INSTITUTE PARTNERS WITH IDISCOVER
Irvine, CA. Areteem Institute and it’s Math Zoom program are hosting a group of Master Trainer teachers from the Saudi Arabian Kingdom. January 8th, 2014, 18 Master Trainers arrived in Irvine to receive training from Areteem Institute through the IDiscover program.
Kelly Ren, who is a Director at Areteem Institute explained the IDiscover program. “IDiscover is a Saudi Arabian Government project started by Saudi Aramco and administered by the Saudi Department of Education. From my understanding, Saudi Aramco as part of the Government wants to give back to the society. The Department of Education has done a lot of great work to improve the math, science and technology in the Kingdom, and we are happy to be a part of that effort.”
According to a release by Saudi Aramco, the IDiscover program: “The most important goal of the initiative is to reach out to 2 million youths by 2020 and transform the Kingdom into a knowledge-based and creative society.” The release explained the scope and approach of the program. “In its initial stage, the program plans to offer 250,000 learning hours for 2,000 students and 1,000 teachers in five cities throughout the Kingdom, including Hayil, Jiddah, Yanbu’, Jazan and al-Hasa. Program instructors will conduct 100 school workshops over the next 10 years in various cities.”
For this particular partnership, Areteem Institute designed an assessment test that was given to school math teachers across the Saudi Arabian Kingdom, and the highest performing teachers were selected by Areteem Professors to become Master Trainers. Those Master Trainers travel to the United States for their own training. Once completed they will perform their own training to their fellow math instructors.
Kelly Ren shared more on the partnership process. “IDiscover heard about Areteem Institute from their resources, and knew that we had a good reputation for this. They had requested a proposal from three major math organizations in the United States, and they chose us. I think for a few reasons. One is, we have been providing the quality education that they are looking for. The other is that the level of materials we have were easily adapted to fit the needs of these teachers, and their students. We have a wide range of content that was very useful.”
Areteem Institute continues to provide quality education to students and teachers from within the United States, and across the World, and is honored to be a part of such an important initiative for the Saudi Arabian people.
Areteem Institute Twitter
Hello Everyone (including our Areteem Students!),
Get ready for Areteem Institute’s upcoming annual Online Math Competition this weekend! All middle school and high school students are welcome to compete with each other. We are hoping for a big crowd of students from the United States and abroad so come join the fun!
The Online Math Competition will be held all day on Saturday December 11ththrough Sunday December 12th. A variety of math subjects will be tested including number theory, algebra and geometry.
The deadline is coming up tomorrow! You can still register with us online at: http://areteem.org/omc/. We will then send you an online link to access this weekend in order to take the math competition with all of the problems that you need to solve included.
If you have any further questions about the online competition, feel free to call us today at:
We wish you all the best of luck!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out our Areteem blog for more gifted resources, upcoming news, events, competitions, interviews as well as words of wisdom and holiday knowledge from the Whisperer!
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Hello Students, it’s your neighborly friendly Whisperer again from Areteem Institute! I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving Day break. The holidays are now upon us and it’s a good time to think back and reflect on the previous year, including looking at some of the achievements of our students.
In the fall, we had the pleasure of interviewing a very bright sprig of a youth named Anthony Ding. Anthony is in middle school and has been attending classes with us over the past year. He is quite active, having competed in many mathematics competitions, plays sports and musical instruments, loves math and science and even enjoys writing on occasion! We decided to spend a little time to talk with him about his accomplishments and asked him to offer some helpful advice to his peers.
An interview was conducted between Anthony and Areteem Institute’s Student Advisor, who had much to say about Anthony:
“He is a spark plug. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s obviously very intelligent and has a lot to say about everything. This student is definitely a go-getter and loves to explore. He loves Physics. From my conversations with him, I can say he is a well-rounded interview.”
Enjoy the intimate interview that follows. I think we can learn a lot from this bright young man.
Student Advisor: What sort of preparation did you do before competing in MathCounts?
Anthony: Well, I basically relied on the AOPS books, which is helpful. I did a lot of practice and relied on Dr. Wang’s classes. Although Dr. Wang’s classes are AIME level, they help with MathCounts. They also helped with my Math skills.
Student Advisor: How was your experience in MathCounts and what other Math competitions are you planning to participate this school year?
Anthony: MathCounts was great. It’s a great place where I got to communicate with other people who enjoyed math. I got to compare answers with other students, see what each one of us did, which really helped too. Even after the competition, I built relationships with them. We ate lunch and had fun together. I even got to meet kids from other schools, cities, and make friends with people I’ve never known before like the south Bay Area. My friends come from everywhere now.
Student Advisor: Are you participating in AMC 8? How are you preparing for it?
Anthony: I just want to keeping on learning new material. Learning new material is more helpful. I practice certain times and currently learning with Dr. Wang’s guidance.
Student Advisor: How did your school, friends and parents react to your MathCounts achievement?
Anthony: My school is okay with it. I worked hard for it. My friends and family were shocked. They didn’t expect it. Now, they believe that anything is possible if you work hard. I got in State and later worked hard to try to get into Nationals. I see students better than me before but now I know if I work hard everything is possible. Learning and working hard is more important than being smart.
Student Advisor: What’s the best thing about the online classes you’ve been taking with us for so long? What do you love about it? Who is your favorite instructor and why?
Anthony: Dr. Wang’s consideration for the thinking process. Other classes always generally think about the answers other than the process. Dr. Wang always says in his classes, “I don’t care about the answers, what’s important is the process”. The classes really helped develop my thinking process, even in our homework. He cares more about how you write the whole solution rather than the answers. I’m happy I came across a teacher who cares.
Student Advisor: What are your Extra-curricular activities?
Anthony: I am part of the Science School Team. We participate in competitions and right now we are trying to get to Nationals. The competition is part of the Department of Energy. The competition has all subjects of Science like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, General Science, Energy, etc. For the National Science poll, our team has been practicing really hard. Regionals will happen in March. Last year our team did it and we did good. I am confident that we are getting much better this year.
Student Advisor: What do you prefer? Math or Science?
Anthony: Both. Math and Science are very different though they may seem related. Math is more of developing interest for the problems. When I solve a problem, I feel like I learn much more. Science is good but it’s more about experiments rather than figuring out a problem. Science brings out your creativity. In Science, there are so many fields to explore and you just keep on finding out what’s out there. Math is the same in a way. I really like both. Can’t say which one I like more. I do love Physics, which is a combination of Science and Math.
Student Advisor: What organizations are you part of?
Anthony: I’m part of the school band. Our school band is very good and it’s the top in the nation in the middle school division. I play the trumpet. I’ve been playing trumpet for 3 – 4 years. I also play the piano.
Student Advisor: Is there a relationship between students who play piano and students who are good in Math? Do you agree that pianists are great Mathematicians?
Anthony: It’s often said that kids who are good in piano are good in math. I can say there is a direct correlation between the two and there are similarities. Each note is a rhythm. In piano, you have two hands and you look at the notes, the staff, at the same time. You have to think about the steps. You have to be alert not to miss a note. Same thing goes in Math. You have to think about the process and you have to be alert not to miss a step. Piano is very youthful and makes you more imaginative. You have to use your brain, you have to think. I can say it also helps math. Math allows you to think outside of the box. Math allows you to think about how to solve problems that you think you don’t know how to solve. If you don’t play piano but still good at math that’s great! I encourage kids who don’t play piano to delve a little deeper in mathematics and see what they find.
Student Advisor: Can you tell me some of your recent and current accomplishments at school?
Anthony: In Math when I was in 6th grade, I qualified for AIME. During my 1st AMC 10 competition, I got 84 which is a bad score. I worked really hard and got 126 on the second. For us, that’s a big deal. I represented how hard I worked for months.
Student Advisor: How did you react when you got a not-so favorable score?
Anthony: I really felt down to be honest. But that just made me work harder. I obviously made some mistakes but I worked on getting rid of those mistakes. It was a good learning experience. What’s important is, I now know how and what areas to fix.
Student Advisor: What change did you make since then?
Anthony: It’s basically careless mistakes. I often go too fast and not check out all my stats. I often skip over something and made mistakes on that. Dr. Wang’s class really helped. As I’ve mentioned, the thinking process he taught us really helped mend my careless mistakes. It’s just the way he makes us think about the solution that made a big difference.
Student Advisor: What university do you want to attend and what major do you want to take? What profession do you want to pursue?
Anthony: I haven’t really thought about it that much. But I like Stanford. It’s close. They have a really good campus. I took a course with them before. I was also there during the Math League competition. While I was there, I could see a lot of people that were creative. A lot of great leaders came from Stanford. As for the major, I don’t know yet, but I prefer something in Computer Science or Physics. These are very interesting topics. There is too much to learn and too much to think about. Also, my dad’s major is Physics. My dad is smiling right now. I don’t want to follow in his footsteps, I want to learn from him but not be like him. As for a profession, I want something related to a Computer Science field or be like a leader in some business.
Student Advisor: Since you mentioned about being a leader in some business, have you ever thought about being an entrepreneur?
Anthony: Yes. You see, I’m in the debate team. I like debate a lot. I like to debate about things. I like to know other people’s viewpoints. Entrepreneurship is a lot of that. Being an entrepreneur is being able to see what other people have to say, like listen to your employees or feedback from customers. A great leader listens to people. If I start a business, I want to be the type of boss that listens to what his employees have to say. A good leader doesn’t just follow himself. He must be open to what other people say.
Student Advisor: What are your aspirations for the future?
Anthony: I want to explore a lot of things that haven’t been explored right now. I feel that’s very interesting. I’m not talking about just physically exploring but also mentally. For example in Math, I want to explore math problems, complex problems. I want to explore a lot of things and I want to be creative. I want to be in a field where I feel confident and would allow me to think about things. Think about WHY. Explore what everything is about. It’s more of a scientific thing when you want to do more. But I know I want to be good in the field I’m in and I want to keep on making discoveries. Discoveries also help the good and humankind.
Student Advisor: What’s a normal day for Anthony Ding?
Anthony: I get up really early to go to band practice. After school, I finish my homework as quick as possible. Then I do extra-curricular activities. As you know I’m engaged in a lot of extra-curricular activities. I play tennis which is my favorite sport. I also enjoy writing. There are times when a single teacher gives out lots of assignments in one day. Sometimes it’s difficult to manage but you have to have focus.
Student Advisor: What type of writing do you do?
Anthony: I love novel writing. Stories. I like making my own stories. Shorts stories, books, etc.
Student Advisor: Have you entered any writing competitions?
Anthony: I believe pouring my thoughts in writing is better than experiencing any competitions. My stories have been published in our school paper. Writing is more of a hobby for me.
Student Advisor: What is your advice for kids who wish to succeed in Math competitions?
Anthony: This may sound very cliché, but believe in yourself and work hard. Don’t think you can get and do better because you’re smart. You have to work for it. You have to feel confident. Believe that you can do this. If you ask yourself if you can qualify for AIME and you say yes, then that propels you to do it.
Thanks everyone! Tune in next time for some more information on education and some upcoming holiday writings!