January 15 -19

Welcome to the official halfway point of the year. Can you believe your child is half way through completing Grade 5? I am missing them already!

As we are deconstructing our new unit of inquiry, Governance, students investigate the roles and responsibilities of a leader and governance in their own country. Through this research they were asked to make a connection to one of the forms of governance we experienced last week. From here we’ll look more closely at the connections between their respective governments and also to Vietnam. You are the best resource for your son or daughter about your home country and how it works. You can help by continuing these conversations at home.

Fifth graders are expected to know their multiplication and division combinations. This week we paid greater attention to these facts as we saw how they can help us in fractions and in more complicated problems. We are working toward automaticity while still ensuring true understanding of what these facts and figures mean. We continue to look at fractions. The focus now is adding and subtracting with the aim being students should walk away with a clear understanding of dos and don’ts as generated by them.

Digging deeper into what makes an effective discussion, students had a chance to compare arguments around a range of topics. They looked at sample texts and will build up on what was presented as a one sided argument in last week’s assembly. They are beginning to see that the is text type is not merely one sided but considers multiple points of view before stating their own opinion.

Week 19 January 8 -12

Monarchy, anarchy, dictatorship or democracy, which do you prefer?

It has been an interesting start back after a well deserved break. We spent the week delving into forms of governance showcasing one type each day. This provocation had students stunned into silence, bowing for royalty, revolting, organising elections and debating the merits of each. Our goal is to start with a unit that will have students thinking, asking questions and wanting to know more. I would say that these four days have definitely done that for your children and their teachers too. I look forward to see where the unit will lead us. Have a look on your child’s blog to see their thoughts on each form of governance.

In literacy we spent time reflecting on the new year and writing our own “less of”, “more of” statements for what we would like to see from this year. The students were also exposed to a new text type, a discussion. They were asked to use their knowledge on energy sources or on family structures and discuss their preferences. We will use this initial exposure to develop teaching points for the next few weeks in writing.

We continue to explore fractions and consolidate our understanding of their values and equivalence. We will extend this into addition and subtraction of fractions next week.

Hoping you all had a wonderful break. We are happy to be right back into it…despite the cold!

Week 18 – December 11 – 15

Energy Shark Tank, Fractions, Information Reports, Holidays – What do all these have in common? They are on all our minds!

Fifth graders have worked really hard this quarter discovering how we use our understanding of scientific principles to impact our world. On Tuesday, we had a glimpse of how well students were developing an understanding, when groups of students who investigated into best energy sources for Europe presented their findings at our ‘Shark Tank’ event. There is no doubt that all other groups are looking forward to pitching their stance to a panel of judges, the Sharks, tomorrow morning. Think about your home country and/or Vietnam, what energy source would you choose?

We continue to engage in understanding fractions. This was done through games both online and with a partner and showcasing our knowledge in an assessment task. It is interesting to see the many tools students use to help them showcase their fraction knowledge. Bo on the lookout for fractions during our Winter Break and engage with your child about what they are representing.

We worked as both readers and writers this week as we presented and assessed information reports on energy sources.  It is amazing to see how our knowledge has grown but also how we are more clearly able to structure our understandings into an information report.

Congratulations to all those who tried out for Wizard of Oz. We are so proud of all your efforts.
First day back is January 8th.
And finally we welcomed Joe to our class this week, this brings us to 22 students! 5C was very welcoming and it has been a pleasure to get to know Joe this week. He is definitely a great addition to 5C.

The holidays are here! A time to spend quality family and friend time, reinvigorate, reflect, and relax. Have a safe and restful break. We will see you soon!

Week 17 – December 4 -8

$17, 707!  That was the grand total raised during the Blue Dragon Walk a Thon. Well done to all who donated and walked on the day. And a special congratulations to all our Blue Dragon Ambassadors. We are so proud of what you have accomplished.

Preparations are underway for the Shark Tank next Friday December 15. The students are representing an energy source and promoting its use for a specific region or country. We are on lockdown as students are gathering information, forming their arguments and preparing their presentations. This effort will be supported by creating a representation of this energy source during Maker Day on Friday.

We have completed our information reports, looking back over the criterion and sharing our knowledge out with others. The students have also ensured they have properly cited their sources and images. A great effort, which will soon be available for you to view on blogs.

We continue to explore fractions. The students have looked at a variety of ways to represent fractions and also looked to find fractions in real life. This may lead to some culinary delights! Please share with your children when you see and use fractions daily. We are now comparing fractions with unlike denominators and exploring equivalence.

With a week to go before Winter Break I want to wish you a wonderful holiday and thank you for sending your children to school full of enthusiasm and kindness for each other.

Open Classrooms

Thanks again for your support last week.  For those of you who were part of our 3 Act Math tasks on Friday, you will find the solution below.  We explored a number of different ways we ended up at the same answer and modeled it below.

Watch here to see the progression on how students learn fractions, it helps to know all the steps they are taking to arrive at a true understanding of the what and most importantly the why.

Please keep asking them why:)



Week 16 – November 27 – December 30

Did you know that UNIS uses 13,000 kilowatts of electricity every day?
Thanks to a visit from our Senior Operations Officer we were able to learn more about our own energy usage and next steps for UNIS.

The focus this week was around energy and its sources. The students have been investigating energy sources and crafting their new knowledge into information reports they are co constructing in groups.  This involves research skills, paraphrasing and negotiating about importance of the information. These reports will help fuel our knowledge as we approach our summative assessment.

We also met in continent groups to begin to research energy usage in our world.  Many of you witnessed this first step in Open Classrooms on Thursday. The initial step was to investigate a continent and from there we will move to allocating an energy source. The students will then work in groups to present their energy source to a panel of “sharks’, Shark Tank style, competing with other groups in their continent. This will continue to develop into a design challenge, backed by research. Watch this blog for your official invitation to our Energy Shark Tank on Friday December 15.

In Math, we continue to explore fractions. Our initial investigation, as displayed on our blogs, has migrated into looking at the values of fractions. One way to do this is by placing fractions on a number line and justifying their location. Tomorrow we will apply this knowledge to a real world problem as we work through a 3 Act Math Task in Open Classrooms.

Thank you for coming by and witnessing your child in their own environment as they grow in their inquiry. 

Another opportunity to engage: ask your son or daughter about Billions in Change or watch it together. See what a difference innovation can make when working to bring energy, water and health to all.

Week 14 Nov 21 – 24

Another great week of learning in 5C!

We have delved into our new unit of inquiry focused on the consumption of electricity. This exploration was done two fold, by beginning a design challenge to make something using electricity and finding information to complete a class generated ABCs of Electricity. We are now ready to look more closely at the sources of electricity.

Next week we will begin our summative assessment which will combine research and design related to electricity. This will culminate in a small group presentation. Please advise if your son or daughter will be absent on the last Friday before Winter Break so they too can be assessed on this assignment.

To balance our unit of inquiry we are investigating information reports. We are focusing on the structure of the text and how to make our introductions showcase the elements of the topic. In reading we are also looking at reading nonfiction texts. We have begun our book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Ask your son or daughter about magical life in Malawi.

We have deepened our problem solving strategies by looking at multiple ways to solve problems and how to model problem s on new ways. We now are exploring fractions and what they represent in different situations.

We welcome you next week to Open Classrooms.
Please click here for information on the day in more detail.
These are the times your child will be welcoming you to experience their learning.

Week 12 – November 6 – 10

Blue Dragon Walk-A-Thon
Thanks to our class parent and especially to our Blue Dragon Ambassadors for making the Walk-A-Thon memorable and reflective of our school’s values; Learning, Community, and Responsibility. From what we learned about children supported by Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, fifth graders partook in an activity, putting themselves in the shoes of a homeless child. Their task was to find a safe and secure place on the school grounds to hide from ‘authority’ as being homeless is illegal in Vietnam. The aim was to further develop empathy, an ability to understand and share how these children might be feeling in order to help break the cycle of poverty.

We began a new unit; How the World Works with a focus on electricity.  This began on UN Day as we acknowledge how lucky we are to have access to energy and looked at country usage of electricity per capita. Have a look at our display outside 5A and 5B.This week we sparked student interest with a hands-on activity to introduce our unit on electricity. Students were introduced to the idea of circuits (power, inputs and outputs) and are learning to play like scientists, using the scientific method to ask questions, form hypotheses, experiment and draw conclusions.

We carried over our brainstorm from last week and looked carefully at an artifact important to us. We then wrote a piece from the perspective of that artifact. Some chose stories, letters and riddles. The focus was being very selective about vocabulary.

We also looked back over our collection of writing and have chosen a piece to revise and edit more thoroughly to publish.

In Math we continue to uncover decimal fractions. We are much better at correctly naming decimals and fractions, understanding their connection and reporting out findings. As a class we completed a 3 Act Task where we were asked to pose questions and share what we noticed. From there we looked for missing pieces of information and solved.  Ask your son or daughter how much it costs for 9.52 gallons of gas/petrol. In number talks we are solidifying our understanding and use of strategies like making 10, 100, 1000 and landmark numbers.

Thank you again for your support on UN Day and for the Walk a Thon.

Teacher Professional Development Days: Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th of November. No school for students.
Collecting ‘Blue Dragon Walk-a-thon’ Money collection deadline is 22nd November. Please ensure your child gives their money to their teacher along with their forms.

Week 11 October 30 – November 3

UN Day Celebrations are here this Friday starting at 10:15am. This is one of our school’s highlights of the year and we are looking forward to sharing this event with you and your family. Student’s have been hard at work practicing singing, and for a large group of students, practicing carrying and waving flags. After the ceremony we will enjoy sharing a meal with you and your children.


We were able to reflect on our journey into migration and the stories we shared at the end. I know the students were proud of their efforts, as was I. It is evident they understand how migration can lead to change, the causes of migration and the different perspectives surrounding the issue of migration. We delved back into identity, looking at cultural items and their importance to us.  Look for their visual representations on UN Day.

We revisited narrative writing. The students completed a post assessment. It is amazing to see how much they have grown as writers and their command of the elements of a narrative.

We also looked at perspective and how different forms of writing can come from the perspective of an object. We will carry this over into next week as we write from that perspective.


We spent 2 and 3 tenths (or was it 56 hundreths?) of a day looking at decimals.  We timed ourselves in various challenges and reported out our decimal findings. We also attempted to break our day, represented by 100 squares, into what decimal fraction we spend doing certain activities. No easy task. We will analyse this data next week.

Please support your son or daughter in our Walk A Thon next week.  It will raise money for Blue Dragon of Hanoi.

Early release on Friday November 3rd after UN lunch