April 16 – 20

Next week is the long awaited PYPX. The following is the schedule for the two day event.

Tuesday 24th of April Schedule
Students arrive at school at the standard time. They will finish setting up for the presentations (which they started the day prior) and attend any specialty classes up until 12:30 pm. This is when the first visiting schools begin to arrive. G5 students are presenting the PYPX process and then station themselves at their exhibits until 3:20 pm. There will be a short 15-minute break between 1:45 and 2:10. Students will travel home as per normal travel arrangements.

Wednesday is a public holiday, no school

Thursday 26th of April Schedule
Students arrive at school at the standard time and attend the normal school assembly. At 9:10 am students greet the first round of guests. Students continue with their exhibits until 2:55 pm. Normal lunch and break times are observed over the course of the day.

Thursday 26th of April – Parent and Guest Evening Schedule
Students are required to be at school by 5:30 pm to tend to their exhibits and prep for the parent presentation which starts at 6:00 pm. The presentation will take approximately 20 mins. Students will then return to their exhibits and explain their PYPX journey and learning, to parents and a variety of other guests.

At  7:15 pm students will return to the theatre to sing their closing song and listen to the closing statements from their PYP coordinator, Ms Angela Meikle. The event should be finished by 7:30 pm.

April 9 -13

We’ve come back after the break to a flexible schedule where students have more group time and agency to select specialists based on their Exhibition projects. In working towards our presentation deadlines, students are writing songs, making models, creating games in PE, baking, building, creating and owning their learning.

As homeroom teachers we have been supporting the students to form pathways linked to their passions and to highlight their knowledge and understanding. We, like you, are just as excited to see where their creativity takes the groups.

With only nine PYPX days left, all groups are working on finalising research, working on making an interactive and dynamic presentation space and solidifying action.

We invite you to come and watch the students at work next Wednesday, as they continue this process. The children will be in their PYPX groups and coordinating classrooms all day, so check with your child to ensure you know their location on the day. Please note there are no student-led conferences for grade 5 this Wednesday and an email from Megan Brazil has been sent to confirm this arrangement.

In Math we finalised our investigation on chance and data, recognising that chances can be written as fractions. Try the Beanboozled challenge at home, if you dare!  We have moved into exploring division and the many ways it can be represented.  Try solving a division question at home. Come up with as many possible ways as you can to show your thinking.

In Literacy we are completing Literature Circles and writing responses.  We will combine the two and write a response to the book we have read. A response is a combination of retelling and judgement.

Read Below for Some Messages from Our Community:

Dear Parents,

We are one of the Grade 5 PYP Exhibition groups called ‘Plastic Ocean’s’. We are screening a documentary called, ‘A Plastic Ocean’, directed by Craig Leeson and Produced by Jo Ruxton and Adam Leipzig.

A Plastic Ocean documents the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particles that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us.

Plastic pollution isn’t new. But awareness of just how catastrophic it is for the environment has grown in recent years – especially its impact on the oceans. It may be second only to global warming as a threat to the health of the seas.

Here in Vietnam, we’ve seen very little action. And that’s despite the fact that Vietnam has been identified as one of five countries responsible for more than 60% of the world’s plastic pollution.

We want to invite you to attend the screening at UNIS, on the 17th of April, at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, to learn and explore ways you can make a difference. A ticket costs 50,000 VND, Feel free to watch this short video to show you why you should attend this screening.

The ticket proceeds will go towards covering the costs of the screening fee, advertising and 100% of the remainder will go towards the ‘Plastic Pollution Coalition’, which is a project of Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, organized and existing under the laws of California (Federal Tax ID #94-2889684), located at: 2150 Allston Way, Suite 460, Berkeley, CA 94704.

With many thanks from us, a group of 10 & 11 year olds trying to make a difference.

Olivia, Lily, Rei and Amara
The Plastics Oceans Group
G5 UNIS Students


Book Drive All You Need to Know!

Book Drive: Monday April 9 – Friday April 27

Book Sale:

Friday 4 May (9.00 – 15.00 reserved for students only)

Saturday 5 May (open to wider community)

WHAT is being collected?

Books only. No games, no toys. Any age group, any language.

What to do?

  • Please place 3 labeled baskets in a convenient place inside your classroom

  • Assist students to put books into the appropriate labeled basket:

    • Children books in English;

    • Young adult/adult books in English;

    • Foreign language, all ages (write name of language inside the book cover)

  • Check to make sure there are NO HOME READERS or LIBRARY BOOKS in the basket

  • Keep a tally of the number of books collected each week by updating on this electronic tally sheet

Pickup Dates & Times

  • Baskets will be emptied every Friday at 3.30pm during the Book Drive (April 13, 20 and 27)

  • Remember to ensure the electronic tally is completed BEFORE 3.30pm on Friday

  • For extra pick-ups, please send an email to booksale@unishanoi.org

Where does all the money go?

The funds raised at the SCO Used Book Sale will be used to empower a variety of literacy projects created and led by UNIS Hanoi students within the Service Learning Programme!

March 26 -30

Can we ever really be done Finding Out? This year through our Units of Inquiry and in this PYPX process we have continually answered that question with the answer no. With the students so engaged in the research process and meeting with primary sources they are struggling to complete an information report.  This struggle is very real as they know there will be more information they want to share out. As teachers we feel so proud that they notice that their learning may never be done and have reminded them that this information report is a baseline from which their action will spring. We are never done learning and growing.


This week the students also thought more deeply about their action. How could this help our community? How could the action be sustained after the exhibition? What resources do we need to take action? and of course, How is our action linked to our SDG?


When we return after spring break we will look more closely at taking action, making our plans a reality.

March 19 – 23

Finding Out is an important aspect of PYPX. Unlike other research that may have taken place throughout the year, the students are entirely self directed. They have selected the topics and have formulated their own questions to guide their research. The students are able to follow the research where they see fit. Unlike other units, any primary sources have been sourced and contacted by the students. They are formulating their questions and ensuring they gather all that they need in interview scenarios, both inside and outside the UNIS community.      

It is through this research that ideas for action are being formulated. In order to truly take an impactful action, students must first thoroughly understand their topic or issue. Help your child by having conversations on what they have learnt and how they feel this is informing their action. How has their thinking been changed? What needs do they see in their immediate community? What needs exist in their larger community? If they could do anything to make an impact for their issue what would they do?

Students will transfer their knowledge into a written informative piece to share in PYPX and with stakeholders as they initiate action.


This week was also full in terms of homeroom activities.
In Literacy we took part in Literature Circles where we met goals, completed a role linked to the book and shared out with our group. As writers we drafted responses to events in our world including the Arts Exhibition and the Grade 4/5 Concert. These involved describing, retelling and judging events.

The Math focus was chance and probability. After completing our own investigations as a class, students experimented with different materials to come up with their own experiment of chance. They listed events, rated the probability and tested out their thinking.


March 12 -16

This week was the beginning of what will be three weeks of finding out. The PYPX is all about coming from a position of knowledge. In order to gain knowledge we ask our students to have a strong understanding of their issue and the lines of inquiry they intend to uncover. With this knowledge they will be able to come from a position of credibility as they gain support in undertaking their action.

Grade 5 students will research in two parts.  They will consult secondary sources to gain an understanding of their issue on a global basis. Groups will also use part of this week to begin thinking about primary sources. They will work with their coordinating teacher and mentor to reach out to the community and organise interviews. You can help by providing recommendations for local groups or people your child could contact.

Researching or “finding out” very much asks our students to use their literacy skills. When looking to secondary sources, students will read, summarise and write. For primary sources students are asked to form questions and communicate with others. We look forward to seeing how this research forms student action.

Here is a link to the first draft of our “process video” for the PYPX that will be updated throughout the weeks. It will provide a pictorial account of our work. You will find at least one picture of every G5 student.


Congratulations to all our wonderful and talented musician.  The concert was a real delight.  Your hard work was definitely showcased.




March 5 – 9

Since last week, we have been tuning into the Primary Years Programme Exhibition, PYPX.


A Parent Information Coffee Morning was held last Friday for you to learn about what the process entails. Here is a link to the slides used as talking points. Thank you to all who attended!

This week, as part of the tuning-in process, students found out their working groups for the PYP Exhibition (PYPX). Then they emailed their assigned mentors to set-up times to meet, at least once a week. Then students developed essential agreements to ensure that they worked productively in their groups. 

Next week, students will begin the finding-out process. They will look for resources to gain better understanding of their topics. Parents can help students by identifying appropriate articles and having ongoing discussions with their child about their topic.

This year’s PYP Exhibition is featuring the following Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 1-No Poverty
SDG 2- Zero Hunger
SDG 3- Good Health
SDG 4- Quality Education
SDGs 5- Gender Equality
SDGs 10- Reduced Inequalities
SDGs 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDGs 12- Responsible Consumption and Production
SDGs 13- Climate Action
SDGs 14- Life Below Water
SDGs 15- Life on Land
SDGs 16- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Check out the PYP X 2017/2018 Weebly to watch it unfold!

In addition to the PYPX, students continue to read, write and do math. We choose books this week to begin Literature Circles next week. In writing we are working on responding to things we have seen, what you might thing of a review in a newspaper. In math we began using the terminology connect to chance and probability and we will look further into this next week.

In case you missed it James Tanton visited us this week too:

UNIS was fortunate to welcome a superstar mathematician, James Tanton, this past week. James is a mathematician with who wants to spread his passion and joy for mathematics. He left a university level research position to teach high school, and through that found ways for others to share in the experience of doing and enjoying mathematics as a playful and beautiful endeavor. He has started a global initiative called the Global Math Project that uses his story of Exploding Dots to investigate number relationships and patterns in a fund and engaging way for people of all ages and mathematical understanding.

5 Principles of thinking like a math genius:

Save the date: PYPX on April 24 & 26
No School/Teacher Professional Development Day: Monday March 12
Music Concert: 9:00am in the Centre for the Arts on March 15th
Open Classrooms: Thursday March 15, 1:15 Literacy
12:35 World Language and 2:15 Art
Friday March 16, 9:10 PYPX (Please ask your child for the
classroom they will be working in)

Grade 5 students will showcase their work in Music at the Grade 4 and 5 Music Concert on March 15th. For this reason, there will not be any open classrooms for Music.

Thank you kindly,


February 26 – March 2

And so it has begun!

Welcome back from what I hope was a restful Tet.  We are right back into it as we began PYP Exhibition or PYPX this week.  The students were introduced to the equation:

Students were then able to connect this back to the various presenters we have had in the previous weeks and see how their passion is linked to an issue and has led to action.

   From here we stimulated thought about action in our local community.  The mystery trips to museums, hospitals and homes for those with mental disabilities worked to create links to the Sustainable Development Goals and possible action points. We watched videos of other children taking action, all an effort to plant seeds in your children that will take root and grow into informed action over the next eight weeks.

We look forward to sharing more about this process with you at our PYPX Parent Coffee Morning tomorrow at 8:15 in the ECC Gym.

This week was also one of assessments as students wrote the ISA tests across Mathematical Literacy, Writing and Reading. These tests will be sent off for external moderation and result will be shared with you.

In all this was a real joy in being back together as a community of learners. What a wonderful group that I am blessed to be with each day! Looking forward to the journey ahead.

A Note From the Music Department:

Grades 4 & 5 Music Concert

When: March 15th

Where: Center for the Arts

Time: 9:00 am  

Come along and experience the wonders of music and see how much your child and other children have moved forward with their musical skills.

Please read the letter from the Music Department below to ensure your child has the correct dates, equipment and clothing for the occasion.


Dear Grade 4 and 5 Parents,

The Grade 4 and 5 Music Concert is on Thursday, March 15th at 9am. The students are excited to share with their parents and the UNIS community some of the wonderful music that they have been creating in their classes.

On the morning of the concert, please take your child to their homeroom class as normal wearing their concert clothes (please bring a change of clothes for after the concert). Following student drop off, parents may proceed to the Center for the Arts foyer where tea and coffee will be provided. Doors will open for seating in the theater at 8:50am.

Concert Attire for Grade 4 Students:


  • Formal black dress pants or below-the-knee skirt
  • Formal white shirt (this should be a blouse or button up collared shirt, no T-shirts please)
  • Formal black shoes (no sneakers please)
  • ‘A touch of color’ (optional) – for example, a blue scarf, red tie, green belt


Concert Attire for Grade 5 Students:

This year the Grade 5 students have two options for their final Elementary School concert.

Option 1 – Formal Wear

Wearing formal wear at the concert provides an opportunity for Grade 5 students to both express themselves and celebrate their musical achievements in their final year of elementary school. Examples of appropriate formal wear include what your child would wear to a wedding, graduation or special occasion (suits, dresses, dress pants/dress shirt). There are no color limitations, however girls’ dresses or skirts should be at least knee length or below the knee.  Please remember formal shoes are required (no sneakers).

Option 2 – Black and White


  • Formal black dress pants or below-the-knee skirt
  • Formal white shirt (this should be a blouse or button up collared shirt, no T-shirts please)
  • Formal black shoes (no sneakers please)
  • ‘A touch of color’ (optional) – for example, a blue scarf, red tie, green belt


Concert Duration:  9 – 10:30am


Dress Rehearsal

We will have a full Dress Rehearsal on Wednesday, March 14th. We request that your child comes to school wearing their concert clothes and brings a change of clothes to change into following the dress rehearsal.  Concert clothes will be sent back home on Wednesday and should be worn to school again on Thursday, March 15th for the Parent Concert.

We look forward to seeing you at the concert. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you so much for your support.

ES Music Team

February 5 – 9

Last week was World Read Aloud Day. I would feel remiss not to take this opportunity to express the importance of reading and reading aloud to your child.  A theme that came out in conferences was in regards to children choosing to read at home or in some cases choosing not to read. Please do not hesitate to read with or to your child. These are valuable experiences in any language that support vocabulary development, spur conversation and build a culture of reading in a home. My request is that you take the time to read to your child, they are never too old.

5C students are piloting self-directed organisational skills as they work through their UOI assessment ‘Building a Governing System’. Students received a rubric and guiding instructions and the opportunity to present in any way they choose. It is interesting to watch them make connections, exhibit higher order thinking and follow their interests. We will certainly have a variety of governing systems and presentation styles when we present next week.

Students have been given more autonomy in mathematics this week as we move into Math Centres. Students must take part in our math discussion and complete a math journal entry of their choice. After this they choose from a range of activities depending on their interest and ability. Students have set out an area for growth and are working to choose activities linked to these goals. They have also created a blog entry on the Dos and Don’ts of Adding and Subtracting Fractions. Have a look to help get an idea of their understanding. Some of these may not be posted until tomorrow.

Students have written a discussion on the topic of their choice. This week’s lessons focused on making plans a reality and word choice. Word choice was highlighting when bridging the gap between arguments and when using convincing language to make a strong statement.

In reading, students continued to have choice by choosing a word to enhance writing, respond to a classmates news article, make connections and delve into their own book choices. We plan to take part in Literature Circles after the break.

Field Trip to Visit a Famous Leader
We embarked on a local field trip with our grade one buddies. The trip is designed to allow connections between Ho Chi Minh and the thinking behind his governing system and other governance systems students have been studying. We are excited to share this experience with our little buddies who are also connecting this trip to their current unit about significant people.


Dates to Remember:

  • 6th-7th February – G5/ES Art Auction
  • 8th February – Field Trip – Ensure your child has a snack
  • 1st & 2nd March – No ASA’s
  • 1st of March – Writing Information Session delivered by visiting educator, Stephen Graham
  • 2nd March – PYPX Parent Coffee Morning starting at 8:15 in the library
  • 15th March – G4 & G5 Music concert
  • 15th & 16 March – Open Classrooms

Week 21 January 29 – February 2

Another exciting week in 5C. Last week we developed a class governing system, based on a Vietnamese model. It enabled us to have a National Assembly, President, Prime Minister, Ministry of Health, Defense, Justice, Trade and of course Education. After our Health Ministers get us moving in the morning, our Education Ministers help organise the day so we can meet our learning targets. Watch below to see a brief overview on the effectiveness of our governing system. It is linked to our current writing unit of discussion where we look at two sides of an issue.

Both Literacy and Math have evolved to centre based work. The students are presented with carefully selected activities which they choose, complete and report back to the class.

In reading we have focused on vocabulary development, nonfiction texts, making connections and biographies. Under our new Ministry of Education we have had time to delve deeper into our personal reading choices and start a new read aloud.

In math both fractions and working like a mathematician have dominated. The students self select from a range of activities with various access points, deepening their engagement and manipulation of fractions. They reflect on these daily to show the extension of the mathematical practices in their work. Why not discuss with your child the difference between a mathematician and a calculator.

In UOI we will begin to look at the currency that keeps our country moving as well as begin our summative assessment of creating our own government system.

It was a pleasure to meet with many of you during conferences. I look forward to continuing our conversations. A note will be going home about a field trip to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum with our Grade 1 buddies next Thursday.  Please help your child return their permission form.