Half Way Point!

Welcome to the official halfway point of the school year! Quarter 2, semester 1 ends, tomorrow, Friday, January 19. Can you believe your child is halfway through completing Grade 5?

Who is a leader?
Leadership takes many forms. Parenting is the oldest form of leadership. Say what you think and do what you say! Having integrity is a crucial attitude to have as a leader, especially when leading oneself and building self-agency. I would like to share this quote by Brandon Smith as it resonates with me, and I hope it does with you too: Through my own journey as a parent, I have become convinced that parenting can be one of the best training grounds for leadership. It is a trial like no other. It forces you to determine what you stand for, defend those beliefs, set boundaries, make sacrifices, consistently and clearly communicate your expectations and hold others accountable on a daily basis.

UoI
As we are deconstructing our new unit of inquiry, Governance, students investigate the roles and responsibilities of a leader and gave examples of people who lead. Some of the examples given were: Parents, Emperors, Teachers and Coaches, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Religious Leaders, Board of Directors, and Team Captains. Ask your child about the similarities and differences of these forms of leadership.

Math
Fifth graders are expected to know their multiplication and division combinations.They are beginning a new investigation by reviewing factors and multiples and writing multiplication equations representing different compositions of numbers. Also while revisiting this concept, they determined whether they remember their combinations and can identify any combinations they will need to practice.

English
Digging deeper into what makes an effective discussion, students had a chance to compare letters that were presenting different points of view on an issue. They are developing an understanding of how attitudes change when different perspectives are presented. In connection with our Governance UoI experiencing discussion texts will help students to think clearly and critically about different forms of governance and the responsibility of citizens and the government. Fostering a love of reading, fifth graders are reading self-selected books while applying reading strategies to comprehend and further develop their reading skills.

Announcements
Parent-Teacher Conferences: February 1, 2018.

Happy New Year 2018!

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 to royalty, revolting, organizing 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 seeing where the unit will lead us. Have a look at your child’s blog to see their thoughts on each form of governance.

For English and Math, as it is a new calendar year and a perfect time to make a resolution, your child set new goals for learning improvements. A New Year’s resolution is when a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior to accomplish a personal goal to improve his/her life. Grade 5D students will create an action plan that will hopefully guide their thinking of how their goals can be achieved. There is no doubt that your guidance and support will also be needed for your child to reach his/her goal perfectly well!

Next week we will:
Start a new writing genre – Discussion
Consolidate our understanding of values and equivalence through multiplication and division in math
Investigate into Governance

Again, Happy New Year

    The start of every year takes you a step closer to the attainment of your dreams. Hope this year is the breakthrough one and your dreams finally turn into reality.

Happy Holidays!

Electricity Shark Tank, Fractions, Informational reports, Holidays – What do all these have in common? They are all on our minds!

UOI
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.

As we follow an inquiry-based teaching and learning model at UNIS, grade five students are becoming increasingly familiar with the inquiry cycle, which provides structure to the process of inquiry.

The end of our investigation into the consumption of electrical energy’s impact on our world brings the students in 5D to the part of the process where they are reflecting and asking investigable questions that will lead to action.

Math
Mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems presented in everyday life. Students developed recipes of treats for our end-of-year class celebration of learning. They worked in inquiry circle groups to answer these questions and came up with evaluation criteria for a winning recipe:
What is a description of your fraction?
What are examples of mixed numbers used in your recipe?
How do you reduce an improper fraction?
Whenever and wherever you see fractions during your holidays, you may use these questions to further develop the concept and deepen your child’s understanding.

Information Report Text Type
Students continue to identify elements of an information report and apply knowledge gained to compose their own. A fun and engaging activity to do during the holidays could be classifying, describing and giving factual information about people, animals, or things where you are.
You can check to see that these criteria are met:
Begins with a general classification or definition
Lists a sequence of related information about the topic
Ends with a concluding comment
Have fun!

After Dinner time conversation:
A little something to talk about after dinner
This week’s Videos and Photos

Winter Break
The holidays are here! A time to spend quality family and friend time, reinvigorate, reflect, and relax.

Week of December 4

Do you know which energy source (solar, biofuel, etc) is the “best” for our environment? Well, the G5 students have their own opinions.

UOI – Electricity Learning Summit and more
As we approach the end of our Electricity unit, the students were presented a chance to truly be leaders of their own learning! A Learning Summit was held on Wednesday where your child showcased knowledge and skills gained during this unit notably on her/his personal inquiry questions and wonderings.
Here is a glimpse:

Next Tuesday and Friday, Grade 5 students will have 10 minutes to persuade a panel of judges (Sharks) that an energy source is the best possible source for an allocated world region. They have been busy working in ‘energy source’ groups towards completing their pitches for the ‘Shark Tank’ event!

Maker Day
Tomorrow, Friday, Dec.8, students will create a model/ blueprint, invention or innovation to support their ‘energy’ teams’ efforts to persuade the ‘Sharks’ to buy into their source of energy.

Math
Our Math focus has been on improving student understanding of fractions and their connections to real numbers and decimals. Here are two fantastic articles: article #1 article #2 provided by our Math Coach, Ms. Beth, makes for an interesting read. For your reading delight, here is one more article and video from Jo Boaler, a professor of Mathematics Learning at Stanford University. We will continue with this math focus through to winter break.

English
Reading and writing have been centered around nonfiction information being sought for the ‘Shark Tank’ Event. Also, students completed their information reports on their personal inquiries following a guideline to ensure they have all elements of the text type. You are welcome to read and learn from our Charge Your Battery board where the reports are displayed.

Blue Dragons
$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. Our class raised 6,000,000 VND.

Dinner time conversations:
A little something to talk about during your dinnertime conversations.
What are the 7 Energy Sources G5 students are researching for the ‘Shark Tank’?
What is the name of the show that students are currently auditioning for?
How do we put fractions on a number line?

Week of November 27

Open Doors
Thank you to all parents who came to the Open Doors to engage in our learning today! We hope you can also make it tomorrow at 10:10 for a math activity that will end at 11:30. However, you are invited to come in for the first period, if that is most convenient. Remember that you are also welcome to visit your child’s music class, 1:15 pm and/or see him/her at PE, 2:15 pm.
Open Classroom Photos

Mr. Carl – Special Guest
Did you know that UNIS uses 13,000 kilowatts of electricity every day and spend over $10,000 on electricity each month?
Thanks to a visit from our Senior Operations Officer, Carl Strefford, we were able to learn more about our own energy usage and next steps for UNIS.


UOI
We have been charging our batteries in 5D! You may wonder what that means. Your child has been successfully following an inquiry cycle to investigate into a personal-interest question on energy and more specifically on electricity. To make our learning visible, students have been contributing their questions and processes to the ‘Charge Your Battery’ display board. Please ask your child to tell you more about her/his findings to the investigation question. As we are preparing for an end-of-unit cumulative event, students have also been investigating into current electrical energy options and ones that might suit a region.
Electricity Investigations Photos

Math
This weeks math has been connecting fractions to real-life situations while using manipulatives to model and make our thinking visible. Quoting an article from the Scientific American that I recently read, “In a recent survey of 2300 white collar, blue collar, and service workers, more than two-thirds indicated that they used fractions in their work.” shows the importance of learning about fraction and making connections to real-life situations.

Writing
Your fifth grader has been writing an information report with a purpose to provide the class with information on a self-chosen topic on electricity by providing facts. The challenge in writing a good information report is to provide the audience with plenty of facts and evidence about a topic without providing a personal opinion. Thus, the students have been working on not including their personal opinions and not turning their information texts into a persuasive text.

#kidstakeover!

My Learning, My Agency. I take over!
As UNIS is having a week-long UN Children’s Day celebration where kids take over, this could not have been more timely with my absence for a Professional Development followed by an illness (coughing). It was bizarre for me to hear the doctor say that I was unfit for work. I have not taken a sick day since time immemorial!

You would be proud, just as I am to see how well Your Child took ownership of her/his learning under the guidance of Ms. Huong and a substitute teacher.

These pictures say it all!

Short Week of Nov. 15

All UNIS teachers had a two-day excellent learning professional development on Monday and Tuesday with Dr. Fran Prolman. We inquired into: How can all teachers effectively build up students’ agency, self-advocacy and their ability to take responsibility for their own learning. Hopefully, your child also continued learning at home and enjoyed spending quality time with the family. A take away from Dr. Prolman’s workshop for me was the emphasis on empathy. It would be great for us all to consider Brené Brown’s (mentioned by Dr. Prolman) four aspects of empathy: Fuels connection, Perspective taking and giving, Staying out of judgment, and Recognizing emotions in other people.

This week in math, students took a closer look at a rubric that will enable them to extend their skills, abilities and mathematical practices.The knowledge gained will not only come in handy when completing assessments but also in all math tasks while developing concepts taught.
For UOI, the students are continuing to work with how electrical energy is transferred, transformed, and controlled, using the key concept of function to drive the inquiry.

Focusing on information report, your youngsters are increasingly able to identify structures of this non-fiction text-type. They will gain a better understanding of the purpose of such text as they read more nonfiction books and online resources in this genre during our Electricity UoI.
Reminders:
‘Blue Dragon Walk-a-thon’ Money collection deadline is 22nd November. Please ensure your child gives their money and sponsorship form to their teacher before the deadline.
All students need their ID cards to access their photocopying.
All students need personal headphones to use in class.

Week of November 6

Blue Dragon Walk-A-Thon 
Thank you to parent volunteers 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’ because 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.

Math
In addition to finding out the relationships between operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication and division, students read and wrote numbers in decimal notations.
Next, we will:
Represent, model and compare fractions and decimals
Use mental and written strategies for multiplication and division

English
A review of how well 5D students can write narratives is offering many opportunities for learning more about features of this genre. This week, wordplay came up while learning about the text structure. But because literary devices used in the English language can seem inaccessible, many students approach using these in their writing with anxiety. Thus, our writing lessons lead to seeing how easily literary elements can be applied to bring stories alive. After rereading their narratives, students use a variety of print and online resources to brainstorm basic literary devices.
Next, we will:
Begin to investigate features of information report text type

UOI
As students were asked to share their knowledge about electricity/electrical energy, energy flowed as thoughts flickered, bouncing like unruly electrons around the room. This created an electrifying excitement as each student could not wait to share what he/she knows! Our new unit, Electrical Sciences, is one that has a great deal of hands-on, minds-on learning opportunities! Students will gain an understanding of the central idea: The consumption of electrical energy has an impact on the world. While inquiring into Electrical energy that is transferred, transformed, and controlled; Energy consumption choices that affect the environment and our society; and Electrical energy options. It would be great if you can start to have a conversation about your household or home country’s energy consumption.
Next, we will:
Inquire into how electrical energy is transferred, transformed, and controlled

Announcements/Reminders:
Teacher Professional Development Days: Monday and Tuesday, November 13 and 14. No school for students.
Collecting ‘Blue Dragon Walk-a-Thon’ Money collection deadline is 22nd November. Please ensure your child brings in the money collected along with his/her form.

Week Ending on UN Day

UN DAY
See you all tomorrow at the UN Day celebration!

Math
We just started a new unit in math with the aim to gain a good understanding of the central idea: Our number system is a language for describing quantities and the relationships between quantities.
Next week we will:
Inquire into operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and their relationships

English
We are continuing our literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. This requires students to select a book together. The reading group that I coordinate have been divided into four literature circle groups. The groups read Mud City, Parvana’s Journey both books by Deborah Ellis and Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. Earlier in the process, the students were introduced to a few jobs in the Literature Circles: Discussion Director, Investigator, Literary Luminary, Vocabulary Enricher, and Summarizer, to name a few.  Student volunteers have been practicing teacher-modeled tasks for each of the roles. The process demonstrates the different roles and allows students to practice the techniques before they are responsible for completing the tasks on their own. After this introduction, students are ready to use the strategy independently, rotating the roles through the lit circle groups as they read the books they have chosen.

With a focus on social skills, fifth graders also discovered a new literacy website, www.literacyplanet.com to help improve their spelling skills and which covers all key literacy skill area. They had an opportunity to consolidate their learning with their grade 1 buddies today.

UOI
Looking at the many ways we express ourselves with our year-long unit of inquiry, Identity, grade 5 students reflected on their cultural identity and how they express different aspects of it. Also, they inquired into how our identity connects us with our UNIS community through the lens of the celebration of UN Day. As this unit is also about ways in which we express ideas, it is a perfect time to review the values of the United Nations and our school’s Values, Mission Statement: “Our mission is to encourage students to be independent, lifelong learners who strive for excellence and become responsible stewards of our global society and natural environment, achieved within a supportive community that values diversity and through a programme reflecting the ideals and principles of the United Nations.”

Announcements/Upcoming Events:
Volunteers needed for Blue Dragon Walk-a-Thon on Wednesday, November 8. Please contact Laura and Tuyet, our class parents if you would like to help or for more information.

Teacher Professional Development Days: Monday and Tuesday, November 13 and 14. No school for students.

Week of October 23

UN DAY
Next week Friday, November 3rd is UN Day, the biggest celebration at UNIS! It takes a village and a tremendous team effort for such an event to be successful. Please click
UN Day Lunch G5 Food Sign-Up Sheet to specify the type of food you will be contributing. What an exciting day to look forward to!

UOI
It would be great to see you tomorrow at our Grade 5 Migration Living Wax Museum! Your take away will be a good understanding of the effect of human migration on cultures, communities, and individuals.


Going deeper…

Math
5D students are applying a protocol for data analytics. This has been allowing them to transform, model, and come with implications for action for data collected. As they are discovering useful information, they are beginning to gain a better understanding of the meaningfulness of their Inquiry Circle groups’ interpretation and use of the outcome of their surveys.

Watch here to see a million in action.
Making a Million

English/Home Learning
As you know, the Grade 5s are implementing a guided reading group program to enable students to make progress in a much efficient way. Thus, your child should have been bringing home a book that her/his reading group or literature circle is reading and/or reading assignments to complete. To foster independence and continue to develop one of our core values, responsibility, students decide together (with teacher guidance) on how many pages or chapters to read for the next time. Lessons are planned with the aim to Please help reinforce the message of responsibility to complete any assigned home learning task.

Announcements/Reminders
Dress Up Day Oct 31 – appropriate dress-up encouraged
UN Day Nov 3 – cultural dress and food
Walk-a-Thon Nov 8 – sponsor sheets to be coming soon.
Headphones – Please ensure that your child has a set of headphones for school