UNIS Primary Years Programme Exhibition 2018

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, so 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.

Group Time and Student Agency

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 finalizing 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.

A message from Grade 5 PYP Exhibition groups called ‘Plastic Ocean’s’

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 Leizig.

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

Info, Info, Info!

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 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.

Finding Out

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 about what they have learned 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 on 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.

Fifth graders are applying their math skills to self-assess. This week, they focused primarily on how they are able to use a variety of strategies to multiply and divide. In particular, they engaged in a task that aimed to identify and help those who have difficulties with:
1. The traditional division algorithm
2. Representing division in multiple ways
3. Interpreting remainders

We Can Each Make a Difference!

PYPX Overview
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.

Our focus in math is measurement: Mass, Volume, Area, Length. However, students will also be consolidating their math skills in all mathematics strands reflected in their PYPX.

Thank you to all parents who attended the Grade 4-5 Music Concert and Open Classroom today!

PYP X Tuning In

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

Part of the PYP X tuning in is the process of students getting to know their group members, mentors and coordinating teachers. They used the following questions to guide this week’s activities: Which of my SDG choices did I get? Who is in my group? What do I want to know? What are my questions? What am I feeling? What experiences do I have with my group’s topic? These events made this week an exciting one for most students as they began to engage in team building activities and collaborate to send the very first email to their mentors.
The collaboration will continue as the groups brainstorm ideas to construct essential agreements that will guide them all through their PYP X journey.
Also, each group will start to work on creating a central idea and soon come up with lines of inquiry that will lead to asking specific questions that will lead their project inquiry.

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!

On Monday, we had the privilege of having James Tanton, an author, a consultant, and an ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C., delight us with the joy of math! If you had the opportunity to see his presentation on Monday night, I am sure you would agree that he was absolutely committed to promoting effective and joyful mathematical thinking!
Watch this video for a glimpse of his presentation:

Through the PYP X, students will focus on mathematical strands that will be needed to be successful in their processes and presentation. Ask your child about the math strands he or she is working on.

Open Doors – Open Classrooms – Open Minds!
See you on Thursday, March 15 at the music concert, 9:00 and for our 5D open classroom, 1:15 – 1:50 for a writing session or on Friday, March 16, 9:10 -9:50 for a PYP X activity. Please ask your child where he or she will be on Friday morning.

Here is a note from the Music Department:
Dear Grade 5 Parents
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,

Ready, Set, Go: PYP Exhibition!

Happy Lunar New Year and welcome back! Hope you had a restful and invigorating Tet Break and celebration!

As soon as school resumed, the fifth graders delved right into the Primary Years Programme Exhibition. With the aim to get them thinking of ways they can make a difference through community action, the students went on different ‘mystery’ field trips that were thought-provoking. Your child might have told you all about his/her trip, what was learned, observed, and provocative either at a hospital, the Military History Museum, a care home, the Women’s Museum, or the Hoa Lo Prison.

This + That
With the belief that if we care about something, we will take action to preserve and/or safeguard it, students were encouraged to think about what they are passionate about (this proved to be tricky for some fifth graders, but thanks to past experiences listening to how people in our community have used their passion to take action, some knew what this meant). Then, they thought of issues that might be surrounding their passion and linked it to a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Our overarching central idea for the Grade 5 Exhibition is: We can each make a difference to the world through community action.
Hence this equation:
Passion + Issue = Action
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 is certainly my favorite part of teaching this age group, and all Grade 5 teachers are excited about guiding your child through this journey!

Our Grade 1 buddy class delighted us in fairytales today! Here is a snapshot of some co-written fairytales performances:

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.

Week of February 5

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
What a treat to have the opportunity to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum with our Grade 1 Buddies today!

Since we got back from Winter Break, Grade 5 students have been listening to ‘Passion Speakers’. There have been four people so far, who have come in to enlighten us about how their passions, skills, and interests have led them to take effective action in making someone else’s life or several people’s lives better. In order for the students to continue to have great exposure to different forms of action that impact people’s lives, we trust that we have a wealth of parents who are taking inspiring action either as a profession or a responsible and helpful member of the community. Please send me an email if you are interested in coming in to speak to the fifth graders in preparing them to apply their passion to the benefit of others and/or the environment.

Our Governance end-of-unit tasks completion are taking shape. Students in 5D are applying their strengths to creatively present their understanding of the central idea: Power comes with responsibility. Watch this space for some original ways of presenting learning.

In writing your child is either at the editing, proofreading or publishing stage of one or two discussion writing pieces. As suggested previously, ask your child to provide arguments for and against an issue at home or you can focus on one of the Sustainable Developments Goals. This will enable your youngster to continue to develop effective skills for a discussion. Students continue to read in ability groups in literature circles to enhance their reading skills by using adequate strategies.

In math, students will continue to describe and represent mathematical situations in a variety of ways using mathematical terminology and some conventions. Also, they will complete number sentences involving multiplication and division, as well as those involving simple fractions or decimals.

Trip to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Video

Week of January 29

Our Nation, 5D-B9-G11 government, is increasingly resembling a real-life government system. The success and acceptance of our government initiatives, such as our online monetary system are directly linked to the citizens’ willingness to adopt this innovation. In order to develop ‘citizen-centred’ government services that provide citizens with relevant information and quality services, the president, vice and ministers must first understand the factors that influence the effectiveness of their roles.

Thus, a meeting was called in the ‘city hall’ to assess the roles and responsibilities and the effectiveness of our government. The findings indicated that seriousness and trustworthiness are significant to the success of our Nation’s government.

Next week students will get to show off their creativity by completing a summative assessment task to design a governing system for a classroom, country or any other organization. Perhaps someone will invent a system that is even better than democracy!

In math, Grade 5D students presented their inquiry circle group’s algebraic expressions and encouraged their peers to solve the problems.

Week of January 22

Algebra has made its way into our common vocabulary in 5D! Some students exclaimed: It’s like a game! It’s like playing with letters, numbers, and symbols! And you also get to discover new secrets! This mathematical concept involves the operational strategies to solving problems that can easily become an interesting challenge to work out.
Here’s one for you to try: x + 11 = 22
Remember to keep a balance – what you do to one side of the “=” you should also do to the other. Try using more than two operations.

Our 5D government has been up and running since last week. Honoring our school’s host country, we decided to follow Vietnam’s form of government, a one-party socialist system, in which one political party has the right to form the government. The National Assembly is the only supreme body with constitutional and legislative power. 5D citizens nominated our members of the National Assembly. The President and Prime Minister were elected by the National Assembly. The President, Benjamin, adds, “Our 5D Government guarantees and promotes a balanced classroom, where justice prevails and every citizen enjoys freedom and happiness for the time being as constitutional laws have not been drafted yet.”
In preparation for a constitution, citizens of 5D B9 G11 came up with governing rules, laws, and consequences they would like to see the government implement.

Fifth graders continue to investigate into a chosen country’s form of government and begin to understand the different types presented in our world today and identify their effectiveness.

Working in Inquiry Circles, students generated meaningful puzzle-like questions, with real-world applications, that could be solved using algebraic expressions. In their groups, they had to identify a common topic, form questions, and collect information necessary for solving their problem.
Watch this space for some interesting algebra!
Using a transdisciplinary approach to learning, in reading this week, students focused on how authors use persuasive words to influence the reader. As they continue to identify elements of discussion writing genre, they are beginning to apply their knowledge to our Governance UoI. Fifth graders were involved in informal discussions in decision-making and problem-solving processes within our classroom. It would be good to encourage your child to listen and respond to others’ opinions, to ask pertinent questions and to present arguments in clear and coherent ways.

Parent Teacher Conferences next Thursday 2nd February
Letter from the Principal to Parents