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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.