Student Led Conferences

Next Wednesday you are invited to come to the classroom as the students will lead you through a conference. They will show you what they have been learning and what their goals are.  There will be no school this day.  You should have received an e-mail from the school with instructions on how to sign up.  I will not be at school during Student Led Conferences.  I will be in Korea coaching the High School Girls Soccer Team at the APAC tournament.  The students will be sufficiently prepared to lead the conference without teacher assistance. Ms. Thao will be in the room in case you need anything.  If you would like to set up a teacher led conference at another please feel free to e-mail me.

Our Week in Review:

UOI: The students have begun to prepare for the 20 day challenge.  As part of our new unit.  They will be choosing one thing about their physiology such as their thinking speed or running endurance and will work for 20 days to improve it. They will create a plan for their 20 day challenge and collect data then analyze their results. They will need to research about what body system was effected and explain what happened. We will then invite you into the class in about four weeks for a presentation on their results.  This week the students have written a hypothesis and a draft plan. Next week they will begin their challenge.
Literacy: . We have been working on our narrative writing. This week students wrote an outline, problem, solution and introduction. They also worked on identifying the important part of the story so that they could add quality details and build suspense.

Math: We are working toward accomplishing our individual Math goals by attending student and teacher led workshops to review topics we have learned but need more time on.  We are also beginning to learn about equivalent fractions. Tomorrow I will post a video  in this blog post of a fraction game that we played this week.

March 26-30

Our Week in Review:

UOI: We have begun our new unit. The students will be inquiring into:

Our body systems are affected by our choices.

  • the different body systems (form)
  • how body systems work (function)
  • the affect our choices have on our body systems (causation)

Math: The students are finishing up the unit on multiplication and division. The students have done very well but still have some things they felt they needed to review. They each chose a learning goal to accomplish by the end of the week.  They needed to work on the goal in teacher led groups and individually and then they needed to prove at the end of the week that they accomplished their goal.  Some of the goals they chose were:

  • Use estimation to solve division problems acurately
  • Solve multiplication problems in more than one way
  • Identify prime numbers and perform prime factorization of whole numbers
  • memorize my (students choice) times table
  • Identify the least common multiples

Literacy: Students have chosen a story they want to write a non fiction narrative about.  They learned to first think of a complication and moral theme.  They are beginning to outline their story.

Recently I spent two days in a Word Inquiry workshop learning how to better help students develop their spelling skills and vocabulary.  4D has now begun to look at Spelling and vocabulary development in a whole new way.  Please see the video below to get an overview of how we will begin to understand spelling.  Last week the students began to sort word families using the word “play”. This week we looked into the word healthy.  We found several new affixes and learned that healthy comes from the word heal which originally meant to make whole.

Some of the spelling questions the students have asked and begun researching are “Why does the y change to i in beauty—beautiful and other words?”  and “Why do we add an extra consonant in big—bigger and other words like hop— hopping?”

Market Day


The kids had a very successful Market Day today.  Thank you for all of your support.  One student summed this unit up today by saying “I can’t believe how much I have learned over the past two weeks!”  Another student said today “I think this will probably be my favorite unit of my life.”  They certainly have learned a lot.  It is even more exciting because all of the profit they made today will go towards their charity of choice.  Below are some pictures from today.

March 12-16

It was wonderful to see so many of you this week at both the Music Concert and Dress Rehearsal.  In case you were unable to make it, I have posted a couple of the songs in the video below. Your children were very impressive.

Reminder: Next Thursday March 22 from 12:30-1:30 is Market Day.  Some students will need to purchase materials this weekend.  They will be given a loan from school to purchase those materials.  If any of the students money is spent they should keep a receipt so that we can reimburse them.

Our Week in Review:

UOI:  Students updated their cost sheets, divided tasks, learned about elements of visual design and began preparing their stall and products.

Literacy: Students presented their book reports.  They also began working on narrative writing.  They are learning to write good descriptive sentences.






Math: Students are working on division and are continuing to solidify their understanding of multiplication. The problems below are the ones that we did not have a chance to get to during the open classroom on Thursday. Below is also James Tanton’s explanation of how exploding dots relate to the traditional Australian algorithm that he was taught.


300 divided by 12

2783 divided by 12

2798 divided by 11

31824  divided by 102

Open Classrooms

Open Classrooms:

Next Thursday March 16th you are all invited to visit the classroom and observe your child at work. The times available are below.

Thursday- 10:50-11:35- Math

Thursday  1:10-1:55- Literacy

Our Week in Review

This week we had a very special guest visit our classroom. Dr. James Tanton, who is a a world renowned Math expert came to our class and led a lesson with the students. The students participated in his Global Math project in October.  We have been exploring different number systems using exploding dots. The students loved having him in the class this week. He left the room very impressed with our students.  Have your child explain Exploding Dots to you and then try out the challenge that Dr. James Tanton left our class with.

Also take a look at a few of the ways our class wrote our class number “40” for 4D using different base systems.  Ask your child to explain the secret code they figured out and what number system they used. Can you think of any other ways to write 40?


  • Students are looking at what a narrative is and how to plan for writing one.
  • Students who need support with paragraphs and sentence structure are working  in small teacher groups.
  • Grammar workshops led by Ms Mel, Ms Nicole and Ms Sara have started and students sign up for those that they need help to improve.


  • Data handling is a big focus as students use surveys to inform their decision making in their social enterprise groups.
  • Students have been focusing on their multiplication and division strategies.


  1. March 12th STUDENT FREE DAY – Staff professional development day – NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
  2. March 15th:  Grades 4 & 5 Music Concert; March 22nd 9am
  3. March 15th & 16th:  Open Classrooms #2
  4. March 22nd Grade 4 Market Day!
  5. March 23rd:  ES Parents & Administrators’ Coffee Morning – “Supporting your child’s literacy and language development at home.” Facilitated by Angela Brienza, English Coordinator, and ESLT.
  6. Friday, March 30th: ES Fun Sports Afternoon
  7. March 31st – April 8th Spring Break


A message from Music

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 26 – March 2

The students have been hard at work this week completing the ISA tests and working to prepare for Grade 4 Market Day.  Each student is grouped according to what child right they would like to help.  In their groups they are organizing a social enterprise that will raise money to support their chosen child right.

In order to do this they are learning the basic skills required of good entrepreneurs.  They need to identify market forces that will affect their business, survey potential costumers, analyze results of the survey, calculate costs, set prices and make good decisions based on all of their information.  This unit requires organization and communication skills. We request that you don’t help the children too much.  The only aspect of Market Day that students may need your help with is going to the store to research the cost of their ingredients. Once they have the costs for each individual item they will work in class to calculate their total costs and profit margins.

Later in the unit they may need your help purchasing materials. Please note that we will loan them the money needed once their business proposal is approved. You do not need to purchase anything for them.

Working in groups for students can often feel frustrating but in the end it is important that they learn how to overcome these challenges.  Over the next few weeks feel free to talk to your child about their challenges and what they are excited about.  Rest assured that we will help teach them the skills to overcome their challenges.









This week the students focused on the following tasks:














Math Problem of the Week:
Below is the problem we worked on with students in order to help the learn how to calculate costs. Try it out with your child.

Special Announcement:

Next week, the world renowned Math expert James Tanton will be coming to UNIS.  Our students have worked with his materials before.  This week we explored some of his fun and challenging multiplication and addition activities. Take a look at the Global Math Project and visit Arithmos Island to see what the students worked on this week. Next Monday he will be visiting our classroom and working with the students.

He will also be running a session for parents on Monday from 7:00-8:00pm  on the Joy of Math – All are invited to attend.



Chuc Mung Nam Moi

I hope everyone has a wonderful Tet Holiday. Happy New Year to you all.  Please see below for some questions you could ask your child about their learning as well as some activities they have been doing.

Things you can ask your child about:

    • What is the social enterprise you will be a part of forming?
    • What action are you hoping to undertake with your social enterprise group?
    • How was your book report? What did you do well? What could you improve?
    • What are some books you are now interested in reading?
    • Can you show me your Biblionasium reading log?


Vocabulary list for the current Unit of Inquiry:

Goods and Services, Product, Consumers, Market Economy, Money, Forces, Unique Selling Point, Price, Needs and Wants, Social Enterprise, Risk, Profit, Loss, Entrepreneur, Supply and Demand, Target Market, Surplus, Shortage, Competition, Business

Math Game of the Week:

4s a Winner-A fun, engaging game for working on multiplication and division.

Upcoming Events:

  • ISA testing will be held the week of 2/26-3/2


February 5-9

Thank you for taking the time to come meet and talk with me about your child last week. It is such a privilege to work in partnership with you to help your child.  I always learn so much from our conversations.  One thing that I came to understand is that we need a better system of accountability for the students home reading. This week I am reminding students that they should be reading every night for 30 minutes. They need to log their nightly reading into Biblionasium.  Please ask them to show you how to log in to Biblionasium so that you can see their reading log and book recommendations from friends.  They will now also be expected to complete one book report every two weeks. The reading for the book reports will take place at home but the book reports will be completed in school.  You will be able to view the book reports on their blog.

Our Week in Review:


  • We  have stated a new unit. With the central idea:
    • Social enterprises consider purpose and market forces when creating products and services.
  • We explored different market forces that affect businesses such as supply and demand, location and weather
  • Tomorrow we will hear from Emily’s Mom on her experience as a business owner.


  • Students presented their information reports to each other, gave each other feedback and  adjusted their writing.
  • Students who need support with paragraphs and sentence structure worked on that in small teacher groups.


  • We looked at how division and multiplication are related.

Here is a game we played this week to practice division facts.

Yesterday was the Global Day of Play (Wednesday 8th of February). We celebrated this by creating multiplication games and playing each others games.

January 22-26

Our Week in Review:


  • Creating a plan for action we could take to help children access child rights.


  • Solve problems involving least common multiple and greatest common factor
  • Break numbers apart to solve multiplication problems efficiently and accurately


  • Peer and self assess our information reports in order to set goals on what we need to improve on.
  • Improve sentence structure
  • Write in third person instead of first person for information reports
  • Write conclusions
  • Work on our independent reading goals.

Here is a game we played in math this week. It is great for helping students work with addition, subtraction and multiplication problems. It is also good at helping students visualize multiplication.

In the assembly this week 4th grade presented what we have learnt about child rights.  Below is a video that some of our students made. They asked children in the school what they thought their responsibility was as students at a United Nations school.