October 2-5

Thank you all for taking the time to come in and meet with me this week. It was lovely to have a chance to chat with you and learn more about your child.  I am excited about the opportunity to continue to work with you this year to support your child. 

One way that we could use your support is in our upcoming unit. We will be learning about heritage and why we should preserve it.  We will be asking the children to think about anything they have in their family that has been passed down from precious generations. It might be a recipe, a necklace, a quilt or a family dance.  Please have a talk with your child about what has been passed down. After the break we will be asking interested parents to come share something from their family or cultural heritage as well. 

Week in Review

Math: Students were working in groups towards their learning goals of either

    • Subitizing
    • Subtracting over 100 barriers
    • Using summarizing to improve accuracy

Here are a couple of video’s of how to practice subitizing.  Remember to ask: What did you see? How did you know?  The purpose of the game is not the addition. It is getting the brain to see the numbers automatically without counting. (sorry for the poor video quality)

Reading: The students have been working on their individual reading goals.

Writing: Students are writing narrative stories about the life of a rock. They will animate this story in Scratch.

UOI:  Use scientific language to explain how the earth’s surface changes.

I time:  Use the design process to improve their straw rockets.

Other: Learn the basics of coding.  

Website of the Week: https://scratch.mit.edu/   The students were introduced to Scratch this week. It is a site where students can use block based coding to create animations, games and many other programs. We will be using Scratch throughout the year on various projects. Students learn many problem solving strategies and math concepts from it. 

Book recommendation list:

Parents are often interested in knowing about appropriately leveled books for their child.  In an effort to help you with this, UNIS has compiled a list of recommended books for each grade level. You can find a link to this list at the top of this blog. Or just click here.  

We are also encouraging parents to log in to Biblionasium in order to see a log of your child’s reading. Your child should have sent you an invitation this week.  Otherwise go to Biblionasium.com register as a parent then enter code KAJKY-25214 when prompted.

We will be asking your child to log the reading that they do nightly and during the school day.  


No school next week. Have a wonderful October break.

September 22-28

Week in Review:


  • Understanding place value in numbers to 100,000,000
  • Writing numbers in expanded notation
  • game: Strike it out
  • Problem Solving strategy: Empty number line
  • Introduction and practice with problem solving rubric

  • English:
  • UOI:
    • Experiments to understand the effect of physical and chemical weathering on rocks
    • Note Taking, observation and data collection skills

  • Other:

*Please note that these are only general ‘snapshots’ of what your child is doing in school. More specific instruction varies upon the needs of each child and individual needs were catered to within these areas. Ask your child for more details and please check out the Grade 4 Learning Space for ideas to practice at home. Please see Curriculum section for curriculum details for each unit if you would like to know more about what is next.

Websites of the Week:

Last week we featured Biblionasium.com as a website of the week but I want to explain it to you so that you can log in and connect to your children’s reading. This is the format we are using to log students reading both at home and at school. Once you create an account, you can see your child’s reading history, reading logs, favorite books, reading preferences, book reviews and more.

To Register:

Go to Biblionasium.com register as as parent

Confirm your email

Enter code:  KAJKY-25214 when prompted

September 15-21

Week in Review:

  • Math:
      • Reading large numbers and understanding place value
      • Build an understanding of the value of large numbers.

      • Problem Solving strategies- How to identify what information you have, what information you need and then use that to calculate.

         Earlier this week we looked at a picture of the newly created dot wall. Our class wanted to figure out how many dots their were. We started this problem in class  Feel free to discuss it with your child to see if they can work it out and explain their thinking.

  • English:
    • Response writing- how to write about a work or experience and make judgements about it
    • Introducing Biblionasium to log reading time, books and share their reading with each other
  • UOI: Stages of the rock cycle (see pictures of our investigation)
    • Scientific Observations and documentation
  • Other:
    • UNIS’s 30th birthday celebration!
    • Redesigning the layout of our classroom.
    • MAPS testing

*Please see Curriculum section for curriculum details for each unit if you would like to know more about what is next

Website of the Week:

  • Biblionasium Parental encouragement at home can make a considerable difference in students’ reading success. With Biblionasium you can see your child’s reading history, reading logs, favorite books, reading preferences, book reviews and more.

*There are MANY helpful websites available on the Grade 4 Learning Space!


  • Thursday, September 28th: Moon Festival- Don’t forget to wear your ao dai!
  • Tuesday, October 3rd: Parent-Teacher Conferences- Student Free Day
  • Oct. 9-13 Autumn Break- No School

September 9-15

We are teaching students how to choose appropriate leveled and interesting books but you might also want some ideas on books that might interest your child. Here is a list of books that last year’s Grade 4 students recommended at the end of the year. Here are the books that last year’s students voted as top ten best books they read that year.

Last week at Back to School night we discussed with you all the different avenues for communication I will be using during the year. Aside from email  I shared the class blog, twitter and also the Grade 4 Learning Space. Each of these are linked below.

  • Class Blog
  • Class twitter @mjslaughter
  • Grade 4 Learning Space – here is where we have full details and specifics regarding the curriculum that we are teaching in the classroom, including web resources and ideas for games to play at home. At the bottom of this page you are also able to access your child’s individual blog / portfolio.”

We also discussed the Home Learning Grid – which should go home with the students next week. The grid focuses on Reading, Physical Activity and Housework as being important things that students should be doing daily. You can sign, stamp or date the grid, which should come back to the school every two weeks, so that teachers can check to see that students are being active readers, active individuals, and active helpers in the household.

Week in Review:

  • Math:  We have been focusing on place value and rounding.  We have been using 1,000 books to help model place value.  We have also been practicing solving problems using the strategy of rounding.  
      • For example students mentally added 533 + 469 by rounding 533 to 530 and 469 to 470.  Adding those together to make 1000 and then figuring out that they needed to add 2 from before they rounded to make 1002. They then applied this strategy to other problems. 

    • The students have been introduced to Khan Academy as a means to practice place value and rounding.  To practice at home just go to this link and the students can login and get started.  I will be able to see their progress and can help them with difficult concepts in school.
  • English:
    • In reading the students were using the 6 thinking hats to take notes and reflect on what they were reading.   They used articles from Newsela for this.  
    • In writing the students were learning to write response texts. They did this by writing a response to the field trip we had last Friday.
    • Grammar Focus: Judgment words (positive and negative), past tense verbs

UOI:  We investigated the soil samples that we collected from our field trip. Making careful observations in order to answer what is soil made of?

    • Video made by Jae Yeon and Emily
    • I-Time:  Students designed and carried out their own experiments by creating models related to the earths surface.
  • Other:  Former SpaceX engineer Philip Kassouf visited and spoke with the Grade 4 students this week. He spoke about overcoming challenges and taking advantage of the opportunity they have to study at UNIS  

Helpful websites:

Khan Academy: Students get assignments that are catered to their individual level. There are videos that help when students get stuck or when they want to push themselves to learn something new. I can see their progress and then help them in school.

Newsela: Class Code-WHTGKZ  A great website full of news articles that are written in kid friendly language. Students can adjust the difficulty level of the text to fit for them.  I can assign specific articles for them to read. This week I have made a set of articles related to our unit. They can also choose articles that interest them.

Upcoming Dates:

  • September 19 – 21    MAP testing
  • September 19           UNIS Hanoi 30th Birthday Celebration Afternoon (children should wear blue)
  • September 20-Snack Sale
  • September 28th- Moon Festival (children should wear and Ao Dai)
  • October 3                  Parent teacher conferences – Student Free Day
  • October 9 – 13           Autumn Break – No school

Promoting Peace and Understanding

“Peace cannot be kept by force it can only be achieved by understanding.” -Albert Einstein

Our class is participating in a world wide peace crane project.   They have been busy writing letters, poems about their home, folding peace cranes and making videos. These will all be sent to America where author/illustrator Sue DiCicco will take them on a school tour as a way to promote understanding between students around the world.  Below is a video Luca made about what peace means to students at UNIS.

Week in Review:

    • Math: Identifying patterns in numbers to 1,000.  Learning word problem solving strategies.
    • English:  Writing friendly letters and poems to students in America.  Learning and practicing reading strategies.
    • UOI: Practicing making scientific observations. Inquiring into how the movement of water changes the earth’s surface.
    • I-Time:  Learning the inquiry process of asking questions and setting up experiments to answer those questions.


  • Back-to-School Night, Thursday, September 7th @ 6:00pm
  • Field Trip to Sac Son Friday, September 8th (Where sensible walking shoes!)
  • Students should have a hat and water bottle every day.
  • Students should have a pair of headphones to keep at school.
  • HEALTHY snacks only, please!

A note from P.E.:

Next week Monday and Tuesday we will be doing our PE class outside with water activities.  There is a good chance that you will get wet during class. Please be sure that you wear your PE clothes and have your change of clothes so you don’t have to spend the day wet!

MONDAY: 4C and 4D


PE clothes, change of clothes, hat, water bottle

What did you learn this week?

“We learned new reading strategies. We learned how to check for understanding and we learned cross checking.” – Aisiyah

“I learned that scientist can learn by looking at things really closely and you can be a scientist as a kid.  You can learn a lot from studying normal rocks.”- Seunghun

“You can solve math problems in different ways.” Ivana

Thank you for coming to back to school night.  For those of you who missed it, here is the slideshow.




August 28-31

“When choosing between being right or being kind, be kind.” 
-Mr. Browne’s September Precept (Wonder by R.J. Polacio)

4D has been very busy establishing ‘norms’ of our classroom learning community. We’ve had a lot of discussion about how we can make the PYP Attitudes and IB Learner Profile part of who we are every day. As we read aloud Wonder, we reflect on the characters, the choices they make and how they demonstrate positive characteristics that we can learn from.  We have begun to “Spy” each other showing these positive charecteristics and we are giving each other “I Spy” awards for what we notice.  So far we have “spied” students staying in to clean up, take risks to answer questions, sit next to students who were alone, return lost items and cheer other students up when they feel sad. 

Week in Review:

  • Math: Exploring patterns, their relationships, what it means to be a mathematician and setting up Math routines and expectations including Math games and number talks.
  • English: Setting up routines and expectations, including Independent Reading and Writing Responses.
  • UOI: Introducing our Unit of Inquiry “How the World Works,” which is an inquiry into Earth’s surface and how it changes over time as a result of natural processes and our activity
  • I-Time: Build a balloon-powered: Students worked in small groups with the same materials to create a balloon powered car. They learned a bit about data collection and fair testing, but even more about team work and solving problems.IMG_0075-1r6xf5c
  • Buddies: We met with our K2 buddies (Ms. Cathies Class) interviewed each other and got to know each other.
  • Other: Setting up and learning to use Chromebooks and Ipads and how to write a blog.




Here is a video of how to play one of the Math games we learned this week.  

* Please see Curriculum section for curriculum details for each unit if you would like to know more about what is next.

Important Notices:

  • No school Monday September 4
  • Field trip to Soc Son- September 8- to study landforms.  A permission slip with more information will go home this Friday.
  • Back to School Night- September 7

Building Community in 4D

We are off to a great start in 4D. It has been a delightful week getting to know each other. While it may look and feel like fun and games to the students, the first weeks of school are actually important building blocks for the rest of the year. Not only are students learning classroom routines, building community and establishing agreements but I am also busy gathering information on how to best meet the needs of each individual student.

Each week students from 4D will be asked to tell a little bit about what happened that week in school. Here is our first video of several students telling about the first week and a half in 4th grade.

4D Classroom Agreements:

  • Help each other learn
  • Be kind
  • Treat the class as a learning space
  • Take risks
  • One person talk at a time
  • Treat mistakes as opportunities to learn

A look ahead to next week:

Next week we will be focused on the following…

Reading: Building reading stamina and practicing reading comprehension strategies

Writing: Writing poems about our street and learning how to write blog reflections

Math: Number sense and learning Math routines

UOI: Changes to the earth’s surface (Geology)


  • Class Photos on Monday, August 28th!
  • Back-to-School Night, September 7th @ 6:00pm
  • Students should have a hat and water bottle every day.
  • Students should have a pair of headphones to keep at school.