A class of achievers…that is 4A…

Reminder: 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. The students have been busy planning how they will lead you through their 40 minutes in the classroom. It is very different for each child and is largely interactive. I am certain you will enjoy every minute!

Our Week in Review:


A big part of the school week, since the beginning of the school year, has been reflecting on our learning. The students start each day by reflecting on what they learnt the day before, what they will be focusing on for the day ahead and how they are going in achieving their goals. They write in their portfolios daily and have dedicated time to ensure they are documenting their individual learning journey. I regularly read these blog posts and use them as away to track their progress in writing as well as how they are generally feeling about school in general. I was excited this week to read a post that was reflecting on the new “student directed” approach that we have been taking this year.


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)

This week the students spent time making connections to the central idea and lines of inquiry (provided above) and brainstormed ways that they would inquire into the unit. They have begun to prepare for the 20 day challenge. They have identified an area of their life that they would like to work on and improve.  Some examples are:

On Friday many of the students went to the sports area and did their “pretests” where they were checking what their current skill level is.

They will now create a plan for their 15 day challenge which will see them train daily for the next 15 days. While training they will 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.  Please can you encourage your students to doing their training program every afternoon after school! We have talked a lot about the need for being committed and taking responsibility.


As we continue through the unit the students are identifying the skills that they will need in order to undertake their project work. They have started to take extra responsibility for their learning by requesting workshops that help them improve on different skills that they are concerned they are lacking (an example is writing open ended interview questions, creating data tables to record information…). These workshops are offered by myself and Ms Huong but also Ms Nicole and Ms Sara when they are pushing in to our classroom. The workshops allow for the students to have a more individualised program where their specific needs are being met. This coming week we are also having Ms Conroy in the library lead a workshop for us on reading for information in non fiction texts.

What has been an exciting part of the week has been to see the number of students who are will ing to be risk takers and offer their own workshops! They are reflecting on their improvement and choosing to help their peers. The benefits of this are endless for both themselves and their peers! For themselves the student workshop leaders have to have a deeper understanding of the concept they are “teaching” in order to present it to their peers clearly and be able to answer questions. For the workshop participants they are able to have concepts reinforced from a peer who is able to present it in a different way and is what could be seen by some, a less intimidating environment.


Reading: Non Fiction –> students have been focusing on locating resources that will provide them with information on their chosen body system.

Writing: Aside from their integrated project focus the students are continuing with their writers workshop / narrative focus.


As we are finishing off multiplication focusing more on division and fractions the students are having fun with exploring the different strategies that they have learned. Taking the focus away from traditional algorithms has enabled all of the students to be both challenged and motivated. I am happy to report that so far 80% of the students in class have achieved automatic recall of their times tables and the other 20% are working extremely hard to reach their goals too! Please help by encouraging them to practice from home each night! And let me know if you would like me to resend some resources to help with this!



Art Show:

This week the ES Art exhibition opened and it is well worth a look!!!  4A students didn’t disappoint with excellent work on display!

What a great job our kids did!

The kids in the whole grade level did such a great job today and it was fantastic to see so many of you at school to help support your little entrepreneurs! This afternoon was spent counting money, repaying loans and celebrating the class’s amazing donation amount of 8 million, 16 thousand Vietnamese Dong!

Here is the table that highlights to you what each group focused on and where their money will be going. Keep an ear open and ask questions over the coming weeks to find out what will happen to make these donations!


Today in 4A we focused on bullying. What is it? What does it look like? Who does it happen to? We watched this video about the Bully Awareness Campaign that is running in Australia.

What I thought would be a half hour discussion became so much more as the class shared stories of their own experiences with bullying. It was suggested that we do more! They talked some more and decided that they would like to do an online infomercial for Tin Tuc, a presentation for assembly and posters to put up around the school.

I was so impressed with the maturity and responsibility that the students displayed. Below you can see a slide show presentation, photos of the process they took and also the posters.

I have asked the students to talk about this at home with you and for them to come up with 3 people that they trust and feel safe to talk to should anything bother them either now or in the future.

Have a great weekend!



A great class of performers!

It was great to see so many people at school today for the music concert this morning and then open house this afternoon. If you were not lucky enough to make it I hope you enjoy the stories you hear tonight and also a few of the photos from the day!

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: This week we have focused on preparing visual literacy in the form of advertisements for our market day stall. We also continue to work on our grammar skills and descriptive writing in writers workshop.

Math: Applying our extensive number knowledge in a real life context has been our focus this week as we calculate costs, measure ingredients, predict the number of serves one bag of…will make us…the list is endless!


  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

Thursday / Friday Open House

Hi everyone

This Thursday and Friday is the elementary school open house. For this the homerooms and specialist classes will be made available for you to come in and observe.

Please note that for 4A the open house periods will be:


9 – 10.15 Music Concert in the Theatre

1.15 – 1.55pm Math in the homeroom

2.15 – 3.00 World Languages


9.10 – 9.50 Writers Workshop

10.10 – 10.50 Student Directed Learning

PLEASE NOTE: The music classes are not being offered outside of the music presentation on Thursday mornnig.

An IMPORTANT message from the music department…

Dear Grade 4 Parents,

Our 1st rehearsal! VERY exciting!

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 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

Lots to Highlight!

Hi everyone!

Let’s start with some photos today…

Last week was a busy and hectic week that included ASA testing, visiting speakers, music rehearsals AND on top of that they we beginning to establish their social enterprise groups. Each student is grouped according to what child right they would like to to action towards helping.  In these small groups the students developed an idea of what they would like to “DO” and are now organizing a social enterprise that will raise money to support their chosen child right / SDG. They have created infographics highlighting their selected child right, related SDG and a nominated NGO / school service learning project that they will be working with. Already company names, logos and slogans have been developed and they are busy developing their business proposal that will put their social enterprise into action.

In order to do this they are learning the basic skills required of good entrepreneurs.  They has worked on gaining an understanding of market forces that will affect their business, they have surveyed potential customers, have analyzed these results to enable them to decide what they will produce, calculated predicted costs and have started to make good decisions based on all of this information.  Throughout all of this we have been focusing on what it means to be a good team mate and how to use skills such as organisation, time management and problem solving.

We request that you don’t help the children too much.  At this stage of the process you may be asked to take your student grocery shopping to, first cost the items and then next week to purchase the items. Part of the organisation aspect for the process is the students will be working on HOW they will be producing their products. This may require your assistance. In the past teams have met at one house for an afternoon and made all the batter, flavours, cupcakes, popcorn, cookies….etc… and then they were done ready for the stall the next day. Others have divided up the work and each done their part at home and brought it in the next day…there is no set formula other than the work needs to be distributed equally and it is a team effort!

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?
  • What are some books you are now interested in reading? Can you show me what your classmates are reading (they have a shared document for recording their nightly reading!)?
  • Can you tell me about supply and demand / profit and loss / goods and services?
  • What did you do with your buddies last week?
  • What makes a good team? How do you feel like your group are going?


  • 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 tables and have gathered many ideas and strategies on how to practice them at home to develop a more automatic recall.
  • Multiplication strategies are being investigated and discussed.

Websites to help practice multiplication tables:


  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 DETAILS TO COME!
  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

Week 21!

Hi everyone,

Following conferences last week I have created a system to make the students accountable for their nightly, at home reading. This week I shared with the class a spreadsheet where they are to record their nightly reading. Please help me enforce the importance of them reading for a minimum of 20 minutes each night! They also have another spreadsheet where they are recording their weekly borrowing from the library. The students are able to borrow 3 books at a time and should be trying to borrow from a range of genres.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. If you need a list of books to refer to for ideas please look under a tab labelled resources on this blog for the elementary recommended reading list.

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?
  • What inquiry did you look into for geometry?
  • How do you plan your narrative writing?
  • What are you writing about at the moment?
  • Please can you show me your blog?

Our Week Ahead:


We have stated a new unit under the transdisciplinary theme, How We Organise Ourselves. With the central idea:  Social enterprises consider purpose and market forces when creating products and services

  • What are the differences between social enterprises and for profit businesses?
  • What did you consider when planning your business?
  • As a consumer what are your needs and wants?
  • What is supply and demand?

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


  • Writing topic sentences
  • Editing sentences to ensure subject and verbs agree.
  • Using similes and metaphors to increase descriptions.


  • Revise factors and multiples
  • Revise and reflect on geometry concepts
  • Begin to explore decimals through money

Upcoming Events:

  • Tet Holiday NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS 15- 25 February
  • Tet assembly – STUDENTS WEAR AO DAI’s! Wednesday 14 February
  • Staff Professional Development Day NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS 12 March
  • Grade 4 and 5 Music Concert 15 March 9am

Photos of the week...

Hi Everyone

It was so lovely to see you for the conferences yesterday! Thank you for taking the time to come in!

Our Week Ahead:


  • What organizations help children access their child rights?
  • What are social enterprises? How are they different to businesses?
  • What action can we take to help children access their child rights?





  • Identify important information for note taking.
  • How to organize our information reports into paragraphs.
  • Using a planning scaffold to plan our information report


  • Revise factors and multiples
  • Use arrays to visualize 2 digit multiplication problems and learn how to break them apart efficiently.
  • Improve fluency with multiplication facts

Website of the week:

A reminder of our Grade 4 Learning Space! Use this to follow what and HOW we are teaching math in the classroom! Remember to click on the blue tick to go to the specific learning areas, here you will find explanations, videos, games and lots of resources!



Exciting, Authentic, Connected…Transdisciplinary Learning!

At the moment in the education world, and specifically in the PYP, there is a big push for student agency and for educators to encourage students to be more in control of their own learning. In the elementary school Tin Tuc this week there was an update about how the IB PYP is focusing on introducing student agency in a more focused way. They highlight the following advantages about increasing student agency as…

Students with agency:

  • have voice, choice and ownership; and a propensity to take action
  • influence and direct learning
  • contribute to and participate in the learning community.

As part of my own professional learning, I have been researching and looking for ways to create a learning environment that allows for greater student agency. For the last 4 weeks I have been introducing the class to new structures and concepts and giving them time (and a lot of guidance) as they learn what it all involves. This week was the first week where the students really saw it all come together, and I am so happy to witness the enthusiastic way that they have tackled the new approach!

Every morning the students come in to read an overview of what the day has to offer. Below is an example.

The morning overview on display each day for the students – it is used as a discussion point in our morning meeting.

We wanted to empower the students with the agency to develop their weekly math goal and also to sign up for focused teaching groups with me. This is assisting them in gaining a greater awareness of their strengths and weaknesses academically and also encouraging them to take control and be proactive in deepening their understanding. To help them do this the students reflected on their learning of the math achievement standards addressed so far this year in the classroom. They had to explain their decisions of where to place each standard by providing their evidence of learning.

Sample self-reflection of the math learning objectives so far this year.

An example of a completed weekly goals sheet that highlights not only the goal but also what success will look like and strategies to use to get there.

During the “Where We Are In Place and Time” unit of inquiry, the students did a range of tasks that were related to the unit but targeted specific math and literacy skills. They started to talk about their learning in terms of “I learned about… through the lens of math/reading/writing”. The content was focused on the unit of inquiry however the “skills” that they were learning were specific from the English and Math curriculum. At the end of the unit the students expressed that they felt they had a better understanding of the unit as they were looking at it from many different perspectives. They also highlighted that it allowed them to strengthen skills such as time management, reflection, cooperation and commitment.

An example of the Transdisciplinary Inquiry Journals that all students use to document their learning process.

The Transdisciplinary Inquiry Wall in the classroom, highlighting individual student focus and tasks.

This week we have focused on developing our understanding of child rights, what they are and what they mean. Students have selected a range of tasks to undertake (each through the lens of either data handling, writing or reading) and began to work towards finding ways that they can take action towards to enable more children access to their rights.

At the beginning of each week they will reflect on their past week’s goals and look at how they are achieving them. They need to provide evidence of their learning and create their next plan of action, do they continue with the same goals or do they create new ones?

Creating her weekly goals on Monday morning using her reflections to help her.

They then create a schedule for their learning. The class schedule is now broken into three sections;

  • teacher led
  • whole class lessons
  • specialist classes and
  • transdisciplinary inquiry

It is through the transdisciplinary inquiry that students get to take true control over their learning and achieve a level of learning that is authentic and connected to the wider world. They decide what they are doing when (with teacher guidance!) and sign up for teacher led workshops or independent inquiry tasks. Their key focus is on what they need to do to deepen their understanding and to have a balance of reading, writing and math. I help them with gaining this self awareness and guide them to understanding what their needs are if I recognise that they have not signed up for a workshop that I believe they would benefit from.

A blank copy of the weekly schedule. Teacher set / led sessions are displayed and the students plan the rest of their time according to their goals and independent learning preferences.


Sung Joon with his completed schedule for the week

Chun Yu signing up for teacher led workshops and recording these sessions on his personal schedule.






An example of the workshop sign up sheet. Students have this information when developing their schedules and goals.

Students deciding on the tasks they will undertake for the week ahead.

Overall, the classroom has become invigorated by the thinking that has been involved. The students are excited by the chance to shape the way they inquire into our classroom focus. Please talk with your students about it and feel free to ask me any questions! The students each recorded their thoughts about the different approaches to the units and many have included them in their portfolios. Below are Harley and Grant giving us their opinions (for clarification: the unit for Where We Are In Place and Time lasted 6 weeks and they had 60 periods total where they looked at reading, math and writing with a focus of Heritage for the content).