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).

Not long until the Winter Break!

Hi everyone,

This week we have focused on looking at what action is and how they as students, can make a positive influence. They realised before they start thinking of ideas they need to find information first…here are the questions they are looking to answer…

The students brainstorming efforts

I encourage you to speak to your students about their learning that is happening in the classroom and help them find examples of different forms of action that is happening around the world.

Thanks to everyone who helped contribute to the fundraising for the ES Walkathon! This year was a record with over $17,000 US raised!

Things you can talk to your child about:

  • What rights do you think all children should have?
  • What events might happen to make it hard for a child to get their rights?
  • What action could you take to help?
  • What does transdisciplinary learning mean?
  • What is an infographic?

Our week in review


  • What are Childrens’ Rights,
  • How do circumstances effect our ability to access rights


  • Persevere in solving problems (introduction to word problems involving multiplication)
  • analyze data
  • represent data in a clear way as an infographic


  • Write complete paragraphs
  • Identify features of a report
  • Write simple and compound sentences
  • Expand vocabulary, including unit specific words.

Upcoming Events:

  • Maker Day- December 8
  • Festive Fundraiser- December 8
  • Winter Holiday- December 18-January 8


Week 13 has been a cultural week!


As I write this blog post I am sitting here impressed by what a fantastic job the students in 4A did when presenting their Heritage Museum! The students did a fantastic job and the hard work that they have put in over the last 3 weeks as they focused on working across all areas of the curriculum, paid off! I hope you can make it to school next Thursday during our open house to see all of their great work as we will be presenting our museum for the last time, for you the parents!

Next Thursday and Friday will be our ES Open House at UNIS and you are invited to come and join in some of the lessons for the day to see the different types of learning that your child is involved in. Please see below for the schedule of lessons on offer!

Dates to Remember:

OPEN HOUSE – See below!

Period / Time Thursday 30th November 2017 Friday 1st December 2017

Period 1

8.20 – 9am

Homeroom → writers workshop

Period 2

9.10 – 9.50

PE (sports centre)
Period 3

Period 4

10.55 – 11.35

Music → Sally Oxenberry in room B10 G20

Period 5

12.30 – 1.05

Music → Ms Noor in room B10 106

Period 6

1.10 – 1.50

Homeroom → G04 Heritage Museum

Period 7

2.10 – 3pm

World Languages →

Dung, Tran Kim (Vietnamese) B9 144
Le, Dinh Thi (Vietnamese)       B9 135
Huyen, Nguyen (Vietnamese)  B9 105

Aiqin  Li (Mandarin WL)           B9 G40

Qiu Lin Tang (Mandarin MT)    B9 115

Kim Min Jung (Korean)            B9 101
Claire Holbein  (French)          B8 110
Christophe Denizot (French)   B8 108
Laurie Rombaut (French)        B8 109

Nicole Moodie (EAL)               B9 112

Homeroom → iTime

Things to Ask Your Child About:

  • What is a Flipgrid?
  • Tell me about the grade 4 museum! What did you learn?
  • What what the hardest thing about turning a 2D shape into a 3D model?

Next School Week in Review:


  • Math centers to individualize learning according to individual needs
    Problem-solving strategies
  • Reflect on our understanding of geometry and the different concepts we have covered


  • Finishing off our writing of persuasive arguments to support opinions
  • Beginning to look at what is an information report.
  • Reading non fiction text for understanding
  • Writing descriptive phrases


  • Central Idea: Children’s rights and responsibilities exist to enable equitable opportunities.
  • Lines of Inquiry:
    – Children’s rights and equity
    – Circumstances that determine a child’s access to opportunities
    – The role of social responsibility and action. (perspective, responsibility, causation)

The week that was “Week 12”

What a FANTASTIC field trip we had yesterday! The weather was sensational, the chaperones were smiling and the students were SO WELL BEHAVED! A true success! Please enjoy some of the photos from the day!


Dates to Remember:

Friday 17 November: Youth Sports Carnival at St Paul’s School

Wednesday 22 November: ES Snack Sale


Things to Ask Your Child About:

  • Who is Rube Goldberg?
  • What are argument statements in persuasive writing?
  • What was the puppet show at the theatre about?
  • What is geometry?

Next School Week in Review:


  • Math centers to individualize learning according to individual needs
    Problem-solving strategies
  • Calculate perimeter of a shape
  • Convert a 2D picture into a 3D model


  • Writing persuasive arguments to support opinions
  • Writing a non fiction blurb about a piece of heritage
  • Reading non fiction text for understanding


  • Central Idea: Connections to our past and present influence future generations.
  • An inquiry into...
    the different forms of heritage (form)
    the connection between what is valued and what is preserved (connection)
    who decides what is worth preserving (perspective)
  • Students will continue to work on their independent inquiry projects

Next week the students will complete their final project for this unit.  They will need to bring in 3 examples of Heritage.  One global (their 3D models), one local (a picture from today’s field trip) and one personal.

Earlier in the unit some students already brought in examples of personal heritage. They can bring in the same object or they may choose a new object.  It is also possible that they can bring in a picture or drawing of a personal example of heritage.

A description of the task:

You are a UNESCO representative who has been asked to present in a local museum and you have been given the task of creating a museum display to show what you understand about heritage

To create your display, you must include three different things that represent heritage:

  • Personal – Your choice. This could be something that has been passed down through your family, or something that you think will continue to be of importance to you long into the future.
  • Local – This must be selected from one of the sites we visited during the field trip to the Old Quarter in Hanoi (The Citadel, Hoan Kiem Lake, ……. )
  • Global – As part of the lead up to creating your museum, you have been asked to create a piece of writing persuading others why a site should be preserved on a global scale. This piece of writing and this site should be included in your museum.

Learning Intentions

✅ I can create a list of criteria for articles to be displayed in my museum.

✅ I can select and describe one or more examples of personal, local and global heritage.

✅ I can use my criteria to explain my reasons for including each artifact in my museum and why it is worth preserving.


Week 11 has been a busy one! What did you find interesting about it?

Dates to Remember:

Monday 13, Tuesday 14th November: NO school for students

Wednesday 15 November: 4A and B field trip from 8.20 – 2.15

Friday 17 November: Youth Sports Carnival at St Paul’s School

Wednesday 22 November: ES Snack Sale

Ms Mel’s Challenge to YOU!

The students don’t think you read our weekly blog! To prove them wrong and to add a bit of excitement I would love you to post a comment on this blog post providing some feedback regarding one of the things that we have talked about here this week!

Things to Ask Your Child About:

For the last 2 weeks the students have been working on a transdisciplinary, independent, inquiry project which allows them to view their Unit of Inquiry through the lens of geometry, reading and writing. Before starting the students reflected on their understanding of the independent skills they need to use and signed up for teacher led workshops which would allow them to gain a clearer understanding.

  • What is their independent inquiry project about?
  • What is an example of a strong modal verb? How do we use it in our persuasive writing?
  • What is the design process robot?
  • What is a gathering grid?
  • How do we use an iPad to help us with using our time wisely?

Next School Week in Review:


  • Math centers to individualize learning according to individual needs
    Problem-solving strategies
  • Calculate perimeter of a shape
  • Measure angles and lines


  • Writing persuasive arguments to support opinions
  • Writing supportive reasons using the UNESCO criteria.
  • Writing simple, complex and compound sentences
  • Reading non fiction text for understanding


  • Central Idea: Connections to our past and present influence future generations.
  • An inquiry into...
    the different forms of heritage (form)
    the connection between what is valued and what is preserved (connection)
    who decides what is worth preserving (perspective)
  • Students will continue to work on their independent inquiry projects

Website of the Week:

Tinkercad is a 3D design tool which improves students geometry skills while they create 3D models and prototypes. They can then print them using the school’s 3D printer. Students need parent approval in order to create an account.

Blue Dragon Walk-a-Thon:

On Wednesday we had the Blue Dragon Walk-a-Thon and it was a fantastic afternoon! 4A are busily collecting the donations from their sponsors! Our goal is to raise over 25 million…can we do it? Thank you to the mum’s, dad’s and grandma’s who came and helped us for the afternoon!

UN Day 2017!

Hi everyone

Thank you for helping make today such a success! Please enjoy a slideshow of the class during the day! You can download any of them individually via the google drive that the students have access to!

Have a happy and safe weekend!

What a week the 10th has been!

Hi everyone,

I hope to see many of you at UN Day tomorrow. Please remember that the students will be dismissed at 2pm. Please see your email this evening for information regarding this dismissal.

Next Wednesday we have the annual walk-a-thon. Please contact me or James Nation if you are able to come and help us on the day!


Things to Ask Your Child About:

  • What is heritage? What are examples of personal, national and world heritage?
  • What is a 2-1 machine, how does it work?
  • What the UN is and what it does.
  • What is task-o-poly?
  • Their independent inquiry time. See this link for the inquiry project all the students are working on

Next School Week in Review:


  • Math centers to individualize learning according to individual needs
    Problem-solving strategies
  • focus on subtraction strategies.  Please have a look here at the Grade 4 learning space to access videos of various subtraction strategies. You will need to scroll down the page to see all of the videos of the strategies.


  • Reading for information about the UOI
    Persuasive writing – how to use modal verbs to strengthen our arguments
  • editing and revising our drafts
  • Using positive and negative judgement statements in their response writing


  • Central Idea: Connections to our past and present influence future generations.
  • An inquiry into...
    the different forms of heritage (form)
    the connection between what is valued and what is preserved (connection)
    who decides what is worth preserving (perspective)
  • Students will continue to work on their independent inquiry projects

Website of the Week:

https://www.explodingdots.org/  Exploding dots is a fun, visual way for students to explore number systems and improve their mathematical abilities in everything from place value to division.

What problem do we want to fix?

When reading some online blogs over the last week I saw someone post about instead of asking your students “what do you want to be when you grow up?” you should ask them “what problems do you want to solve when you grow up?”

The idea behind this is that it will change the students focus from who they want to work for to what they want to work towards. I asked the students to answer three questions for me this morning in their blogs and I wanted to share what they wrote. My aim is to revisit these questions at the end of the year after we have spent time focusing on Human Rights, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how we as humans can take action.