Week 28: March 19-23

Greetings 5A Community,

Students discuss ideas for the PYP Exhibition.

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 (see all topics here) 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.

Here is a sample of one groups’ inquiry.

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 on what they have learnt 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 for 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.

In addition to working on the PYP Exhibition, students spent literacy time developing “judgemental” vocabulary to use for response writing. They also met in “book clubs” to discuss the writing features of study novels. In math, students practiced division and determined what to do with a remainder, depending on the context of the story problem.

As always, so much going on!

Week 27: March 12-16

Students interact with the central idea for the PYPX, “We can each make a difference to the world through action.”

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. Enjoy!

Warm Regards, Nathan

Week 26: March 5-9

Greetings 5a Community,

This week, as part of the tuning-in process, students were organized into working groups for the PYP Exhibition (PYPX) based on their passions. In their groups, the students emailed their assigned mentors to set-up times to meet (at least once a week). Then students developed essential agreements to ensure that they worked productively in their groups. Agreements included the following: make sure everyone agrees on something before doing it; respect everyone; stay on task; speak out if you disagree on something; everyone must share their ideas and opinions; everyone has a role\job.

Students work in PYPX groups to develop their essential agreements.

Next week, students will begin the finding-out process. They will look for resources to gain better understanding of their topics. Parents can help students by identifying appropriate articles and having ongoing discussions with their child about their topic.

In addition to the PYPX, students continue to read, write and practice math. We organized ourselves into book clubs and learned why the probabilities of rolling various numbers differs when you roll two dice.

Students model their thinking about probability.

Students react to their predictions for rolling two dice.

As a class, we recorded the outcomes of rolling two dice 100 times.

Finally, here are a few announcements:

  • 5A will have two “open classroom” times next week:
    • Thursday, 15 March  @ 2:15pm (math lesson)
    • Friday, 16 March @ 9:15am (PYPX group work)
  • Grade 4 and 5 Music Concert on March 15th (for this reason, there will not be any open classrooms for Music).
  • Save the date: PYPX on April 24 & 26

Week 25: Feb 26 – Mar 1

Greetings 5A Community,

Welcome back from what I hope was a restful Tet.  We are right back into it as we began PYP Exhibition or PYPX this week.  The students were introduced to the equation: passion + issue = action!

Students explored the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by playing a memory game.

They were then able to connect back to the various presenters we have had in the previous weeks and see how their passion is linked to an issue and has led to action.

From here we stimulated thought about action in our local community.  The mystery trips to museums, hospitals and homes for those with mental disabilities worked to create links to the Sustainable Development Goals and possible action points. We watched videos of other children taking action, all an effort to plant seeds in your children that will take root and grow into informed action over the next eight weeks.

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 week was also one of assessments as students wrote the ISA tests across Mathematical Literacy, Writing and Reading. These tests will be sent off for external moderation and result will be shared with you.

In all this was a real joy in being back together as a community of learners. What a wonderful group that I am blessed to be with each day! Looking forward to the journey ahead.

In continued partnership,




Week 24: February 12-14

Greetings 5A Community,

Tet is upon us! Assessments have been completed. Parent-Teacher Conferences have been had, and several days off from school are in front of us. Chúc mừng năm mới

Students gather around to hear a peer’s proposal for a new class governing structure.

Please note some important information for the days and weeks after the Tet break, including a field trip that requires your permission.

PYPX Coffee Morning Meeting
If you are new to Exhibition, this is the perfect time to come and chat with the G5 curriculum coordinator to find out a bit more about what your child will be experiencing.
When: Friday 2nd March
Where: ECC Gymnasium
Time: 8:15 am

Grades 4 & 5 Music Concert
When: March 15th
Where: Center for the Arts
Time: 9:00 am  

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.

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 Duration:  9 – 10:30am

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
    * Formal black shoes (no sneakers please
    * ‘A touch of color’ (optional) – for example, a blue scarf, red tie, green belt


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

G5 Mystery Field Trip – The First Tuesday Back to School
Your child was given a hard copy of their consent form for you to sign and return on Monday the 26th February. You will notice the consent form does not have the venues for these field trips on them. We are trying to keep this information from students as it is a Mystery Field Trip. So here they are, but please do not share these with your child.

Your child will attend one of the following;

  • Army Museum
  • Hao Lo Prison
  • Women’s Museum
  • Hoa Bin Orphanage Village
  • Pediatrics Hospital or Viet Duc Hospital

Other Reminders
Thursday, March 15th & Friday 16th:  Open Classrooms
Friday, March 30th: ES Fun Sports Afternoon

Week 23: February 5-9

Greetings 5A Community,

Today we visited the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh with our Grade 1 buddies. Afterwards, we discussed the responsibility of citizens to honor the Vietnamese revolutionary leader. One students asked, “who got to decide to embalm Ho Chi Minh?”

The entire G5 pose behind the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum with their G1 buddies.

Learning Targets for this Week
UOI: Design and present a governing system for a community organization, such as a business, a school or a country.
Literacy: Write an outline for a discussion essay of choice, such as “Should students be allowed to chew gum in school?”
Math: Create a financial plan for a party that includes sales tax on “goods and services”

Dates to Remember:

  • 6th-7th February – G5/ES Art Auction
  • 8th February – Field Trip – Ensure your child has a snack
  • 1st & 2nd March – No ASA’s
  • 1st of March – Writing Information Session delivered by visiting educator, Stephen Graham
  • 2nd March – PYPX Parent Coffee Morning starting at 8:15 in the library
  • 15th March – G4 & G5 Music concert
  • 15th & 16 March – Open Classrooms

Happy Tet!

Week 22: Jan 26 – Feb 2

Greetings 5A Community,


This week the citizens of 5A gathered for a “State of the Union” address, delivered by our elected president. He declared that the government has been effective by meeting learning targets and by providing “student agency” to all of the citizens.

The 5A president gave a “State of the Union” address to the applause of the citizens.

Here were the learning targets for the week:

UOI: Present the form, responsibility and effectiveness of your home country

Literacy: Peer review and revise discussion essays; read a biography and create a timeline or story arc

Math: Present an analysis of data collected to answer a numerical question

Any 5A students should be able to figure out the average number of minutes students read on Tuesday.

Students created flowcharts to show the form of their government, then discussed the responsibilities of the different roles.

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!

Finally, I enjoyed meeting with many 5A parents at the parent-teacher conferences. I appreciated the chance to share student work and growth.

Have a whimsical weekend,

Week 21: January 22-26

Greetings 5A Community,

This week the students have taken over the governance of the class! Led by their president and prime minister, the class has worked to meet the following goals:

  • UOI: Understand and present the governing structure of your home country
  •  Literacy: Write a “discussion essay” with purpose, structure and modality; read biographies and reflect
  • Math: Collect numerical data and analyse it using the “mean” average

On Friday, students will present their work to the class. Next Monday, the president will give a “state of the union” address, to discuss how well our government is performing based on performance criteria.

Next Thursday, parents will have a chance to see their child’s work during parent-teacher conferences. Don’t forget to sign up!

Finally, I would like to introduce the newest member of 5A, Gangmo Kim. Can you find him in following class photo?

5A students pose with the newest member of 5A.

Week 20: January 15-19

Greetings 5A Community,

Do you prefer communism or capitalism? This question has been driving our 5A discussions this week, as the students form their own system of governance.

Students created concept maps to develop questions related to government

It all started in math, when I told the class that I would give each student one minute of extra recess for every cube they were able to hold in one hand. As the graph shows, one student picked up 24 cubes while some students only picked up 9 cubes. Was this fair? Some students didn’t think so. So it was suggested that we divide the total number of minutes (299) by the total number of students (21). That way, everyone would get about 14 minutes.

We created a line plot to visually represent and analyse the number of cubes students picked up.

Next, we took the debate to our newly formed government, based on the Vietnamese one party system. The National Assembly voted to divide up the minutes equally. I explained to the class that their decision followed a communist belief.

Members of the 5A National Committee meet to decide how to divide recess time.


Now, we are in the process of discussing the virtues of communism and capitalism. Starting next week, we will outline the different points-of-view into a structured persuasive essay. After that, students will be able to select a topic of choice to write their own persuasive essay.

Students read an essay about “megacities” and looked for persuasive elements.

Of course, I kept my promise and students enjoyed 14 extra minutes of recess. We also spent time with our 1st grade buddies. We visited the MS art show and were impressed by the thoughtful representations of current issues that affect our world.

Kelly discusses art with her 1st grade buddy.

Until next week,

Week 19: January 8-12

Greetings 5A Community,

Monarchy, anarchy, dictatorship or democracy, which do you prefer? 

King Xavier poses with his loyal subjects.

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 for royalty, revolting, organising 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. On Friday, the students will blog their thoughts on the different forms of governance. Take a look!

In literacy, the students were exposed to a new text type, “discussion” (similar to a persuasive essay). They were asked to use their knowledge on energy sources or on family structures and discuss their preferences. We will use this initial exposure to develop teaching points for the next few weeks in writing.

In math, we spent the week learning to solve division problems using models and  partial-quotient method/algorithm. See the example below. Your child should be able to explain how it works.

Hoping you all had a wonderful break. We are happy to be right back into it…despite the cold!