Week 7 & 8: Sept 25 – Oct 6

Dear 5A Families,

It’s been an exciting two weeks. The obvious highlight last week was the overnight trip, where students bonded and gained independence from home. If you check their blogs, you can see how students felt about their experience.

Students arrive at the hotel for the G5 overnight.

Continuing our inquiry into the topic of migration, small groups created “mind maps” to explore the concepts of change and perspective. These concepts led to questions, such as “how does migration affect (change) the people who migrate and the places where they go?” We are currently in the process of researching for answers. If parents have views on this topic, they are encouraged to share with their child.

As we prepare for our first summative assessment on the topic of migration, students are learning the structure of narrative writing through a “story arc” (see the picture below). We are using this story arc to notice the structure in stories we read and to write our own stories.

– Seo Yeon clearly explains the structure of narrative writing through a “story arc.”

In order to appreciate the magnitude of migration on populations, we are exploring place value to the millions and introduced decimals. Students created and played on their place value board games, which made the learning hands-on and fun.

Ester and a partner from 5B use precision to create their place value board game.

Finally, I really enjoyed meeting with parents at conferences on Tuesday. A common theme from parents was concern for how to help their children find “just right” books. Linked here is the UNIS ES book recommendation resource. You can also find it on my blog under resources.

Have a wonderful October break!

Week 6: September 18-22

Dear G5 Families,

While students showed stamina in completing the MAP tests this week, the most exciting event was the arrival of our new furniture. Check out the pictures below. Of course, the biggest upcoming event is the overnight trip! Most students are very excited, but if your child is feeling nervous, they are encouraged to visit Dylan in the counselors office.

So what did your child learn this week? Ask them! Here are a few dinner time conversation starters that will get at your child’s understanding of the content that we have been trying to teach:

  • What’s the difference between a passport and a visa? Why do people from some countries need visas to enter Vietnam, while others don’t?
  • What’s your favorite reading genre and why?
  • What is the setting and conflict of the read-aloud book, A Long Walk to Water (hint: the story takes place in South Sudan)?
  • What’s the best time to call a friend in America (see Ella’s model below)?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Boys get comfortable on our new couch and rug.

New desks and chairs too!

Ella wrote on our new desk to model her thinking for the time zone problem in math.

Week 5: September 11-15

Dear 5A Families,

This week we have been focusing on the reasons people migrate. Do you have a family migration story? If so, please share with your child during a family dinner this weekend.

Integrating our reading and writing, students have been reading migration stories and listening to interviews of teenagers who have migrated. They took notes and shared their discoveries. After collecting 14 different reasons for migration, groups of students created their own categories for the reasons. See the pictures below.

We also learned to expand the richness of our sentences by including more noun phrases and adjectives into simple sentences.

During math, students created maps based on their internal view of the world, then developed a grid system (latitude and longitude) to provide directions. Exploring the concept of time and time zones, Joe-Ben asked why “they” choose 60 to represent the number of minutes in an hour. Great question, huh? That led to our exploration into factors. Uy discovered that 24 has the greatest number of factors for numbers under 30? Could that be why there are 24 hours in a day?

Finally, students worked on their ability to read loud and with expression while reading to our grade 1 buddy class. After reading about a girl who was inspired to draw dots, we helped decorate a wall with our own dots.

Oh, before I sign off, a few reminders…

  • Please let me know if you would be willing to be the 5A room parent.
  • Help your child remember to wear dots tomorrow to celebrate making a mark and creativity.
  • Healthy snack sale happens on Wednesday. Please send money with your child so they can buy snacks. For more details, click here.
  • Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing begins next week.

Sharing a love of learning,

Week 4: September 4-8

Dear 5A Families,

After enjoying the long weekend, students were literally on the move as we set sail our unit on migration with a provocation that required students to migrate from classroom to classroom for various “push/pull” reasons. While some students wasted away waiting for visas, others were forced to flee their homelands or perform hard-labor. Meanwhile other’s benefitted from corrupt systems and enjoyed prosperity. In the end, a natural disaster brought us all back together and we reflected on our experiences. Throughout the next few weeks, students will use this experiences to make connections to real-life stories of migration.

Students salute their rebellious leader in the war torn country of Ronkeland.

Students stand in immigration, trying to get into Tinaville.

Not everything was so dramatic. Now that students are feeling more comfortable with their classroom environment, we are starting to focus on more academic subjects. Starting last week, students began taking assessments in reading, writing, spelling and math. The results will give us strategies for helping each child grow to their full potential in each area.

I look forward to having meet most of the parents at Back-to-School Night by the time this blog post is published. If you missed it, or would like to see the presentation slides, I’ve linked them here.

In continued partnership,



Week 3: 28 August – 1 September

Dear 5A Families,

We are finally all here! All 22 students. Can you find them all in the picture?

So much has happened this week that my head is spinning. I will try to share a few highlights through the lens of our current transdisciplinary theme, Identity.

To get an overview of the Learner Profile students researched synonyms to create posters. They worked in teams on their iPads to create comics that reflected the attitudes of an inquirer. Developing their writing skills, students learned to describe their character traits with rich detail and incorporated these attributes into “who am I” poems. Students practiced comparing and contrasting the identity traits of the characters in our exciting read-aloud, Among the Hidden. In math, we figured out how many handshakes it would take for five people to all shake hands once. More importantly, we learned how to explain our thinking using models, equations and words.

Finally we had two special events. First, we met our 1st grade buddies! We interviewed them to find out about their identities. Second, Beth, the math specialist, explained that math was all around us and taught us a math dance.

I’m sure there is more, but my head is spinning!

Have a great long weekend,

Week 2: 21st – 25th August

Dear 5A Families,

For the first two weeks all Grade 5 students took part in activities that were lead by different Grade 5 teachers. They were aimed at uncovering learning styles, who we are as individuals, problem-solving with numbers and significant times that shape who they are.

In 5A homeroom our main aim this week was to uncover our values and identity as a learning community. We familiarized ourselves with the learner profile as part of our Units of Study (UOI). In Math we identified “math about me” and began a provocation into the order of operations. During our Literacy blocks, we spent time reading independently for pleasure and wrote passionate letters to our future selves.

Most importantly, we took time to get to know each other, and began each morning with friendly greetings and an activity that encouraged cooperation among peers. It’s been a good start, and I am excited to regularly share our learning with you.


Reminders and Dates to Save:

Grade Level Social Event
What:  A short (1 hour) social event for families, hosted by the SCO, with cold drinks, snacks, and an opportunity for parents and students to mingle.
Purpose:  To bring new and returning families together to connect with one another; to build and reinforce a sense of community within new classes.
When:  Tuesday 29th August (Discovery – Grade 2) and Thursday 31st August (Grades 3-5).
Where:  Inside homerooms (10 minutes) followed by outside eating, drinking and socialising (till 4.30)

Class Parent Needed
Is your forte in building and strengthening a community?
Do you enjoy communicating and bringing people together?
Then you are the parent Grade 5 is looking for!

We need two Class Parent volunteers who will liaise and assist communication between the SCO and Grade 5 parents all through the school year.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Organize a social gathering for parents in the class and grade level to get to know each other.
  •  Create a Class Directory to share with the parents in your class.
  • Encourage/promote participation in school community events.
  • Help to communicate information from the School Community Organisation (SCO) to families
  • Support homeroom teachers with their requests. This may include helping to coordinate parent volunteers for a class project, party or field trip.
  • Welcome New Families to a class (especially when joining mid-year) and help new families with the transition process.
  • Share celebrations, information, issues & initiatives with the SCO Elementary School (ES) Chair and Vice Chair, so that such information can be passed on to the ES Principal.
  • Help organize the UN Day Community Lunch for the Early Childhood Centre and Elementary School.
  • Liaise with the G5 team leader (Tina Carew).

G5 Activities and Physical Education Requirements
Your child is a pre teen and with this comes the responsibility of organizing their needs. As the weather continues to be hot and sticky, all G5 students need to think about their hygiene requirements. Some suggestions are as follows:

  • Use an antiperspirant each day
  • Bring a change of clothes for after lunch play
  • Have a change of clothes to change into after PE lessons
  • Air out shoes to avoid foot odour

With 22 students in a class, you can imagine the range of smells each person delivers and receives. Please have a discussion with your child to decide on their needs and how they may implement these.

Reusable Water Bottles
We are an environmentally aware school and want our students to understand the impact they have by simply using a water bottle that is reusable. To ensure your child never loses their reusable bottle, please write their name and class on the bottle to ensure its safe return.

Outside Play
A reminder to send hats with your children for outside play to protect them from the sun.

A reminder that G5 students are working towards developing their independence and growing responsibilities, therefore, they are responsible for looking after their ID cards.

By now your child should have brought home their Chromebooks and associated paperwork to fill out. Please return the paperwork to their homeroom teacher ASAP, to ensure your child has full access to their Chromebooks.

Save the Date:
Grade 5 Excursion 27th -29th October 2017
Back to School Night-  7th September
National Day 4th September – No school

Welcome to the 5A Class Blog!

Dear Students, Parents and Guests,

You’ve found our blog! We hope you will find this site useful for finding information about what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will do throughout the year. It will serve as a showcase of student work, and it will be a place to find additional resources to support student learning.

In partnership,

Nathan Smith
5A Homeroom Teacher