Maker Day – What’s the Point?

“Ultimately, the interdisciplinary and empowering natures of these makerspaces can help prepare youth for a future we can’t yet imagine” (Davee, Regalla & Chang, 2015, p. 10).

“When we allow children to experiment, take risks, and play with their own ideas, we give them permission to trust themselves. They begin to see themselves as learners who have good ideas and can transform their own ideas into reality” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, p. 36). 

Read more Making and Tinkering are Powerful and Empowering Ways to Learn

Friday morning and the air was filled with excitement. Students were buzzing with the talk of what their ideas were and what they had planned to make. Teachers were setting up their classrooms with extension cords and various tinkering tools and equipment. Tables and carpets were moved to make space for the madness of creating to take hold.

As an educator, I love these days. Watching students, who are normally quiet in a formal classroom setting, blossom into creative geniuses. Solving problems, investigating ways of improving an idea or product, trialing and erroring, cutting and gluing, soldering and drilling. I don’t remember once asking students to lower their noise level nor asking someone to get back on task.

Yet, should a bystander be there, standing in the background and looking into the room, at that moment, I’m sure they’d see chaos.  A blur of bodies, moving fluidly from place to place with cutters in hand, or soldering irons, soldering bits of metal to motherboards, without blueprints or instruction books to guide. Scissors and tape, hot glue guns melting plastic and in some cases, little fingers that got too close.

I love these days. To watch learning in action. To see students working alone, yet within a team. Each one focused on their job, each one being an observer. Pushing back ideas that don’t fit with their images. Grabbing at solutions to make their ideas come to life. Girls and boys working together without thought of who they are, or where they’re from, or who is better at answering questions, doing sums or running faster.

I love these days. These days remind me of my own education, but they were few and far between. My maker days were spend outside of schooling hours. In the streets of my hometown, at the park or in the bush, building huts, playing with friends and cooking pinecones over open fires.

I love these days. This is why I teach. To see my students stretch their minds. Strengthen their determination to succeed and develop a belief in themselves. I need them to know they can do anything, they can be anything, and they just can.

I love these days. So, it looks like I’ll keep teaching until I don’t love these days anymore.

Week 17 – December 4th – 8th

Welcome 5B Community

Everything is Connected

Did you know that UNIS uses 13,000 kilowatts of electricity every day and spend over $10,000 on electricity each month?
Thanks to a visit from our Senior Operations Officer, Mr Carl Strefford last week. G5 students were able to learn more about the energy UNIS uses and what the next steps for UNIS are going to be.

UOI – Electricity

Grade 5 students are busy working towards completing their pitches for the ‘Shark Tank’ activity due to take place next Tuesday and Friday. G5 students have been allocated energy sources and world regions, which has guided their inquiries. They will have 10 minutes to persuade a panel of judges (Sharks) that their energy source is the best possible source for that region.

Comming Up is Maker Day.

On Friday this week, students in their energy teams, will create a model/ blueprint, invention or innovation to support their team’s efforts to persuade the ‘Sharks’ to buy into their energy source.

Math – Fractions, fractions, fractions!

5B and 5A share their understandings with each other. Demonstrating different ways to represent fractions. Our Math focus has been on improving student understanding of fractions and their connections to real numbers and decimals. A fantastic article provided by our Math Coach, Beth, makes for an interesting read.And just for your reading delight, here is another article, also provided by Beth. We will continue with this math focus through to winter break.

Literacy

Reading and writing are centered around the nonfiction information being sought for the ‘Shark Tank’ Event. Students visited Ms. Conroy, our ES librarian, to learn the important elements of referencing and citing the work of others. Ms. Conroy also showed students safe and reliable places to search online for their Shark Tank pitches. Shout out to Ms. Conroy. She’s such a busy Librarian. 

Dinner time conversations:
A little something to talk about during your dinnertime conversations.

  • Which class contributed the most money to the Blue Dragon Walk-a-thon?
  • What are the 7 Energy Sources G5 students are researching for the ‘Shark Tank’?
  • Who is leaving UNIS from 5B, to go to Bangkok, on the 15th of December?
  • What is the current ‘Youth Sports’ activity and who are the coaches?
  • What is the name of the show that students are currently auditioning for?

Happy Weekend

The week that was:

Week 15 – November 20th – 24th

Welcome 5B

Check your email for ‘OPEN DOORS’ invite.

Next Thursday and Friday, you are invited into the 5B classroom as part of the UNISOpen Doors.” Below is the list of times and classroom activities you can observe and/or participate in during the school day:

Thursday:
10:55 am    UOI  (G5 students will explore the “best” energy option for their continent).

Friday:
10:10 am      3 Act Math  (students will use math to solve a “real-world” problem)

Literacy this week was focused on the grammar of the modal language. What is a strong verb? How do adverbs add meaning or depth to understanding? What is tense and how do we recognize it when we read?

Our reading genre is nonfiction. Students have selected, and are reading books about energy. We have discovered that all energy has two main forms – Kinetic and Potential. From there we have identified nine energy sources, some of which are renewable and some which are not. Ask your child if they can identify some of the sources that Vietnam uses and if they are renewable or not.

Inquiry
We have delved into our new unit of inquiry focused on the consumption of electricity. This exploration was done two-fold, by beginning a design challenge to make something using electricity and finding information to complete a class generated ABCs of Electricity. We are now ready to look more closely at the sources of electricity.

Next week we will begin our summative assessment which will combine research and design related to electricity. This will culminate in a small group presentation. Please advise if your son or daughter will be absent on the last Friday before Winter Break so they too can be assessed with their peers.

Math
We have deepened our problem-solving strategies by looking at multiple ways to solve problems and how to model problems in new ways. We now are exploring fractions and what they represent in different situations and how to represent them.

Dinner time conversations

This is a new idea I heard about. Let’s see how it affects your dinnertime conversations!

Ask your child

  • What song did we change the words to?
  • Who’s birthday was it in 5B this week?
  • What was the new game Ms Tina showed you this week?

Enjoy your weekend and I look forward to seeing you at our open day.

Reminders:

Please let me know if your child is going to be away on the 15th of December
Each student needs a personal set of headphones

 

Week 14 – November 13th – 17th

Welcome to 5B Community

Personal Thank you – As a parent myself, I would like to extend my gratitude to you for organising to have your child cared for as teachers attended two days of professional development this week. These days are intensive and teachers and are designed to stretch our thinking, develop our learning and growth as Educators. UNIS has always been committed to ensuring your child has access to the best teaching and learning strategies available to them. This only happens when teachers have access to innovate and modern teaching tools.

Literacy

5B students have been monitoring their writing achievements, as they learn to work with criteria and assessments. These skills are necessary to ensure your child understands areas for development, as well as areas they have the greatest strengths in. Over the next 4 weeks, 5B will be focusing on persuasive texts in order for your child to contribute to a group presentation. More information of the format of this group presentation is to come.

Our reading genre is non-fiction. 5B students will be bringing home reading assignments which they will need to write a response too. This response can be done electronically or handwritten in their exercise books. Your support to ensure they have time to complete these home learning tasks will greatly assist your child’s understanding as we embark on some difficult vocabulary and understandings in our Electricity UOI.

Math

Integers, fractions and making sense, are areas 5B will investigate this coming week. Ask your child to challenge you with the ‘Shepherd’ and ‘Chicken’ problems. Let’s see if you can make sense of these.

UOI – Electricity

Last Friday, and this Friday, students found themselves deconstructing and constructing a range of devices that use electrical energy in some way. As students dig deeper into this UOI, they need to develop specific understandings. This UOI has seen some changes from last year, with the inclusion of sustainability usage, which connects to the UN Sustainable Goals. Further additions for students will see them identify regions around the world that don’t have electricity, or regions that use electricity excessively, and then explore possible solutions. Students will be polishing their cooperation, collaboration and investigation skills during this inquiry.

Special Acknowledgements:

Congratulations go to the following students Maral Dippe, Dylan Fairbairn, Ray Hussey, Yuyang Ma, Lily McCullough, Duc Vinh Nghiem and Hai Nam Nguyen who will participate in the Youth Sports Soccer Festival held at St Paul American School this Friday. I can not tell you how proud I am to see so many students involved in sport.

Congratulations go to Jonathan Katen in Band, Lily McCullough and Eulalia Recca in advanced strings, for showing commitment and courage as they entertained children from the Systems Little House with their musical talent. This event was part of the students’ community service initiative and I am so proud that they are able to bring joy to others through their music.

Reminders:

  • ‘Blue Dragon Walk-a-thon’ Money collection deadline is 22nd November. Please ensure your child gives their money and sponsorship form to their teacher before the deadline.
  • All students need their ID cards to access their photocopying.
  • All students need personal headphones to use in class.

The week that was:

Week 13 – November 6th – 10th

Welcome to 5B Community

Expressing Culture through Art

 

A Grade 5 Activity celebrating the importance of culture and diversity.

United Nations Day celebrates tradition

UN Day Fun

Blue Dragon Walk-A-Thon

Many thanks to our class parents for supporting students at this life-changing event.

In preparation for this event, 5B students were exposed to a variety of elements homeless children face on a daily basis. One experience was to put themselves in the shoes of a homeless child. Their task was to find a safe and secure place on the school grounds to sleep each night. Elements they needed to think about were:
Weather – Sleeping somewhere to avoid the elements of weather.
Safety – Somewhere that a child could stay hidden so they could sleep without fear.
Authority – Somewhere where there were no cameras and security guards to ensure a child could sneak on school grounds without being seen, as homelessness is illegal in Vietnam. The aim was to develop empathy and build an understanding of why it is we are raising money for the children of Blue Dragon.  

UOI
We began a new unit; How the World Works with a focus on electricity.  This began on UN Day as we acknowledge how lucky we are to have access to energy and looked at country usage per capita. Have a look at our display outside 5A and 5B.This week we sparked student interest with a hands-on activity to introduce our unit on electricity. Students were introduced to the idea of circuits (power, inputs, and outputs) and are learning to play like scientists, using the scientific method to ask questions, form hypotheses, experiment and draw conclusions.

Math this week
5B spent time working on the value of money and effort. This was an activity driven by the collection and understanding of sponsorship, and donations.

Driving questions such as;

  • How much money will you make per lap?
  • How long will it take you to run a lap?
  • How does one take ownership of ensuring money donated is valued during the walk-a-thon?
  • Can a physical value, effort value or financial value be calculated when money is donated?

These questions required higher order thinking and real life applications.

Students measured the field, converted USD to VND, estimated fitness and time values and set goals.

Another math focus this week was uncovering ‘Real Numbers’.

What numbers can we actually place on a number line?

Next week in Math 5B will explore integers, symbols and decimals.

English

5B students have been reviewing their latest narrative assessment. Many students are beginning to understand the impact of understanding the difference between content and structure has on their writing. Can you connect the photo to the structure of a plot diagram? Ask your child to help you.

 

5B also identified that an authentic writing situation would be to write ‘Thank you’ letters to those who sponsored or donated money towards the Blue Dragon walk-a-thon. This also saw students grapple with a new IT application called lucidpress.com as well as technical aspects of printing. A reminder that all students need their ID cards to print.

Reminders

Teacher Professional Development Days: Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th of November. No school for students.
Collecting ‘Blue Dragon Walk-a-thon’ Money collection deadline is 22nd November. Please ensure your child gives their money to their teacher along with their forms.
All students need their ID cards to access their photocopying.

The week that was:

 

Week 12 – October 30 – November 3rd

Welcome 5B Community,

UN Day Celebrations are here this Friday starting at 10:15am. This is one of our school’s highlights of the year and we are looking forward to sharing this event with you and your family. Student’s have been hard at work practicing singing, and for a large group of students, practicing carrying and waving flags.

Last weeks Migration Museum was pure gold.

This would not have been a meaningful experience for your child, had parents not attended in such numbers. My sincerest thank you for your attendance.

I read a colleague’s blog post promoting the event the other day and was warmed by the the following perspective.

“…During the Migration Museum Extravaganza, over 80 activists, artists, athletes, authors, and revolutionaries will be coming to talk to G5 students and parents about their migration experiences”. N. Smith

Your child was instrumental in helping to make this event come to fruition. Your child spent hours, investigating, learning, understanding, writing, speaking, feeding back to peers and polishing their act. Your child did an outstanding job for their first public presentation as a G5 students. Your child is the extravaganza!

Math this week

5B began a provocation into the concept of area. Discussing questions such as which shape is bigger? And why?  Over the next two weeks, students will learn to use an area model to show their strategies for solving problems involving multiplication and division. 5B students currently are working out how to show a day of their life in a 10×10 2D block and then calculate how accurate they are.

Literacy this week

Reflection is as much a skill as writing a narrative, kicking a ball or making a good coffee. This week 5B’s focus has been ‘Reflection’. What do we want to know? What will we gain from it? How does it help me develop?

5B have been learning new writing protocols to ensure each person’s voice is heard and to support thinking and knowledge acquisition. Ask your child about the protocol called “Write Around”.  How do they feel it helps them learn?

Some of the ‘Write Arounds’ we did this week were;

  • There are common links between migration and identity.
  • How do proficient collaborators thing or act?
  • What elements are in the structure of a narrative?

5B students had a post narrative assessment this week. I look forward to a weekend of grading papers so I can see student progression.

UOI

This weeks focus is ‘Identity’. As the ‘Migration’ UOI draws to a close, it is important that students are consistently given the opportunity to link their understandings to themselves as individuals. So this week we take a look at our ‘Identity’ UOI once again, asking students to make connections between Migration and Identity.

As we celebrate UN Day this week, this is another opportunity for students to dig deeper into the links between the United Nations and Identity.

Reminders:

UN Day – Friday 3rd – Early dismissal
Walk-a-thon – Wednesday 8th

The Week that Was:


Week 11 October 23 – 27th

Welcome 5B community

Transition – the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

This word has been 5B’s mantra this week. I have watched students apply their knowledge of author point of view, imagination, data gathering and reading, historical information gathering and checking, peer support and feedback, reading aloud and presentation skills, develop from a semi-confident state to a highly proficient state of being.  I am very proud of each member of 5B and have no doubt they are ready for their first public presentation on Friday.

Migration Museum Extravaganza

Date: 27th October
Venue: Center for the Arts
Time: 5B & 5C start time is 8:30am/ 5A & 5D start time is 9:00am

Each session will run for 20 minutes. Parents are highly encouraged to come for the full 40 minutes to support all students as they present.

There will be a world map and a Vietnamese map set up in the center for the arts for parents to visually demonstrate their own migration journey. This will be a great talking point for G5 students later in the day.

Math this Week:

G5 students worked towards making a visual of a million, check out the PDF Making a Million Reflection doc to gain an understanding of how your child is asked to respond. 5B has also been exploring number and decimal numbers. Looking at who the base ten system grows and reduces by 10.

Literacy this Week:

5B has been investigating the author’s point of view and how this affects writing. We are on the final pages of our class novel ‘A long walk to water’ and students have been surprised by the number of rising actions the story contains. They are beginning to predict the ending without being prompted by myself. 5B students have also been flip-gridding their own ‘migration stories’. I will add the access code once all students are finished so you too can listen and give children feedback.

Reminders:
Dress up Day, 31st October, Check your emails for details or ask your child.
UN Day Celebrations 3rd Nov, Early Dismissal for all students at 1pm
Blue Dragon Walk-a-ton 8th Nov, get sponsoring

The Week that Was:

Week 10 – 16th October

Welcome back to our 5B Community,

This week in 5B we have been concentrating our efforts on identifying what makes us, us. How we make a difference to the lives of others on a daily basis. What gifts we have to offer our peers, our family, and the wider community. All 5B students agree that they have something to offer; be it a smile to brighten someone’s day or an IT skill to share.

Literacy this week:

5B’s read aloud is ‘A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. It is based on true events relating to a young boy embarking on a migration to escape war-torn Sudan. Ask your child to tell you about the main characters and some of the challenges they have had to face.

5B have been planning, researching and writing their ‘Migration’ stories in anticipation for their ‘Migration Museum Extravaganza’ on the 27th. Students have received the criteria and are expected plan their time to ensure they make the deadline. Come along to this event and celebrate your child’s learning.

Migration Museum Extravaganza Invitation

Literacy next week:

‘A Long Walk to Water’ should be finished by the end of the week. Students will be required to write a response to the novel, showing they understand key concepts by connecting them to the events in the story.

Students will be hard at work editing, videoing and preparing their migration stories for presenting on the 27th.

Mathematics this week:

5B has been investigating the base-ten system, to ensure a solid understanding of how number work and their relationships towards one another. Questions being investigated have been;

  • What does a tenth look like?
  • What is the pattern of base ten blocks? And
  • How would the pattern of base ten blocks continue to reach one million?
  • What does one million base-ten blocks look like?

Mathematics next week:

Work with ‘Battle Number Boards’ continues to consolidate learning of the base ten system so that we can move into understanding fractions.

The Week that Was. . .

Week 8 – 2nd – 6th October

Dear 5B Community,

It was a pleasure to meet with you at the Parent-Teacher conferences on Tuesday, to share your child’s successes, next steps and gain a deeper understanding of who they are, and what your goals are, for your child.

Trip Week

The feedback received from you was that your child enjoyed their time during trip week. As a G5 teacher, I can share that all the G5 teachers expressed, at one time or another, how impressed they were with the attitudes and caring nature of this year’s students. They were a fantastic bunch to work with and the G5 team look forward to many more opportunities to work together.

English

5B have been fine-tuning their narrative building skills as they begin to work on developing their migration narrative, which is part of their Migration UOI assessment. The general outline for this is for students to write a narrative using either a fictional character with a historically correct migration journey or investigate a family member or famous person’s migration journey. From there, students will be asked to present their migration narrative during a ‘Migration Museum’ event, to be held late in October. Details to come regarding this event.

Reading groups are well underway, with the main focus on developing reading skills and exposing students to a number of strategies, to gather and make meaning of information.

Math

5B have been working with 5A developing their understanding of reading, speaking and writing numbers into the millions. The simple game used has uncovered some interesting observations, such as students struggling to explain what ‘Tenths’ are or concepts of ‘How much larger’ or ‘smaller’ a number is. 5B and 5A will continue to work together for the next few days to ensure a solid foundation of number and place value knowledge and understanding.

UOI

5B continues with our class novel, “Long Walk to Water” and shorter migration stories as models to support the writing of their own narratives. 5B continues to map these migration journeys on their world maps, giving them a greater geographical understanding of the world.

Reflections and Student Blogs

5B have spent time this week reflecting and connecting their experiences during trip week to them personally. They have continued to add to their identity snapshots and have begun to blog their experiences. I have enjoyed reading their thoughts and reflections. Ask your child to share these if they haven’t already.

5B Class Parent
Huge thank you to Sarah Garner for stepping up to be 5B’s class parent. Sarah and I will make a plan to develop a closer relationship between school and home and get back to each of you. So keep an eye out for her emails.

Reminders:

There is no school next week. We look forward to seeing you return on Monday, October 16.

The Week that Was