Week 6

It was another busy week in Grade 1 as we thought about peace and celebrated the Moon Festival and our writing too!

Unit of Inquiry
We completed our work in How We Organise Ourselves where we looked closely at communication. Grade 1 will continue to work on seeing how English is organized as we investigate words and letter sounds as the year progresses. We began investigating Who We Are as students were provoked to create their own balanced day. Look for this thinking to feature on Seesaw next week and share your thinking about whether this is an optimal day. Ms. Nitasha also viewed our daily plans and shared her thinking about balance too. You will also find the unit overview on Seesaw, please reinforce the vocabulary we will be using in your own language so the children are able to make school and home connections.

In Shared Reading we have been looking at the text Where’s My Teddy? By reading together we are able to highlight the thinking that takes place when reading. The students think about what they KNOW, make PREDICTions, ask QUESTIONs, VISUALIZE the story, make personal CONNECTions and finally SUMMARIZE the important parts. Students are also learning decoding strategies that they can apply to new words in their own reading. You can help support these strategies by continuing to read with your child nightly using our Grade 1 schedule of home readers, RAZ Kids, library books and choice. Remember that books that go home on a Monday should be reread all week to build up fluency and comprehension and then returned for cleaning on Friday.

We also had a writing celebration this week. The last six weeks we have spent building up routines as writers and establishing all the different things that writers can write. Our first unit comes to a close as students shared their own writing with a group under the thinking that Authors Write Everything. As teachers, we were looking to see that students could write in a variety of genres, across a range of topics. It was wonderful to witness their creative thinking and risk-taking.

Finally, we know that single letters can make sounds but we know that letter teams or digraphs can make sounds as well. We investigated <wh> and <th> and the sounds they made while the students used investigation skills and found other digraphs in the classroom.

Using the knowledge we have built up about 10 in the past weeks we were now able to take this thinking and expand it to teen numbers. Here we looked at 10 and “some more” to make a teen number. We investigated these through number line ups, 100s boards and tens frames. With the help of Ms. Jill we also investigated what an important role pronunciation plays when we say the teen numbers. Can you hear the difference between 13 and 30? We will continue to build on this next week as we use other manipulatives, word problems and number bonds to see how teen numbers are composed.

Thank you for your support at home with home reading as well as sending the students to school prepared for swimming, dressed in white and blue for peace and in an Ao dai for Moon Festival. It has been wonderful to make these memories with your children.

Learning Conferences – October 1 – no school for students. We will join you on zoom at your scheduled time.
Grade 1 Swimming  –  Next week is Week A, we will have swimming on Monday.
Family Readers – Let me know if you would be happy to read through zoom and we will set up a time. As we explore language and communication and celebrate diversity, reading in your home language or English is welcome!
Parent Representative – Thank you to Sandhya Kitchlu who will help keep us connected this year. Be sure to join the What’s App group.
Home Reading – returns books and book bag each Friday
– We have so much at school to keep our students active. Please help to reinforce that extra toys at school are not allowed and often go missing. This includes Pokemon cards. Thank you for your help with reinforcing this habit.


Week 5

Dear 1B Community,

Thank you for all your support with Dot Day earlier this week. It was great to see so many ‘dotty’ outfits!


Unit of Inquiry
This week we have been finishing up our first Unit of Inquiry: Language is a system of communication. Students have shown what they know about what it means to be a responsible communicator and used Seesaw to teach you about English and how it works. Their teaching may seem quite small at the moment but we will continue to build on how our system works as we investigate new sounds and word inquiry throughout the year. It will be wonderful to look back and see tremendous growth.

We are all working on different ways to be a responsible communicator. Can you guess the ways we are working on from the pictures we are holding?

Next week we will launch a new Unit of Inquiry on Who We Are. This unit will focus on balance in our lives to promote health and wellbeing. 

In Math this week we are building our knowledge of the tens frame and of numbers that go together to make ten.  We did this through games, search for tens and sharing our thinking in math problems. We will extend this into teen numbers and using number bonds to decompose teen numbers into tens and ones. We used Dot Day to explore different ways we use dots in Math and used our subitizing skills to identify numbers represented by dots.

Thank you for helping us to get our home reading programme up and running this week. We have book bags to send home on Monday next week with the students’ levelled Home Reader for the week. If you have one at home from last year please return it on Monday. These bags should then be returned to school on Friday so that they can be disinfected in time for redistribution on Monday. Please help by encouraging your child to read each night – this could mean reading a new book, reading the pictures or retelling a favourite book.

We have loved getting back into the UNIS library with Monica every week. This week we enjoyed experiencing picture storybooks with very few words in them to understand how the pictures and a small amount of vocabulary can help us understand a story. We are trying to use this skill in our own writing and to add words to the many different books we have already created in Grade 1B during writers’ workshop. 

In reading, we continue to work on stamina and we are beginning to explore the different reading strategies that help us understand and decode a text. These are skills that you can also talk about at home to support your child’s reading. We also enjoyed reading and writing this week by sorting all the books in our classroom and coming up with categories. This sorting helps remind us that Authors Write Everything and encourages us to try to write different things – stories, lists, informational books, letters. Your child may want to try to sort their library at home.

For Dot Day we made Alphadots for each letter of the alphabet to show what we know about those sounds.

Housekeeping Hints

  • Swimming will begin in Grade 1 next week. Students will need a named swimming bag, a towel, goggles, swimming costume, and a cap if your child has long hair. Please make sure all these items are named. 
  • Monday, September 21st – UN International Day of Peace. Students are encouraged to wear White or Blue
  • Thursday, September 24th Tết Trung Thu – Moon Festival. Please have your child wear his/her Ao Dai to class on Thursday for the Moon Festival. We are all looking forward to our special day honouring our host country. Also, please bring PE clothes for your child to change into because we will continue to have PE on Thursday. 
  • Thursday, October 1st – Learning Conferences. No School
  • October 12 – 19th – October Break

Week 4

Dear 1B Families,

We are feeling very privileged to have completed one full month in school. As we continue to learn the rules and routines of the classroom, students in 1B are growing in their independence. Students are working on stamina across all subject areas to help them stay ‘stronger for longer’ as they concentrate on reading, writing, drawing and math activities. We are tracking our stamina and celebrating small steps in our growth. 

Unit of Inquiry

In our Unit of Inquiry we are building on the theme of communication, looking at different languages, exploring the different parts of a language and considering what it means to be a responsible communicator. This week we focussed on how language works by examining alphabets and looking at vowels and consonants in English words. 

We even experimenting by playing with only non-verbal communication, only in our home language and next, we will try a made-up system of language. It is wonderful to hear the student’s reflections on these activities.


In Math this week we continue to look at numbers that go together to make ten, and begun conversations around ten as a unit. We also explored how the iPad could help us with Math and suggested apps to our class. Students have had one on one conversations with Ms. Angela about maths to ‘show what they know’ and help us plan learning goals for each student for the weeks ahead.


Students have worked hard to establish themselves as authors throughout this first month of school. We have considered the different types of writing produced by students in 1B and looked at ways to add detail to our books through words and illustrations. Many of the 1B students are successfully experimenting with sounding out words they don’t yet know how to spell. Our phonics work over the last two weeks have helped with this consolidation. We finished the week by building and making things for each sound we know. We are a very creative bunch.

Housekeeping Hints

September 15 – Dot Day – Come to school dressed in dots.

Grade 1 Swimming  – Begins September 21st – Information to follow from PE

Parent Representative – If you would like to be a class parent to help get communication out to the 1B community please let me or the SCO know

Family Readers – Let me know if you would be happy to read through zoom and we will set up a time. As we explore language and communication and celebrate diversity, reading in your home language or English is welcome!

Week 3

We are now a class of 18. It is wonderful to have all of 1B together.

Literacy and Unit of Inquiry
1B investigated different languages and alphabets this week. We were visited by our World Languages teachers during the morning meeting. We were able to communicate despite our differences. We also examined the alphabet from the different languages of our class. We noticed different letters, symbols and similarities. We thought some languages looked mixed together. We were left wondering “Who made the letters?” You can help by sharing about your alphabet at home and making connections to the English alphabet.

We also looked more closely at how English works by revisiting our letter names and sounds. In this review we have looked at s,a,t,p,i,n,h,c,k and e. We will continue onto this next week to see how we organize language.

As writers, we are using letters to communicate writing of our choice. The ownership and choice of writing has resulted in many interesting pieces of work. We have used picture books to inspire us to make interesting choices and to do our best as we move toward more accurate writing.

We continue to look at all the tools we have in 1B that can help us solve problems. By using materials students are able to visualize their thinking and use models to explain these to others. Using tools, communicating and showing our thinking in different ways are part of the 8 Mathematical Practices we are promoting at UNIS. 1B has also used games, treasure hunts and our fingers to consolidate number bonds within 10.

Follow up on Speech and Language Screenings
Brian Walker finished screening the students in Grade1 earlier this week.  He has shared that data with the grade level teachers and the elementary school’s student success team.   He has already contacted parents whose children had some challenges during the screening.

If your child is not yet on campus, he will screen them as they arrive.

Photo Day – September 7 – Although this is a PE day please dress your child in what you would prefer for the school photo

Swimming  – Begins Sept 21st

After School Activities (ASAs) – Begins Sept 7

Parent Representative – If you would like to be a class parent to help get communication out to the 1B community please let me or the SCO know

Family Readers – Let me know if you would be happy to read through zoom and we will set up a time. As we explore language and communication and celebrate diversity, reading in your home language or English is welcome!

Week 2

It is amazing that we have spent 10 days together as a Grade 1 group. We are growing together and learning about our stories and forming a new story as 1B. This week we welcomed Reyna and Matej. They are fitting right in and we are so glad they are here.

Unit of Inquiry
Du Iz Tak?
We shared the book Du Iz Tak? with our students on Monday – a story with a made-up language but a definite storyline of a community that comes together to figure out Du iz tak? and to watch it grow. This provocation about language led to a week full of engagements playing with language under the Central Idea: “Language is a system of communication.” 

We explored all the ways we communicated about our personal story last week and labelled these expressions as ways we communicate or different forms of communication. We shared about the language of math and writing and even the language of fire drills. We also explored the language of our class by developing a set of Essential Agreements. These agreements are a shortlist of things we want to try to do every day to make our class great. You can find them on Seesaw.

We finished the week with a Grade 1 zoom where we gathered information about all the languages of Grade 1. It is amazing to see and hear all the gifts your children are bringing to the community and the pride they have in their own identity. Feel free to comment on the blog with the languages you speak and we can add it to our collection.

We continue to work as writers by writing from our heart and writing about things we know and things we notice. This week students thought about tools that may help them as writers, including alphabet charts for spelling words and list of words we already know from K2 – golden and red words. I will attach these here for your reference. Students also built stamina as readers as they gathered a stack of books to engage with, found a comfortable space and worked to read words, pictures and retell stories.

Where do we see Math? How do we communicate in Math? and What do mathematicians do? were some of our guiding questions in this week’s lessons. Students took part in scavenger hunts, described objects using mathematical language and explored materials to really build an understanding of what mathematicians do. We used addition problems to show solutions in words, pictures and with objects in our classroom. We added Treasure Hunt to our list of math games as well.


Specialist Visits
Mr. Neal aka Mr. Big C spent some time with us as we set up our Seesaw accounts and explored the Maker Space. You will see students posting work on Seesaw and tagging it to our specific subject areas. Much of the work I have already provided feedback face to face but am excited to read and hear your comments on their work as well. Remember that the students have a “My Voice and Choice” folder on Seesaw where they want to share their creations, their friends and whatever comes to mind with you. This section is meant to be a fun way for you to see what is happening at school.

Back to School Night
Thank you for attending Back to School Night. It was great to see many of your briefly and I appreciate your patience as I went through a year in Grade 1 quite quickly! Below is the presentation and here is a link to the flipgrid where you can introduce yourself. Also, feel free to use the login in your child’s distance learning pack to log on as a student and try the activity waiting for you about your hopes for the year. Your children can help you with this!

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Another long update on the week! We accomplished so much and are learning together already.

No School – September 2 – Vietnamese National Day
Photo Day – September 7 – Although this is a PE day please dress your child in what you would prefer for the school photo
Parent Representative – If you would like to be a class parent to help get communication out to the 1B community please let me or the SCO know
Family Readers – Let me know if you would be happy to read through zoom and we will set up a time. As we explore language and communication and celebrate diversity, reading in your home language or English is welcome!

Welcome to 1B

Dear families and friends of Grade 1,

We are feeling so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with your children this week. They are adjusting to life in Grade 1 with enthusiasm and happiness to be back at school with their friends – old and new. This blog is the main form of communication between 1B and home. Each week I will post a brief overview of what we have done during the week as well as a preview of what to expect the following week. This week is longer as we establish new routines together.

Building Communities through Stories
The theme of this week has been building communities through stories. Students are sharing ‘their stories’ through their interests, likes, dislikes and the skills and experience they are bringing into Grade 1.

Literacy and UOI
This week has been an opportunity to find out what kind of books and stories we enjoy in 1B and how we feel about reading. We enjoyed our first visit to the library with Ms. Monica and have written our first book together as a class. 

We are getting to know ourselves as writers and are starting the year exploring topics we can write about. The students have used their own personal heart map and brought in artifacts to help them decide on which topics are important to them and what they might want to write about.

In Math, we have explored numbers in our life through a ‘Numbers About Me’ activity. We have gathered data on our feelings as the week has progressed, and we have used a Venn diagram activity to compare likes and dislikes with our friends. We have also learned how to play the maths game ‘Go Fish’. This is a great game for practising numbers to ten at home. 

Scan this QR code to watch a video on how to play:

Next week we will continue to build on our theme of building communities through stories and begin to focus on the story we can build together as a class through structures, routines and shared goals.

Your role in our 1B community
We would love to hear from you if you are interested in being a ‘mystery reader’ for the class via Zoom, or if you would like to come in to share a celebration that is important to your home culture. 

Thank you very much already for supporting the students through returning our parent questionnaire and in helping them remember to bring in an artifact to share. 

SeeSaw – The student platform
This year students are using ‘Seesaw’ to share and communicate with families! Your child will post to Seesaw to share their learning. Seesaw is private; only people who are invited to view will see posts created by your child. It is also a great way for other members of your child’s extended family to share in what they are up to at school.

Please Sign Up Now

  1. Click on this link here
  2. Choose your child from the list
  3. Create your account
  4. Once I approve you, you can see content from your child

After you sign up, download the free Seesaw Family app and sign in. You can also access Seesaw from a computer at https://app.seesaw.me

If you used Seesaw last year or have more than one child using Seesaw, follow the link above, then click the ‘Sign in’ tab at the top of the screen. You do not need to create a new account.

Articulation and Language Screenings
UNIS’ speech-language pathologist, Brian Walker, will begin the start of year speech and language screenings next week. This is a very quick look at your child’s ability to say sounds clearly, describe some things with short sentences and follow some simple directions.   If your child has some challenges, Brian will reach out to you in a couple of weeks.  

If your child is in the distance learning or bridge program, Brian will screen your child when they return to campus.

If Brian worked with your child last year in K2, he/she will also be screened with therapy resuming by the end of September. 

Tin Tuc Weekly News

Our primary communication platform at UNIS Hanoi is the Tin Tuc weekly email.  Every Friday afternoon, you will receive Tin Tuc in your inbox, which contains information that is curated specially for you.  The Tin Tuc weekly news will contain links to news and blogs from the following: 

  • Your child’s homeroom and specialist blogs.  If you have more than one child, you will receive ONE email, with news from each of your child’s teachers. 
  • Your child’s school division (Elementary, Middle or High school)
  • Whole school news 

If you do not receive Tin Tuc this week, please send an email directly to tintuc@unishanoi.org  

Housekeeping Hints

The following are a few reminders to ensure your child is able to participate fully in class.

Each day students should bring.  

  1. A mask with their name clearly attached. 
  2. A hat to enjoy outside play. 
  3. A reusable water bottle
  4. A healthy snack for our morning recess.
  5. Personal headphones (a mic is optional, but important for clear recording). 

Finally, if you need to purchase new UNIS sports clothing for your child, you can order via the School shop: Please find the form linked here.

I look forward to meeting you, via Zoom, at our ‘Virtual Back-to-School Night’ on the evening of August 27th. You can also drop me an email at the following address abrienza@unishanoi.org. I do not answer emails while I’m teaching, so if it is important, please contact the ES office.

Save the Date:
Thursday 27th August Back to School Night through Zoom

We look forward to welcoming more friends to 1B next week. You will be a great addition to our community and we can’t wait.

Warm Regards,
Ms Angela and Ms Lam