Production + Wages + Expenses = Challenges!

It’s been a very exciting and busy week in 3C. The unit is getting really fun as we develop the classroom economy, whilst also provoking a lot of  empathy  and deep thinking about the challenges we face asa global economy and how fairness and sustainability are not always as simple to achieve as we might like. We were  shocked to find out the differences in wage between small farmers, exporters, importers and supermarkets. We also found out about the range of factors that can affect farmers and just touched the surface of what fair trade cooperatives are.

We’ve also been having fun improving our persuasive skills and had a feverishly exciting word inquiry- finally discovering and proving why we use s/es for plurals. It’s also been a busy week for Math as we find new ways of representing multiplication and division that help us think in varied and flexible ways about numbers and operations.

Today the kids will bring home a form for a local trip in the week after the Tet break- we thank you for getting these back to us promptly.

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any expertise to share, if you’d  like to get involved with our learning or if you have any questions or comments.


New Year Starts Well

What an amazing week! We started a new unit of inquiry, a new writing unit, reflected on the year so far and set ourselves some new goals for 2020.

We’ve been doing some exciting activities as part of our new unit of inquiry, How We Organize Ourselves, which is all about trade, fairness and consumer choice: Economic activities impact people and the environment. See below for more info or ask your kids about the paper bag activity and our new class economy.

We’ve also begun an interesting writing unit on persuasive exposition- the kids may want to discuss some provocative arguments- please help them to develop their persuasive skills and encourage them to elaborate in convincing ways.

In Math we continue our grouping unit, which looks into a host of ways to think about multiplication and division.

We reflected on the goals we set at the last conference, adjusting or setting new ones and wrote some reflective statements about our year so far. Look out for these when the reports go live just before the next conference day on Weds 22nd Jan.

Although it’s just a few weeks until the next holidays, we’re working very hard in Grade 3. We look forward to welcoming the next wave of parent readers and encourage anyone who wants to come and get involved with our units to get in touch. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings, please don’t hesitate.

Home Languages are important!  
The beginning of a new unit is a good opportunity to discuss ideas and vocabulary in home languages.  Please take some time to talk with your child about the following words and concepts.  These conversations will continue to develop your language AND deepen understanding in English.

Central Idea:

Economic activities affect people and impact the environment.

Lines of Inquiry

An inquiry into:

  • Buying and selling is an interconnected system

  • Fairness and sustainability in growth and development

  • Our power as consumers to affect change

Key concepts:

Causation, Function, Responsibility

Related Concepts:

Sustainability, Choice, Fairness,

And finally a reminder from Grade 4:
What:Grade 4 Market Day
When: TUESDAY 14 January 10:45-12:00
Bring: maximum of 100,000 VND to spend
The products and services being sold will range from 10,000 VND to 50,000 VND.  All profits will go to organizations that support Children’s Rights

Wrapping Up Our Reports

It has been a Literacy-heavy week this week as we finish publishing our information reports. The kids have done such an amazing job with these and all the adults have been commenting on their independence, maturity and the quality of the writing. When compared to their first reports at the start of the year, the progress is staggering.

We’ve also found some time to do some inquiring into grouping and . have . been thinking flexibly to represent multiplication, factors, grouping in many different ways. A few key ideas are that arrays represent multiplication, that we can switch the order, and . the connections between the concrete (counters etc), the abstract (arrays and number lines) and the symbolic (equations).

Next week we’ll be finishing off the unit by thinking hard about conservation and our own responsibilities as we think about how we can take action based on what we have learned. After that, a well-deserved break! As always, please do let us know if you have any wonderings, suggestions or concerns.


Sorting Out and Reporting Back

This week in 3C we’ve been finalising our research, organising our notes and drafting our non-fiction reports. The kids have working with great independence to colour-code their notes and start to write out their paragraphs. As we continue with the process and think about what we know, we identify gaps and may need to go back and do some more focused research to find out more

We had time for an inquiry into affixes we know or think we know. This aligns our thinking, breathes life into our display board and puts us in great shape for future inquiries into those exciting, uncertain areas.

In Math we’ve been playing and creating multiplication games. We also visited our buddies and had fun re-imagining what a stick could be!

Next week we hope to finish our reports and launch into some great mathematical investigations into groups. As always, please get in touch if you have any wonderings, suggestions or concerns.

Parents, Data, Research & BEARS

What a brilliant week in 3C. It has been exciting and satisfying to start our independent research into the animals we chose. We started off with a stack of library books and with the help of a few great online reading resources, we have collected tons of facts about our animals. Next we’ll dig into some video resources to add to our notes, before organising these and writing them up in a report.

It was lovely to have so many parents visiting us on Tuesday- we hope you learned a bit about how we learn Math and what our time in class is like in 3C. We continued the data project for a few more lessons and we were very happy with how much the kids learned about visualising data. Hopefully we can make links to grouping as we launch into our multiplication unit.

The highlight of our week, though, was of course our trip to see the bears at Tam Dao National Park. Please chat to your kids about what they learned and the connections they made to the UoI and their own research. Photos of the day can be found here.

Next week is a relatively normal one with a new ASA season beginning. As always, if you have questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know.

Adapting to Biomes

A short but very productive week in 3C. We finished off learning about different biomes (savannah, polar, ocean and rainforest) which will be key information for when we start to think about our animal of choice and the dangers to its existence. We also finished off some interesting lessons on animal adaptations and learned about some fascinating eyes, ears, noses and feet that help different species to thrive in their environments.

In our writing we’re continuing with information reports and learning how to use graphic organisers to plan through research- more on this coming soon. We began an inquiry into doubling consonants when certain suffixes are added to base words and are still trying to figure out why that is. In Math we wrapped up our unit on mental strategies and it is great to see the kids adding 99 efficiently and using doubles, tricks for making ten and using knowledge of numbers to switch around the digits/numbers to make their calculations more manageable.

Laced throughout all of this was the theme of kindness and it was so lovely to hear this morning the kids’ plans to be kinder people- watch out for random/deliberate acts of kindness happening near you soon!


Thanks for all the contributions to support our UoI and to UnDam who helped us with reading this week. Please let us know if you’d like to be involved or if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings.


Getting Stuck In

Another busy week in 3C as we dig deeper into our UoI. Rotating around the 3rd Grade teachers is teaching us about different biomes and getting us thinking about plant and animal adaptations. We took to the immediate environment on Thursday to join in with Outdoor Learning Day and hunt down wildlife in their natural habitat. Some great shots are included in the shared folder– perhaps we have some budding wildlife photographers in our class!

We’ve been digging deeper into informational report-writing and are now ready to start producing our own We got a bit sidetracked by creating poems which we will put to music (with the guidance of the specialists!) later in the unit.

In Math we’ve finished collecting mental strategies and many kids are using more flexible and efficient strategies. We have tried to collect these in a handy booklet- ask your kids to explain. Through our morning meetings we’ve also been digging deeper into causes and triggers of conflict to empower the kids to solve and manage their own problems.

An important reminder that there is no school on Monday, and a heads-up that we have an excursion planned for Friday 22nd November to go and visit the Moon Bear Sanctuary. More info in the letter coming home on Tuesday:

Thanks to all the parent’s who’ve been in to help us with reading- we hope to have more in soon! As always, please let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings.

Catching Up


This has been a week of catching up- after a few weeks which were weighted towards finishing the unit of inquiry, it was nice to get back to routines of Literacy Groups, Word Inquiry, and Math Talks. We’ve also been digging a little deeper into animal adaptations, human impact on the environment and conservation.

We were struck by the Google Earth Timelapse animations and have been reflecting on some powerful graphs and videos showing how urgent some of these global issues are.

Our Literacy Groups enable small group instruction while enabling the students time to work on their writing, read around our units and inquire into word structure.  We learned about the prefix ‘en’ (endangered) which we then discovered can also be a suffix (threaten), and we also started looking into when and why some words change their spellings when suffixes are added (chat -> chat + t + ing).

In Math we’ve been finding patterns in trickier ‘choral counting’ as well as experimenting with different ways to show our mathematical thinking. We are pausing our non-fiction writing unit to prepare some poetic lines to support the next music project- more info coming soon!

We’re still looking for some reading volunteers (see Christin’s email) and hoping that some animal lovers step up to help us find out more about our unit of inquiry. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings, please get in touch.


Sharing the Planet

After a wonderful day celebrating our international diversity and wonderful community, it was back to work on Tuesday thinking about (SDG#12) responsible consumption and production. We dismantled our machines and sent about 80% of our materials back to the Maker Space to be reused. Of those that couldn’t be reused, all could be recycled. We were proud that we managed to do these builds sustainably. Inspired by the book Only One You, we also painted our stone fish and we look forward to the river being installed so the fish can swim freely and be admired.

It was exciting to start unwrapping our new unit of inquiry and start to see what the kids know abut endangered animals. We examined some startling before/after images to better understand some of the human impact on the world and begun our journey into our new writing unit; informational reports.

The G3 Team met this week for our first ‘Learning Retreat’ where we examine student data- among many interesting insights was a heavy over-reliance on partitioning or ‘split’ strategies, as well a tendency to ‘mentally perform written methods’ for addition/subtraction. We’ll be teaching some more flexible, efficient strategies over the coming weeks as well as adapting our groupings and schedules to best meet our students’ needs.

Next week we look forward to digging deeper, finalising our new classroom layout and getting back into some more structured routines. It was great to have Christin join us for a reading session. Slawa join us next week and we extend an invitation to all of our community to find a way to come and get involved with our learning. Do you know about endangered animals, human impact on environments, conservation etc? If you’re interested in helping us out, or if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings, please get in touch!

Inventions Come To Life

What an amazing week! We’ve been planning, making, testing, re-designing, improving (repeat), reflecting and sharing our wonderfully innovative inventions. Whipping around the design cycle and building carefully with some tricky materials has been really rewarding and a lot of fun. Our understanding of simple machines, forces and design thinking has grown immensely and the Grade 3 Team are delighted with the learning and proud of the students. We’ve had to collaborate with limited resources and work through a whole host of problems that the design brief threw at us. No glue, no blue tac, no un-reusable plastic or tape and almost all the resources will be able to be reused. The enthusiasm at the sharing session was really quite inspiring: it is quite powerful when unfamiliar parents (or even those from other classes) are interested in your work and so a big thank you to everyone who came and got involved.

Check out our process (all creative credit goes to Mr Big C in the Maker Space):


There were a bunch of links to SDG Week and we had a number of proud moments discussing the children’s vision of the future. With UN Day around the corner, there is a positive and excited vibe around the school and we look forward to celebrating that with the community. We’ll spend a few days reflecting on and wrapping up the design unit before launching our next one: Sharing The Planet. The Central Idea is the struggle to share the environment impacts living things and we’ll be exploring how living things uniquely adapt for survival; the impact of changing environment; human perspectives on conservation and the effect on living things. Our integrated writing unit will be non-fiction reports and in math we’ll continue digging into place value, mental math strategies and addition/subtraction concepts.

If you have any interest/expertise with endangered animals, adaptation, conservation or something similar, or you know someone who does, we’d love to hear from you. Also, you can always fill out this form if you’d like to help us out in another way, or if you’d like to help out with reading (Tuesday mornings in Week A; Friday mornings in Week B), please get in touch with Christin.

As always, if you have comments, suggestions or wonderings, we’d love for you to get in touch.