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.

Building Understanding

It’s been an exciting and interesting week in 3C with a lot going on. We had a wonderful session in the Maker’s Space learning about different ways to attach cardboard without using glue or tape. We’ll build on these skills next week, adding in what we learned about wheels and axels, helping us to find out about forces, materials, properties as well as starting to think about design cycles. Hopefully you saw the results on Seesaw (thanks for feedback on our posts- the attached poster show’s what we’re aiming for), but here are some photos of the kids in action.

Our current understanding of simple machines needs some refinement but it’s fueled some brilliant conversations about characteristics, opening up some fascinating insights and misconceptions (see attached). We’re still honoring these and as we explore, discuss and ‘discover’ more, our understanding will evolve. The journey continues!

Ms Megan visited and shared the opening of her favourite book, telling us some interesting facts about how listening to someone read aloud actually helps you to get better at reading. Food for thought indeed. Speak of Ms Megan, also attached is a note about the upcoming STP Conferences.

In Math we’ve been exploring open-ended questions, building with Base 10, thinking about how to represent our thinking, how to communicate our process and ways top represent different groups of number. On top of that we’ve been creatively celebrating Peace Day, connecting with our Buddies in KG1 and getting creative as well as digging a bit deeper into procedural writing.

Thanks to those who brought in headphones. We’re also collecting recycled bits and pieces what might be useful in our construction projects. As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings.

Moon Fest

We’ve had a busy week preparing for, learning about and enjoying the Moon Festival celebrations. It was so nice to see all the kids in their ao dais and we were treated to a wonderful assembly performance. Here are some photos of the day, taken by Ms Thuy.

We’ve been getting a bit deeper into the unit of inquiry, exploring moving parts and how they work through our mini-inquiry into wheels and axels. We saw a lot of progression as cars moved from wobbly, fragile things that slid down the ramp to robust, efficient vehicles. We also had a second attempt at the Marble Challenge and the kids vastly improved their designs (and collaborative skills!) demonstrating an encouraging growth of understanding in manipulating the forces at play.

We had our first attempt at ‘how to’ (or procedural) writing and there will be a lot of opportunities to learn more about writing explicit and detailed procedures as we record our process through the unit of inquiry.

Perhaps you have some interest or expertise in the area of forces, simple machines, the design process? Perhaps you’d like to join in with our learning as a parent reader (no matter your confidence level with English!)? Perhaps you’d like to help us in another way? Fill in the form to get involved! 

As always, please do get in touch if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings.

Back to School

As promised, please find below the slides from our Back-to-School Night.

A few reminders: next Thursday, 12th September is our Moon Festival celebration- students are encouraged to wear their ao dai (do try it on to make sure it fits!); on Friday 13th, the school is closed to students as the teachers have a professional development day.

Tightening Up in Week 3

It’s been a busy week in 3C; tightening up and getting deeper into what it means to be a student at UNIS.

Refining our routines, building our reading stamina and developing tools to support independent writing will help us to make better use of our time in class. We’ve dug a bit deeper into who we are as readers and writers, broadened our understanding of what math is and what mathematicians do and begun to unpick the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs- if you don’t know what they are, the kids will be soon talking about them a lot!). We had our fist session with our KG1 buddies, did some more homeroom art, posed (beautifully) for our photos and created our own learner profile posters.

All the while, we’ve been tuning back into our essential agreement, solving problems together, building community and taking ever-greater ownership of it all. We’re up and running with Seesaw, are starting to figure out Google Drive and even did a collaborative project on Slides.

Happy teachers, happy students, hopefully happy parents too!

Next week we start to get into our How The World Works and our first writing unit. We will also have presentations and votes for our student council delegates. Please support our budding representatives as they prepare for these and let me know if you have any questions.

And as always, please don’t hesitate to share any comments, suggestions or wonderings.

Strong Start Continues


Our Essential Agreement

Our first full week in Grade 3 has been another success. Guest teachers have been getting us thinking about our similarities and differences, our class community, our goals for the class and how we can be better communicators. We created our essential agreement, learned how to use the library and showed some good progression with our reading stamina challenge. Our first writing session was incredibly encouraging and we created some amazing display pieces through our half-face portraits and class mandala.

Hopefully you’ve followed some of our journey through our Seesaw posts- the students will take more ownership over these as we progress through the year. Comments, questions and feedback there are always welcome!

To clear up any confusion, here is a link to an updated timetable with tentative subject blocks. Learning, particularly concept-based inquiry, is tricky to pigeon-hole into lesson blocks like this but it gives you a flavour of what a week might look like. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Bright Beginnings in 3C

A strong start 🙂

It has been a great start to 3C. We’ve had a lot of ‘getting to know you’ time, chatting, playing games, sharing our favourite books and starting to build our class culture. There are a lot of new routines to get used to and with nine newbies (and a newbie teacher) our buddies have been doing a good job of showing us the ropes. It was lovely to hear so many of the kids say that they were really happy to meet new friends and that they feel comfortable in our new community. That was our goal for the week and so Ms Thuy and I are very happy with that!

The folder I shared on Wednesday includes some more snaps from the week and next week we should get going with Seesaw, which is a really handy platform for the kids to document and share their learning with you themselves.

Today (Friday) the students will bring home a hard copy of our schedule so you can check specialist times, library days etc and here you can find the electronic version. The blank cells represent ‘transdisciplinary learning’, allowing us to have flexibility and best meet student needs at different points of our  inquiries. We also adhere to the school’s guidelines as to the number of minutes spent on each curricular area (the website can provide more info on this). Although not a full week, this week has been Week A, next week (19-23/08/19) will be Week B, etc.

It was great to touch base with those of you who I met yesterday and today, and I look forward to meeting the rest our our community (voted in as our official name on Thursday!) as and when it is convenient. Relationships are a key part of what we do and so please don’t hesitate for a moment if you’d like to pop in and say hello.
Keep a lookout for the weekly “Tin Tuc” news updates which will arrive in your inbox on Fridays. Also, if you’re on Twitter and you’d like to follow the journey from a different perspective, please follow me @DalzellMr, or the school @UNIS_Hanoi or look out for #uniquelyunis. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions or wonderings, please don’t hesitate.