Moon Festival

This week has seen 3C investigate another Simple Machine in our amazing Maker Space: the wheel and axle. What does it do? How is it made? 

Students also learned about the push and pull forces of tension, friction, gravity and air resistance. They began wondering about how these connect with the simple machines we have been discovering and making. Ask your child to explain these forces to you. Encourage them to look for some examples of them in action at home? 

Thursday was Moon Festival and students watched the annual assembly via Zoom in their classroom and got to paint a mask.

There is an expectation in Grade 3 that every child is actively reading at home every day for 30 minutes. That means children are reading for themselves. It is also important to discuss what they have read with an adult or complete quizzes to confirm understanding. This reading can be in English and/or your home language. Students can access books through a number of digital platforms: Razkids (with quiz), EPIC and Tumble Books, in addition to Library books from school. We strongly encourage students to check out books from the library on a weekly basis.

In addition to active reading, the use of audio books is encouraged for being able to hear reading in English, have children engaged and interested and expose them to new vocabulary. 

TumblebooksUsername: unishanoi; Password: unis1234

Library link to directions for Tumble books

One final note from the SCO: The SCO needs a few more Class Parents to help coordinate parents for activities that the teachers may need help with – for example, the teacher may ask the Class Parent to help recruit volunteers to accompany kids on a field trip, or organize an end of the year party. Being a class parent is a great and fun way to get involved with the school, support your child’s teacher and connect with other parents in your child’s class. 

Please do know that SCO is there for you to support. Because we are Stronger Together!

If you’re interested in any of these roles, have any questions, and want to know more, please email sco@unishanoi.org. Thank you for considering volunteering your time this year!

Maker Space Heaven

Another busy week in 3C. We spent two afternoon in the Maker Space: the first helped us find out about the tools we will be using in this unit and different cardboard attachment techniques; the second was a fantastic example of the transdisciplinarity of our program, combining practical physics with design, creativity and fun- understanding a bit about levers, forces and then applying this to make our own toy prototypes. We’ve spent time in the classroom figuring out what simple machines are and starting to find about how they make work easier.


We also celebrated dot day on Tuesday with a range of creative outfits and artwork! The day is based on a wonderful book by Peter Reynolds- if you don’t know the book or author, check them out and be inspired! 

It was wonderful to celebrate Jewish New Year and find out a bit more about the beliefs and values of our community. We ate apples with honey to ensure our year gets off to a sweet start. If you are celebrating this weekend, Shana Tova! If your family has a special celebration that you’d like to share with the class, please let us know.

In Math we have been playing some more place value games and will delve deeper into number systems next week. Our first writing unit is coming to an end and we have been revising, editing and publishing our chosen pieces to share with Ms Julia’s class on Monday. Once we’ve wrapped that up we’ll be moving on to procedural writing (sometimes called ‘how to’ or instructional).

We have also been working incredibly hard to show our best efforts on the MAP tests that took place this week. 

Reminders: 

  1. Monday 21st September is the UN International Day of Peace. We encourage everyone to wear white as a symbol of peace, or blue as a symbol of the UN to celebrate this day.
  2. Thursday 24th September we will be celebrating the Moon Festival. We encourage all students to wear their traditional Ao Dais and we will celebrate with a special assembly. We’ll be doing a mask-painting activity and so please bring in an apron, old t-shirt or shirt to protect our clothes from the paint. 
  3. Next week the EAL team will host a virtual coffee morning on Friday 25th September for parents of EAL students – please see your email for details

Thank you for your continued support: please reach out if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

No Lost Marbles in 3C

It has been another exciting week in 3C. We continue to develop our independent writing skills and we were fortunate to have a visit from Ms Megan who was really impressed with our focus and passion (see our latest writing stamina data above). We’ve been thinking about our favorite words and we’d love to collect yours too- if you’d like to contribute to our list, please drop Mr Harry a quick email.

It was really nice to have so many responses to the values questionnaire we sent home so thank you if you spent time talking to your children about your family values. We began talking about those and will dig deeper over the coming weeks. If you feel brave enough to Zoom in and talk more about your values, beliefs, culture, celebrations or traditions, the kids would love to hear more. 

In Math we’ve been exploring some of the tools we have in class to help us- do you know your hundred square from your number line? How can a deck of cards help us understand place value? There are some really fun games that involve practicing core skills while also thinking strategically- ask the kids to tell you or perhaps you might find some time to play together.

Most excitingly though was the start to our How The World Works unit: our Maker Space time had to be rescheduled but hopefully you felt the enthusiasm in the Seesaw video of our marble runs. This activity allowed us to open the doors to cyclical design thinking, teamwork skills, health and safety considerations and innovation.

Next week we have some more assessments to complete, two double-blocks in the Maker Space, a new Math unit, International Dot Day and more! We can’t wait!

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Beliefs and Values

It has been another busy week in Grade 3.

Creating ‘heart maps’ has helped us to hone in our values as well as finding topics for our independent writing projects, a vital part of being an independent writer. We’ve unpacked ‘the writing process’ and will delve deeper into the latter stages of this in the coming weeks.

We have also been building up our reading stamina and learning about how online tools such as Reading A-Z (RAZ), book levels and our own judgements can help us to find ‘best fit books’.
In Math we’ve been thinking about the varied nature of mathematics and how the answer to 1 + 1 may not always be 2. We also did an investigation into triangles and turned all our top 3 values into some interesting data- check out our word cloud!

In our unit of inquiry we begin to think more deeply about how ‘global citizenship requires knowledge of other people’s lives’ and began to compare our beliefs and values. On Monday the students will come home with some research questions to find out more about your family values- if you can find 15 mins to discuss this with your family, we’d appreciate your assistance in supporting our inquiry.

Next week we begin our first full unit, How The World Works, which is an inquiry into simple machines, inventions, forces and the design cycle. There are a lot of fun and interesting things to try and we’re excited to get started!
Next week we also have individual student photographs on (3C is on Wednesday morning).

Finally a few requests and reminders. We’d like to request you send in pair of headphones to aid the students’ independent inquiry on the Chromebooks- perhaps you have an old pair lying around at home that you no longer use, but if not, headphones are also sold at the UNIS shop. Also a reminder to use a UNIS library bag to keep the books in good condition.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Smoothing Routines

Our writing routines are coming along and our ‘writing stamina’ is increasing nicely

It has been a busy week in Grade 3!

We have been digging into the Learner Profile and almost completed some awesoemo posters to understand more about what it means to be an IB learner. We have also began to unpack the central idea for our yearlong ‘Who We Are’ unit: Global citizenship requires knowledge of other people’s lives. Over the year we will continually return to the unit’s big ideas such as values, perspective and empathy and we look forward to developing our understanding over the coming weeks. 

Next week we will dive deeper into our ongoing unit of inquiry and begin thinking about our beliefs and values and the similarities and differences between belief systems. If any parents would like to “zoom in” and share some information about their religion or beliefs we would really appreciate it! If you’re interested in doing a 5-10 minute explanation, presentation or Q&A, please contact Mr Harry via email.

We also had a fantastic session in the Makerspace with Mr. C, working as a team to build a spaghetti tower that could support a marshmallow. It was challenging but a lot of fun and we learnt a lot about cooperation, listening to each other and is a nice starting block for all the exciting making coming up in our first full unit of inquiry which will begin in September.

We had our first ES assembly via Zoom and connected with the whole school, albeit remotely. Grade 3 were also the stars of the first fire evacuation drill- they did an amazing job of swiftly, sensibly and quietly getting to where we need to be. Next week we will begin some more formal start-of-year assessments to see ‘where the students are’ in terms of their reading and maths.

As the year progresses and the children post in Seesaw, we encourage you to add feedback for them. One easy way to do this is to state “Two Stars and a Wish”: two positive things you notice about their work and a wish or wondering about how they might improve or do things differently the next time.

It was wonderful to meet some families on Thursday at the Back to School Night session on Zoom. Here again is the link to the presentation, the Flipgrid and the Padlet, for your reference.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate!

Students posing for photos for our learner profile posters: can you guess which attribute they are representing?

What learner profile attribute could be being modelled here?

Bright Beginnings

What a wonderful start to Grade 3! Despite the challenges of last-minute changes and social distancing, we have had a great start to our year. As we grow used to the routines and personalities around us, we are beginning to feel more settled. We are all excited about what we can achieve this year.

Getting to know our new classmates, building our community, reflecting on our goals and setting our class agreements has been a fantastic demonstration of the potential of this group. They were friendly and welcoming to new classmates and set mature class agreements with very little adult direction.
All of this start-of-the-year stuff links nicely to our ongoing, year-long unit: Who We Are, which is an inquiry into global citizenship and the importance of understanding our differences. We are particularly interested in similarities and differences in beliefs, values and culture. We’d love to hear about any festivals and important dates that occur in our community so we can celebrate and discuss them in class. Some adventurous parents might even put up their hand to speak to the kids about their culture or share a celebration.
We have also been setting up our community of writers, building up our ‘reading stamina’, learning to appreciate the importance of multiple methods in math and refreshing our tech skills with the Chromebooks.
Next week wee have Student Council elections- if they wish to be considered, the kids could prepare a presentation, speech or some reasons why their classmates should vote for them. This will be an ASA commitment (once per week after school) beginning in September.
A reminder/date for the diary: ‘Back To School Night’ will take place next Thursday (27th) online via Zoom.
I attach the 3C schedule and have sent home a paper copy. Please be advised that the schedule is a guide and the nature of inquiry means that we often make tweaks to best meet the needs of the students and our units of study.
We truly believe in the parent-teacher-student partnership and so if you have questions, comments, suggestions, anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
This week we also have the pleasure of introducing Ms Jenn, our Learning Support Teacher:
I am Jennifer Szwarc, and this is my second year teaching in the Learning Support department at UNIS. Again this year I will work primarily with students in Grades 2 and 3. I have had a great summer traveling throughout Vietnam with my husband, Mr. Micah. In my spare time, I love to try new restaurants, go on walks, and spend time with friends.
I started my Special Education career in San Diego, California earning a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Special Education. For the past six years, I have worked with students internationally in Thailand, Romania, and now Vietnam. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me (jszwarc@unishanoi.org).