9-13th December 2019

Lots of fun this week, despite being indoors for a number of recess times. On Thursday, students got to celebrate the season with a party organised by G5. Singing, dancing and game playing.. In addition, students worked on a “product” to share their StP learning. Many chose to make a board game which they are  looking forward to playing with other students when we return in January.

If you are in need of a maths game for the holidays, here’s one from Marilyn Burns: http://www.marilynburnsmathblog.com/one-of-my-all-time-favorite-games/

Happy holidays to all and see you in 2020!


2nd – 6th Dec.

This week in maths we began to explore the concept of multiplication. We started by listening to the story One Hundred Hungry Ants and modelling what was happening with the ways the ants were arranging themselves. This led us to the idea of an array, the importance of knowing rows from columns, and what exactly “x” means (groups of…, or rows of…). Please take a look at this folder to see some photos of students in action and key learning discovered: Arrays in Maths.

For those who are interested, here is a great video explaining the progression of how we try to teach the concept of multiplication.

In English, students are busy drafting and then publishing an Information Report on their chosen animal. As the use of plurals is very common in this text type, we have been looking at how words are made plural by the addition of “s” or “es” – and when to use each of these suffixes. Please ask your child why “s” might be added to one word to make it plural, but another word might have “es” added  e.g. chair+s, beach+es. Students also discovered what happens if a word ending  with “y” is made plural e.g. library. Please ask them!
Following on from the use of plurals, students learned that if the subject of the sentence is plural, then the verb with it, must also be plural. In other words, there needs to be subject-verb agreement. But how to know what the subject of the sentence is? Students learned that it’s easiest to first identify the VERB and then ask who or what is doing that action.

Students have also been self-assessing their readaloud skill. They are posting in their Seesaw.


ES Grades 1-3 Musical Friday 6th Dec. 6pm, Saturday 7th Dec. 3pm
Winter Service Fair, Thursday 12th December 5:30pm-7pm


Students have been working away this week researching a chosen animal. We have also been looking more at the features of an Information Report. Today students studied some reports and identified many of those features that they will have to try and incorporate into their own report. Take a look at them here, working away.

In maths, students have been revisiting counting – skip counting in various ways and choral counting, as well as looking for and describing patterns that they notice. Please practice skip counting forwards and backwards with your child at home in: 2s, 5s, 4s, 10s. Challenge them by starting from different numbers.

Another maths practice  that can easily be done at home is asking your child: What are two numbers that make ……….(provide a number between 10 and 20). What are another two numbers that make that number? And another pair of numbers that also make that number? And so on. Many children have learned a particular pairing and find it challenging to think of other possible combinations.

Building on this, you can also then ask an example like: So if I have 7 but need 18, how many do I need? Again, children find this a challenge to be able to mentally manipulate such combinations.

IB/WASC/CIS Visit is next week.
Amazing Arts Auction – starts next  week
Winter Service Fair – Thursday 12th from 5pm

Thank you

A huge “thank you” to everyone, from Ms. Ngan and I, for your response to Teacher Appreciation Day. We were overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity. Especially touching were the notes and letters from our students. It is a pleasure to work with them.

Thank you also to all of those who were able to attend the Open Classroom Day. It was great to see so many of you. I hope it gave you some greater insight into your child’s life at UNIS.

If you attended the maths lesson during the Open Classroom Day, the children continued to work on creating a graph to show data. They gave each other feedback in the form of what they “noticed” (yellow post-it) and “wonderings” (pink post-it) that they had about their peers’ graph. On reflection, they came up with some criteria of what makes a good graph and why.

Later in the week, students worked in teams to learn more about animal adaptations. Lots of cool animals and interesting facts.

Today 3D went on a fabulous trip to visit the bear rescue sanctuary in Tam Dao. We saw so many bears and learned so much! Please ask your child about their visit.

Message from MSHS  Students:

Hello G2-G5 students and teachers,
My name is Chau Nguyen (Cc) and I am from the service group Bamboo Music School and this year, we are the people managing the stage for the Winter Service Fair on Thursday 12th December from 5-7pm – please flier and pictures for the event
Something that we would like to do this year that is different from the years before is that we would like to invite ES classes from G2 – 5 to perform on stage as a class. Please, if you are interested, please fill out the survey below with the instructions that have been placed below that.
Link to working form for Winter Fair Stage Performers applications
To fill out the form, you just need to fill it like how the survey has been set up but for the people performing, please write your class name. In the Group name section, just write N/A (unless your class wants to have a group name then sure). And that’s it. After this, we will be sending emails to see when your class is free so that either me or one of the other students in our group will come to see your class performance as an “Audition”. Anyways, see you soon.

Bamboo Music School


Open Day Tuesday 19th November

Open Doors – Open Classrooms – Open Minds! 

Dear Elementary Families,
We warmly invite you to our Elementary School Open Classrooms –  Tuesday 19th November.
Your child’s homeroom teacher will soon be sharing a schedule with you, indicating which lessons are open for you to enter and observe.  

What are Open Classrooms?

Have you ever wondered what inquiry-based learning is like for your child? Here is your chance! Open Classrooms showcase learning in action. On the day, at selected times, our classrooms are open for you to observe lessons that put the philosophy and pedagogy of the Primary Years Programme into practice.    

Purpose of Open Classrooms 

Open Classrooms is for parents to get an insider’s view of what life is like inside the classrooms at UNIS.  By opening up our classroom doors we would like to give parents a glimpse of student-centered, constructivist teaching and learning in action. We aim to demonstrate our inquiry based teaching philosophy which is central to our identity as an IB school. 

How does it work?

  • Classrooms across all subject areas in the ES will be designated as ‘open house’ events for certain lessons – 19th November, 2019.
  • A minimum of two lessons will be designated as ‘open’ in your child’s homeroom class
  • All specialist lessons will be designated as ‘open’ 
  • All ‘open’ lessons will be detailed on your child’s blog – communicated by their homeroom teacher
  • Parents may attend any of their child’s open lessons – both homeroom classes and specialist lessons. 
  • Parents may only visit open lessons in classes that their child attends.
  • Please be aware that not all lessons are designated as ‘open’.  Be sure to check the schedule on your child’s blog

 What might I see?

All lessons are different, though you may expect to see:

  • Classes will be a reflection of our PYP programme.  What you will see will be a snapshot of our regular lessons, routines and activities.  Lessons that have a clear learning objective which has been explained to the students
  • A variety of lessons and subject areas open for parents to observe (and in some cases, you may be invited to participate). 
  • Lessons may showcase students demonstrating the Learner Profile
  • Lessons may involve students using a variety of transdisciplinary skills (thinking, research, problem solving, social and self-management skills)
  • Lessons that are based on students’ understanding of broad concepts, in addition to specific content (e.g. the concept of “form” in addition to the content of balanced gymnastics movements in PE). 

What is my responsibility as a visitor to an active learning environment? 

  • Silence and put away all mobile devices.
  • Please enter classrooms quietly and be on time. We recommend you stay for at least 20 minutes to see the flow of the lesson.  
  • Please be aware of not interrupting the flow of a lesson/your child’s learning.  
  • Interact with your children only when/if invited to do so.  Some classes will be ‘observe only’ while others may be more interactive.  

Other important reminders:  

  • Please leave younger siblings at home with a caregiver, so that you may give you full attention to your child’s class.
  • All parents must wear their UNIS Parent ID badge.
  • Photographing students is not permitted.
  • Parents must wear their Parent ID lanyards at all times.
  • Parents may purchase food from the CAFE only, but may not purchase lunches from the canteen (we are unable to cater for unknown numbers).  

We look forward to welcoming you on Tuesday, November 19th.

The following classes are “open” for 3D:

N.B. Angela Brienza, Literacy Coach, and Beth Murray, Maths Coach, will be offering parent sessions on the morning i.e. prior to 9:25am.

We have started a new unit of inquiry: Sharing the Planet. Our Central Idea is, “The struggle to share the environment impacts living things.” We have been begun looking at different biomes (tundra, rainforest, ocean, grasslands) and their characteristics. Students will be choosing an endangered animal, from one of these biomes, to research as well as exploring conservation efforts and threats within the biome. In literacy, we have started an investigation into the “Information Report” text type. Students will then be composing a report from their research. Any inquiry into these biomes, the creatures that live in them and how they might be threatened, at home in the student’s own ‘home language’ would be of great benefit to them.

In maths we have extended our understanding of addition and subtraction by figuring out that with addition, the order of  the numbers when you add them doesn’t really matter (Commutative Property). You still get the  same answer. If you have more than two numbers to add, then can even group them in whatever way is easier for you and still get the same result (Associative Property). However, when you are subtracting the order matters! If you  want to group numbers to make subtracting easier, you have to be careful to subtract a smaller one from a bigger one. And of course, adding or subtracting zero from a number doesn’t change it (Identity Property). Watch out for our Seesaw posts where we try to explain our learning.

On Thursday we celebrated Outdoor Play day by counting the poles outside the canteen and applying some of our counting strategies to answer questions like, “How many poles are there altogether?”, “How many more red ones are there than yellow?”, “How many fewer pink ones than and green?”. Take a look here: Rainbow Poles.

Last week, we had to apply some of our number knowledge to reading data in our uoi. There were some really big numbers on graphs that we tried to understand. We worked in  small groups to interpret our graph and then presented our findings back to our class. It was fun!

Monday 11th November – no school for students. It is a Professional Development Day for teachers.
Wednesday 13th, Thursday 14th and Friday 15th November, Miss Julia will be attending some extra PD. Please email Ms. Ngan if there are any changes in your child’s usual dismissal routine.


30th Sept. – 4th Oct.

This week in maths 3D has been exploring the concept of “rounding” and building their understanding by using a number line. The use of a number line helps students to visualise  what tens or hundreds a number is CLOSEST to so as to “round” it appropriately.
The use of terms like “round up” and “round down” can confuse students. For example, the number 37 would round to 40 or they say it “rounds up”. The digit in the tens place is changed from 3 to 4 (rounds up). This misconception is what causes the problem when applied to rounding down. The number 32 should be rounded (down) to 30, but using the logic mentioned for rounding up, some students may look at the digit in the tens place and take it to the previous number, resulting in the incorrect value of 20. Asking questions such as: “What multiples of ten is 32 between and which is it closer to?” and developing the understanding of what the answer choices are before rounding can alleviate much of the misconception and confusion related to rounding.

To support at home you might like to ask your child questions such as, “What tens number would 63 round to? Why?”,  “What hundreds number would 567 round to? Why?” or “If my number could be rounded to 40, what might my number be?” Ask your child what might happen to a number that is in the middle between two “tens” numbers or two “hundreds” numbers.

On Thursday 3D performed their gymnastics routines for the ECC children at their assembly. Take a look here.

In uoi time, we revisited our list, from the start of the unit, of things around UNIS that we thought were simple machines. We marked those we are now more sure about, those that we now believe are definitely NOT and some we’re still wondering about. We also added some we didn’t realize actually were simple machines.

We have also begun designing our own creations that make life, work or play easier or more fun. We are excited to announce……….

We hope you can make it. To support the building of designs we are looking for: toilet roll tubes, small cardboard boxes (e.g. milk cartons, gift boxes), plastic bottle tops, ribbon.

October break: Saturday 5th October through Sunday 13th October
Grade 3 Innovation Fair, 2:45pm Friday 18th October
UN Day Monday October 21st

23-27 September

It has been an exciting time in uoi this week. We have been using our knowledge of the wheel and axle and attachments to build a car. In addition, we were challenged to see how far our car could travel after rolling down a ramp (inclined plane). Could we improve our initial model so that the car travelled further? We used our maths skills to measure and record the distance. Take a look at our Fast and Furious car challenge. Please ask us about our design: what was easy, what was hard, what did we change or modify?

On Tuesday we had a very exciting time Exploring Pulleys with Mr. Neal. We discovered that a pulley system can make lifting a heavy weight easier – and the more pulleys you use, the easier it gets!

This week we also had time with our K1C Buddies who wanted to compare our homes with theirs. They also wanted help to create some maps of how to get from their room to ours.

Parent/Teacher /Student Conferences information: Monday, September 30th – no classes for students

– Autumn Break – October 7th-11th
– UN Day- Monday October 21st

Please send in toilet roll tubes, small cardboard boxes, plastic bottle tops & pieces of ribbon for our construction projects.

Have a lovely weekend!

As we missed a post last week, there’s LOTS to look at in this one. Following are links to folders of photos, plus a video made by Ms. Ngan

Moon Festival  – masks and us.

Ms. Megan joined us for community time and taught us about how our brains work when we are learning something new and how to take care of our brain. The analogy of a field was used. Photos here of Ms. Megan’s visit.

The provocation at the start of our “How the World Works” unit of inquiry was a Marble Run. We had to get a marble across the room without pushing or dropping it; it had to move on its own. We could use anything we liked in the room. There was lots of design, try, fix, improve, try again, rebuild and try again and again and again!

Later we tried to build a “Wheel and Axle” – not as easy as we thought!

We decided that as glue is a form of plastic, we really shouldn’t be using it unless we have to so Mr. Neal showed us different ways to make attachments: Making different “attachments” so we don’t need to use glue!

At the end of this unit, students will be asked to design and build something that incorporates at least 2 Simple Machines and be able to explain the forces involved.

In maths we have been describing the ways we see numbers and patterns. How would see these dots and know there were 7 – without really counting them?

We saw them in lots of different ways:

We have been celebrating Peace Day and talking about what peace means to people. We read Quentin Blake’s “The Sailing Boat in the Sky”. Max and Martin even made a Peace Boat using their MakerSpace ideas.

Reminders & Notices:

Monday 30th October Conferences with child, parents and teacher.

Friday October the 18th October at 2:20 the last period of the day – mark your calendars! This will be a Showcase of our How the World Work Designs.

Have a lovely weekend.