December 13, 2019

Dear Families,

It’s hard to believe that our December break is already upon us! May the next three weeks bring peace and relaxation. 

Explorations This Week

UOI: How We Organize Ourselves 

All student social enterprise business proposals have been approved! This means that after the break, social enterprise groups will be given money from the school to purchase what they need from local shops. On Wednesday, 4 high school service groups came to speak to students about their groups and ways they might support them with market service day funds.

Math

This week students learned a new math game that could easily be played on your holiday–Zero or Bust. Players start at 1,000 have to roll a dice 7 times (alternating turns) and show thinking on a number line. Each roll of the die could be either considered a ones place value or tens place value. For example, if a player rolls a 2 then the player can choose to play a 2 or 20. The goal is to be the person closest to zero. Players should show their thinking on an empty number line.

Literacy

Students this week did a persuasive writing assessment, for progress monitoring, trying to persuade someone for or against the school day needing to be shorter. When reviewing their writing, it has been incredible to see such growth.

Something to Try at Home

Have a wonderful holiday together. I look forward to hearing all the stories once we return!

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

December 6, 2019

Dear Families,

I hope you all enjoy this last weekend before the break! Students have decided to organize a holiday party for next Friday. It will be the last 30 minutes of the day with DIY crafts, Secret Santa reveals (should they choose to participate), karaoke, and a movie. Phew! Seems like a lot to fit in 30 minutes if you ask me, but they seem to have a plan! 

Explorations This Week

UOI: How We Organize Ourselves

Your children are well into their planning for Market Service Day, coming on January 14th. This week they’ve been learning about market forces such as supply, demand, and how costs and expenses influence price. We even Skyped with my father, Dave Lewis, a former data marketing executive. Surveys are being created in order to assess demand and figure out which products will work best. All of this while keeping in mind their greater purpose – to raise funds for donation to local nonprofits. Early next week, each team will be submitting a business plan for approval and will begin creating products or refining services to offer on Market Service Day. Please be sure to check in with your child about his or her group’s progress, and look for ways to support your child as this important project moves forward.

Math

Students have been analyzing mathematical thinking on the basis of being a “Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner or Expert.” These areas might differ for different categories. Based upon this work, students went back to their own work to analyze and then revise thinking. 

Literacy

Students have been using RazKids in class alongside physical books. This is a great site that can be used over the holidays! Persuasive writing has been focusing on learning how to write powerful conclusions with specific vocabulary to draw readers in.

Something to Try at Home

Having discussions where your child tries to persuade you to do something. Encourage them to use the vocabulary learned in class! An effective persuasion would include the OREO model(as mentioned in last week’s post). 

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

November 29, 2019

 

Dear Families,

Yesterday was American Thanksgiving. It is a time we pause to share gratitude for things in life. With that, I want to thank each of you for your support this year. From your child’s smiles each morning to the learning conversations at home, I feel grateful to be a piece of your child’s learning this year. 

Please see the important message below from the grade 4 team. It was also sent home yesterday as a printed letter.

You may have heard the buzz from your child that Market Service Day is approaching. Market Service Day is one of the highlights of grade 4 and for our ES community. Through Market Service Day, students raise money to donate to an organization that links closely with the Children’s Rights they feel most passionate about.

January 14, 2020, is the day!

We will need your support with this project over the next couple of weeks. Here is a rough outline of the happenings:

December 2-7 is a focus on business, looking at profit, market forces, supply and demand, and unique selling points. Students will be looking at the Child Rights they are passionate about and groups will be formed during this time.

December 9-14 is a focus on writing up their business plan, looking at costs, and applying for their loan. Before we head out on the winter holiday students must have their plans finalized with teacher approval.

January 6-10 is finalizing their product or service for Market Service Day, creating a slide/poster for the advertising campaigns and checking equipment needs. There is a very high chance that the weekend of January 11 and 12 groups will want to get together and work on their plans/product/shopping.

Explorations This Week

  • Formatting persuasive writing paragraphs using the OREO template (state your opinion, give a reason, provide an example, restate your opinion)
  • Two guest speakers to provoke thinking for our new unit of inquiry. One speaker from KOTO (Amelia’s mom in 4B) and one speaker from Cousins Restaurant (Mia’s dad). We learned the difference between a social enterprise and a business–both sharing the message related to our central idea: organizations consider purpose and market forces when creating goods and services.
  • Representing mathematical strategies on the number line.

Something to Try at Home

  • Each morning and afternoon we have gratitude circles. Perhaps try one out together as a family!

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

November 22, 2019

Dear Families, 

It was wonderful to have many of you in the classroom on Tuesday. Please know, you are welcome to come in at any time.

Explorations This Week

  • We learned a new math game! Leap Frog focuses on effectively communicating mathematical thinking and for another to expressing our thinking in a number line model. Below are the game materials if you wish to play at home! Leap Frog
  • This week we looked at schools around the world and with a Visible Thinking Routine created plans to answer the question “How might we make schools more equitable?” 
  • Our unit of inquiry focus this week was on circumstances. This video prompted discussions and how circumstances might quickly change. We played a circumstances game in which students connected privileges, chances, opportunities to circumstances.
  • We continue to work on our persuasive writing. In varying small groups students developed vocabulary to effectively communicate an argument.

Something to Try at Home

  • Home language is critical to develop understanding. It would be very valuable to your child’s development to translate these unit of inquiry words into a home language: opportunity, privilege, circumstance, chance, equity, inequity, accessibility. 

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

 

November 15

Dear Families,

Important Information

  • Open Classrooms is on Tuesday–our entire day will be open for you to come in and learn alongside us. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Explorations This Week

 

  • This past week was World Kindness Day! As the mantra in our class is to “have courage and be kind,” we have been having daily discussions on how to be kind to ourselves and others. Students have been given bingo boards to develop awareness about the frequency and how they are showing kindness. This is being supported by daily gratitude circles in the morning and afternoon. 
  • As a major focus for our unit of inquiry is the key concept of responsibility, gratitude circles are a way to developing empathy. This site has been a major driver this week with students thinking about children’s rights and seeing the impact of rights being denied or granted on a child’s life. Next week your child will be creating a plan for him or herself to more deeply understand a child’s perspective that is different from his or her own. Perspective taking might lead to your child wanting to deny him or herself a certain right.  I’m curious to see where your children will lead themselves in this part of the inquiry. 
  • Continuing our understanding of relationships in the number system, we have been counting and bundling into 10s and 100s a giant collection of popsicle sticks in our classroom. These will be used as math tools in a variety of ways– estimation, magnitude of numbers, addition, subtraction and so on!
  • We are in the process of setting new goals. I appreciate you patience with this process. As it requires me to meet individually with each student for about 10 minutes, we are not quite done yet.
  • We had two guest speakers this week, Ms. Sharon Kane and Ms. Simone Vis, who discussed children’s rights and how their organizations support the fulfillment in Vietnam.

 

Something to Try at Home

  • Access to opportunities is a major part of our unit of inquiry. Students have been very curious about other children’s experiences around this world. This could be a great link to your home country. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

November 8, 2019

Dear Families, 

Important Information

  • No school on Monday-Professional Development Day for teachers.
  • If your child is in Youth Soccer, he or she will be traveling to St. Paul’s on Tuesday. Please make sure she or he has a packed lunch and understands his or her transportation situation after the event.
  • On Saturday November 16th UNIS service learning has organized a visit to the Blue Dragon Garden. It is an optional activity for community members wanting to learn more. If there are 15 people, then the trip will happen with a bus organized to and from school. If you would like more information please email EC Counselor Kris Bezzerides kbezzerides@unishanoi.org     WELCOME TO DRAGON VALLEY
  • Auditions for the Grade 4 and 5 Musical, Annie are coming up! Audition sign ups start Wednesday, November 13th.

Explorations This Week

Our Week in Pictures November 4-8

  • As we explored the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, this led us to inquire about how children’s rights might be met or denied around the world. We used Padlet as a tool to share thoughts and deepen thinking. Check it out.
  • We began thinking about “Thick” and “Thin” questions relating to problem solving in math. Students then went on to write their own questions to then pursue during a problem solving station.
  • Mr. Clark came in to teach us more about effectively using iMovie as a tool to share our thought process. 
  • Our book clubs about Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes have come to an end. New book conversation groups will begin next week with varying titles.

Something to Try at Home

  • We will begin reflecting upon our first round of goals on Tuesday. Students will then begin setting new goals that will extend to December break. While these are student directed, if you would like me to help nudge your child to continue his or her goal or if you think a certain goal is pertinent, please let me know. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

November 1, 2019

Dear Families, 

Grade 4 Teachers are reaching out to you because we are hoping you or someone from your organization might support the learning of the Grade 4 students during this current unit of inquiry –into children’s rights with a particular focus on access to opportunities, the responsibility of the community and circumstances that impact children’s rights. It would be fantastic if we could also highlight SDG work in connection with children’s rights.

If you or someone you know would be able to support us by presenting and working with our students, please email me and/or fill out this form as soon as possible.

4A Important Information

  • This is just a friendly reminder that students should be reading nightly for at least 30 minutes in English or home language.

Explorations This Week

  • Tuesday’s provocation sparked powerful student reactions and reflections about the importance of equity for children. This has naturally led to conversations about childhood as a whole and students sharing personal experiences.
  • Students continued to develop self-management and communication skills within their book clubs.
  • A new math game, Close to 1,000, is beginning to be introduced where students model thinking on a number line along with practicing addition and subtraction. Here is a link if you would like to play at home with a deck of cards.
  • We have begun a new expository writing unit focusing on persuasion.

Something to Try at Home

  • In connection with our unit of inquiry, Dollar Street, is a fascinating peek into homes around the world. This site might led to conversations at home that connect to our unit’s key concepts of causation (why is it like it is?) and perspective (what are the points of view?)

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

October 25, 2019

Dear Families, 

Week of October 21st-25th

Thank you for all your support with UN Day. This being my first celebration, I was truly blown away!

4A Important Information

  • This is just a friendly reminder that students should be reading nightly for at least 30 minutes in English or home language.
  • In the coming days we’ll be launching our upcoming Unit of Inquiry, Sharing the Planet. We’ll be exploring the central idea that access to opportunities affects equity for all children. We’ll be inquiring into the rights of children, the circumstances that determine a child’s opportunity, and our responsibility towards equity.Next Tuesday, October 29th, we’ll be putting students into random groups across the grade level where they’ll experience strikingly different perspectives of equity depending on the ‘luck of the draw’. We anticipate kids will raise compelling questions and might come home disappointed (or delighted) at the lot they’ve drawn. We encourage you to reflect together over dinner that evening.

Explorations This Week

  • Over the past two weeks we have been tracking our efforts relating to our goals. Today your child will bring home his or her reflections. This sheet is meant to prompt conversations rather than just be put at the bottom of a backpack. I would appreciate if you could speak to your child about how his or her goal is going. We will continue to track efforts relating to our goals until new goals are set the week of November 18th. 
  • Our unit of inquiry exploring How the World Works has come to an end. Students will be posting unit reflections and summative demonstrations on their SeeSaw blogs. This unit has sparked countless action in the form of students being researchers. I’m highly encouraging students to keep wondering about how the Earth’s surface changes over time. The rock museum will live on!
  • We have begun Book Clubs! For this first round, students across the class are reading the same book, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, so that we can have common understandings about Book Clubs structure. This text might spark powerful conversations about our next unit of inquiry.
  • In math this week we have been focusing on rounding and estimating. Students are finding out about how numbers are connected through estimating and how to use a number line to model thinking. We are continuing to discuss the importance of referencing place value when rounding.

Something to Try at Home

  • Building mathematical fluency is critical. Yet, how is this done without prompting anxiety and arguments? Fluency without fear is a fascinating article that provides research and reasoning for why math is taught in a certain way in our classroom. While it is aimed at teachers in the profession, there are similar themes that apply at home. I’m happy to be building powerful teaching partnerships with you so that your child is best supported.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

Week of October 21st-25th

October 18, 2019

Dear Families, 

This week has built excitement with the SDGs and we’re looking forward to UN Day on Monday.

4A Important Information

  • October 21:UN Day. Please note that it’s early release at 1pm.

Explorations This Week

  • Learning how to create screencasts to teach and showcase our learning. Look out for these in the coming weeks on your child’s SeeSaw.
  • Taught skateboarding skills to our Grade One buddies.
  • Focused on varying perspectives relating to humans changing the Earth’s surface.
  • Continued to develop procedural writing using teaching skateboarding as a jumping off point. 
  • Problem solving using tickets at an arcade to provoke thinking and engagement.

Something to Try at Home

  • You’ll be seeing many flags at UN Day on Monday. With your child try to match as many flags as you can with the country. Perhaps even look into the symbolism behind the flags.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions. 

 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

October 1-October 4

Our week in pictures October 1-4

Dear Families, 

 

It has been lovely meeting with you all to discuss progress and set goals. Please do not hesitate to reach out if something slipped your mind during our meeting

4A Important Information

 

  • October 14-18 SDG Week
  • October 21 UN Day

 

Explorations This Week

  • We’ve had two fantastic guest speakers this week. Mr. Jackson (Jasper’s Father) and Ms.Naeeda (Sufi’s Aunt) brought insights for students to go further with their understandings about our unit of inquiry.
  • Within ‘Math Workstations,’ students are developing an understanding of number relationships. As a whole class, students are building on previous knowledge to analyze the number system to orally explain why and how a number’s value is determined by digits.
  • Students have been formulating and testing theories in Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) around why an “e” is dropped. After break we will continue to practice and explore tools we can use to investigate words. (Please see the poster relating to this in our slideshow).

Something to Try at Home

  • As we move into SDG week after break, students will be connecting SDG 15 “Life on Land” to our UOI. A great connection would be to see how this SDG applies to your home country (or countries). It would be fantastic to have students bring in and share research from home.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have additional questions. 

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

Our week in pictures October 1-4