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

September 27, 2019

This week in pictures…

Dear Families, 

I’m looking forward to meeting you all for Parent-Student Teacher Learning Conversations! Just a friendly reminder to please bring your child to this conversation.

Explorations This Week

  • This week has been filled with demonstrations to explore how the earth’s surface changes over time from erosion. While creating models and conducting demonstrations, students have continued to develop the importance of writing a clear procedure. Students are encouraged to manipulate demonstrations at home! ‘Land’ can be made from 1  ½ cup cornmeal, ½ cup salt and ½ cup water to make 2 cups of ‘land.’ Of course just going out and getting some dirt with some small rocks is also fantastic!
  • We have been monitoring our reading by pausing to evaluate using a 4 point scale. If evaluating ourselves is less than a 3, students are encouraged to reread to build comprehension.
  • Students have set goals in class that will be shared during our learning conversations. These goals will be targeted for 6 weeks and then a new goal will be set. 
  • We have begun a new math unit with the central idea:Numbers are connected to each other through a variety of relationships. During this unit we will be exploring :
    • The value of a number is determined by the place of its digits.
    • Using rounding is an appropriate estimation strategy for solving problems and estimating.
    • We can find patterns in numbers and their relationship that help us solve problems.
    • Understanding the value of numbers the relationship of those numbers helps us problem solve flexibly.

Something to Try at Home

  • I have just begun reading this fantastic book (available in our UNIS library!) called UnSelfie:Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.  The book gives practical suggestions for children of all ages. One of the ways to build empathy is by tuning into how someone might be feeling and then mindfully listening. In class we are focusing on mindfully listening to each other by looking at the colors of the speaker’s eyes or the bridge his or her nose.  Perhaps this might be a way for your family to more deeply engage with each other. 

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

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

This week in pictures…

September 20, 2019

 

Dear Families, 

Have a peaceful weekend ahead!

4A Important Information

  • Monday September 30th: Parent-Student-Teacher learning conversations. Please bring your child to this conversation

Explorations This Week

  • Tuning into our writing unit: Explanation and Procedural writing. Students have begun this unit by finding out purpose behind a procedure and its’ organization. Next week we will be building our vocabulary around conjunctions and causal language. At home you can support by discussing how or why something occurs along with the reasoning behind each step of the process.
  • Students continue to find out about ‘How the World Works.’  From building descriptive vocabulary about three rock types , the student created ‘Rock Museum’ continues to grow. Deeper understanding was developed through word study–identifying that the base of a word (ie. ‘geo’ in geology) holds the meaning and can develop a deeper understanding. Next week we’ll be diving more deeply into Earth’s slow and fast changes.
  • A Peace Table idea was introduced into our classroom and will be a conflict-resolution tool. Here is the link to the guiding document as students may have to prepare for a ‘peace talk’ outside of the school day.
  • We began reading with Newsela. This is a fantastic resource that can be used outside of school as well! Each student has an account and will have assigned articles that connect with units throughout the year. 

Something to Try at Home

  • Math games are a phenomenal way to develop mathematical automaticity (which components are accuracy, flexibility and efficiency). A deck of cards, found at your local minimart, is an easy to find tool for such games. Today we learned ‘Oh No!99!’  Just a friendly reminder that in our mathematical community we value ‘think time’ which encourages a relaxed environment while playing games that build automaticity. 

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

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

mmagowan2@unishanoi.org

September 6, 2019

Dear Families, 

 

It was lovely to meet and see some of you last night. If you were unable to attend, please see the presentation in this post. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Following up a question about unassigned home learning, I have included an additional slide from our math coach. On the slide you’ll find a link to a Padlet with resources and recommendations. Another idea could be to have a ‘Family Game Night.” Board and card games can provide fantastic opportunities to develop relationships, math skills and literacy!

4A Important Information

    • Students have elected Calum Curtis and Thao Bui to represent our class in Student Council this year!
    • Thursday September 12: Moon Festival. Students should wear an Ao Dai on this day. These can be purchased downtown and/or specially made by a tailor. 
    • Friday September 13: No School. Teacher professional development day.

Explorations This Week

  • Mathematical mistakes are valuable and can lead us to deeper understandings.
  • Initial insights about our Unit of Inquiry(UOI) and the central idea “Earth’s surface changes over time.” Please see the video connecting ‘our world’ to this inquiry.
  • Thinking about our UOI central idea and questions we might have–with National Geographic videos as provocations. Students then sorted questions based upon commonalities.
  • Using a ‘word family’ to understand the meaning and structure of words.
  • Metacognitive work around goal setting in writing.

Something to Try at Home

  • Brightly is a fantastic site that has practical ideas for developing a child who loves to read. (There are great recommendations for adults too!) Encouraging literacy in a different way are Podcasts. This article has some fantastic options across varying interests. They might prompt some powerful discussions and inquiries. Enjoy!

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

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

Back to School Night Presentation.

August 30, 2019

 

Dear Families, 

As we head into the long weekend, I wish you a joyful time connecting and relaxing together.

4A Important Information

  • Wednesday September 4:Class Elections. Class student council representatives will be elected next week. If interested, your child should write a short speech or make a presentation explaining why he or she would be a good representative for our class. Elections will then take place with a secret vote ( mimicking a proper election). Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
  • Thursday September 5 from 6-7:30pm: Back to School Night. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
  • Thursday September 12: Moon Festival. Students should wear an Ao Dai on this day. These can be purchased downtown and/or specially made by a tailor. 

Explorations This Week

  • Prompted by videos from Jo Boaler, we continued to build our math community by discussing how depth is more important than speed and how mistakes are valuable. This video led many students wanting to justify more of their mathematical thinking with words, models and numbers in their math notebooks.
  • Discovering powerful language from mentor authors to use in our narrative stories.
  • Meeting our Grade 1 Buddies! Please see some photos from this time together.
  • Constructing our understanding of an ‘inquiry way of thinking’ that will be referenced throughout the year. 
  • Finding ways to connect to The Learner Profile through movement, hashtags and examples from our lives. These posters we will continue to add onto throughout the year.

Something to Try at Home

  • Check out this website as a jumping off point for a ‘family question of the day’ or ‘family inquiry.’ Have fun!

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

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

August 23, 2019

Getting to know each other as mathematicians.

Dear Families, 

With our first full week of Grade 4 behind us, I find myself wondering if the entire year will go by so quickly?! 

My weekly blog post will be written concisely to provide a snapshot rather than all the fine grain details. That being said, if you would like more specific details about the learning relating and your child, please do not hesitate to contact me. I love a good educational chat!

In each weekly post you’ll find:

  • Important information relating to our class.
  • A short blurb of the week’s explorations.
  • Something to try at home relating to our learning.
  • A photo or a video.

4A Important Information

  • Photo Day-Tuesday, August 27th
  • Headphones should be brought for laptops. These can be left in the classroom.
  • Please complete this form as a way for me to support you and your child this year. 

Explorations This Week

  • Examining bookstores around the world through the lense of form and function led to student interest groups creating literacy spaces around the room. Come and check them out!
  • This week we inquired into ‘What is math?’ and ‘What does a mathematician actually do?’ through countless conversations, a scavenger hunt, using manipulatives and videos.
  • Drawing our neighborhoods as a tool for finding story ideas. An analogy has been made between a race horse’s blinders and the tools we need for success. Both of these ideas will be ongoing throughout the year.
  • Diving into the Makerspace with a cup challenge.

Something to Try at Home

  • Create a ‘Shelfie’ of your most meaningful books and then speak with your child about why these books matter to you. Your child did one this week so you can ask which books created his or her ‘Shelfie.’

 

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

Warmly, 

Ms. Maggie

 

Welcome!

August 14, 2019

 

Dear Parents and Students of 4A, 

 

It’s here! A new school year filled with possibilities. I am thrilled to be your teacher this year as we unpack those possibilities– wondering and grappling together. What does it mean ‘to grapple’ about something in Grade 4? How can we find out? As we move through this first week, and beyond, we’ll be pushing ourselves to engage with our learning and ourselves in new ways. I encourage you to continue conversations at home by asking each other, “How did today matter to you?”

 

In thinking about our day-to-day life in 4A, please see our schedule on the back. This schedule is new to all of us in the elementary school, so it’ll take some getting used to. We are now using a ‘Week A’ and a ‘Week B’ schedule, and while the timing is the same except on Wednesdays, our specials will change from week to week. You’ll also notice that school gets out at 3:30- except on Wednesdays when the finish is at 2:30. It is important to put this schedule somewhere special, where everyone can see it and help each other to be prepared. As we move into the upcoming weeks and we get the details of our schedule down, I’ll send home another one and update the blog so that you know when maths is happening, literacy and units of inquiry as well a library book exchange time.

 

If I haven’t met you yet, please feel free to stop by to say xin chào!” and ask me “How has today mattered to you?” 

 

Wonderings? Feedback? Note of gratitude? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at mmagowan2@unishanoi.org and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Warmly,

Ms. Maggie