4C: Pondering Probability and Making Peace

4C Families and Friends,

Your amazing children have gotten into a nice groove with daily routines, sharing thinking together, growing ideas as readers, and telling small moment stories as writers. Thursday we got to know our new partners by playing Mirror Me, a way to communicate through dance. Check it out, and we encourage you to try it with your kids: Mirror Me in action!

Taking Action for Peace

This week 4C kids are excited to send a message of peace. They’ve been teaching one another how to fold Origami paper cranes in order to help out our UNIS library. The goal is to fold 1000 cranes (for luck!) that will be on display in our learning commons.

 UOI: How the World Works

We’re bridging our Unit of Inquiry and this week launched our inquiry into How the World Works. 4C Learners will be taking on the roles of geologists as we investigate long-term changes to the earth and landforms. As you travel throughout Hanoi (and the planet), please be sure to help your children notice hills, slopes, geological wonders, and examples of erosion in their world. More details to follow!

Mathematicians: Making Sense of Dice Sums Data

Please ask your child to explain what we did today with our dice using the photo below. We were wondering why 7 appeared more often than other sums in our data when two dice are rolled. Students were looking for patterns, talking math, and showing perseverance to make sense of data.

The Mood Meter: Practicing Self Care and Empathy

Here’s our Mood Meter, a tool to check in and monitor our feelings. We use it to set the tone for the day and build awareness of our emotions, and it gives partners a chance to offer support for each other when needed.

Finally, a couple quick reminders:

  • Peace Day: Monday, September 21st (Please have your child dress in white or blue).
  • Moon Festival: Thursday, September 24th (Please wear your Ao Dai).
  • Learning Conversations: Wednesday October 1st (Save the date, details to follow).

Enjoy a restful weekend, and stay dry! 🙂

Darren and Team

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4C: Expressing Ourselves through Design Challenges

4C Families and Friends,

Checking in with a few updates on this warm Friday!

Our Class Charter of Essential Agreements

We have finished a first draft of our class charter, but the work will keep changing. We will treat it as a living document, to revisit and make changes as the year moves forward. We’re off to a great start and 4C scholars have already shown a caring, inclusive, positive classroom and school!


How We Express Ourselves

This week we’ve been going deeper into our unit. One of our lines of inquiry is ‘Design Thinking is a way to refine and improve understanding’. Yesterday Mr. Big C led 4C through a Design Thinking process as they attempted to solve an engineering problem: how can we use spaghetti, tape, and string to make a tall tower that will hold a marshmallow?

Students planned and experimented (with varying degrees of success). Most important was a moment to reflect together about what worked well and what they would have done differently the next time. Please check in on Seesaw to see more photos of our process.  

Reflecting on Our Writing

Today we added posts to Seesaw where kids reflected on their writing. An important thing to note – these are not ‘published’ or ‘final’ drafts, they are first drafts used to reflect upon as part of the writing process. Be sure to check in with your child and ask about this Seesaw post.


  • Our School Photos will take place next Tuesday morning, please have your child dress for success.
  • If you have one to spare, please send in a houseplant to ‘green up’ our space.
  • We’ve received a few photos of your child in his or her favourite reading spot – please email a copy to dradu@unishanoi.org at your earliest convenience.

With gratitude,

Darren and the 4th Grade Team

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4C: Expressing Ourselves

4C Families and Friends,

Thank you so much for taking the time to join us last night at Back to School Night! I was grateful to see such a strong turnout and am hopeful the information set the tone for our year together.

4C has been a beehive of activity this week as we’ve continued to build community and get to know each other. Kids have taken ownership of the room, establishing routines and agreements. Our Unit of Inquiry, How We Express Ourselves, is off and running and the windows and walls are being lined with student artwork, helping kids truly take ownership of our space!

We’ve launched Reading, Writing, and Mathematician’s Workshops – including pondering what “real” mathematicians do:

And worked together to take on the Cup Stacking Challenge (while still practicing safe distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing): 

And perhaps most importantly, this week we continued to build our Class Charter – to display our agreements for feelings we want to have, the behaviours that will get us there, and strategies for problem solving when things break down. We’ll post a photo of our charter soon!

Finally, a couple weekly reminders:

  • Please continue to create time and space for your child to read at home every day. We’d also like for you to take a photo of your child in his or her favourite spot to read at home. Please email a copy to dradu@unishanoi.org.
  • If you have a small plant for the class to take care of, please send it our way. We’d love to green up our space and have kids take responsibility for caring for these living objects as much as possible!

With gratitude for your support,

Darren and the 4th Grade Team

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4C: Building Community and Launching Our Year

4C Families and Friends,

What a fantastic week we’ve had getting to know each other, and what a spectacular young group of learners you have sent our way!

We’re writing to share a few notes to open the year. This is our preferred means of communication, so please visit and read this blog on a weekly basis. If you have any other general inquiries or feedback, please be sure to contact me at dradu@unishanoi.org.

4C This Week: Building Community

This joyful group of scholars has gotten to know one another through art, dance, and play.


  • Watched a virtual opening of the school year, including the banging of the school drum
  • Had a snowball fight to cool off!
  • Took charge of our classroom library and organized our books, just the way we want them
  • Considered where we encounter math in our world, and launched our writing workshop
  • Welcomed in our new friends from other schools (Welcome Chenyu, Linh, Nate, and Noor!)

Unit of Inquiry: How We Express Ourselves and Building Community

Your children are taking charge of the classroom. Next week we’ll be finalizing a Class Charter of our Essential Agreements to be principled, caring, curious learners. We learned about a growth mindset by watching a baby learning to walk and considered how it might help us as learners. We practiced mindfulness, and expressed gratitude to one another for making our class feel special already.


4C Scholars will be digging into some Inspirational Math next week, incorporating a growth mindset and puzzling into our work with numbers large and small. We will continue to build and refine our lives as readers together, and launch an investigation into imaginative writing.

Readers Workshop: In Readers Workshop, we’ll be talking about the importance of authoring a reading life. Our goal is for students to truly ‘run the show’ as they expand their reading horizons. We’d like kids to aim for a minimum of 70 minutes reading per day between school and home. We’ll periodically send home Reading Logs in order to research and improve our habits as readers.


Please be sure to send your child to school with a hat. The hot sun can be uncomfortable and so we want children’s heads to be covered during play time. Water bottles and masks are also a must.

Class Wish List: Plants

If you have a small houseplant or two that you are no longer in need of and would be willing to share with us, we’d love to add more green to the room and make use of those ‘natural’ air purifiers.

We’re so grateful to be able to learn together with your children this year. If you have any questions or feedback, please drop us a line.

So grateful for all your support,

Mr. Darren and Ms. Thao

fall seven times, get up eight

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4C: Tết Trung Thu


This gallery contains 31 photos.

Moon Festival Beauty Thursday’s Moon Festival was a gorgeous celebration of Vietnamese culture. Thank you to those families who supported this beautiful event, and especially to those students who study Vietnamese during our World Language classes, Miya, Trang Linh, Nina, … Continue reading

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