Upcoming Sharing the Planet and Reflections on How the World Works

Dear Parents,

Wow, can you believe we just got back from holiday two weeks ago? The beach in Phuket seems a distant memory as we plow forward in our learning. Throughout SDG and leading into UN Day we focused our learning towards how humans are changing the environment and what can we do to stop those changes. We have been reading a book together about Greta Thunberg and how she has taken action on Climate Action, Global Goal #13. We also looked at how when we plant more trees we are preventing runoff that pollutes our oceans and hurts the fish. This week we are wrapping up our unit on How the World Works and moving into Sharing the Planet with a focus on Equity and Children’s Rights.

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.

Tuesday, we’ll be putting students into random groups 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.

Grateful, as ever, for your support!

Posted in 4D

Ideas for the Holiday

Hi All,

Next week is our October holiday, and while some of us may be heading off to the beach and others may just be enjoying the cooler weather in Hanoi- one thing is for sure- we want to keep learning! Nothing is better than curling up with a good book under the umbrella or laying on the couch- so be sure to have a couple of good books you’ve been eager to read.

Also, pack a deck of playing cards in the suitcase! So many fun math games can be played- here are the rules to Oh No! 99

Oh No, 99!

Overview: While older elementary students are typically engaged with larger whole numbers, many still need and benefit from practice with mental addition and subtraction of smaller numbers. In this two-person card game, players attempt to force their partner to be the one to push their jointly accumulating score above 99.

The game provides practice with adding and subtracting while also giving students the chance to think strategically.

Materials Needed: A deck of playing cards (jokers removed) for each pair of students.

Card Values and Operations:

Aces: add 1

Jacks: subtract 10

Queens: wild cards that can represent any other card in the deck

Kings: add zero

All others (2–10): add their face value

Directions for Playing the Game:

  1. One player shuffles the cards and deals four cards to each player. The undealt cards remain in a stack, face down.
  2. Players take turns playing one card at a time, adding or subtracting the value of their card to or from their jointly accumulating score.
  3. Each time a player plays a card, he or she must replace it with the top card on the face-down stack.
  4. Play continues until one player forces his or her partner to go over the score of 99.
Posted in 4D

Learning Conversations

Monday is the day that students, parents, and teachers sit down and have conversations about student learning together, reflect upon the first 6 weeks and think about the plan moving forward. Students in 4D are excited and a little nervous to share their thinking with you all. I look forward to getting back some meaningful feedback from parents and students regarding how it went since this is our first go. Please remember to bring your child to the Learning Conversations.

This week we have been focusing on weathering, erosion and slow changes to the Earth’s surface. Next week and the week after the break, we will be looking at fast changes to the Earth’s surface and the human impact on changes to the Earth’s surface. Students are working towards demonstrating what they understand about the changes both slow and fast. For our final project, students will be designing a demonstration that will show what they understand about how the Earth’s surface changes over time. Students will be designing their demonstrations the week of October 14-18, and the week of October 21-25 students will be sharing their projects.

Next week in Maths our focus will be:

  • I can read and write a number in word form and standard form.
  • I can compose and decompose numbers using expanded form and alternatives (i.e. 746 can be decomposed by place value as 700 + 40 + 6. It can also be decomposed as 700 + 46, 600 + 146, 500 + 246, 699 + 56, etc).
  • I can compare numbers using place value and symbols.

This is an example of a problem we solved this week:

Juice boxes are packaged in different ways. A pack holds 10 boxes. A case holds 10 packs. A crate holds 10 cases. Some companies donated juice boxes to UNIS for the Walk A Thon. The information is below.

Company A- 1 crate, 14 cases, 3 packs, and 7 boxes.

Company B- 1 crate, 12 cases, 18 packs, and 2 boxes.

Company C- 1 crate, 13 cases, 5 packs, and 18 boxes.

Company D- 1 crate, 17 cases, 8 packs, and 9 boxes.

How many total juice boxes did each company donate?  List in order from the company who had the most juice boxes to the company with the smallest number of juice boxes.

Posted in 4D

The Sugar Shake

This week in class:

We were working on the structure of a procedural text, breaking it down, what are the parts of a procedure and why and then coconstructing one after following a scientific experiment on erosion.

We also focused on the three rock types and how we can describe them. We also learned about weathering and erosion- hence the Sugar Shake (ask your child).

We had buddies and spent some time working on number puzzles, and rounding and estimating numbers.


Posted in 4D

Back to School Night

Dear Parents,

Thank you for attending the Back to School Night. For those of you who were not able to attend here is the slide show that was presented and also a link to a video explaining a little bit more about the way Math is taught in today’s current classroom.

Posted in 4D

Important Information

Dear Parents,

As we fine-tune our schedule and smooth out routines here are some things to be aware of:

  • Students need to bring in headphones and ideally ones with a microphone attached. This makes posting on Seesaw and listening to reading and videos much easier and more independent. You can buy them at the school shop- though as of today they are out.
  • Monday is a holiday- enjoy!
  • Thursday, September 5 is Back to School Night- I will post any information on the blog that Friday if you happen to miss it.
  • September 12 is our Moon Festival Celebration- students are encouraged to wear an Aoi Dai, for the morning and change for PE or recess if they so choose.
  • ASA’s begin on Tuesday, so please make a plan with your students about where you will pick them up.

Subscribe to Seesaw if you haven’t:

Dear Families,

This year we are using Seesaw to share and communicate with families! Your child will post to Seesaw to share their learning. I’ll also use Seesaw to send you messages and reminders. Seesaw is private; you’ll only see posts created by your child.

Please Sign Up Now

  1. Click on this link: https://app.seesaw.me/s/185-069-490
  2. Choose your child from the list
  3. Create your account
  4. Once I approve you, you can see content from your child

After you sign up, download the free Seesaw Family app and sign in. You can also access Seesaw from a computer at https://app.seesaw.me.

Thank you for supporting your child’s learning!

Christy Heitmiller

P.S. If you used Seesaw last year or have more than one child using Seesaw, follow the link above, then click the ‘Sign in’ tab at the top of the screen. You do not need to create a new account.

Posted in 4D

Our First Full Week

This week was our first full week of school, and boy was it an exciting one.

In our literacy times, we focused on the story of our names and our feelings associated with hearing our names. We read two beautiful stories, The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi about a young girl who came from Korea to America and didn’t like her name because it wasn’t “American” enough until she learned what her name meant and who it reminded her of- her country and her grandma. Students have been asked, and have posted some initial thoughts about their names, but we would like to dig deeper. If you have a story you could share about why you have named your child what you have- please respond to their Seesaw post about their name.

We also made it down the Maker Space! Now, that was exciting. Please ask your child about it and Big C.

And most importantly we worked out our essential agreements for how we will operate as 4D:


Welcome to the New School Year

Welcome to 4D where we’re so happy to welcome Fride, Keira, Hieu, and Hideaki to our school and especially our classroom. It is wonderful to see familiar faces and to hear the laughter and joy that school brings to so many of our students and teachers.

Our newbies and their buddies

The last three days we have been spending our time getting to know one another in order to build a strong and supportive learning community. We’re learning new routines and getting used to a new schedule as well- which has been challenging in this heat.

Early this next week I will share with you a formal schedule which has all the blanks filled in like math, literacy, and units of inquiry. But for your information here is the schedule sent home on Wednesday: