Week 9: October 14-18

Greetings 5C Community!

“Life is not perfect, and that’s okay.” This is the message that Anesu articulated after we completed our first read-aloud, Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper, about a 5th Grade girl who can’t walk or talk. Please ask your child about the interesting conclusion and the writer’s technique of beginning and ending the book with the exact same chapter. Next week we will begin our second novel, A Bridge Home, about two young runaways from Chennai, India.

This week, we built upon our understanding of place value and base 10 to solve a word problem, the Donut Warehouse. Students created models to clearly communicated their answers. We then used our understanding of the “power of 10” to build and solve area models for multiplication. We made up an area model game that your children can show you if you have graph paper. Next week, we will use our understanding of area models to solve division problems.

We continued to learn more about what makes a good discussion essay by looking at the structure of this genre and considering its different elements. Students developed their own topics/issues – should students get paid for doing chores and is plastic good or bad – and developed arguments for and against their issues. They created a “scaffold” for their ideas, which they will develop into an essay next week.

As part of our preparations for next week’s UN day on Monday, we celebrated SDG week. Students were given an SDG to study in a small group and will be using what they discover to put towards a 5th Grade publication about the SDGs and good news stories associated with them. This is likely to be a year long project, but the students made good headway and we had the opportunity to talk about some non-fiction reading skills while we were at it! 

Enjoy the weekend!

Week 6: Sept 16-20

Greetings 5C Community,

All hail, Queen Hanbee!

It was an exciting week for students as they arrived to school each day wondering how their day would unfold. The first day they were ruled by a queen, the next day was anarchy, followed by dictatorship and democracy. All of this role playing into different government systems was part of a weeklong provocation into our new unit on governance. Stay tuned, as students are given the chance to design their own governing system for the class.

Literacy and Math
This week students completed their beginning of year math and writing assessments. These will be modified and marked to provide baseline data in order to plan for your child’s learning needs.  

Three-Way Conferences (Sept 30)
Speaking of your child’s learning needs and goals, his year we are requesting that students join the conferences with teachers and parents. It will be an opportunity for all of us, students included, to share our hopes and dreams for the year. You can sign up for a 15-minute meeting conference on Veracross between 10am and 6pm on Monday, September 30. (No School or ASAs for ES)

G5 Overnight Excursion (Sept 25-27)
By now you should have completed the permission and health forms on Veracross for the overnight excursion. Your child should have brought home their gear list of items they will need at camp. 

There are a couple of important notes that need to be shared:

  1. If your child takes daily medications, please ensure these are given to our school nurse before 8am on Wednesday 25th. These should be clearly named with instructions on how to and when to administer them. No medication from home will be administered without the above information and medication should not be kept in a students bag during the overnight excursion.
  2. Mobile phones are not permitted. Students will have access to a mobile phone should they need to phone home. In case you need to contact your child whilst they are away, you can call the ES office during school hours and our DP (Stephen Lush) after hours.
  3. Please label all your child’s belongings. It makes all our lives easier if we can return lost items to their owners.
  4. Parents will receive updates at the end of each day. The platform for this is yet to be decided. Either email or Seesaw. We will let you know as soon as a decision has been made.

An overview of what your child will be doing whilst away is linked here for you to view.

Save the Dates:

Wednesday 25th – 27th – G5 Overnight Excursion (Camp)
Monday 30th –  Three-Way Conferences (No School or ASAs for ES)

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

Dinner Time Talk
Which governing system did you feel was successful and why?
What excites you about the overnight camp and what concerns might you have?

Week 5: Sept 9-12

Greetings 5C Community,

Chúc Mừng Tet Trung Thu!

This week students wrote Where I’m From poems that expressed their more subtle identity traits. One student wrote, “I am from the big durian scented apartment in Keangnam.” Students also prepared presentations of their identity, which they will share with the class next week. 

In math, students explored geometry and reviewed mathematical terminology through a series of geometry challenges. 

During literacy, students examined the purpose of various affixes (prefixes and suffixes) while playing a game. We then started to create an affix chart, which will help students make sense of unfamiliar words.

On Tuesday, we will begin an exciting unit on government. Make sure to ask your child what happened each day!

Save the Date
Wed, 25th to 27th September – G5 Overnight Excursion

Week 4: September 3-6

Welcome 5C Community

I enjoyed meeting so many of you during Back to School Night! For those of you who missed it, you can find the presentation slides on my blog. As I mentioned, the best way to find out what is going on in the class is to read and comment on your child’s weekly reflections each week. 

We are still looking for someone to volunteer to be the 5C Class Parent, so please let me know if you are interested. 

This Week’s Shout outs
Thank you to Maika, Jesse, Fionn, Duc and any other student who spent one of their break times this week organising our class library. It is sorted into categories and is far more inviting and easy to use. Thank you again for taking the time to help make our classroom a better place. 

Thanks to Khin, May and Hanbee for their participation as SDG Guardians and for encouraging others to join the team.

5A Student Councillors
Congratulations to Alina and Duc who will be 5C’s student Councillors. It is great to know that the voices of our class community will be represented at a wider school level and we look forward to hearing how 5C can take part in wider community activities. 

Weekly Highlight
Most students would argue that Mr. Big C’s introduction to the makerspace room was their highlight of the week. Students learned the value of verbal communication, while trying to build with and without words. They also had fun with an electricity experiment.

Our 5C Mathematicians have continued to build up their knowledge and understanding of What Mathematicians Do and are starting to exhibit many of the characteristics of successful and efficient practitioners. 

Some of our discoveries include:

  • Mathematicians value depth over speed.
  • Mathematicians recognise the value of mistakes – in fact mistakes actually help our brains to grow!
  • Mathematicians engage in accountable talk, using precise mathematical language to communicate their thinking. 
  • Mathematicians enjoy challenging problems that they can really get their teeth into!

This week Ms. Angela introduced word inquiry to students, and we started an affix list of prefixes and suffixes. 

Units of Inquiry
Students received a description of the summative assessment for our identity unit. Basically, students are challenged to creatively present their identity to the class.

Save the Date
Wed, 11 September – ES Snack Sale
Fri, 13th September – No school for students – Professional Development Day
Wed, 25th to 27th September – G5 Overnight Excursion

Dinner time talk

  • What is the difference between a simile and a metaphor?
  • How many handshakes will it take five people to shake hands with everyone else?
  • What do you think will happen to Melody?

Week 3: August 26-30

Greetings 5C Families!

Now that we have formed a community, settled into our classroom routines and created essential agreements, we are upping our academic game. Please enjoy some highlights from this week’s learning. 

Unit of Inquiry
After defining identity as a variety of seen and unseen characteristics, such as culture and beliefs, students are exploring how factors, such as parents and friends, influence their identity. We will continue to explore this idea next week.

With a focus on poetry, students practiced reading with expression by altering the volume, speed and tone of their voice. They also explored the purpose of figurative language (metaphors and similes) and wrote their own identity poems using these techniques.

Students learned the importance of communicating their math thinking. After solving problems and playing simple games, they orally explained their ideas with the class and wrote short reflections on Seesaw. Next week, we will spend time modeling our thinking with visuals.

Back to School Night
I will be sharing what’s new and exciting in grade five, who your child’s teachers are and what ways you can support your child at home? I look forward to meeting you next Thursday and if for any chance you are unable to attend, I will post the slide show I use in next week’s blog. 

Typing Practice
If your child would like to practice their typing skills at home, they have an account to a site called Typing.Com

Save the Date
Mon, 2nd September – No school – Vietnamese National Day
Tue, 3rd September – After School Activities and Youth Sports begin
Thurs, 5th September – Back to School Night (Meet the Teacher)
Wed, 11 September – ES Snack Sale
Fri, 13th September – No school for students – Professional Development Day
Wed, 25th to 27th September – G5 Overnight Excursion

Week 2: August 19-23

Greetings 5C Community!
As one student put it, this week we dug deeper into our identities. We learned that in addition to our physical appearances, we have lots of hidden cultural and character traits that distinguish and connect us to others. 

During literacy periods, we focused on poetic devices. We reviewed metaphors and wrote “I Am” poems that shared our identity through feelings. We also built up our reading stamina, reading independently and by listening to the teacher read Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper. 

During math periods, students learned that the brain grows more through mistakes and that it is important to record and communicate our thinking. To prove these points, students were challenged to use geometric shapes to create and record triangles of various sizes. While recording their work, students were introduced to the idea of algebraic notation.

Back to School Night
You should have received an email from our ES Principal, Megan Brazil with important information about our Back to School night. In a nutshell, there are two sessions you can attend. One begins at 6:00 pm and the other at 6:30 pm to meet me so I can go over the year ahead and answer any questions about the G5 program that may arise. Specialist teachers are available to meet from 6:00 pm till 7:30 pm.

Grade Five Overnight Excursion
You may have heard that G5 have a two-night, three-day excursion coming up. We will be sending more information home closer to the date. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to get to know each other and develop independence, resilience and respect for the environment. We are looking forward to getting to know all the G5 students during this time.

Save the Date
Mon, 26th August –  Fri, 30 August – Individual portraits and class photos
Mon, 2nd September – No school – Vietnamese National Day
Tue, 3rd September – After School Activities and Youth Sports begin
Thurs, 5th September – Back to School Night (Meet the Teacher)
Wed, 11 September – ES Snack Sale
Fri, 13th September – No school for students – Professional Development
Wed, 25th to 27th September – G5 Overnight Excursion

Dinner Time Talk

  • What rotation activities did you participate in with the other fifth grade teachers this week?
  • What does culture mean to you?
  • What books are you reading in class? What are they about?

The Week that Was


Week 1: August 14-16

Greetings 5C Community,

Welcome to our first blog post of the year. We have had a wonderful time this week getting to know each other by engaging in community building activities and by developing routines that allow us to work safely and productively. I feel very privileged to be working with your children.

Class schedules and calendars have been sent home. For new families to 5C, the calendars mark holidays, school events, celebrations and teacher only days that take place throughout the year. It is advisable to look over the months ahead to avoid unexpected surprises.

This blog is the main form of communication between 5C and home. Each week I will post what we have done during the week and preview what to expect the following week. Reminders of important dates to save will be posted and updated. I add dinner time questions which are a great way to engage in conversations with your child about school.

Additionally, I will post photos of 5C students hard at work (see photos below).

Tin Tuc Weekly News
Our primary communication platform at UNIS Hanoi is the Tin Tuc weekly email.  Every Friday afternoon, you will receive Tin Tuc in your inbox, which contains information that is curated especially for you.  The Tin Tuc weekly news will contain links to news and blogs from the following: 

  • Your child’s homeroom and specialist blogs.  If you have more than one child, you will receive ONE email, with news from each of your child’s teachers. 
  • Your child’s school division (Elementary, Middle or High school)
  • Whole school news 

If you do not receive Tin Tuc this week, please send an email directly to tintuc@unishanoi.org. 

SeeSaw – The student platform
This year students are using ‘Seesaw’ to share and communicate with families! Your child will post to Seesaw to share their learning. Seesaw is private; only people who are invited to view will see posts created by your child. It is also a great way for other members of your child’s extended family to share in what they are up to at school.

Please Sign Up Now

  1. Click on this link: https://app.seesaw.me/s/459-796-750
  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.

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.

Housekeeping Hints

The following are a few reminders to ensure your child is able to participate fully in class.

Each day students should bring.  

  1. A hat to enjoy outside play
  2. A reusable water bottle. I can’t stress enough the importance of hydration in this hot humid weather.
  3. Personal headphones (a mic is optional, but important for clear recording). Personal headphones reduce the risk of ear and hair issues being shared amongst students.
  4. Inform the transport office should you need to make changes to your child’s bus travel plans.
  5. A pencil case.

G5 Activities and Physical Education Requirements
Your child is a pre-teen and with this comes the responsibility of organising their needs. As the weather continues to be hot and sticky, all G5 students need to think about their hygiene requirements. Some suggestions are as follows:

  • Use an antiperspirant each day
  • Bring a change of clothes, for after lunch play on the soccer fields
  • Have a change of clothes to change into after PE lessons
  • Air shoes out over the weekends to avoid foot odor

For those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, you can read a short brief, in the “About Mr Nathan” section of our class blog. Otherwise, I look forward to meeting you at our ‘Back-to-School Night’ on the evening of September 5th. You can also drop me an email at the following address nsmith@unishanoi.org. I do not answer emails while I’m teaching, so if you need a timely response, please contact the ES office.

Save the Date:
September 5th – Back to School Night

Dinner Time Talk

  1. What games did G5 play this week to develop team spirit?
  2. What is growth mindset?

“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community”
– Anthony J. D’Angelo