December 13

Greetings 5D Community,

What a week! Migration Museum, ES Buddy Party, and summative assessments in math, UOI & literacy, helped us see out the last week of school before the winter break. Your children have certainly earned themselves some downtime over the next couple of weeks.

The highlight for all of us was undoubtedly the Migration Museum. Communication skills were on full display as the students embodied their characters, taking on the role of migrants. The library was filled with wonderful gestures, clear voices, facial expressions, and body language. To finish up, 5D were asked to demonstrate their research and thinking skills via Seesaw reflections.

In math, students demonstrated their ability to solve authentic problems using estimation, multiplication, and division. They also showed their ability to communicate using the claim, evidence, and reasoning model. When we return in the new year, we will begin to focus on fractions and geometry.

In literacy on Monday, Hamlet came to an exhilarating close. A lot of fun and excitement was had acting out the final moments of the play before we compared and contrasted Hamlet with Macbeth. Students continued their book club novels on Tuesday & Wednesday and wrote their own narrative stories for the end of unit summative assessment. Most book clubs have agreed to finish their novels over the break. When we return to school, we will discuss the outcome of the books and complete a final summarising task together.

On Thursday, 5D took some fantastic community action by leading the elementary school through a wonderful Holiday Buddy Party. We spent some time early in the week organising ourselves, and we are delighted with the outcome. The entire grade level performed Christmas corals on their string instruments. Ophelia enchanted us with music performed on her harp. Mr Charlie led the elementary through the singing of some Christmas corals, and we finished with some dancing. It was an excellent way to see out the calendar year together.

Happy Holidays!

Save the Date
Monday, January 6: First day back at school after Winter Break
Friday, January 24: First day of TET holiday break
Monday, February 3: First day back at school after TET holiday break


December 6

Greetings 5D Community,

This week in UOI, we’ve been super busy putting the finishing touches on our migration stories. We have placed a lot of emphasis on gestures, facial expressions, and emotions recently, with the aim of making our presentations rich and engaging for audiences. I have been delighted with the energy and focus 5D has put into their monologues. We look forward to showcasing our work at the Migration Museum on Wednesday.

In math this week, we spent some time discussing and reflecting on the patterns we found in The Locker Problem. On Thursday and Friday, we continued examining our big idea, “Finding patterns can help us make complex mathematical predictions” by inquiring into Pascals Triangle. Students have been working hard to find patterns, and then extending the pattern by making predictions based on their findings. Next week, students will practice working with the CER model (Claim, Evidence, Support) before completing a summative assessment task involving multiplication and division.

In literacy this week, we have continued our book clubs, with most students meeting their reading goals. We began mapping the narrative storyline with the planning scaffold we used to write our migration stories. We also continued building our wall of affixes by inquiring into a wide variety of words during our word inquiry lesson. Next week, we will build upon our speaking and listening skills by developing a discussion protocol to enhance conversations around the themes and characters in our book club texts.

Migration Museum

Dinner Time Talk

  • How can I help you prepare for your migration museum?
  • What is a triangular number?
  • What are the Kings plans to deal with Hamlet?

Save the Date

  • Wednesday, December 11: Migration Museum, 1-2pm
  • Friday, December 13: Last day of school before Winter Break
  • Monday, January 6: First day back at school after Winter Break
  • Friday, January 24: First day of TET holiday break
  • Monday February 3: First day back at school after TET holiday break

November 29

Greetings 5D Community,

In UOI this week, we’ve been busy constructing monologues based on the narrative story planner. During Monday’s Toolbox session, we were treated to four migration stories from members of our teaching community here at UNIS. Ms Barbara from the Middle School talked to us about the history of migration in Cyprus. Mr Ole told us the story of his great grandmother, who lived as a Jew in Denmark, during the Second World War. Ms Nguyen told us about her experience moving from the Vietnamese countryside to Hanoi, and how this example of urban migration changed her life entirely. Finally, Ms Linh shared her experience of moving from Hanoi to Russia as a young child, and how she had to move around the country following her father’s postings. Next week we will put the finishing touches on the monologues before rehearsing and preparing for the Migration Museum on December 11.

In literacy this week, we began our regularly scheduled Book Club lesson (Tuesday and Thursday). The class has been split up into four groups (according to their DRA levels), and each group has established a list of essential agreements. On Thursday, the groups were given their books, and they set themselves reading goals for next week. Every student is expected to write four ‘find it’ notes, and stick them into their books to show something they have discovered, or a question they have about the reading. We have also spent some time this week building our writing skills. We explored the concept of ‘show don’t tell’ and applied descriptive language techniques within our monologues.

In math, we kicked off the week by reflecting on the division skills we’ve acquired over the past couple of weeks. Students put together a ‘how-to’ video detailing the steps involved when completing a division problem with an area model. On Tuesday, we applied our division knowledge to a Three Act math task involving spins of a fidget spinner. On Thursday and Friday, students inquired into multiples and factors by tackling the ‘Locker Problem.’

Save the Dates
Wednesday 11th December – Migration Museum
Thursday, December 12 – Winter Service Fair (5 – 7 pm)
Friday 13th December – Last day of school before Winter Break

Dinner Time Talk
What are you reading for the Book Club?
What is the locker problem, and how did you set about solving it?
Introduce us to your migration character


December 22

Greetings 5D Community,

A very special thank you to those parents who were able to attend the open classrooms on Tuesday. I hope you gained an insight into your child’s school day, and what they are learning. 

In UOI this week, students selected a migrant to study and began to research. The summative task for this unit involves writing and performing a monologue about a migration story, from the perspective of the migrant. Students will present their monologues at a ‘Migration Museum’ on December 11. Next week, students will finish up their narrative planning before writing and rehearsing their monologues. 

In math this week, 5D have been busy using the area model to help them divide three-digit numbers. Today, 5D taught 5C how to play the math game ‘Divide and Conquer’, and next week we will apply our new understandings to real-world problems, in addition to solving a three-act task. 

In literacy this week, we have continued reading and responding to migration stories. We have also continued our word inquiry by investigating and proving a range of suffixes and prefixes. Today students discovered that for bases ending with -y, the spelling changes to -i if a suffix is added (happy: happiness).

Save the Dates

Wednesday December 11 – Migration Museum

Friday December 13th – Last day of school before Winter Break. 

Dinner time talk

  • What are the five parts of a story called?
  • How can you solve division problems using an area model?
  • Which migrant have you chosen to research and present for the migration museum?

November 15

Greetings 5D Community, 

Our field trip to the Women’s Museum this morning was a major highlight of our unit so far. The grade level learned a great deal about urban migration here in Vietnam. We heard several personal stories from Vietnamese women who have made their way from small villages into Hanoi to work as street vendors. I encourage you to follow up with your children at home this weekend by asking about some of the push and pull factors related to migration. 

In UOI class, we have started recording and discussing our own migration stories. We have read books about the migration experience, and begun a list of push and pull factors related to the stories we are reading. Next week we will continue our inquiries by examining our key concepts (change & perspective) in more detail. Students will also commit to a migrant story that they will retell at the Migration Museum (Wednesday, December 11).

We kicked off math on Tuesday with a lesson on multiplication practice. Students have been given the ‘Multiplication Master’ challenge. Eager students who feel ready, are invited to recite their multiplication tables by skip counting from 1×1 to 12 x 12 in two minutes or less. Are you a multiplication master?

On Wednesday and Thursday, students were tasked with solving division problems with manipulatives. They were taught how to use an area model to solve division problems with remainders. Next week we will consolidate our understanding by practicing the skill, playing a few games, and applying the model to real-world scenarios.

In literacy this week, we have been focused on our narrative text type. Students discovered the elements of plot by sharing their versions of the Little Red Riding Hood story. We also took a look at the narrative planner by dissecting and reordering the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

On Tuesday November 19, you are invited to come into 5D for our open classroom lessons at the following times:

  •     8.30am – Math
  •     2.30pm – UOI

You are also welcome to visit the specialist teachers on this day at the following times:

  •     9.25am – World Language
  •     10.35am – Music

On Monday 18th November, we will be practicing a ‘lockdown drill’ inside the school.  This is an essential drill to practice in case there are times when it is safer to lock our students and staff inside the buildings – for examples, when there may be an intruder on campus.  

We have spent time talking with the students about this, and have practiced the procedure in class. Students are aware that this will be a practice, and we reiterate the following messages in our conversations:

  • That we should always listen to an authority figure for safety information
  • Practice means being prepared – knowing what to do keeps us as safe as possible
  • This is a ‘just-in-case’ plan – it’s like wearing a helmet when we ride our bikes. We wear helmets and knee pads when we skateboard. We don’t expect to fall, but if we do, we’ll be protected. Then we don’t have to worry. We can just ride our bikes and boards and not even think about falling, because we have the situation covered.

Save the Date

  • Monday 18th November – School Lock Down Drill
  • Tuesday 19th November – Open Classrooms
  • Wednesday 11th December – Migration Museum
  • Friday 13th December – Last day of school before winter break

Dinner Time Talk

  • How do you become a Multiplication Master in 5D?
  • What did Hamlet learn about his father when he spoke to the ghost?
  • What are some push and pull factors related to migration?


November 8

Greetings 5B Community

To kick off our migration unit on Monday, students were involved in an exciting provocation. Each classroom was set up to resemble a different country. Students had to complete a variety of tasks, ranging in complexity, in order to gain admission. For instance, 5D was ‘Ausfailya’, a developed country seeking skilled migrants only. Migrants without relevant work experience were denied entry. Instead, students had to complete a lengthy application process in order to be considered worthy of refugee status. Reflections uncovered a range of feelings such as ‘frustrated, rejected, annoyed & sad’. The remainder of the week has been spent uncovering what migration is, as we come to a shared understanding of the term. Next week we’ll look into push and pull factors and the many reasons behind migration.

In literacy this week, we began our new text type by completing a narrative pre-assessment. We have been reading and analyzing a range of stories related to migration. We spent some time in the library with Ms Monica & Ms Angela, learning about visual literacy, and literary techniques.

We also kicked off our word inquiry unit this week, with a visit from Ms Angela. We have a solid understanding of the terms affix, prefix, suffix & base. We began proving a list of prefixes and suffixes, which should help us to better understand new words from the unit, and how to spell them correctly. I’m very excited to see where our word inquiry unit will take us this year.

In math this week, we continued to investigate division by inquiring into remainders. Students were introduced to the CER (claim, evidence & reasoning) model for problem solving, and we spent some time correcting our work based on the math practices rubric. Early in the week, we also spent time practicing our multiplication skills. Student are encouraged to continue practicing their times tables at home, to improve their recall of math facts.

Our open classroom day will take place no November 19th. 5D will be open at the following times:

  • 8.30am – Math
  • 2.20pm – UOI

You are also welcome to visit the specialist teacher on this day, at the following times:

  • 9.25am – World Language
  • 10.35am – Music

Save the Date

Monday 11th November – Professional Development Day – No School

Tuesday 19th November – Open Classrooms

Friday 14th December – Last day of school before winter break

Dinner Talk Time

What is a prefix and suffix?

What are you doing for your iAct project?

How did you do on your discussion post assessment

The Week that Was

November 1

Greetings 5D Community,

This week has been a very busy and productive week in 5D. Week six of our current unit marks the end of Governance, and the beginning of our Migration unit on Monday. The class have been working hard on their summative assessments in both UOI, and Literacy.

The UOI summative assessment has had students design a system of governance for their own fictional organization. They needed to:

  1. Create an organizational flowchart to show the structure of their governing system (form)
  2. Explain and give an example of why they think their governing structure would be effective (perspective)
  3. Make a connection to the central idea: power comes with responsibility (responsibility)
  4. Communicate their understanding clearly, and use their time effectively.

To help us communicate our understanding of the unit, our technology coach Big C has spent some time working with us on screen casting with iMovie. The videos are up on Seesaw now, and I hope you have an opportunity to watch and reflect with your child on their work.

Our new Migration unit comes under the transdisciplinary theme ‘Where we are in Place and Time’ and sees us inquiring into:

  • Migration occurs for many reasons (causation)
  • How migration results in change (change)
  • Perspectives related to migration (perspective)

Expect to receive lots of questions about your family’s migration history over the next few weeks.

In literacy this week, we have been hard at work preparing for our discussion post assessment (which was completed in class today). We spent the week going over the structural elements of a discussion text, before learning about modality and testimonials. On Monday, we also began reading our second Shakespeare play for the year – Hamlet. We also made excellent use of the lovely weather (and low AQI) this week, by stepping outside for some quiet reading, and a couple of games.

In Math this week, students have been inquiring into real-world problems related to multiplication and division. Early in the week, we tackled the staple problem. Students had to use mathematics to discover how many staples are in a single strip if one box contains 210 strips and 5000 individual staples. On Thursday, students made a connection between two types of division problems by investigating groups. Next week we will inquire into the different ways we can interpret the remainder in a division problem.

Dinner Time Talk

Why is Hamlet upset?

What is a testimonial?

Discuss your families migration history

Save the Dates

Monday 11th November – Professional Development Day – No School

Tuesday 19th November – Open Classrooms

Friday 14th December – Last day of school before Winter Break

October 25

Greetings 5D Community

Thank you to everyone who provided food, and came along to join us for lunch on Monday at UN Day. The cultural dress, and international lunch are two of my favourite things about UN day, and this year was no exception. Thank you also to those parents who also stuck around at the end, to ensure our classrooms were tidied and put back into order.

In literacy this week, 5D have been busy reading, planning and writing discussion texts. Our focus for the week has been on writing informative macro sentences and detailed hedging statements. Students have also spent time backing up their arguments with strong evidence. Be sure to test their arguments by seeking evidence for any arguments they may have at home this week. We are also making good progress through The Bridge Home, our current read aloud text (which is also a part of the Global Read Aloud for 2019).

To kick off the week in math, students played a place value game involving eleven digit numbers. They were then tasked with finding the difference between two scores on a number line. The task generated some interesting discussions around efficiency and understanding. On Thursday, students made connections between the base ten system and an area model by solving multi-digit multiplication problems with manipulatives. Next week, we will aim to take this knowledge a step further by solving multi-digit division problems with an area model.

In UOI this week, we have continued our inquiries into governance systems by drawing flowcharts to show our understanding of the leadership structure at UNIS. This morning, Mrs Jane spoke with the grade level about her role as Head of School. She outlined the leadership structure for us, and answered many questions from the insatiable students. 

Our classroom government also experienced a bit of a shakeup this week. Questions arose around the term limits of cabinet members, and some students expressed their dissatisfaction with the cabinet ministers. Our education minister made the decision to step down, and a new round of elections took place to find a replacement. The issue of term limits has not yet been addressed, but the class does seem satisfied with their newly appointed cabinet minister.

Save the Date

Monday 11th November: Professional Development Day – No School

Friday 14th December: Last day of school before winter break

 Dinner time talk

  •     What is a hedging statement?
  •     Can you solve the multiplication problem 19 x 22?
  •     Tell me about The Bridge Home

 The Week that was

October 18

Greetings 5D Community,

To celebrate SDG week at UNIS, the students of Grade Five have spent their UOI time compiling an SDG Action book. Students were separated into small groups, before heading off to research one of the SDGs and collect examples of action. Stay tuned as we hope to have the book ready for publication in the coming weeks. 

In math this week, 5D have been inquiring into place value by taking a close look at the base ten model, and visualising how to multiply numbers by tens, hundreds, thousands and beyond. Next week we will continue our examination of multiplication by exploring how to utilise the area model for multiplication and division problems.

In literacy on Monday, we finished reading Macbeth and had a fantastic discussion around the theme of power. Students were then able to reflect on how Macbeth is connected to our current central idea ‘Power comes with responsibility.’ Our current reading skill is summarising, so students spent two periods reading discussion texts, highlighting key words and then summarising the information into their own words. In writing, we took another look at the discussion scaffold with Ms Aga, students came up with topics for their discussion piece, and we began planning. 

UN Day Celebrations

You should have received an email from Nick & Yuki, our class parents explaining everything you’ll need for UN Day. I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone in their traditional dress, before sharing a delicious lunch together. Please be reminded that dismissal is at 1pm for students on Monday. 

Save the Dates

Monday 21st October – UN Day Assembly, starting at 11:00

Monday 11th November – Teacher Professional Development Day: No School

Friday 14th December – Last day of school before Winter Break (3 weeks)

Dinner time chat

What happened to Macbeth at the end of the play?

Who are the main characters your new read aloud The Bridge Home?

What is the base ten system?

Finally, here is a great NY Times article that helps to articulate my feelings about home reading.


October 4

Greetings 5D Community,

First off, I’m sure by now you have heard all about the Grade Five Camp. 5D were exceptionally well behaved throughout. I was particularly proud of the way our students engaged with the activities, and represented our school when working with the local children of Hoa Binh. Stay tuned for photos and footage from camp in the coming weeks.

Thank you all for coming along to our parent / student / teacher conference on Monday. I found it a great opportunity to talk together as a team, and I hope you have a better understanding of our shared goals for the year. 

In UOI this week, we established our 5D system of governance. Take a look at your child’s Seesaw post if you would like to know more. Our governing system will be utilised by the students throughout the unit (and possibly beyond) to make laws (rules) that govern all members of our classroom community. 

In Math this week, we have been inquiring into two digit multiplication. Students first attempted to solve a problem using as many different methods as they could think of (we found ten). Next, we leared how to solve multi-digit multiplication problems quickly and efficiently using the area model & lattice method. I encourage you to follow up with your child at home this weekend, by asking them to solve any 2digit multiplication problems. 

In literacy this week, we started reading our Global Read Aloud text: The Bridge Home. We are just two chapters in, but the book has already prompted some insightful reactions and heartfelt discussion. I look forward to making some genuine connections between the book, this unit on governance, and the next unit on migration.

This week, we have also continued to examine our discussion text type by reading a few examples, and considering how we might structure our own discussion texts when writing. 

I hope you all have a wonderful autumn break, and are able to make the most of the added time with the family.

Save the Date: October 

Monday 7th – 11th – Autumn Break

Monday 14th – 18th – SDG week

Monday 21st – UN Day