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


September 20

Greetings 5D Community,

It has been an exciting week in Grade Five! Each day this week, students have arrived at school wondering how their day would unfold. On Tuesday 5D were ruled by a queen, Wednesday was anarchy, followed by dictatorship on Thursday. This morning 5D elected a president, and set about making democratic decisions on the learning content for the morning. The role playing was part of a weeklong provocation into our new unit on governance. This afternoon we wrapped up the week with a climate change protest which traveled throughout the school, in support of the Global Climate Strikes taking place around the world today. You can see a video here,  and here

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, this 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 need te be clearly marked with name and instructions about how and when to administer the medicine. 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 most successful? Why?

What excites you about the overnight camp, and what concerns might you have?

September 13

Greetings 5D Community & Chuc Mung Tet Trung Thu,

Many thanks to those parents who made it along to our Back to School Coffee Morning on Thursday. It was a pleasure chatting with you, and I hope you are as excited as I am for the year ahead.

In UOI class this week, students have been busy preparing for their UOI summative assessment task. On Monday we will finish up our Identity unit with a culminating presentation. Students will share what they have learned about their identities by expressing themselves in a five minute presentation to the class. Please check in with your child to ensure they have everything they need to make their presentation a success on Monday.

On Tuesday we will kick off our Governance unit with an exciting four day provocation. The provocation will enable students to experience first hand, a variety of governmental systems.

In math this week, students have been talking math via a series of number talks. Tasks have involved important math skills such as making sense of problems, reasoning, estimating, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others. Next week we will take a closer look at Pascal’s Triangle, and students will complete some beginning of the year assessments.

In literacy, students have been setting SMART goals for the year, and they have continued reading and writing poetry. During our reading periods, we have been identifying imagery and make connections between poetry and our own experiences. Next week students will complete a pre-assessment writing task, before learning more about our new text type: the discussion.

For those parents who would like to grant Seesaw access to more family members, please send them the following link and have them follow the prompts: https://app.seesaw.me/s/839-482-125

Save the Date

Wed, 25th to 27th September – G5 Overnight Excursion

Dinner time talk

  • Why is an iceberg a good image to describe our identities?
  • What questions do you have about the upcoming 5th grade field trip?
  • Do you think Macbeth will be King for much longer? Why? Why not?



August 30

Greetings 5D Community

We are delighted that all students of 5D are now on board this week, and it was truly heart-warming to see how warmly class-mates welcomed our final member to the fold. Azooz, it is great to have you in the 5D team!  

5D and 1D are Buddies

This Thursday was the first time we met our new buddies. Students spent time getting to know each other by engaging with a range of activities in the 1D classroom. Before the end of the period, students were buddied up and 5D introduced themselves.

Exploring our Maths Tools

Having spent some time grappling with questions such as What is Maths? and What do Mathematicians do? we started this week contemplating how we as mathematicians can use tools in our classroom effectively. Students embarked on a week long investigation into a number of different math manipulatives. Students were playing, building, discovering and being challenged before capturing their experiences in a Seesaw reflection. Next week students will take their investigations further by exploring shapes on the geoboards. We will also be talking about the importance of engaging in accountable mathematical discussion, using mathematically precise language and practicing active listening with some challenging Number Talks. 

Poetry in motion

This week, we have continued our exploration of poetry by identifying and discussing imagery, simile and metaphor in a range of poems. Students have also started writing their own pieces, which will continue next week alongside our investigations into our identities. 


The focus of our week’s investigations had us considering how an iceberg is a useful analogy for our own identity – how there are aspects of who we are that are visible for all to see (our height, hair colour, behaviours etc), while there are other parts that are not immediately visible (strengths, likes, beliefs and values, traditions.)

Next week, students are requested to bring an artifact into school that helps to show who they are. Students will be invited to speak for a few minutes about the artifact, what it means to them and how it represents who they are. 

Typing Practice

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

Back to School Night

As per my email earlier this week, Back to School Night for 5D has been moved to the morning of Thursday, September 12 @ 8.30am. Please come to the 5D classroom for a coffee and a chat about the year ahead.

My Back to School Slideshow is available here: 5D G5 BTS 2019

Save the Date
Mon, 2nd September – No school – Vietnamese National Day

Tue, 3rd September – After School Activities and Youth Sports begin

Thurs, 5th September – Elementary School Back to School Night (your chance to meet with specialist teachers)

Wed, 11 September – ES Snack Sale

Fri, 13th September – No school for students – Professional Development Day

Wed, 25th to 27th September – G5 Overnight Excursion

The Week That Was

…and a few shots from the Maker Space last week

August 23

Greetings 5D Community

This week we officially began our first unit of inquiry about our identities. We began developing our 5D essential agreements, and students explored their individual identities through drama, art, math and language. The lines of inquiry for the new unit are:


  • Factors that influence identity
  • Sharing and expressing our identity and
  • How our identity connects us with the global community

In literacy, we began the week by reading the opening scenes of Macbeth. We worked together to establish a shared understanding of the text by discussing new vocabulary, exploring themes and considering the emotional perspective for performance purposes. We also spent some time exploring our first text type, poetry.

In math, we have taken time to explore what it means to be a mathematician by exploring misconceptions and developing a positive relationship to mathematics. Students also inquired into triangular numbers by making triangles with other shapes, and recording the formula.

Maker Space

This week Mr Clark introduced himself to 5D, and he showed us around the new and improved maker space. Students worked together in teams to stack cups without touching them, before investigating electrical currents by passing a sound bite through their bodies.

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 complete this week?
  • What has happened ‘Because of Winn Dixie?’
  • What does Lady Macbeth want Macbeth to do?


Welcome to the 5D Blog

Greetings 5D Community,

Welcome to our first blog post of the year. We have had a wonderful time getting to know each other over the past three days. We have played games, undertaken team building activities and developed routines that allow us to work safely and productively.

SeeSaw – The student platform

Our Seesaw page is now ready for parents, and sign up instructions are below. Students in 5D use Seesaw to share and reflect on their learning. Parents are invited to view and comment on posts. Seesaw is private; only people who are invited to view will see posts created by your child.

To Sign Up:

Click on this link: https://app.seesaw.me/s/839-482-125

  1. Choose your child from the list
  2. Create your account
  3. Once I approve you, you will be able to 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.

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

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.

Housekeeping Hints

Each day students should bring to school:

  1. A hat to enjoy outside play
  2. A reusable water bottle to keep with them at all times
  3. Personal headphones, preferably with microphone (very important for clear recording). Personal headphones also 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 to change into after PE lessons
  • Air shoes out over the weekends to avoid foot odour

With 22 students in a class, you can imagine the range of smells each person delivers and receives. Please have a discussion with your child to decide on their needs and how they can be implemented.

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

Save the Date:

September 5 – Back to School Night

Dinner Time Talk

  1. What are you most excited about in Grade Five?
  2. What games did G5 play this week to develop community?
  3. What ASA’s and Youth Sport’s activities might you be interested in this semester?