Week 22

Welcome back 5D community,

We continue to look deeply into government and what it means to have power, whether it be in a taco restaurant, airport or governing a country. The students met this week to help create the criteria for their summative assessment. This assessment will take the form of designing a governing body for an organisation of their choice. Some students may even be looking more carefully at how current governing bodies are ineffective and their responsibility as citizens. We will share our thinking next week in a presentation style of their choosing. We look forward to seeing where their creativity and time management will take them. In the meantime, our National Assembly continues to govern our actions and has even decided on a currency.

In Math and Literacy, we took part in the International Schools Association (ISA) testing. This testing looks at reading, writing, and mathematical literacy. We were very proud of the students’ ability to focus and showcase their strengths as learners.

In Writing, we continue to look at discussion writing. We are considering multiple perspectives and using evidence to show that an issue can have more than one side. The students are using the structure with ease and are drafting their own discussions.

In Reading, we worked with our reading skill buddies to enhance our skills as readers. Students were able to examine the author’s intent, summarise with key vocabulary and focus on fluency. Students are also continuing to take part in book clubs and share with others as they work through reading and understanding a novel.

In Math with the help of our Education Ministers and Mr. Nathan, we are understanding fractions and changing the whole. We looked at art and modeling for our inspiration as we become more familiar with the whole being able to change. In support of our government unit, we uncovered different weekly salaries in countries represented by our class. We found compared, converted and asked questions about these numbers in order to come up with our own weekly salary.

With just one week left in our government unit, we are preparing for the culminating experience for your child as part of the Primary Years Program. Please read below to find out more.

G5 PYP Exhibition

What are you passionate about?
What issues exist in this world that need your attention?
What are you going to do about it?

Our grade 5 students are about to launch into the culminating event of their time in the Primary Years  Programme with the aim of answering all of these questions. Students and teachers have been busily preparing for this event all year. It is with great excitement that we are now ready to begin our G5 Exhibition otherwise known as PYPx.

PYPx is an opportunity for our oldest elementary school students to reflect on their time in the PYP and use the skills, knowledge, and understandings that they have developed over the years to take action in an authentic and meaningful way.

This is very much a community project where we will involve students, teachers, parents and other members of the school community to support the G5 students work towards achieving their goals.

Parents and other community members are invited to join us for an information session on PYPx where we will share the Exhibition schedule, objectives and expectations.

Please join us on Friday, March 1st from 8:15 – 9:30am in the ES Creativity Space.

When? Friday, March 1st from 8:15 – 9:30am in the ES Creativity Space.
What?  Parent Information session on PYPx
Who?  All interested community members with a passion, skill or area of expertise to share with our students

Dinner Discussions:

  • Have we collected our Blue Dragon money and returned it to school?
  • What have you decided to govern for your final government project?
  • What part of the ISA testing did you enjoy? What part did you find challenging?
  • What are you writing a discussion on?


Important dates and announcements:

  • February 18 Snack Sale – bring in 10,000 – 20,000VND
  • February 18 – March 1 – Art Auction
  • February 22 Blue Dragon money due
  • February 23 SCO Fund Run
  • March 1 PYPx Parent Coffee Morning
  • March 3 Aquathlon – Sign Up here

Week 21

Week 20

Greetings 5D Community,

These are our words for Semester Two. What do you aim to be?

The most exciting aspect of classroom life is the emergence of our new government that includes a prime minister and cabinet members, such as the defense minister, health ministers, and environment minister. By next week, we hope to have a working constitution, currency and pay scale!

Also in UOI this week, students have been completing home country government presentations. They will begin to share these on Monday. They have been tasked with examining the form of government, how the government works, and its effectiveness. They will provide each other feedback and be asked to cite sources.

In literacy, we continue to look at novels in different groups. We are setting reading goals and sharing connections, questions and author’s message after we read. Within each novel, we are looking at the obstacles the character must overcome.  We are also learning to structure discussion writing and backing up our opinions with evidence. Next week we will interview outsiders to add “testimonials” into our discussion essays.

In math this week, students reviewed their understanding of decimals with a variety of word problems and hand on activities. Students can look at decimals and determine their order. They can also place these on a number line. We will establish their link to fractions next week.

Many thanks for the support from home in regards to the Blue Dragon Walkathon. There is still time to go online and support your children or volunteer to help count laps on the day.

Dinner Discussions:

  •   How many laps do you think you will run for the Blue Dragon Walkathon?
  •   What have you learned about the government in your home country?
  •   What is happening in your guided reading book?
  •   What is a hedging statement?

Important dates and announcements:

A reminder that students who do not take the bus, or do not have an ASA must go home straight after being released from class. All students must be supervised by an adult if they are staying after school for playdates.

Week 19

The week in 5D!

After our provocation last week it was apparent that the students had many burning questions about government and how it works. We used these questions in groups to create question poems and think more deeply about what it is we want to learn. The students also linked these questions to the Lines of Inquiry.  From here we have decided to look more deeply at our own country’s governing system. Be prepared to answer some questions about how your countries are organised. We will use these systems to develop a governing system for our class, based on what we feel is an effective governing system.

Our Head of School Ms Jane came to Grade Five to talk with us about our governance unit. She taught us about the system of government at UNIS, and answered many questions from students.

We continued to look at the text type, discussion this week. The students self-assessed their discussion and explored the purpose and structure of a discussion. Making an argument for one side, we are learning, is different than having a true understanding of both sides of an issue. Reading groups have now moved into Literature Circles. Students are in groups based on interest and areas for development and will be working through new novels together. Please help your child remember to meet their reading goals so they can be active in class discussions around a book.

Decimals were at play this week, literally. Through exploration and play with cup stacking we timed ourselves and reported out our times to the hundredth of a second. Students then compared these decimals to look at who has the fastest cup stacking time. In order to be in the finals next week, students will need to accurately read decimals into the hundredths and then thousandth.

Blue Dragon Walk-a-Thon
This annual fundraiser is upon us. On the 1st of February, ES students will be walking and or running laps around a 200 meter circuit to raise money to get children off the streets in Hanoi and into homes and schools. Your child has been given their sponsor sheet and has been encouraged to get as many sponsors as they can (students are not limited to one sheet). 5D also needs volunteers on the day to keep track of laps and cheer students on as they push themselves to complete as many laps as they can.

Dinner Time Talk

  • What novel have you begun reading?
  • What is the purpose of raising money for Blue Dragon?
  • What do you know about our country’s governing system?
  • Tell me about how UNIS is governed.

Upcoming Events:

  • 21st Jan – Start of Semester 2,
  • 28th Jan – reports home to families
  • 30th Jan – Parent Teacher Conferences 10am – 6pm
  • 31st Jan – Tet Assembly
  • 1st Feb – Blue Dragon Walkathon

Week 18

Welcome back 5D!

I trust that you had a restful break with family and friends. We are happy to have everyone back safe and sound and ready to learn.

We commenced our new unit this week on governance. Our central idea is ‘Power comes with responsibility’. This week, students have engaged with a week-long provocation. On Monday, King Avik was lucky enough to find the toy in the Galette Des Rois, and was elected queen for the day.

Unfortunately, the king’s bloodline proved to be false, which left the class without a leader on Tuesday, and anarchy ensued. With lessons on the board and a distraught teacher, mourning the king what were the citizens to do? I was impressed with the integrity in which 5D carried themselves; taking attendance, giving out spelling, cleaning the classroom, watching the clock to get to specials on time and having a little fun in the meantime.

After a day of inaction, Ms. Brienza, supreme ruler, took over control of the class on Wednesday. Her strict and at times nonsensical regime ensured a great deal more work was completed.

On Thursday, power was handed over to the class as we voted on EVERYTHING. Together, the class planned and voted on all aspects of the day which included the daily timetable, lesson ideas and consequences for behaviour.

Today, the students of Grade 5 worked together in four groups to build a shield representing their preferred governing system.

The purpose of this UOI is to inquire into

  •    the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities
  •    forms of governance (Form)
  •    the responsibility of citizens and government (Responsibility) and
  •    the effectiveness of governing systems (Perspective)

If you or a family member or friend work in government or in the governance of an organisation we would love to hear about how your country or organisation is governed. Please send me an email and we can work to provide some real-world context for our students.

In Math, we have continued our inquiry into fractions by examining decimal place value. In Literacy, students completed a pre-assessment for the new text type: discussion. We also examined the features of biographies and looked at the biographies of some world leaders. We began a new read aloud, Orphan Island.

Dinner Time Talk

  •   What is your preferred system of governance?
    Why is Ethan under the table?
  •   What happens on Orphan Island?
  •   What decimals can you find around the house?

Save the Date
18th Jan – New family orientation
21st Jan – Start of Semester 2
28th Jan – reports home to families
30th Jan – Parent Teacher Conferences: 10am – 6pm
31st Jan – Tet Assembly
1st Feb – Blue Dragon Walkathon

Week 16

What an energising week in 5D!

As we move to the end of our Unit of Inquiry on energy, we are definitely using our skills in math and literacy to support and showcase our learning. Through exploration and consolidation of a specific energy source, we are defending a just right energy source choice for the island of UNIStan. On Monday and Tuesday, the students created a rubric that they will use to assess their learning and application of knowledge when they present for UNIStan Island. This rubric includes how energy sources work, what makes different energy sources a good option and the impacts each source may have on the environment. The students will also assess themselves on work habits, communication skills in debate and in math to assign fractions to energy sources. Presentations and reflection will take place next week we will see what works best for UNIStan; solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal, tidal, hydrogen, nuclear or wind. Which option do you support?

In Math, Ms. Beth helped us see fractions in art as we cut to make snowflakes and estimated what fraction we removed. We then tried to cut specific fractions from paper and justify our thinking. These activities ensure students were working through the mathematical practices of justification, using tools and showcasing learning in many ways. Through Fraction Talks and looking at fractions in relation to energy sources we also saw how fractions are present in everyday life.

In Literacy, we reviewed each other’s information reports and made revisions. These revisions helped to solidify the parts of an information report as we move from macro to micro. Much of our reading this week was for a purpose. We used skimming and scanning to find information to fuel our debate.

Congratulations to our SDG Guardians who represented us so well on Wednesday and our swimmers who will represent us today!

Dinner Time Talk
What energy source has the highest emissions? What has the lowest?
What message did Monday or Friday’s guest speaker have for Grade 5?
What fraction of the pizza would you rather have 1/3 or 1/4?
When do we use fractions in everyday life?
What’s a linking statement?

Save the Date
Winter Break December 15 – January 6
First Day Back at School – January 7, 2019

Week 15

What a wonderful UN Day, a great culmination to our SDG week.

Together all of our teaspoons of change make a big difference. What action will you take?

Thanks for joing us today.

In case you missed the action today, watch here for a sensational performance.


Week 14

Greetings 5D Community,

In UOI this week we began examining our second line of inquiry ‘Electrical Energy Options’ (causation). We brainstormed a list of energy sources and built upon our list by searching for others in non-fiction books. On Tuesday, Carl Strefford (Senior Manager of Operations at UNIS) came in to talk with us about our energy needs at UNIS. We learned how our energy needs change throughout the year, and he also taught us about Vietnam’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Students are now working to research one of the energy sources and will present these to the class in the coming weeks.

In Math this week, we began our examination of fractions by first completing a pre-assessment task. Students explored fractions, took part in several challenges with Ms. Beth and showcased some of their thinking on Seesaw. Next week we will continue our investigations by examining the relationship between fractions and decimals.

In Literacy, students began working with information reports. We first examined the assessment rubric, before the class was tasked with writing their own report on any topic of their choosing. Once the reports were completed, the reports were peer assessed with the rubric. We then went back and revised out macro statements or introductions to include elements of the descriptive bubble. Next week we will continue to examine reports by taking a closer look at the structure and grammar components.

Next Week:

Next week is SDG at UNIS. Students can expect a wide range of SDG activities, learning and action all week long.  Some elements of SDG are open to the community. Feel free to join in a screening of Plastic Ocean on Tuesday at 5pm.

UN Day is on Friday, November 30. Please join us for the flag ceremony and Global Lunch. Many thanks to those parents who have helped organize the Global Lunch. If you missed the sign-up sheet, please follow this link: Grade 5 Food Sign-up Sheet:

The schedule for UN day is as follows:

  • 8.00 – 10.00 – Parents/students deliver food. Class parent volunteers collect the food.
  • 9.45 – 10.15 – Class parent volunteers arrange tables for lunch
  • 10.15 – Leave classroom to attend the ceremony
  • 10.30 – 11.30 UN DAY CELEBRATION
  • 11.30 – 12.00 Class parents return to the classroom to finalize food setup
  • 12.00 – 13.00 UN Day Community Lunch – students eat first
  • 13.00 – 13.30 Clean-up and take down

Students will be dismissed at 13:00 (1:00 pm).

Dinner Time Talk:

  •      Which energy source are you researching for UOI?
  •      On average, what is the electricity bill at UNIS each month?
  •      What are some elements of the descriptive bubble?
  •      How can you share out a piece of brownie in fifths? In sevenths?
  •     What is the Fibonacci Sequence?

Week 13

Let me begin by thanking all the parents who made it to our Open Classrooms this week. It was exciting to have your presence in the room. I hope that this opportunity has given you a better understanding of the learning engagements that take place both at UNIS, and within 5D.

In UOI this week, we continued our examination of the first line of inquiry ‘Electrical energy that is transferred, transformed and controlled’ by building and manipulating circuits. In the classroom, students were engaging with circuit games and exploration. In the Maker Space, Ms. Michelle has had the class designing their own electronic inventions using ‘Little Bits’. Next week, the class will take a closer look at our second line of inquiry ‘Electrical Energy Options’.

In Literacy, we completed The Breadwinner, shared in interviewing the characters, competed a Literature Circle Role and discussed how books could be Windows and Mirrors. Students also wrote a final narrative and I will share these assessments with them next week. Next week, we will examine non-fiction texts by skimming and scanning for key information. 

In Math, students have been solving questions related to the burning of calories through exercise. This required them to read and analyse data in tables, whilst working with area models and number lines to better organize their mathematical thinking. Next week we will take a closer look at fractions.

Dinner Time Talk
What items do you need to make a simple electronic circuit?
Can you show me how an area model works?
How can books be windows and mirrors?

Save the Date
Friday, December 30th – UN day

Week 12

Open Classrooms
5D would like to extend an invitation to visit our class at the following times.
Thursday 15th of November – 2:00 until 3:00 pm – Unit of Inquiry
Friday 16th of November – 10:30 until 11:10 pm – Mathematics (you may like to join your child for lunch afterward)

Students are also in specialist classes those days. Feel free to join them in these lessons as well.
Thursday 15th of November –  9:25 until 10:05 – Art
Thursday 15th of November – 12:50 until 1:30  – World Language
Friday 16th of November – 8:40 – 9:25 – PE
Friday 16th of November – 1:45 until 2:30 – World Language

This week students embarked on their new UOI – How the World Works

An inquiry into

  • electrical energy that is transferred, transformed and controlled (form, function)
  • electrical energy options (causation)
  • energy consumption choices that affect the environment and society (causation)

Students arrived at school Monday morning to find the power had been shut off to G5 classrooms. The morning was spent making group decisions on how we could accumulate through exercise watts to spend later that day. Specialist classes such as PE, Art, and Music all contributed to the calorie burn by giving students a number of calories per effort in their class. After last recess, the power was turned back on and students had to calculate the number of watts they had as a combined G5 group and how they would spend the minutes of watts. Students chose to turn on one air conditioner, two ceiling fans and use a laptop and projector to watch ‘Billions in Change’ about clean energy inventions.

G5 teachers are calling for parents or associates of parents that would be willing to be a guest speaker about renewable energy – the idea is to give students a wider understanding of what is happening around the world through action currently being taken here in Vietnam (or elsewhere). If you would like more information please don’t hesitate to contact me.

In Math, we have been using tools to show our thinking in both addition and subtraction and multiplication. Work this week involved looking at number lines and area models as ways to represent equations. You can find an area model on their Seesaw post. Students then combined these to calculate calories in food and subtract activities that would reduce these.

As our unit changes so do does our literacy focus. We used this week to finish off narrative writing with a focus on spacing and dialogue. All that we have been learning will be showcased in our narrative post-assessment as students are able to compare their first narrative with their last of the unit. It is amazing the growth they showcase. We are almost complete our Guided Reading novel, The Breadwinner and our class read aloud Refugee. It is interesting to see the connections the students are making. We will move into nonfiction reading and writing next week.

Finally, we participated in Outdoor Classrooms with our Grade 1 Buddies. What a great morning to explore electricity and just engage with our surroundings.


Dinner time talk

  • What is energy?
  • How are calories and physical activity related?
  • What are you currently doing for i-Act time?
  • What did you do with your G1 buddy this week?
  • How were Josef and Mahmoud connected in Refugee?

Save the Dates and Reminders:
Thursday, November 15th-16th – ES Open Classrooms
Friday, November 30th – UN day