Week of 4 June

This week was full of art!  We began the week by visiting some middle school and high school classes to find out about their Passion Projects.  The older students were very welcoming and happy to explain their projects to the K2 children.  Some of us even got to try playing instruments and making rhythms.  We were also invited to attend a High School concert and a High School Dance Performance.  K2D was a very supportive audience.  We were impressed by how many different kinds of art classes and projects are happening at UNIS every day!

After our visits, we took some time to thank the artists.  Writing thank you notes is a great way to practice writing for an authentic purpose.

Two books inspired us to write poems this week.  My Blue is Happy and Red is a Dragon are both about the feelings and objects people associate with different colors.  The children wrote their poems and painted them using water colors.  They’ll be on display in our classroom  soon.  Ask your child which color s/he chose and how s/he connected it to feelings and objects. 

We have been acting out our narratives using the Green Screen app. Here’s a story written by Loewen and Aadi and acted out by Uha, Phuc Hien and Maisey:

Here’s a story written by Tate and Leo and acted out with Felix’s help.

And here’s one written by Maisey and Uha and acted out by Maisey, Uha, Seoeun and Trisha.

We’ve also been enjoying making up our own musical arrangements.  Notice how well the musicians are communicating with one another in these video clips:

On Thursday morning, we had a special going-away assembly for Dr Barder. ECC children shared poems and songs to honor Dr Barder and thank him for his 10 years of service.  Seoeun represented K2D by reading our poem!  We also gave our grade 1 friends flowers to wish them well as they head off to be part of the Elementary School next year.

A few reminders about the final week (!) of school:

  1. The K2 End of Year celebration will begin at 11:30 on Friday morning in the ECC gym.  Please plan to meet us in the gym (not the classroom).  You’re welcome to drop food in the morning or bring it when you come for lunch.  Thanks to Konstantina for helping to organize this and to everyone who has volunteered to contribute food.
  2. We have many notebooks, binders and other treasures to send home, so please send a reusable shopping bag to school with your child by next Tuesday.
  3. Next Thursday is our last day of school.  Children will be dismissed at 12:00.


Week of 28 May

Here are some of the highlights from our final week of May…

Our Grade 4 buddies came on Monday to help us with the original math games we’ve been designing.  They were especially helpful in writing directions for us and checking to see if the games were fun and made sense.  After finishing our first set of games, we invited K2C over to play they with us.  Lots of fun was had!  After reviewing our games, we noticed that most of them were addition games, so we decided to try making games to help practice some other math skills.  Children are now in the process of making games that help with forward and backward counting and putting numbers in order.  We’re looking forward to teaching them to friends soon. 

Last week, we worked to create settings, characters and story maps for our narrative writing project.  We continued this week by telling our stories out loud and then recording them using Book Creator.  The stories have now been typed up and posted in our classroom.  The children were thrilled to see their stories on display and have enjoyed listening to one another’s tales.  More stories are now in the works. 

We spent some time exploring the Center for the Arts this week to try to figure out what is and is not Art.  The children enjoyed sitting in on a HS Drama class, trying out some percussion instruments, visiting a Graphic Arts class, and looking at some sculptures.  Though most children think that art is purely visual, some are now starting to consider that music, drama and storytelling can be art forms as well.  

Here are some photos of children exploring various art forms in our classroom.

We read about Henri Matisse’s artwork this week and created collage self-portraits inspired by his cut outs.  The colorful masterpieces are on display in our classroom if you’d like to see them up close.
Today’s visit to Grade 1 and eating lunch in the canteen were highlights of the week for many children.  We met up with class 1D first so they could tell us important information about eating in the canteen, like how to find out what’s for lunch, where to sit, and what to do when you finish eating.  Our G1 buddies walked us to the canteen and made sure we knew what to do.  After eating lunch, we had recess with the “big kids”.  Everyone came back back and tired!  We’ll do this again next week.

We’re pleased to share that the K2 market raised 2,144,000 VND!  The money has been combined with funds raised by a G4 project.  While we’d hoped to have enough money to buy a filter for a school, we didn’t raise quite enough.  Instead, the G4 students decided to purchase filters for a few families in the school community that will be shared by multiple households so that as many people as possible will have access to clean water without having to buy plastic bottles.  Thanks again for supporting this project by sending your child to school with money for the K2 market.

Some G4 students are also collecting pencils for children in Northern Vietnam.  Donations can be dropped off in the ECC or ES office before the last day of school.



Week of 21 May


What a busy week!  Between rehearsals, our concert, trips to and from the pool, and some other special events, it was jam packed from beginning to end.  Here are some highlights…

Friday’s Outside Play Day was great fun!  Children enjoyed playing with water, making mud “ice cream cones” doing art projects, playing football, and just running around outside.

We hope you enjoyed the concert and art exhibition.  The children were exceptionally patient during long rehearsals, but their efforts paid off!

Here are some of the children’s reflections on the morning:

  • I was happy because my mom and my dad was clapping for me.
  • I was a bit nervous because everyone was staring at us.
  • I was feeling happy because my mom and my dad…I saw that they were feeling good about the show.
  • I was feeling proud because when I first come I was a little bit nervous but when I keep doing it I was proud.
  • I was shy because when I come first everyone was looking at the ECC friends so I was a little shy.
  • I was happy because everybody was clapping.

We’ve enjoyed playing many math games over the course of the year.  Now that the year is wrapping up, we thought it would be fun to develop our own games.  The children spent time this week looking closely at our favorite games to figure out what skills each game helps us practice/learn and which tools are necessary to play.  We realized that many math games involve dice, cards and boards, while some others use counters, spinners and rekenreks.  We’ve now started developing our own games and will continue fine-tuning them in coming days.  Ask your child about his/her game and which math skill(s) it will help with.

After building a shared understanding of the elements of narrative writing (setting, characters, a problem and a solution), the children worked with partners to create the foundation for their own narratives.  They had the option of using a few different apps to create a scene that showed their setting and characters.  Most children chose to use the Felt Board app.  After that, they started thinking about characters, problems and solutions.  Ask your child about his/her setting, characters, problem and solution for this project.  We hope to be able to share our stories soon.

As part of our new unit of inquiry about how artists express themselves, we enjoyed a special art class with some Grade 2 students this week.  We learned how children’s book author Eric Carle creates collages to express his ideas through books.  After that,  we made some collages together.  The children enjoyed it so much that we starting making our own Eric Carle collage paper in our classroom so we can continue expressing ourselves through collage.

In preparation for the transition to Grade 1, we visited each of the the Grade 1 classrooms this week.  Before the visits, we shared some of our wonderings about Grade 1.  They included:

  • Will we learn how to go to the canteen?
  • What are the teachers’ names?
  • What will our units be?
  • Will there be toys to play with?

During our visits, many children were relieved to see that K2 and G1 classrooms have lots of things in common.  We will visit Grade 1 again next Thursday to find out more.  The highlight of that visit will be eating lunch in the canteen!  Our current first graders are experts on this, so they’ll be there to help the K2 children.  If your child normally eats home lunch, please be sure to send his/her lunch as usual next week (they’ll just eat it in the canteen instead of in the lunchroom).

Speaking of the transition to next year, I also shared with the children the news that I will not be returning to UNIS next year.  I’ve decided to return to the USA for a few years and will be teaching in San Francisco, California next year.  I’ll miss seeing my former students around campus, but I’m also excited about being closer to my family and friends and enjoying fresh air and easy access to mountains and forests.

Finally, please remember that there will be an early dismissal tomorrow at 11:30 so that faculty can attend the High School graduation.  We will not be eating lunch at school.  We enjoyed cheering for the Grade 12 students as they did their Grand Walk through campus today.

Week of 14 May

The K2 Market was a huge success!  After many weeks of learning about needs and wants and goods and service, conducting research to find out what our community wanted, and working together to create goods (or learn how to provide services), the big day finally arrived.  With very little adult support, the children organized themselves by moving furniture, displaying signs and deciding who would work/shop when.  Friends from other ECC classes were eager customers and sales were brisk from the beginning. Many of our goods even sold out!  In reflecting on the experience, children seemed to find equal enjoyment in both selling and shopping.  We’re still in the process of counting our earnings, so stay tuned for for an update on that shortly.

Amber and Ian went to Discovery A to invite them to the Market

Rykiel and Tate talked to Discovery B about the Market

Ready to open for business!

The market in full swing!

We’ve been thinking and talking about what makes a good story as part of our study of narrative writing.  Because our final unit is about how artists express ideas and emotions, we’ll be experimenting with some digital storytelling tools.  On Thursday morning, our grade 4 buddies came by to help us learn how to use a few stop motion video apps.  Later that day, Ms Michelle came back to help us explore the green screen.  Both tools have great potential for our storytelling, so we’re excited to continue exploring and using them.

Learning how to use the Green Screen app
We created these images using the Green Screen Learning how to use the Stop Motion app

A few important reminders:

  • Please send clothes for the concert by Tuesday morning.  See last week’s blog post for details.  
  • We will dismiss at 11:30 on Friday, 25 May so that faculty can attend the HS graduation.  Children will not eat lunch at school that day.  





Week of 7 May

Thanks to everyone for coming to our assembly this morning!  We hope you enjoyed the show and felt proud of your K2er.

.  Here are some of the children’s reflections on the experience:

  • I liked that my mom was happy that I was doing that.
  • The animals were saying their lines louder than they did when we were practicing.
  • I didn’t like it because everyone was looking at me.
  • I was nervous.
  • The sellers used an excited voice when Uha was shopping at their shop.
  • I was nervous when it was my part.  I just said in my mind that I’m not nervous.
  • The people who spoke at the beginning could say their line without their paper.
  • The animals were talking in a good voice and sounded excited.
  • I was proud when people were clapping.
  • The first time I got nervous when I looked at all the people.
  • At first I was thinking “I can’t do it!” and then when I did it and I’m done I feel so proud of me when everyone was clapping.

Our final unit of the year will be How We Express Ourselves.  Though we’re still wrapping up How We Organize Ourselves, we decided to start thinking about self-expression this week with an introduction to poetry.  We began by asking the children to share what they already know about poems and poetry.  Some of their ideas were:

  • poems can be in books
  • they can rhyme (but don’t have to rhyme)
  • they can be about anything
  • each line only has a few words on it
  • they can have pictures and words

Next, we read a few poems written by kindergarten children and then shared our observations.  Children noticed that some of the poems had repeating words, or even entire lines that repeat.  In some poems, each line began with the same word.  Finally, the children had some time to read some poetry books and try writing their own poems.  We were pleased with how creative the children were in their first attempt at being poets.  We will continue exploring ways that poets use words to express themselves in the next few weeks.

It’s almost time for the K2 Market!

The K2 classes will be hosting our ECC Market on Tuesday, 15 May.  Children are hard at work making their goods, deciding how much to charge, making advertisements and practicing their services.

Please send 20,000 VND to school with your child on Tuesday so s/he can enjoy shopping at the K2 market.  

All of the money earned will be donated to LifeStraw, an organization that helps provide access to clean water.  Along with donations from other ES classes, we are hoping to be able to purchase a community water filter for a local school.  This would reduce the number of plastic bottles that community consumes while also providing clean drinking water.

Finally, please see the separate blog post with details about swimming, which starts next week.



It’s swimming time!

Starting on Monday May 14th  all students in Discovery, K1, K2, and Grade 1 will be swimming during their PE lessons. Swimming will continue until the end of the school year.
Please make sure your child(ren) is ready to swim by sending to school:
  • swimming costume (not bikinis, swim-suits with hoods, rash vests- see this blog post on why rash vests hinder rather than help: Rash Vests 
  • goggles
  • swim cap (if hair is below shoulders)
  • towel

For more details on Swimming Expectations please read the Aquatics blog.  If there are any special requirements for, or exclusions from, swimming over the next 5 weeks please inform Martin Hamilton as well as your PE teacher.


Posted in K2D

Outdoor Classroom Day (18 May)

Dear Parents,

On Friday May 18th Discovery, K1, K2 and Grade 1 will participate in international Outdoor Classroom Day.  Weather permitting, the students will be outside from 8:25-10:05.  To help make this day successful, please make sure that your child:
  • wears sunscreen to school
  • has a hat
  • has a full water bottle
  • has a change of clothes in a labelled bag
The Lower Elementary Team
Posted in K2D

K2 Concert on May 24

Dear Kindergarten 2 and Grade 1 Parents,

The K2 and Grade 1 Music Concert and Art Exhibition will be held on Thursday, May 24th at 9am.  The students are excited to showcase their work in the Arts for the UNIS Community! The art exhibition will begin immediately following the concert.

Please note the following information regarding the performance.

  • Students will come to school at the regular time on Thursday, May 24th, and will be brought to the Center for the Arts by their homeroom teacher.
  • Coffee and tea will be served for parents in the Center for the Arts Foyer at 8:30am and the music concert will begin promptly at 9am.

Concert Attire for K2 and Grade 1 students:

Students should wear black pants or leggings and a solid colored shirt that is yellow, green, red, blue, pink, orange or purple.  Please label your child’s clothes and send them in a labeled bag to school by Friday, May 18th as they will be used in dress rehearsals.

Concert Duration:  9am-10am

Please note that following this event, the art exhibition will take place in the Center for the Arts Foyer. This is an opportunity for you to enjoy and discuss your child’s artwork as well as create art together.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday morning. Thank you so much for your support.

Kind regards,

The Arts Team


Posted in K2D

Week of 2 May

Book week has been great fun!  In addition to our regularly scheduled mystery reader (thanks to Loewen’s Canadian grandparents!), we also had a few special teachers drop by to read to us.

We also enjoyed dressing up as our favorite book characters and parading with our G4 buddies.

We’re looking forward to reading in our pajamas on Friday.  We will still have PE class, so please remind your child to bring his/her PE clothes to school, too.

Our class will be visiting the SCO book sale on Friday morning.  Books are priced between 10,000 and 40,000 VND.  Please send some spending money to school with your child in a bag, envelope, or wallet that is labeled with his/her name.  The sale will be open on Saturday, too, if you’d like to come back to shop as a family.  Proceeds from the sale go to support literacy initiatives through UNIS’s service learning programs, so we hope you’ll enjoy shopping and supporting this good cause.

As previously mentioned, K2D will be sharing our learning at the ECC assembly on Thursday morning (May 10).  Please plan to join us at 8:25 in the ECC gym.


Week of 23 April

Here are a few brief highlights from the week:

We’ve re-organized some of our groups for the ECC market.  Ask your child who is in his/her new group and what their plans are. We enjoyed surveying Dr Barder to find out whether he’d be interested in purchasing some of the goods and services we’ll be offering at our market.

Children worked with partners this week to write their own bus stories involving people getting on and off their buses.  After deciding on their scenario and modeling it using rekenreks, children wrote books and shared them with friends.  This allowed everyone to make some nice literacy and math connections while thinking about math in the real world.

The Grade 5 students have been working hard for the past 7 weeks to conduct research and take action on issues related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  We learned more about food waste and cooperation from a few Grade 5 groups recently, so we were especially excited to visit the PYP Exhibition today to see the product of their efforts.  Ask your child about visiting the Grade 5 students’ displays and learning more from them in the theatre.

Monday was Mr Lush’s birthday (and it was a big birthday!), so the K2 children visited his office to give him 50 balloons.  We managed to fit the entire K2, including teachers, and all the balloons into Mr. Lush’s small office.  He was surprised and grateful for the kindness of the K2 children.

Please note:

  • Remember that school will be closed on Monday and Tuesday.  Enjoy the long weekend!
  • We will not be having reading groups next week in order to allow for some individual reading checks.