Happy Holiday Remember to be Explorers

Dear Parents,

I wish you all a safe and wonderful winter break. Enjoy yourselves whether you are traveling or staying in Hanoi.



Be an explorer during the winter break.

Students in grade two have been inquiring into Where We Are In Place and Time-Exploration for several weeks. The central idea is: Curiosity drives exploration to understand the world the around us. After Winter Break, students will reflect back on their travels and adventures in class. Exploration can take place in another city, country or even right here in Hanoi.

Some areas to think about or talk about over the break are:

What did you need to pack?    
Where did you go? What transportation did you take?
What interesting discoveries did you make? (landmarks, natural wonders, sights, food, culture)
How has travel and exploration affected your destination? Are there any negative impacts?

This is just meant to be something to think about over the break and maybe have some conversations about. It is not homework. However, if you want to take some photos while you explore we can use them in our presentations.

Have a great break,

The Grade Two Team

After winter break:

Math – Fractions

English – Reading non fiction and Writing information reports

UOI – Holiday explorer activity.

For other holiday ideas look at last weeks blog.

How Do You Express Yourself At This Time Of Year?

Dear Parents,

Next week, December 10-14 grade 2 students will be exploring the different cultural celebrations that take place during December and January. We have a year-long unit of inquiry investigating what culture is, forms of cultural expression, the creation of cultural art forms, and an appreciation of various cultures. We have the wonderful opportunity to explore and learn about the different cultures in our community. Students will be experiencing different activities related to Hanukah, Christmas, New Years, Winter Solstice, etc…

Weekend Homework. (If you have time)

As part of the cultural expression inquiry your child will come home with a sheet today that you can fill in together to share any traditions, festivals, celebrations that your family may enjoy at this time of year. If you have a moment please spend some family time together sharing your experiences on the homework sheet this weekend.

As we head into the holiday I just want to share a couple of thoughts and ideas to continue the learning:

Unit of Inquiry: We will continue with our exploration unit through the holidays and have created a padlet that you can use to share your holiday adventures with the whole of grade 2. Upload a picture, and a little note so we can share in the holiday explorations.

Mathematics: Continue practicing time, looking at both a digital and analog clock- this could happen in a train station, airport, anywhere! Time is everywhere. Students need to be able to express time using the language of quarter past, half past, and a quarter to the hour. Also, playing some math games with a deck of cards or a pair of dice are easy to pack along in the suitcase. Keeping those basic facts to 20 in mind, and building towards being fluent in number is key. After the holidays we will venture into fractions, so if you happen to find yourself in the kitchen having some experiences in the kitchen measuring and using fractions would be a great support for your child.

Literacy: There are several great websites that offer free stories online. Students can also read/access Raz-Kids during the holidays to keep up their reading. Storyline online has an amazing amount of stories read by some famous actors in the US. Another online site that I haven’t explored much of but comes highly recommended is Epic! Students use the code: Class Code: ydj9691 to have access to thousands of books online- what a great resource! On Epic! books can be read to students, or students can read them. There are also learning videos and a lot of other cool stuff. Another idea is to have a travel journal. Students can keep track of their travels, feelings, and adventures over the holidays. A great way to foster a love of journaling and mindfulness, students can draw or sketch sights, and thoughts as well.

What I hope most of all is that you and your family find the time to enjoy one another, to have some fun. I am off to Australia for two weeks visiting family and  friends. Happy early holidays and I look forward to exploring the cultural celebrations that occur at this time of year during our final week before the winter break.


-UNIS Hanoi’s Winterfest 2018, on Friday 7 December from 17.00-19.00 in front of the old canteen

-Grades 2-3 Musical Production: Pirates Past Noon – Come and watch an exciting musical production by a cast composed of Grade 2 and Grade 3 students.  Saturday and Sunday at 3pm (8th and 9th of December)

-Winter Break 15  December to 6 January

SDG Week Grade 2 Blog

This week in grade two, students were thinkers and caring as they inquired into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in a variety of activities.  First, inspired the the story of Sadako Sasaki–her struggle for life and dedication to peace–students set a goal of folding 1,000 peace cranes.   Next, led by the SDG Guardians, students contributed ideas for teaspoons of change. Students enjoyed celebrating kindness in the library.  Finally, in grade two, students inquired specifically into five SDGs:


SDG #3 Health and Well-Being: Students were involved in different games that provoked their thinking about exercise, nutrition and good medical care. During the games students learned about the major issues that Vietnam faces in relation to this SDG.


SDG #4 Quality Education: Students watched a video about schools around the world and compared the opportunities they have at UNIS to those of other children. In the spirit of gratitude, the students added to a Padlet what they love about going to UNIS.


SDG #5 Gender Equality:  Students watched a short video to show the reality of unequal pay between men and women. After a brief discussion, we went to the see the Gender Equality art exhibition in the art center. The art their inspired us to go back to the classroom and create our own art piece to support Gender Equality.


SDG #10 Reduced Inequalities:  Through the lens of math and word inquiry…as well as handfuls of Legos…students pondered the meaning of inequality and how there are different types of inequality in the world.


SDG #13 Climate Action:  Students explored the causes of climate change through video and discussion, then by exploring the classroom to create possible plastic alternatives.

Sac Son Field Trip and Thank you

Dear Parents,

Teacher Day

Thank you so much for all the generosity and appreciation I felt this week. I felt very humbled by the cards, presents and kind words I received this week as part of Teacher Appreciation Day. I am truly humbled as I love my job and your children are special to me. Thank you.

Connecting Globally – Mystery Skype
On Monday we enjoyed connecting to Shen Wui International School (SWIS) in China with a mystery skype phone call. 2A used great questioning to quickly locate the Grade 2 class at SWIS. We are following up our conversation with a padlet to find the similarities and differences between our school and countries. We also will compare TET and Chinese New Year in February as part of our How Express Ourselves Unit.

Soc Son Field Trip

We had a great experience of exploring Soc Son at different locations. We learned new things, discovered things about Vietnam and ourselves and were very curious about the different places we went to. A highlight for all of us was climbing the hill and then coming down! Thank you to the parents who supported us on the field trip. Your children were a pleasure to explore with.

Global Goals Week
Next week is global goals week at UNIS.  We will put the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals front and centre in our thinking and our learning. As part of Global Goals week, we will be having a Nude Food Picnic on Thursday, November 29th. Put simply, Nude Food Day means sending your child to school with a snack that contains no disposable packaging. For more information, click here.
This could also be a fun classroom lesson: Nude Food Activity
Grade 2 Activity – Join in if you like!
If you have a skill in folding Origami Peace Cranes and would like to come and join the grade two students in reaching their goal of 1000 cranes so our wish for peace for all children of the world will come true- we’d love your help. Please join us on Tuesday, November 27 from 12:05-1:30 in folding cranes in rooms 137 and 138. We could use help folding and stringing if you are interested.
Movie Trailer:  A Plastic Ocean 
As part of our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we will be hosting a free community screening of “A Plastic Ocean” on Tuesday 27th November at 5.00pm.  The movie is in English, with Vietnamese subtitles.
What:  “A Plastic Ocean” documentary – FREE community screening
When:  Tuesday 27th November, 5.00pm (running time – 1 hour 42 minutes)
Who:  UNIS Hanoi students, families, teachers – 7 years +
Where:  Theatre, Centre for Arts, B10
Why:  To raise awareness of the issue of pollution being created by single use plastics and what we can do to help
Theatre will open at 4.50pm – free seating.
Elementary students will NOT be allowed to attend unless accompanied by an adult.
The UNIS Hanoi school store will host a ‘pop up’ shop showcasing and selling all of our recycled and environmentally sustainable products for families who wish to take immediate action to reduce their use of plastics.
Please join with us in taking action for the children who will be attending UNIS and living on our planet many generations from now….. this local and global problem needs us all to act now.
  • 26-30 November is our SDG week – what will you do to bring a teaspoon of change?
  • 30 November United Nations Day – our community is encouraged to dress in national costume or a representation of their cultural identity.  Our class parents will be contacting you about our grade two UN Day lunch.
  • Student are released at 1.00pm on UN Day. Parents are able to take the children from the community lunch or they can go home the usual way.



Questions to ask your child this week to understand their learning.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for all the parents that joined the class for the open classroom sessions. We enjoyed sharing the way we work and learn with you.

This week I will share some questions that you could ask your child which may prompt discussion about their learning.

  1. As an explorer at school where have you chosen to explore and what have you discovered during your exploration?
  2. What will you need to take as an explorer for your location?
  3. When you add 2 numbers like 25 and 28 what strategies do you like to use? Can you show me?
  4. When you subtract numbers what strategies do you like to use? Can you show me?
  5. When you write a response about a book what  important things does it need to have?
  6. What did Ms Kris teach us about the blue, green, yellow and red zones of feelings?
  7. Can you summarize 3 important things that happened to you this week?
  8. What can you tell me about the months of the year and telling the time using a clock?


In exploration, students learned how to use Google Maps to plan our route for our field trip next week.  They also used Google Earth to identify landmarks along the route and at our two destinations.  Students wrapped up their research and worked on mapping their route to the destination of their choosing.


  • Tuesday 20 November:  Field Trip to Soc Son.  Students should come with sunscreen already applied and bring the following:
    • a hat
    • a backpack or bag
    • suitable walking shoes
    • a snack and water bottle
    • a packed lunch
  • 26-30 November is our SDG week – what will you do to bring a teaspoon of change?
  • 30 November United Nations Day – our community is encouraged to dress in national costume or a representation of their cultural identity.  Our class parents will be contacting you about our grade two UN Day lunch.

Time, Exploring and Description

Dear Parents,

Today Trisha’s mother Arushi shared the festival of Diwali with the class. We found the discussion and activities very interesting. This was an excellent connection to our year long unit, “Cultures express their creativity in many ways”.  If your culture has a special festival you wish to share we would enjoy learning and celebrating with you.

On Thursday we enjoyed the outdoor classroom activity where we taught our Grade 5 buddies to use a map to explore around the campus. This showed we were knowledgeable in using technology and maps. Pictures below show us enjoying an outside snack just before break.

Open Classrooms Schedule for 2A Click here

Specific times

Thursday 15th November –

Period 3 – 10.30am-11.10am 2A Homeroom  – English (Recess and lunch are on either side of this lesson.)

Period 5 – 12.50pm-1.30pm 2A PE

Friday 16th November

Period 3 – 10.30am-11.10am 2A Homeroom  – Math (Recess and lunch are on either side of this lesson.)

In exploration, students are researching a destination of their choice in land, sea, or space.  Through books and websites, students are beginning to learn about note-taking as they write their discoveries in their own words.

UOI – Exploring and curiosity with robots and coding.

Time and Mapping Exploration in math

After completing a preassessment the students inquired using games and tools to learn about mapping (explorer unit) and time (math).

Math outcomes

  • Tell time to the quarter-hour, using language of ‘past’ and to.
  • Name and order month and seasons.
  • Use a calendar to identify the date and determine the number of days in each month.


We have worked on adding description to our simple and compound sentences to improve our writing. Check our SEESAW to see how we learned and used description. In reading when have been using questions (What, Where, When, How, Who and Why) to think deeper and comprehend more. Next week our focus will be summarize.


  • 26-30 November is our SDG week – what will you do to bring a teaspoon of change?
  • 30 November United Nations Day – our community is encouraged to dress in national costume or a representation of their cultural identity


The New Unit has started.

A visit from the Mars Rover, Jane Goodall, Steve Irwin and Jacques Couteau.

Launching our inquiry into Where We Are in Place and Time, students…

  • explored our campus and took photos of their discoveries on our grade 2 Adventure Map of UNIS Padlet.
  • listened to a presentation by Mr. Loynes, who spent 150 days hiking in the Himalayan Mountains.
  • were visited by several famous explorers (!) from land, sea, and space.

Mr Loynes talking about his Himalayan trek.

Exploring and discovering the campus.

Check out your student’s Seesaw for their thoughts on exploration at the beginning of our unit.

In math, students completed work on subtraction strategies and data handling activities. The new math focus of time starts next week. We will continue the number focus of subtraction and addition strategies at the same time.

In reading, students made connections to what they were reading both through our class read aloud and in reading groups.  Connecting our stories to other books, movies, our lives, and our world makes reading more enjoyable and understandable.

In writing, students started a response graphic organizer for a wonderful story, Simon’s Cat in ‘Crow’.  Ask your student what their response to this funny story is!


  • No School on Thursday and Friday (1 and 2 November) due to Faculty/Staff professional development
  • 8 November Outdoor Classroom Day:  weather permitting, the students will be outside from 8:10-10:25.  To help make this day successful, please make sure that your child has a hat, wears sunscreen to school, and has a full water bottle.
  • 15-16 November Open Classroom Days
  • 26-30 November is our SDG week – what will you do to bring a teaspoon of change?
  • 30 November United Nations Day – our community is encouraged to dress in national costume or a representation of their cultural identity

New Unit next week

Dear Parents.

Learning this week.

In Seesaw, students used their understanding of being a safe, responsible, and respectful digital citizen by making verbal comments using TAG. When we become confident in using this strategy we will write the comments onto Sessaw.

I am a saferespectful, and responsible digital citizen when I comment on my friend’s posts.

T – Tell something you liked “I like how you sorted your pictures.” “I like how you added description from two descriptive bubbles.”
A – Ask a question “Have you read other books by this author?” “How did you learn so much about ____?”
G – Give a suggestion “I wonder what it would look like if you added labels?” “I wonder if you added a drawing I could see how you got your answer?”

We would love to invite parents to use our TAG guidelines when commenting on student posts.. Tell us why you liked our work, ask a question, or give a helpful suggestion!

On Monday, October 29th, grade two will begin a new unit of inquiry into Where We are in Place and Time.  The concepts below will be taught in class, however, it would be of great assistance to help your child become familiar with the main unit components and vocabulary in order to maximize their learning experiences and make connections in class.

This is especially imporant for non mother-tongue English speaking student.  Please translate the following into your child’s mother tongue in order to develop their linguistic abilities and foster their conceptual development.  Any extra reading, websites, films, or learning experiences you may give your child in their mother tongue to complement this unit would be extremely valuable.

Central Idea:  Curiosity drives exploration to discover and understand the world around us.

Lines of Inquiry:

  • types of exploration
  • how people explore
  • outcomes of exploration

Vocabulary:  world, map, adventure, ocean, river, lake, sea, continent, country, space, technology, mountain, exploration, to explore, curiousity, geography, to motivate, outcome, journey, to discover, to understand

In math, students played Leapfrog to practice addition and subtraction within 20. We spent time learning about different strategies to add and subtract larger numbers including modeling, number lines and stretch it out. We continued to develop our knowledge of skip-counting using 2, 5 and 10 by using larger numbers and different starting points.

In reading, students were using the comprehension skills of making predictions and connections to make reading more enjoyable.

On Friday we shared some of the independent writing we have written by choice with a group of our classmates. They gave us feedback us the T.A.G commenting strategy.


  • 29 October – Snack Sale Students can bring 10,000 or 20,000 to participate if the wish.
  • 31 October – Dress Up day in support of MS/HS Spirit Week.  Please see the Tin Tuc for costume guidelines.
  • No School on Thursday and Friday (1 and 2 November) due to Faculty/Staff professional development
  • 26-30 November is our SDG week – what will you do to bring a teaspoon of change?
  • 30 November United Nations Day – our community is encouraged to dress in national costume or a representation of their cultural identity

A Big Welcome to Jungmin

Dear Parents,

Welcome back from your breaks. This week we welcomed Jungmin and her family to our class and the UNIS community.

Jungmin participating in a word inquiry for the suffix “ing”.

It has been a nice week of learning and collaborating with our classmates. Mrs Kris our counselor visited for a guidance lesson and we played games with our Grade 5 buddies.


In writing this week we have started to inquiry into our next genre of writing, response. We completed a writing sample for to see what we know now and will compare this writing at the end of the unit to what we have learned. Below is the response writing checklist.

Response Writing Checklist

  • I planned my writing using the structure of a response (opening statement, linking sentence, judgement, closing statement)
  • I wrote an opening statement that tells about my topic (where and why).
  • My linking sentence has my opinion.
  • I gave at least three elements of judgement.
  • I used descriptive categories to make my judgements interesting.
  • I wrote at least one compound sentence.
  • I finished my writing with a closing statement.
  • Grammar:
    • Simple present tense verbs are used
    • At least one compound sentence using “and” is used
  • Spelling is correct.
  • Capital letters and punctuation are correct.


I am very impressed with the independence shown in our reading groups. The children are becoming excellent at self monitoring each of the different independent reading activities.

In teacher lead guided reading sessions we have been improving our prediction skills by using more than words and pictures. We have been using what we know, what we do and connections to the real world, books, etc to make our predictions more thoughtful.

In our word inquiry we are looking at the suffix “ing”

We want to know why different things happen when you add “ing”. For example boxing, swimming, saving, lightning, duckling, anything. Next week we hope to know why these different spelling patterns occur when you add “ing”.


In our rotations we are expanding our knowledge of place value by using materials and breaking up numbers so that we can understand and manipulate them. Students are using numbers that are appropriate to their current level of understanding.

In fluency we are working on automaticity with subtraction. Some students are focused on 0-10 and others are focused on 0-20.

Data Handling

We created a class line graph about how we go home each day. It tells us a lot of information on one graph. It took us a week to complete!

UOI – Ways to evaluate media. 

This week we explored different apps and websites. We used a checklist to evaluate each app or website. Some of you may have received an email from your child as they were evaluating Gmail. We will continue this activity next week.

Below is the task that the children are working on and you can click on the links to see some of the inquiry that is taking place.

Exploring Media

  • Padlet – Add one post.  Evaluate Padlet using the checklist.
  • Seesaw – Make a post about something you are doing in Math- Could be Data Handling or something to do with Number.  Evaluate Seesaw using the checklist.
  • Gmail – Send an email to your parents about what you would like for dinner OR where you would like to go for your next holiday.  Make sure your email has a clear subject, a greeting, and a closing. Once your email is complete, evaluate Gmail using the checklist.
  • Flipgrid – Add one post.  Evaluate Flipgrid using the checklist.
  • Seesaw Comment – Add one comment to a friend’s math post.  Tell your friend something you liked, ask a question, and give a suggestion (“I Wonder…”).  Evaluate the Comment part of Seesaw.




October Break

Dear Parents,

The students had a great week of inquiry and learning. They are ready for a well earned break. Enjoy your time away from school next week and return healthy and safely on Monday 15th of October.


  • Online responsibilities
  • Purposes and forms of digital technology

This week we inquired into how we should be safe, responsible  and respectful on the internet. We used a  Book I am reading Padlet and Flipgrid to tune us into this and gave us real experiences as a digital citizens. We were challenged to use these apps and websites independently  and this gave us  many real examples of being responsible. We also learned about using the the traffic light tool from Common Sense Media to evaluate different software and created a Super Digital Citizen.

  • Ways to evaluate media

After the holiday we will have fun exploring and evaluating technology we have experienced in this unit: Gmail, Seesaw, Padlets and Flipgrids.


We had a very good week in our reading groups. Individually we became more independent in organising our schedules and staying focused throughout independent sessions.

We completed our second word inquiry using the base word “help” as a class.

Here are some inquiries we need to follow up on after the holiday which we found as we were proving that “ing, s, ed, er, ful, ly” are suffixes.

  • In saving where does the “e” go?
  • Using “ing” as a suffix what happens in “running” and “putting” and why?
  • In beautiful is the base word beauty? Does it have 2 suffixes, i and ful?


Parents have asked for some ideas to use at home. Ms Beth the UNIS Math Coach shared these websites for some ideas.


This week 2A were introduced to the maker space during UOI. Here are some photos of the inquiry that took place.