Math Week Round Up

Thanks to all of you who have made Math Week a huge success. Over 25,000 puzzle pieces have been posted on our Puzzle Padlet and the number continues to grow daily. Well over a hundred students have posted puzzles, shared origami, created games, and solved solutions to number riddles. Students have asked not to stop Math Week so the fun can continue.

Keep sending in your pictures, games, and questions to Ms. Beth at . Post your puzzles on Padlet, check out and add to the origami expertise on the Flipgrid.

Beth Murray

Creating Meaningful Distance Learning through Play and Inquiry

For the last 10 weeks, like colleagues all over the world, teachers at UNIS Hanoi have been steeped in creating online learning opportunities for their students. In the blink of an eye we went from school as we knew it, noisy, bustling and in person to school via asynchronous and synchronous formats, videos, Zooms and presentations. In the elementary school at UNIS Hanoi, our focus has been to stay true to our core values and ensure that learning remains engaging, inquiry based, playful and fun. 

As our programme has evolved, we have worked long and hard to remain true to the inquiry based, playful beliefs that are foundational to the Lower Elementary at UNIS Hanoi. When we are on campus, one measure we use to ensure our programme is robust and rigorous is that engagements frequently require students to ask questions and lean into problem solving while remaining innately playful. Teachers have rich professional dialogue to ensure the programme and practice align with our core beliefs. As a school, we define play as combining hands-on learning with student-initiated play. Play is highly adaptive, involves choice, promotes agency and provides rigorous opportunities to inquire into important concepts and personal interests.

So how did we manage to make the shift to distance learning, while remaining true to our beliefs and keeping learning playful?

  • Selecting the right tools for asynchronous and synchronous learning was important as we got started with Distance Learning. Students and parents across the Elementary School use the online platform See Saw to communicate and share their learning with teachers. We have used a range of online tools like Flipgrid, Padlet and Screencastify to share learning and engagements with students. Daily synchronous sessions in the form of Morning Meetings to connect with each other, start the day for all elementary students.
  • Our 3-4 year old programme was reimagined for online learning after sharing best practices with colleagues around the world and listening carefully to student and parent feedback. Students are given choice and agency in choosing how they develop the big idea for the week. Video conferencing sessions are used to build community and help students maintain contact with each other every day.
  • Thinking about what meaningful engagement might look like at home has involved activities like author studies, which have been wonderful for students. Choosing books over several days has given students the ability to make connections and revisit texts they love. Robert Munsch, Julia Donaldson, Peter Reynolds are a few favourites that have worked very well.
  • Using story workshop and loose parts pedagogy with our younger students has sparked a lot of involvement from the children. The open ended quality of it has been bringing in really interesting work and giving teachers a glimpse of what the children are currently experiencing.
  • Distance Learning Art lessons in the Early Childhood Centre have linked with current Units of Inquiry as much as possible. This has resulted in many successful, investigative and playful engagements. Students in Discovery and K1 created the “Paperbag Princesses” with real paper bags as well as loose parts from their homes. The students have also made math connections by creating animals from different shapes and using boxes and recycled materials in their homes to build sculptures and enormous towers. The challenges of not having access to all of the art supplies we have at school were originally very daunting but with lots of creative thinking and problem solving it has become much easier and so fun.
  • In Kindergarten 2, Market Day, which is a much anticipated event on the calendar, could no longer be on campus in the ECC playground and so had to become a virtual buy and sell experience, with a website. It was hugely successful and our students were involved in meaningful service opportunities too! In art lessons the children made many beautiful things to sell online, ranging from toilet roll shakers, paper vases of flowers and beautiful bookmarks. 
  • In Grade 1 students have worked on researching their significant person. After writing scripts about their person, students created their person in art class with found objects at home and now will green screen video their person from home to share with the grade level. Lots of indoor scavenger hunts of math items this week for Math Week, using paper planes to practice measurement, Reading in homemade forts… keeping their skills going while making learning playful. 
  • G1 have also worked on amazing portraits of significant people using many different materials. The children have also created artworks based on famous artists- a favourite must have been inspired by Van Gogh’s sunflowers where the children used so many different materials like lego men, fruit and vegetables, rocks and stones, socks and shoes to create their own flowers. So many great ideas and so much fun!

We are deeply grateful to all of our families who have partnered with us and worked alongside us to keep students engaged and motivated. Our focus remains on ensuring the learning for all our students is relevant, meaningful and playful.

Nitasha Crishna

Lower Elementary Deputy Principal

From the Elementary Principal

Dear Elementary Parents,

Weekly communications from the Elementary School will now come to you each Friday in the Tin Tuc, replacing our previous Monday email messages.  

Celebrations – putting JOY back on our calendar! 

Throughout Quarter 4, we’ll be celebrating learning and coming together as a community through a variety of virtual events.  Please be sure to check our regular school calendar for full information. Some of the events we are excited to share with students and parents include – 

  • Arts Week
  • Virtual Sports Day
  • April is Math Awareness Month! 
  • PYP Exhibition
  • Parents & Homeroom Teacher Learning Conversations

…and lots more! Even if we can’t be together on campus, we can still celebrate our values of learning, community and responsibility together.  

Accessing Recorded Lessons

For families currently participating in Distance Learning who are in other timezones (eg. Europe, USA etc) – please let your homeroom teacher know if you would like to access a recording of any Zoom lessons. Teachers will be able to record their lessons (only the teacher will be visible) so that you can access them at a suitable time.  This service will only be done upon request for families outside of our Hanoi timezone.  

Distance Learning & Student ‘Attendance’

The UNIS Hanoi Distance Learning programme is a valid continuation of our school programme during school closure. Your child’s participation in this school programme continues to count as regular school attendance.  In order for teachers to support students during Distance Learning, regular engagement with the educational programme is essential and expected. 

In Distance Learning, we define school attendance as a combination of physical attendance at scheduled live meetings, engagement with the curriculum by completing and posting assigned tasks.  

In our Elementary School, we will refer to this as Distance Learning Engagement.

In order to be able to verify that students are working at an appropriate pace through the required curriculum, Homeroom Teachers will be tracking students’ Distance Learning Engagement each week.  

Our strong recommendation is that students actively participate in daily live lessons where they can receive direct instruction and information from their teacher and connect with their classmates.  We do understand that this is not always possible.

Records of Distance Learning Engagement will be taken by Homeroom teachers and will be applied to core classroom work only. When the Seesaw logo is present on Distance Learning slides, students will know that they need to complete this piece of work and post it to Seesaw. 

Participation and engagement with all specialist subjects are highly encouraged in order to provide students with a broad and balanced Distance Learning experience.  

If a child is sick or unable to participate in Distance Learning, please send an email to your child’s teacher to record the absence.

Performance based subjects – PE, Art and Music will not be graded on our end of year report cards for this school year, 2019/2020. 


On Monday 13th April, families will receive an overview of our revised written curriculum for Quarter 4. Each grade level team has modified the yearly overviews to ensure we are providing a balanced, relevant and engaging programme during this time of distance learning. We have prioritised key learning objectives for each grade level for the remainder of this year. This will provide families with the insight into the significant themes being covered across all subject areas. These documents will be shared with you via email and will also be stored on the ES Distance Learning website for your reference.

Megan Brazil


UNIS Hanoi Math Week

To recognise Math Awareness Month, the Elementary School will have Math Week next week April 13-17. During this week, Beth Murray, the ES Math Coach, will have short videos, links, games and activities to increase awareness of mathematics and statistics in our daily lives.

Get ready to play some games, do some puzzles, and be inspired to wonder about the power of mathematical ideas.

Grade 5 PYP Exhibition – Save the Date

The Grade 5 PYP Exhibition showcase is nearly upon us. The Exhibition is an extremely rich opportunity for students to develop important lifelong learning skills such as: problem solving, collaboration, research and resilience. This unique project is the culminating event of each student’s time in the elementary school and requires a demonstration of the skills and dispositions that students have been developing over their time in the programme.

The exhibition showcase will look different than it normally does to reflect our current circumstances in Distance Learning. The whole Grade 5 team is looking forward to sharing our learning with the community via a series of Zoom calls on April 23rd. Please check the next Tin Tuc for more details and a schedule for topics and presentations.

From the Elementary School Principal

Dear Families,

Together we have made it! Since Monday February 3, you have partnered with us to transform our school programme into a School of Distance Learning.  You have upskilled yourself in all kinds of technology and ensured that your children have remained connected with us, with one another, and have continued learning. We are in awe of your collective courage, tenacity, creativity and commitment, and the way that you have constantly shown up for each other, for us and your children. You have lived our core VALUE of COMMUNITY, every single day.

Take a bow, please, this has been no easy feat.

Also, thank you so much to the more than 100 families who responded to our survey. We are reviewing every comment, suggestion and criticism. Please know that your feedback will ensure we are well equipped to continue providing distance learning for your children.

We would like to share with you some of the wonderful comments we have received and thank all of you who have taken the time today to thank our teachers.

  • We are very grateful for the amazing efforts of the whole ES team in making this work.
  • I highly appreciate all the efforts the school and the teachers are making. This is hard for everyone. Hopefully it will be over soon.
  • We are just very appreciative of the care, humor, kindness, attention to detail, responsive support and smiles that our kids teachers have demonstrated over the past 8 weeks. They are superstars that deserve commendations for their dedication to our children and their learning and wellness.
  • We are so grateful for this great distance learning program!
  • All in all the school is doing a phenomenal job with this and everything is deeply appreciated. Sending thanks to you all.
  • It is admirable how the faculty transformed the PYP into a high quality distance learning program. I am aware that the IB has strong foundations in interpersonal learning, so this challenge was obviously embraced to the largest extent possible. During the past two months, this program has provided us some sort of normalcy and above all a healthy rhythm to get through the days and weeks. My children lost their motivation for DL not once, and for this we cannot thank UNIS enough.

Thank you! Please do unplug and take advantage of this coming week to enjoy a family holiday.

Yours sincerely
Megan Brazil

Art Lessons Become a Family Affair!

Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters are no longer sitting on the sidelines watching their Elementary family members have all the fun in Art lessons! Now families are joining in on the lessons and producing art for the teacher to see and grade too!

Elementary School Art Teachers, Emma Hamilton and Vicki Wilson-Jiwatram have received a number of art pieces, created not only by their students, but parents and siblings as well!

Emma says it’s been ‘so beautiful’ to see the family engagement. She added, “I regularly receive emails from families telling me they’ve really enjoyed the tasks set for their child.

I do think one of the major benefits of this distance learning experience is that the whole family gets involved in the curriculum more practically” commented one Grade 1 parent. “I thoroughly enjoy the slides alongside my children.

One student expressed his delight at being able to draw with his ‘big sis’, even though he missed sitting in the classroom with his teachers and friends. Another big sister revealed how helping her little sister complete her work has improved her skills as an artist. 

A large collection of artwork made by families has been amassed. Here’s a snapshot…

K2 Online Market

Throughout the last 8 weeks in their Unit of Inquiry, K2 has been learning about how we organize ourselves and provide goods and services to our communities. The unit ended with  a K2 Market Day…. which this year was created virtually on the UNIS Hanoi K2 Market Website. 

Across the course of the unit students surveyed their community to evaluate their wants and needs and worked with specialist teachers, homeroom teachers and their parents to create goods to meet the needs of their community.  

The K2 students let their creativity shine through creating ribbon wands, shakers, cards, bookmarks and more which were showcased and sold on the UNIS Hanoi K2 Market Website. All proceeds from our goods will be donated to Blossom House here in Vietnam.

A big thank you to Ms Nikki and Mr Neal who got the website together and the K2 teachers and specialist teachers and of course parents who supported the K2 children throughout the designing and making process. 

ES Distance Learning Survey

Dear UNIS Elementary Families,

Your Elementary School student has been engaged with our Distance Learning programme now for almost 8 weeks.

At this time, we would like to gather feedback from our community to find out what the experience has been like for parents and students. This data will help us as we strive to provide a high quality Distance Learning programme for your child/ren for the foreseeable future, until we are able to return to campus.

In order for us to interpret the data effectively, please complete one survey for each child you have in our Elementary School. The survey will close next Monday, 30 March.

ES Distance Learning Survey

Thank you.

Kind regards
Megan Brazil
Elementary Principal


Distance Learning at UNIS Hanoi – Our Blended Approach

Dear Elementary School Families,

As we conclude Week 6 of our Distance Learning programme, we have noticed higher levels of engagement and participation by our Elementary Students.

We have been very careful to ensure that the concept of “Distance Learning” has not been confused with “Online Learning” and to emphasise that we do not want our students to be in front of screens all day every day.

Distance Learning in our Elementary School can most aptly be described as a blended approach of on-screen, off-screen, live lessons and independent learning time.  The graphic presented here provides an overview of each of the key components of our Distance Learning programme.

Over the next two weeks as we head towards Spring Break we hope to maintain high levels of engagement as we look to gather as much evidence of student learning as we can.  Teachers have been providing feedback on students’ work each week, in order to help improve students’ learning and to help our students know what their next steps are.  Please continue to encourage your children to participate in as much of the Distance Learning as possible, and to share their work with their teachers.

Megan Brazil

Elementary School Prinicipal

Library Book Check-out System Continues to be popular

Students are still getting the chance to get their hands on their favourite reads thanks to a creative delivery service implemented by the School’s library department. 

Since the beginning of distance learning, our librarians have been giving students the chance to select books virtually and collect them from the School gate or have them delivered straight to their front door!

“It’s been crazy busy here” revealed Monica Mayer, the ES librarian. “We pack up at least 50 books a day for students in Elementary School and Middle School. We’re delighted our families love the service.”

Together with her colleague, Kate Hodgson, the librarians continue to work closely with home base teachers and English teachers to recommend great reads for children of all ages and abilities. What’s more, the duo keep the online library full with the latest releases, including free art books from the Guggenheim Museum in New York. 

One happy parent said of the service, “Our boys were so happy and excited to receive books at the gate. It really helps to add this into their routine and get them excited to read new books.”

Library Borrowing During School Closure

Instructions for Students: 

  • Return your books to the library book return box located just inside Gate 1. 
  • Return your books Monday to Friday between 8am – 4pm.
  • Books must be returned in a named bag. 
  • Browse DESTINY, our online library catalogue, to look for great books to read.
  • Fill in the Book Borrowing form for your Division. You can download the form for ECC, Elementary and MS/HS  and print it out. There will be additional forms available at the table near the return box. You can also check our catalogue online to see specific titles and if they are currently ‘in’. Link to our online catalogue is
  • Place the form inside your bag with the books you are returning.
  • Place your book bag inside the return box at Gate 1.

Librarians will collect those books and process all new book requests. New books will then be ready for students/parents to collect from Gate 1 between 9:00am – 11:00am on the following day. A delivery service is also available on request. 

All books can then be returned during normal library times when we all return to school. Students should not be concerned if they have books in lockers at school. They can return them when school returns to normal. 

For further information please email either or


Tết is just around the corner!

Tết or VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR marks the biggest and most significant festival in Vietnamese culture. It is an occasion for the Vietnamese people to show their respect to their parents, ancestors as well as welcoming the New Year with the entire family members. According to the Lunar Calendar, 2020 New Year’s Day falls on Saturday, January 25th. This year is the year of the RAT.

During this week, all students from ECC up to Grade 5 in Vietnamese class have been so busy making Banh Chung – Vietnamese sticky rice cake for Tet. It is a wonderful learning experience for our UNIS Hanoi students to explore the tradition of the host country.

At UNIS Hanoi, the Elementary students will have Tết assemblies on Thursday, January 23rd in the theatre. The assemblies are hosted by Grades 1, 3 and 5 students who attend Vietnamese classes.

Two performances are scheduled as bellows:

  • Performance 1 for Grade 2,3,4,5: From 8.30 – 9.20
  • Performance 2 for Grade 1,  ECC and parents: From 9.25a – 10.15

Parents are kindly invited to the second assembly to join us for this special event. Everybody is encouraged to wear “Áo dài” on the day to welcome TET. 


Grade 4 Market Day

Date: Tuesday 14 January
Time: 10:45-12:00

Grade 4 students are inquiring into “How We Organise Ourselves” by learning how much market forces can affect the value of goods and services. They have discovered that determining the price of a product is a complicated matter. To make this a realistic experience the Grade 4 students have created businesses.

 All the profits earned will be used for taking action towards Children’s Rights! 

On Tuesday 14 January they will sell their products and services to an excited band of consumers, namely the students of Grades K2, 1, 2, 3 and 5. 

The Grade 4 business owners are asking students to bring in a maximum of 100,000 VND to spend at the Grade 4 Market Day. The prices range from 10,000 VND to 50,000 VND. 

The Grade 4 team of teachers and students would like to thank you in advance for your kind support in. It is one of the highlights of the year for all involved. 

Any concerns or questions please feel free to contact: Christy Heitmiller ( OR any of the Grade 4 Teachers.

PYP Workshops for Parents

It is widely recognised that schools partnering with parents benefit our students and adds richness to the community and our programme. The partnerships between home and school provide the foundation to support students’ learning, growth, health and well-being and agency. As an elementary school we continually seek opportunities to develop these partnerships.

Over the last few weeks we invited parents to join us at school to learn more about how and what we teach in the Primary Years Programme. We were happy to see so many of you accept our invitation to open classrooms and join in the learning alongside your children. We were also very excited to welcome a number of you to our PYP workshops where we learnt more about the research, practices and system that guides learning and teaching each day at our school.

We held three parent session last week in English, Vietnamese and Korean. These sessions generated deep conversations about our programme and how we teach and learn in the PYP. These links below will take you to the presentations in each of the three languages presented. If you have any further wonderings about the PYP, please email me at and I would be happy to help answer your questions.

Kind regards,
Joshua Smith
PYP Coordinator

“The Aristocats”

There is a big show called “The Aristocats”.
It will be at the UNIS Theatre.
The dates are going to be December 6th and 7th.
You can buy tickets in the Centre for the Arts, B10, for 100,000VND

It will be about three kittens and one mother cat called Duchess, and a bunch of alley cats and mice.
The butler tries to kidnap the three kittens and Duchess.  

It will be an exciting and crazy adventure!
Don’t forget to buy your tickets soon before all the seats run out! 

Written by “The Aristocats Kids” Publicity Team:  Lexie, Brooklyn, Leo, Lucy, Jacob, Ruoyi, Aadi and Camille