Learning in Action

Thank you!

June 9, 2015 by · 1 Comment · Literacy

Thank you everyone for your planning, coordinating and contributing to today’s celebration.  The children had a wonderful morning at the movies and then what a feast was had by all!  I am always amazed at the food that is brought in at these events.  That is one of the many things I will miss next year.  I will have to find recipes to try out on my own.

Thank you all for the bracelet and photo book.  They are lovely momentums of the year.  I feel very grateful to have had this group in my final year at UNIS. This class has shown tremendous growth  in all areas and is such a caring, empathetic group. The classroom environment has been one that allows everyone to learn and feel successful. This is something I feel very proud of with 4HK.

I wish you all the best summer and beyond. Thank you for the support you have given me this year and especially as I have led up to the move. With 8 years in Hanoi and at UNIS, we take many fond, lasting memories on our move to America.


Enjoy your holiday!


Revisions, Decimals and Miners

June 5, 2015 by · Comments Off on Revisions, Decimals and Miners · Literacy

Over the last week, we have spent a great deal of time working to develop our latest narrative stories, in the genre of realistic fiction. Along with plot development, we have looked at character development, paragraph organization and the proper use and punctuation of dialogue to add to their stories.  I am so proud of how well these are written and I look forward to celebrating this success with them as we have a Grade Four sharing on Monday.

Math has given us more opportunities to work with fractions and decimals. We have continued to work on using both visual and numeric representations of fractions as we have tried to order them from least to greatest. We have also looked at writing fractions in decimal form and place value with decimals.

We are coming to an end of Rocks and Minerals and students have consolidated their scientific thinking and processes by testing out some of our class ‘pet’ rocks by testing for known minerals in them. This showed great evidence of understanding of all that shaped our unit. We also had visitors from a nearby mine share with us their experience with rocks and minerals.

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We are looking forward to the last week of school and celebrating at the cinema Tuesday morning and then having lunch with all of you Tuesday at 11:30.  If you haven’t signed up to bring a dish, please do so here.


Rocks, Fractions and Reality

May 22, 2015 by · 1 Comment · Literacy

We have had a wonderful week consolidating out learning with soil and rocks to better understand the question of “How do big rocks break down and become little rocks?”.  We have looked at abrasion, physical weather and chemical weather in the form of acid rain.  We have put a big focus on applying science vocabulary to our clearly labeled diagrams.

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The next stage of the unit will bring us time to explore minerals and the properties that help people identify them. This is an exciting week, where we get to see and touch many different minerals.  I am sure the beautiful collections from home will keep coming in to be shared with the class.

Photo by: David McSpadden, CC BY 
We are working with fractions in math still and looking at ordering them. We are using both visual, shape fractions and thinking of numeric value in fractions. Our lessons consist of many drawings and hands on manipulatives to help support this understanding.

4HK writers are just about finished with their first draft in their realistic fiction stories.  We will be moving forward with the writing process next week in the stages of editing and revising. They are so proud of their ideas and they show so much growth as writers from the start of the year.

Please be reminded that on Friday, May 29th there will be an early release day, due to the High School Graduation.  Please make sure you arrange your plans to accommodate that schedule change.

Rocks, Fractions and Reality

May 8, 2015 by · Comments Off on Rocks, Fractions and Reality · Literacy


This week Rocked.  What a lovely unit we are ending the year with.  So far we have examined what makes up soil and have begun exploring the idea of weathering and answering the Question: what makes big rocks break down to become little rocks. We will continue to explore weathering next week and look a bit more at the human impact of weathering and erosion.



In math we are beginning to explore the idea of fractions. In this next unit we will be looking at and comparing the fractions of shapes and fractions of smaller numbers.  Towards the last weeks of the year we will explore the relationship between fractions and decimals. This can be a complex and seemingly more abstract unit for many.  To support understanding, add the language of fractions and decimals into your everyday language at home.  The more that students can see how much we are surrounded by both decimals and fractions, the more relative this will be.

We have started to ‘mine’ for more ideas for our Realistic Fiction narrative that we will be writing shortly. Using the story mountain diagram, we have been analyzing various texts and elements of familiar and new plots.

Next week is MAP tests again. We will have limited homework so the children can be well rested for these.  Please make sure that they are having a good breakfast and snack to help them concentrate.

On the topic of snacks, I would like to take a moment to remind families that snack time each day is meant to provide a healthy, nourishing snack.  There have been many more snacks that are basically candy coming in.  This is not the right time for candy to be eaten.  Please make sure healthy choices are being made for snack.

April 24, 2015 by · Comments Off on · Literacy

What a wonderful week in 4HK. The majority of our focus was on preparing, executing and reflecting on our Market Day work.  Thank you for all of the behind the scenes support from home and the many trips to shops to price and then purchase items for their market stalls. There has been such energy all week, and then such tiredness.   They definitely gave it their all and reaped the benefits from it!  All groups made a profit and after the market, could reflect on the success and areas for improvement.


We had the chance to visit the Grade Five PYP Exhibition on Thursday. That was a lovely way for all of us to see where the current learning is taking these students.  It is hard to imagine that in one short year, the kids in 4HK will be doing the Exhibition themselves.

Have a lovely holiday, wherever you may spending it.  Don’t forget to look for rocks that you can legally bring back.  I look forward to the final term of school after the break.



Entrepreneurship, Area Models and Stories

April 10, 2015 by · Comments Off on Entrepreneurship, Area Models and Stories · Literacy

The businesses have begun!  Grade 4 has finally been placed in their Market Day groups and the excitement is spreading throughout Grade Four. Over the next two weeks each group will be creating a detailed business plan and borrowing money to start their business.  Profits from Market Day will go towards our end of the year party.  We have some great initial ideas for both services and goods to offer at Market Day on April 22 from 9 – 11.  Mark your calendars, as I hope you will also join us then.




The bulk of this week has been learning about ideas and market research. Each group came up with a variety of ideas for their market stall and have been evaluating whether it would be a good business move. The week ended with students surveying and analysing the data collected in the survey.

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In math we continued to work on area models to visualize larger multiplication problems and better understand the distributive property within multiplication.  This has helped many be able to better see why some strategies for solving multiplication work the way they do and it also helps people to continue to develop and better idea of value.



In writing we began our inquiry into Realistic Fiction.  We have been doing many prewriting activities to get creative ideas flowing and start to think about both what stories we would like to read and then later which ones we would enjoy writing.

We said goodbye to another 4HK student since my last post.  I know you will join me in wishing Yuki and his family well as they head to Japan for the next stop in their adventures.


Reflection, Practice and Preparation

March 27, 2015 by · Comments Off on Reflection, Practice and Preparation · Literacy

We have been busy this week.  Besides much of our normal routine we have been busy preparing for next week’s Three Way Conferences.  When you are here next week, your son/daughter will lead out our 20 minute conference to discuss who they are as a learner. This is the first time we are doing something like this at UNIS and the children have been very responsive and responsible in preparing for these.  They have been reflecting on their successes as a learner this year and are also looking at ways in which they feel they can be improving as a student.  ISIS sign ups have closed for these conferences.  If you missed sign up for some reason, please email esdpsecretary@unishanoi.org to book a time that works for both of us.  Please note that ES classes will not be held on Friday April 3rd due to these conferences, but UMA lessons will continue on that day.



We are fully into our latest UOI . Students have enjoyed exploring the concept of supply and demand this week, working with visual imagery and case studies to explore this idea. As the unit unfolds, their definitions will grow.  Our week began with an auction of items and was a great illustration to see how supply and demand directly affect price and value.  Chat with your child about what items they bought and the scenario of the auction.

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I would like to wish Fuka and her family well as they relocate to Japan next week.  4HK had enjoyed having you here this year.


March 20, 2015 by · 1 Comment · Literacy

It was so lovely to see all of you last night at the Grade Four Slice of Ice. Was a wonderful night to help the students share their understanding, learning and work in the area of The Arts. They were both nervous and proud of all that they were doing last night.

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Here is a clip of 4HK during their musical performance.  They did very well. Does anyone have a clip of the dancing?  I forgot to video that one.  I loved the energy.

We have started our new Unit called, Is the Price Right?. We will be looking at supply and demand, wants and needs and at the end of the unit, students will be opening up a business for our Market Day culminating event.  This will be the morning of April 23rd and parents will be invited to join.  More detail will follow soon.

I hope to see you all at the Spring Fair. There is still a need for volunteers.  Please consider devoting an hour to helping the event happen.  Sign up here. 

Multiples, Factors and Presentations

March 13, 2015 by · Comments Off on Multiples, Factors and Presentations · Literacy

I hope that everyone is staying warm and dry this week. March can always be trying here in Hanoi.

We had a very productive week in 4HK. I was so proud of the children and their presentations on Hanoi Heritage. Earlier in the unit they had their first attempt at persuasive speeches and although they did well, the improvement in this week’s speeches was notable. They have focused not only on their oral presentation skills, but the organization of ideas and usage of text features within the genre. Their design ideas for the visuals in their presentations also showed growth in understanding of some of the principles of design. They should feel very accomplished with all of the growth in these two areas.



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Math lessons have allowed us to start to explore patterns within multiples and factors in our “Chocolate Factory”.  We continued to visualize multiplication in arrays to help us see the concept. Have your son/daughter explain to you how this worked.  have a look at the chart and see if you can see what is happening.

Can you please check with your son/daughter to make sure they have headphones or earbuds at school.  Most people had them at the beginning of the year, but suddenly students are getting relaxed about having them available at school.

I look forward to seeing all of you on Thursday night at the Slice of ICE Evening.  We will begin at 6pm in the Center for the Arts.

Games, Speeches and Area

March 6, 2015 by · Comments Off on Games, Speeches and Area · Literacy

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Happy Friday.  What a fun week we had.  Early in the week we spent the morning enjoying a Fun Sports Morning out on the fields. It was nice to see several of you there to help support the students. As a teacher, it is always nice to see the students in a different environment and to work with them in a different way.


We hope all enjoyed our ES Sports Morning. If you missed the morning or simply want to relive the fun, check out all the super action photos taken during the event.


We have spent a lot of our week working with persuasive language and persuasive speeches to get ready for our final assessment in our Heritage unit.  We have been observing many public speakers and how they engage the audience, persuade with words and use body language and eye contact to connect with others.  One example that we looked at is this one.  If you are looking for a useful 5 minutes, watch this and read the story here.


When not thinking about the language and content with our Heritage UOI, we began our unit on Multiplication and Division.  We used Area as a segue to this unit.  They are very naturally connected when you use an array as a key model for understanding multiplication, which is one we will be using throughout the unit.

Have a good weekend.


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