Open Classrooms

Thank you to all parents who came in to be part of our learning yesterday and today!

With the aim to create an ideal learning environment for your child – a student who will hopefully solve some of our world’s issues as an adult – is given a great deal of autonomy to self-direct the learning. It would be great to hear back from you about your experience at our Open Classroom. What were the most important characteristics of learning? What are the most positive, memorable experiences? There is always room for improvement, what might that be?


This week was about unpacking and making connections with two units of inquiry under the transdisciplinary themes of How We Organize Ourselves and Sharing the Planet.

HWOO Overview  STP Overview

Visit your child’s flipgrid posts. You are welcome to record answers to the questions below and then comment on your child and peers’ videos suggesting a Sustainable Development Goal that your superpower can help with.

  1. If you had a superpower that could be used to improve the lives of young people, what would it be and how would you use it?
  2. What have you ever done to help make other children’s lives better?

Tuning into how social enterprises consider purpose and needs and want, grade 4 students shared their understanding and thoughts about the following questions:

How do you earn money?
Have you ever sold anything? What was it?
What did you do with your money?

Please have a look at the overviews for both units by clicking on the links above and have a conversation with your child about best ways to gain knowledge and understandings for each line of inquiry and central idea.

Numberless Word Problems

Ask your child about ‘Mary’s Biscuits’. 

Recently fourth graders were introduced to numberless word problems. It was delightful to see how excited and engaged the students were in solving problems that would have seemed too difficult otherwise. This was a great activity structure for struggling students because it started off in a non-threatening way – no numbers, how about that? – and lets them build confidence before they ever have to solve anything.

Also, it was a great way to prompt rich discussion and get students to notice and grapple with the relationships in problem situations and to observe how the language helps us understand those relationships. This is a scaffold that can help get students to attend to information and language.

This was an opportunity to use the structure below to slow them down and get them thinking again.

  1. Understand the problem
  2. Make a plan
  3. Solve the problem
  4. Check and reflect?

    Outdoor Classroom and Buddies
    Your child enthusiastic offered play-based workshops today at our Outdoor Classroom and played cooperatively and creatively with our K2 buddies! The weather was beautiful, the spirits were high and the day was very pleasant! Please consider taking things outdoors this weekend!

    Open Classroom
    See you on Thursday & Friday, November 15 & 16 for our Open Classroom.
    We, 4C United, would like to welcome you at these times:
    Thursday, Nov. 15, 12:50 – 1:30 pm
    Friday, Nov. 16, 10:30 – 11:10 am


This week, we had the privilege to learn about what a Social Enterprise is from two inspiring organizations, KOTO and Keep Hanoi Clean. The two organizations are striving to make a positive impact in the lives of others and our natural environment. The aim was for fourth graders to start to develop their understanding of:
Central Idea
Social enterprises consider purpose and market forces when creating products and services.
Lines of Inquiry
How social enterprises consider purpose and needs and wants
The market forces that influence decision making
The processes a social enterprise follows
Causation / Connection / Systems / Economics / Social Responsibility

Next week, will be the start of another Unit of Inquiry, Sharing the Planet. This UoI will be taught alongside How We Organize Ourselves. The purpose is for both units to be ACTION driven, leading to a meaningful Market Day.
Central Idea
Children’s rights and responsibilities exist to enable equitable opportunities.
An inquiry into…
Children’s rights and equity
Circumstances that determine a child’s access to opportunities
The role of social responsibility and action.

The students are provided a clear purpose for all the learning that they have been and will be engaging in.

Math Tip:
Counting Collections
Get a pile of something – maybe milk bottle/carton tops. Guess how many there are. Then start counting in ones. Teach how to put them into piles of ten, and then count them. Have a game to see how well you can guess how many things there are.
You could have a jar with a determined number, for example, 50 pieces of paper, with the numbers 0 to 50 on them. Draw out a number at random, and then each runs off around the house looking for that number of items. Line them up and see what everyone had collected. Collections would include clothes pegs, toy cars, spice jars, stones, socks… It could seem a bit pointless to adults, but your fourth grader would love it. It would be fun to find out what you collected zero of.
The purpose of this activity is for your child to be better at estimating, computation, and regrouping.

Learning engagements have to be clearly purposeful, with many aspects to the experience being intentional (e.g., content, physical environment, and social relationships). As parents, you are the best at instilling the importance of having a clear purpose and your efforts and intentions reflect greatly in the classroom as your child asks, ‘why?’!

Dates to remember
October 28: Sunday of Service
October 29: Snack Sale
November 1 & 2: Faculty/Staff Professional Development – No Classes or Activities for Students
November 26 – 30: UN Week
November 30: UN Day

Understanding Messages

Before October break our class finished our unit on “How the World Works”. This week we are circling back to our year-long unit “How We Express Ourselves.” The students did this through developing a list of ways we communicate our understandings effectively. They explored different options of what workshop they might want to attend to gain skills or learn about presentation tools. Next, they participated in a workshop to learn about a presentation style or tool.

Next week we will move on to our new Unit of Inquiry – How We Organize Ourselves – with the aim to develop a concrete understanding of the Central Idea: Social enterprises consider purpose and market forces when creating products and services. Nonetheless, the students will continue to work on expressing themselves through their I-Act-time projects and attend presentation workshops once a week.

Photo of the week: (Please have a conversation with your child about what is happening in the photo)

First-Quarter Down!

Parent-teacher Conferences
Thank you to all parents who came in to confer with me about the progress your child is making! I hope you found our time together as valuable and informative as I did.
At parent-teacher conferences, several of you asked for recommendations of good Math apps. After doing some research I would recommend the following:
Polyup is a free and open computational thinking playground where students can experiment with numbers and functions. Students will “mod”, or modify, a variety of expressions, equations, and algorithms to solve mathematical puzzles. It is available on the web and runs on any device, including Chromebooks, phones, and tablets.

This week was a very busy one for fourth graders! They displayed understandings of how the Earth surface changes over time due to natural processes and human activities through science investigation tasks. They explained their scientific procedures and conclusions, flaunting new vocabulary and knowledge gained.
Here is a link to the many videos and photos of your young scientist. Please encourage your child to share their learning with you. You can also access their knowledge and understanding from the Seesaw posts.

Maker-Space Exploration
At UNIS, we ensure that students are provided with the right opportunities and tools for our ever-changing world. Our relationship with technology and the fundamental way we understand how the world works is continually evolving. This week, our class had the chance to explore our ES Maker-Space. Your child collaborated, gaining new skills in using tools and working with a partner – replacing the ‘I’ with the power of ‘we’ as they engaged in a little fun challenge. They shared their successes and more importantly, their proud failures.

Guided Reading
Finally, we have kicked off our 4C & 4D guided reading program this week! Our ultimate goal is for your child to be an absolute independent reader and cultivate a love of reading. During our lessons, your fourth grader is provided with explicit instructions, in an ability grouping setting, that allows each individual to develop targeted literacy skills.
What are some features of Guided Reading?
• Teachers coach their groups as they read texts slightly harder than what they can read without support
• The groups are flexible, fluid and change based on an ongoing evaluation.
• The teacher leads a discussion of the text.
• If time allows, students do a few minutes of word work or guided writing.

Math Tips
Game of the Week: Race up the Rounding ladder
Purpose: To improve at rounding to a given place value
Materials: Rounding ladder game board and number cards
Alternatively, you could create a board by drawing a ladder with 20 rungs. The number cards could be replaced by rolling a dice 3 times on each turn to create a number.

Next Unit of Inquiry – How We Organize Ourselves
In preparation for our next UoI, please discuss the following with your child:
Central Idea
Social enterprises consider purpose and market forces when creating products and services.
Lines of Inquiry
How social enterprises consider purpose and needs and wants
The market forces that influence decision making
The process a social enterprise follows
Systems / Economics / Social Responsibility

Have a fabulous Autumn Break!

Making a Difference

Global Goals Week
This week was Global Goals Week. UNIS ES community focused on driving progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Global Goals.
Some of our ES Global Goals Events included:
#12 Responsible Consumption and Production – Learning to take care of resources in the classroom in order to promote sustainability e.g. putting lids on pens, making sure all puzzle pieces are returned, separating paper waste, serving your own food, enough for what you need.
#15 Life on Land – nurturing and appreciating plant and animal life in our gardens, noticing how our actions impact nature.
#16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – Through play in our learning environment… Learning how to respect others and treat people fairly. Learning to be a responsible member of our class community.
Recognize Peace Day September 21st and promote SDG #16 in the community in the week leading up to peace day. Read peace books. Give out Peace tokens. Peace Day Fliggrid. Peace Day Challenge. Using The Peace Book by Todd Parr you can connect all of the SDG’s.
#16 Focussing empathy, peace & strong institutions on “Be Kind Be Fearless” during Community Time. Using Three Act Empathy Talk , Ruffalo empathy video (Sesame Street) and others, a different one each day and linking to Classroom Agreements. Using Empathy Tool kit
#3, #11, and #12 4C – Nude food week (no wrappers, no processed food)
Grade 4 helping their grade K2 buddies in their food composting activity
Students in Grade 4 taking action directly or indirectly connected to while making careful observations, taking inventory, and having conversations about sustainable actions. They will clean up litter, working towards a cleaner and healthier planet. They will gain and hopefully raise awareness and implement knowledge gained towards ending global waste epidemic.

Trip to Soc Son
Thank you to all parent volunteers who came with us on the Grade 4 Trip to Soc Son. Not only were we all able to develop our understanding of landforms, rocks, and human impact, we also deepened our understanding of our Central Idea: Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and our activity.

We had a HUGE help from KeepHanoiClean Organization. This organization was founded by James Kendall, a passionate activist for a cleaner planet. James came to support our Grade 4 Global Goal action, supplying us with clean-up equipment and devoting his time and effort!
Unfortunately, the tongs that we used for trash collections were stolen from where we left them for James to pick-up during our trip. We are thus asking for a small donation for Keep Hanoi Clean Organization to not only replace the stolen items, but also to support their effort in motivating, inspiring, and educating people about environmental protection.

You can directly contact James at or send donations in with your child. Many thanks in advance.

Fourth graders took action towards Sustainable Development Goals 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, 14 – Life Below Water, 15 – Life on Land, and 3 – Good Health and Well-being. The sustainability of the planet is a big priority for us at UNIS. Please have a conversation with your child about maintaining a healthy, clean environment and actions to take towards achieving the Global Goals.

Check this out!
Investigating the GLOBAL GOALS in our Library integration

Math Tips:
Here is a game War (Variants) for you and your child to have some interesting number talk. It could be about addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Enjoy!

Saturday 29th September – Parent and Staff Sparkly Social (Purchase your ticket at the school shop)
Monday, 1st October – Parent-Teacher Conferences: No school for students (Sign up for a slot on Veracross; 10:00 am – 6:00 pm)
October 6 – 14 – Autumn Break

Learning Harvest Peace

How The World Works – Learning from others
Grade 4C students are provided opportunities to learn from their each other daily. This week’s highlight was learning from a student in our class during our unit of inquiry, How the World Works (Let’s Rock). Hamza brought in a model volcano and all materials to make it erupt. He gave a short introduction and explained what was happening, stating that magma rises and pushes through vents and breaks in the Earth’s surface. He continued by saying, “Magma that is erupting is called lava. Some eruptions are explosive and others are not”
Learning from others has plenty of benefits:
Build self-esteem in students
Develops oral communication skills
Develops higher level thinking skills
Promotes student interaction
Increases student retention
Enhances student satisfaction with the learning experience
Promotes a positive attitude toward the subject matter

We look forward to highlighting and learning from another student soon.

Math Coffee Morning
A big thank you to all parents who attended the Math Coffee Morning on Tuesday! I surely gained a great deal from the presentation and the hands-on, minds-on activities we engaged in!
Below is the link to the padlet shared at the coffee morning:
Math For Parents

Moon Festival
We celebrated Moon Festival in the ECC and ES on Thursday. This festival is mainly for children. Your child enjoyed a wonderful performance put together by students who attend Vietnamese World language classes at our ES assembly. The celebration was followed by toy making activities, students made lanterns, masks, decorated dragonflies, etc. They also enjoyed snacks provided by the Vietnamese and World language department.

International Day of Peace

Today, Friday, September 21st is International Day of Peace. Fourth graders part took in various peace activities. Please, have a chat with your child about what this day signifies. At UNIS, we follow the United Nations principles and observe this day that is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and people. The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a guideline to attend to and achieve economic and social development for all people everywhere and ensure that our rights are protected to build a peaceful world.

Global Goals Week – September 24 – 28
Next week is global goals week at UNIS. During this week we put the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals front and center in our thinking and our learning. As part of Global Goals week, we will be having a Nude Food Day on Friday 28 September. Put simply, nude food day means sending your child to school with a snack that contains no disposable packaging. For more information click here.


Saturday 22nd September – Community Connections Fair and Flea Market
Thursday 27th September – EAL Coffee Morning 8:30 – 9:30 (Parents of students who are receiving EAL support in the Elementary School. This is mostly relevant to new parents, though all parents for whom English is not their native language, are most welcome to attend.)Turtle Tower and Temple of Literature Rooms (B08b-115 & 116)
Saturday 29th September – Parent and Staff Sparkly Social (Purchase your ticket at the school shop)
Monday, 1st October – Parent-Teacher Conferences: No school for students (Sign up for a slot on Veracross; 10:00 am – 6:00 pm)


Your fourth grader should be able to tell you a thing or two about rocks, minerals, or erosion and weathering. This week, the students engaged in the study of the Earth – Geology. The investigation will continue with a focus on the Earth’s surface, and you can help your child take the learning further by researching the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. It would be beneficial to even have a look at the distribution of plants, animals, and people.
Inquiring into the impacts of Earth’s changes would hopefully provide opportunities to develop an understanding of and take action towards achieving the UN SDGs #15, #14, #13, and #11.

How do we make our learning impactful while developing and applying crucial skills such as communication, self-management, and research skills? It’s through inquiry and action at I-Act-Time! As defined earlier, I-Act-Time is a privileged time on our timetable to act on an issue to help the world through innovations, ideas, and hands-on explorations. For that to be meaningful and successful, Grade 4C students worked on the different ways we take action.

On Thursday, our K2 buddies visited us and we spent some time getting to know one another even better through interviewing. Fourth graders helped their buddies apply their communication skills through an oral interview process and visual technology skills.
Buddy Class Photos

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 15 is World Clean Up Day Millions of people in 150 countries will unite to clean up our world, in the biggest civic action in human history.

What: Commit to a 2-hour community action with your child

Where: Hoan Kiem Lake

Meeting Point: Lý Thái Tổ Monument 12 Lê Lai, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm
(The mayor of Hanoi will be there for a ribbon-cutting ceremony so you will see lots setting up and people in green t-shirts.) I will be there too in my UNIS t-shirt

When: Saturday, September 15 Time: 9 AM to 11 AM

The Organization Keen Hanoi Clean will have thongs and bin bags for participants

What to bring/wear:
Wear long sleeve t-shirts and long pants
Durable covered shoes
Sun cream
Water bottle
If you would like to bring your own gloves, please do.

Farewell to Mohau

Tuesday 18th September – Math Coffee Morning
Thursday 20th September – Moon Festival Assembly
Saturday 22nd September – Community Connections Fair and Flea Market
Saturday 29th September – Parent and Staff Sparkly Social

Take the Lead

Our school core values, learning, community, and responsibility, foster leadership. As the ES prepares for and offers yet another opportunity for students to take the lead, some students in our class put their candidacy forward and gave a speech for why they should be elected as our Grade 4C Student Council Representative. After listening to how each candidate planned to secure accountability, impact the ES positively, and take responsibility, the class cast their votes. The results were very close between all four candidates, Tom, Ayaan, Olivia, and Stella. Our emerging leaders are Ayaan and Stella. Congratulations to them!
Please ask your candidate to show you his or her speech video on Seesaw.

Fourth graders engaged in a thought-provoking activity on Wednesday. They rotated through the four Grade 4 classrooms, engaging in tasks such as viewing some videos and making physical and imagery observations, which they recorded on a ‘See Think Wonder’ chart. The atmosphere was galvanizing as the students applied their thinking skills, solving problems, making decisions, asking questions, organizing the information they were assimilating from the objects and images.

Students making meaning of the Transdisciplinary Theme: How the World Works

Thank you to all who attended our annual Back-to-School Night. Here is a link to the slides shared last night. Hope you were able to get to learn a few aspects of who we are as a Grade 4C community, what to look forward to learning this school year, and through your engagement in the Gradual Increase activity, how learning takes place.
Also, a BIG THANK YOU to Ha (Tom’s mother) and Mmatlou (Mohau’s mother) for volunteering to be our 4C United Class Parents!

IMPORTANT! Change of clothes to PE next week
Next week for PE, on Wednesday, fourth graders will be on the ‘hunt for water in our mission to Mars’. They will get wet and possibly muddy so they need a change of clothes in order to participate. Please remind your child about that!

Tuesday 11th September – Parent Community Morning with Head of School – 8am
Saturday 22nd September – Community Connections Fair and Flea Market
Saturday 29th September – Parent and Staff Sparkly Social
Monday 1st October – ES Parent – Teacher Conferences (No School or ASAs for ES)
October 6 – 14th – Autumn Break NO SCHOOL

Supporters of Learning

This week we had two special teachers as guests in our classroom. Ms. Beth, the D-5 Extension and Enrichment Coach, enlightened the students about ways to discuss math problems and strategies to share their reasoning and solutions. The conversation and math activity we did with Ms. Beth lead to the class’ understanding of the importance of having Number Talks. Grade 4C students discussed and agreed on these three points:

  1. We gain different perspectives
  2. We can become more knowledgeable
  3. Our brains grow to come up with our own unique ways of solving problems when reasoning with others

It is most important that your child accurately and efficiently solve math problems in ways that make sense to her or him. At home, encourage your child to explain her or his math thinking to you.

We also had a visit from Mr. Dylan. He engaged us all in the practice of individual strengths and capacity to take care of oneself while learning academic skills and social-emotional skills.

With the aim of making meaning of How we express our understanding influences how effectively our messages are communicated, (How We Express Ourselves’ Central Idea) our class set up a Me Museum to express their understanding of who they are as individuals.
Enjoy this short Me Museum video

I-Act Time
This week, students shared ideas of meaningful ways to have our school values of Learning, Community and Responsibility reflect in all that we do and that led us to define what we do in I-Act Time. Here are three statements that sum up our conclusions:

  • Acting on an issue to help the world
  • Making a positive impact in our community
  • Doing a bunch of things that involves action
    Watch this space for your child’s action-driven innovations and passion projects.

Buddy Class
Finally, we met with our buddies on Thursday! There is no doubt we will have an amazing year together. Students are already thinking of all the activities to engage our K2C buddies in community building, taking responsibilities, and learning together! For example, they mentioned going for a walk around the school to identify ways to help, creating a cooperative game, or practicing math and reading skills.

Back-To-School Night
See you in B9 – 116 at either 6:00pm or 6:35pm on Thursday, September 6 to learn about WHO your child’s teachers are, WHAT your child can look forward to learning this year, and HOW the learning will take place.

Monday 3rd September – NO SCHOOL!
Thursday 6th September – Back to School Night – 6pm
Tuesday 11th September – Parent Community Morning with Head of School – 8am
Saturday 22nd September – Community Connections Fair and Flea Market
Saturday 29th September – Parent and Staff Sparkly Social
Monday 1st October – ES Parent – Teacher Conferences (No School or ASAs for ES)
October 6 – 14th – Autumn Break NO SCHOOL

Next Week
UOI: How The World Works provocation
Reading: Guided Reading and Comprehension strategies
Writing: Looking at the structure of Narrative texts-the complication and resolution
Math: Whole Numbers and Data Handling