From the Middle School Principal

What a fantastic time of year for positive celebrations. The Grade 5 students and their culminating PYPx, the G10 students and their MYP capstone Personal Projects, and Elementary, Middle and High School Parent Student Teacher Conferences to recognize the learning that has taken place throughout the year.  Having these positive “handholds” is very necessary during these uncertain times.  We look forward to providing our Middle School community with more of these “usual” events as we head towards the end of the school year.  In this edition, please find articles about Middle School Mathematics, a Top Ten Distance Learning Guide for Parents, and an article from our StuCO on their lunchtime cooking courses.  Thank you for your support.

Enabling Success in Mathematics during Distance Learning

Mathematics is a subject that draws attention in every school and at any time.  With the celebration of Math Week in the Middle and High Schools, we thought it would be a good time to share how our MS Math team is working to enable success in MS Mathematics.  Please take a moment to review the slideshow linked below.  If you have questions or comments, please reach out to your child’s math teacher.  

MS Principal, Marc Vermiere added, “Thanks to the Math Team for their continued efforts on behalf of our students and for putting together this comprehensive guide.”

Click here to access the slideshow.

 

 

Top 10 Parent Student Teacher Distance Learning Engagements

In preparation for and as a celebration of Parent Student Teacher Conferences, we want to remind parents of some guidelines around Distance Learning. Many parents are already well aware and are using these guidelines to help their students be successful during Distance Learning. We want you to know how much we appreciate your support!  Thank you!  For those needing a tool to help remind their children, the UNIS Hanoi Middle School faculty have come up with the Top 10 Parent Student Teacher Distance Learning Engagementsin English,Tiếng Việt, 한국어, and 日本語.

*Please see this previous article for other questions

*Thanks to our Middle School translators for helping to bring this message to our community!

Posted in MS

MS Student Council Offers Synchronous Cooking Classes

Over these days of Parents Student Teacher Conferences, our MS Student Council has stepped in to help offer synchronous cooking classes for any and all interested students.  This week they really thought they could “stir it up” and have daily offerings with this week’s cooking instructor Mrs. Doré.  Here’s what we were cooking up on Thursday! 

“Egg-in-a-Hole” “Grilled Cheese”

1 egg, 1 piece of bread, Oil or Butter, Pan, Stove, Salt & Pepper 

Get Your parents’ permission 

2 pieces of bread, Oil or Butter, Pan, Stove, Cheese (your favorite kind)

Get Your parents’ permission 

Stay tuned for more announcements next week and more opportunities to get “together” online.

Posted in MS

MS/HS Math Week Challenges Proved Math is Fun

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week, fun math tasks dropped into the inboxes of middle and high school students. 

Spearheaded by the MS/HS math department, the Math Week Challenges were launched to mark Math Awareness Month – an annual event that takes place in April. Kept light yet probing, the students were sent four problems to solve or resources to explore every other school day. 

UNIS Hanoi’s Enrichment Coach and Head of Math, Cody Taggart said, “Students get tunnel vision that math is just a set of formulas or problems and we want to open their eyes to how awesome mathematics can be if you think about it in new and interesting ways. Math Week gave us a chance to show students how math is beautiful, fun, and connected to real life.”

Did you or your child participate? Below is a selection of the challenges students were sent. Can you solve them?

 

Posted in MS

Enriching Distance Learning in the Middle School and High School

UNIS Hanoi has been providing a robust, engaging distance learning program for our Middle and High school students. Most students are working hard to meet the academic rigors of each class. While many teachers are already providing regular enrichment opportunities, some students are curious and hungry for more. Starting last week, we (Enrichment Coaches) developed the Enrich email newsletter for students.  The Enrich newsletter will be sent to students every Thursday.

The Enrich newsletter provides students a carefully curated list of enrichment resources that they can pursue at their own leisure.  It is an invitation to explore an area of passion or delve deeper into a topic. We have lots of wonderful enrichment resources to share and will select a few to include in each edition.  If you have a specific request, you are more than welcome to reach out to us through email: Mr. Taggart (HS Enrichment Coach) or Ms. Kimberly (MS Enrichment Coach).

We applied recent professional learning through Global Online Academy (GOA) when developing the Enrich newsletter. “Wayfinding”, “Curation” and “Student agency”  are important concepts to support successful distance learning. Wayfinding is the idea that setting up predictable routines to make it easier to navigate distance learning. For this reason, the newsletter will follow a similar layout weekly. Next, curation is the idea that resources should be carefully selected and presented. Too many resources can be overwhelming. So while we have lots of wonderful enrichment resources to share, we will share a select few each week. Finally, student agency gives students choice in what, when and how they learn. The Enrich newsletter provides enrichment resources and allows students to choose what they explore on their own time. Of course, we are always available for a quick chat through Google hangouts if students want some guidance or support as they explore the resources. 

 Looking for more ways to support your child at home…

  • CTD Backpack – A  worldwide online community for bright and curious students and their families developed by the Center for Talent Development (CTD). In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, CTD has reduced the membership fee from $40 to $3 (one-time fee) through May.
  • Bright Now – A podcast about parenting and educating bright and curious kids from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
  • Parenting during an Apocalypse This just provides some practical advice on what you can do with your child. 
  • Or If you are feeling like me, Kimberly Yash:

Posted in MS

Math Recommendations for Grade 8 Students Transitioning to Grade 9

Transitioning to High School for our Grade 08 students means an opportunity to differentiate Math classes in order to best continue to support learners. Mathematics recommendations are being made for the 20-21 school year. Here is a look at what this means for your Grade 08 student next year.

Mathematics Recommendations 

Recommendations are holistic and based on evidence of learning that a student has demonstrated in assessments and in class, as well as in approaches to learning. There are two courses of Mathematics taught in the High School: 

Standard mathematics, which aims to give all students a sound knowledge of basic mathematical principles while allowing them to develop the skills needed to meet the objectives of MYP mathematics

Extended mathematics, in which the standard mathematics framework supplemented by additional topics and skills, providing greater breadth and depth” (IBO, Mathematics).

During Homebases, HS Mathematics teachers have been sharing with Grade 08 students more about the two HS mathematics courses, including the information that a student’s current teacher uses to provide a recommendation for their Math pathway. Students are encouraged to speak with their current Math teacher about their goals and progress to help inform the recommendation process. In addition, parents and students are encouraged to discuss this topic at Parent Student Teacher Conferences with their child’s Math teacher.

Posted in MS

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 https://tinyurl.com/vbh67rb
  • 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 eslibrarian@unishanoi.org or mshslibrarian@unishanoi.org

 

Grade 6 Students Analyze ‘Moon Bear’ as Part of an Integrated MYP UoI

Grade 6 students are engaging in an integrated Language and Literature and Service Learning MYP Inquiry Unit where they are exploring how setting influences perspective. The SDG focus for this unit is SDG 15 – Life on Land and SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Students are weekly engaging in critical reading analysis through listening and responding to an online read-aloud of Moon Bear by Gill Lewis, renowned young adult’s author. 

The original goal was for students to engage in collaborative Literature Circles for this text analysis, however, with the transition to Distance Learning the approach to text analysis moved to an online platform.

Students have engaged in eight text analysis lessons that have involved the following:

  • Step 1: Carefully listen to and read along with instalments of Moon Bear by Gill Lewis.
  • Step 2: Respond to the read-aloud through the following Language and Literature analysis skills:
    • An explanation of Thoughts, Questions and Conceptual Connections (TQC’s)
    • Visible Thinking routines that show deep understanding via Colour, Shape, Line, and Symbolism and Motifs
    • Character Models to show metaphorical thinking skills
    • Character comparison through annotated Venn Diagrams.
  • Step 3: Upload to Seesaw or Veracross in order to receive feedback from the teacher.

During each synchronous Language and Literature lesson, students have engaged in class discussions and have presented their ideas on just how the setting of the characters influences their perspective. 

Grade 6 students will shortly move into the next part of the MYP Inquiry Unit where they will transfer all they have learned from Moon Bear by Gill Lewis and chose a focus within SDG 15 – Life on Land and SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions to write their very own story where they will speak for those who have no voice.

Watch this space – it is going to be awesome.

Posted in MS

G7 Students Discover How Context Impacts Text

Grade 7 Language and Literature students have been engaging in an MYP Inquiry Unit exploring how context impacts a text and can bring about change in a community. Students started Distance Learning through developing the key Language and Literature skill of interpreting a class text through the lens of the four literary contexts – cultural, social, historical and ideological – and most importantly, providing sound and well-reasoned justification of their interpretation.

The key learning outcomes the MS Language and Literature team have explicitly taught is the following:

  • To understand a text we must understand the context it was created in.
  • We must understand the context of the author and the setting of a text to go deeper in our understanding of just what the author is seeking to communicate through the text.

Building on from this integral skill of interpretation and justification, students have started to position themselves as authors of a text in order to explore their own cultural, social, historical and ideological contexts.

Grade 7 students have exercised agency as learners by selecting the four folio text types they will create. Text types build upon the key skills students have developed over the past 18-months of MYP Language and Literature. For example, students are writing poems, creating short stories and short films, developing podcast episodes and curated photo essays, writing essays and newspaper articles, plus several more student-chosen text types. 

Students are in the swing of engaging in a self-directed process of:

  • Choosing a mentor text to guide their writing process
  • Engaging in the writing process
  • Connecting with their classroom writing partner for specific feedback that they can feedforward to improve their work
  • Engaging with their Language and Literature teacher via synchronous lessons and continuous feedback via Google Docs in order to perfect and finalise their folio piece. 

At present this is a marvellous work in progress with Grade 7’s developing as writers by engaging with mentor texts, family members and community members for ideas and support, and connecting continuously with classmates and their teacher via Google Meet and Google Chat.