Time Flies!

Hello Parents!

It’s already April and the year is moving quickly! Although time is short there is still a lot to do in grade 4 before the end of the year. Students are working hard in all areas and it’s so amazing to see them grow into more responsible and independent students. The quality of work they produce and the skills they demonstrate every day are far beyond what they could do back in August when the school year began.

We’ve recently started a new focus on Literary Analysis. This process has students reading their chapter books with more awareness of character’s motivations, changing traits, and relationships in books. They are looking at how characters change in response to their experiences in stories and forming opinions about characters’ actions and traits. It’s an exciting time to watch our young readers and writers dive into some higher level thinking skills and display meta-cognitive awareness.

Our new PYP unit is focused around economics on a micro and macro scale. This unit has our learners inquiring into topics that seemed too advanced for them only six short months ago. The central idea “Economies rely on resources and choices to sustain societies.” provokes inquiry into how and why economies develop and that regulation is sometimes needed to sustain them. We will begin by reading historical accounts of trade as far back as the Silk Road. We will then explore how economic interdependence is developed through trade over time. This leads the class into the discussion of business, resource management, and many other interesting a relevant lines of questioning.

Beyond 4A there’s always something happening at SIS! With our third session ASAs just beginning, we have students involved in Track and Field, Choir, Cricket and a variety of other great activities. Also the Talent Show auditions are in full force with dedicated staff and our wonderful PSA fully supporting.

So, as always, please email me if you have any questions and have a wonderful day!

Thanks you,


Mr. Banner

Unit of Inquiry Share-Out

Hello Parents!

We’ve just completed our summative assessment of our current Unit of Inquiry! Our share-out today was successful and the students were confident and excited to share all their hard work. We used the Book Creator app to compose a digital book that chronicled our research into three different lines of inquiry. Our informational writing content had students organizing their writing with glossaries, works cited pages, tables of contents, and clear paragraph formatting with sub-headings. It’s been a long process and I don’t want any of you to miss out on seeing the excellent products your childrencreated so I am encouraging all the students present the book at home as well. The students can then show you the Flip-grid video reflections they have all been doing alongside written reflections in their PYP notebooks. Their PYP notebooks are a wonderful guide to the unit and what the students have done from the beginning they will bring them home as well to explain what they’ve been doing. From learning note-taking strategies to composing 20+ page books, they’ve been busy so please: Ask them about it!

Always Something Happening!

Hello 4A Parents!

This is a busy and exciting time at SIS. While we are continuing our studies of informational writing and reading, systems and structures of living things, and investigating fractions we are also getting busy in so many other ways. Our trip to Hong Kong for the overnight with Dragonfly was a smashing success with students having a blast and gaining a greater understanding of themselves and their grade 4 community. They reflected, using SeeSaw, on their learning in terms of the PYP Learner Profile. We’ve also just had our SIS 3-5 Field day event which brought the community together in another way. It prompted students to work in multi-grade level groups and collaborate to complete a variety of sports related challenges and games. Our brilliant PE faculty and supporting staff put on another awesome event. Later this week we have the G4 music performances as well. Mrs. Sheppard has put together a wonderful collection to be enjoyed by 4A parents in the Gecko Theater at 8:30 on March 14th. Finally, our trip to the Shenzhen Safari Park will occur on Friday! We will be extending our understanding of animal adaptations and survival by observing real animals in their simulated environments. This is a wonderful and productive time at SIS. We’ve got more coming with Book Week next week and the PSA Talent Show auditions. I think the students will be ready for the Spring holiday from March 23rd-31st.

As always, I greatly appreciate your trust and support in both myself and SIS,

Mr. Banner

Good Morning G4A Parents!

We’ve started our fraction unit in Math in 4A. This means some students are excited and others frustrated. Either way, take a look below for an overview of what we’ll be doing and some helpful tips for you as you support your learner. The pdf link is below as well.


Mr. Banner


Tips Fractions .pdf

(The site of the Grade 4 Overnight pictured above)

Hello parents! As always, there is a lot going on in Grade 4 and here’s an update. Our new PYP Unit of Inquiry is starting with the central idea that “Living things process and respond to information in different ways for survival.” Students are inquiring into the internal and external structures of animals and plants and how they help them survive. They will be using their non-fiction reading skills to do research as well as studying informational writing. Combining these literacy skills with the exploration of science content will make this a fun and interdisciplinary unit. As they progress through the lines of inquiry they will be composing multiple written pieces into a digital books they can share out in a gallery walk type presentation that you all will be invited to. The students will be focusing on their Communication skills, Research skills, Thinking skills, and building their knowledge as they ask questions and explore these concepts.

  4A is almost finishing with their study of geometry and nearing the start of our unit on fractions. It’s been a hands on unit with students learning to use protractors to measure, compose, and classify a variety of figures. We’ve moved from basic angle measurement to constructing triangles. (See today’s SeeSaw post) Later this week we will be classifying and constructing quadrilaterals based on their differing attributes. By the start of next week we will be launching a brand new unit about fractions. Stay tuned for more information regarding that unit.

We also have the G4 Overnight trip coming up on March 7th-8th. I hope to see many of you at the informational meeting with Dragonfly this evening at 4:20 (Feb 19th). They will be going over the details of the trip and answering any questions parents may have. The trip will be a wonderful community building event for grade 4 and will support our Learner Profile attributes such as being Risk-Takers, Open Minded, and being Well-Balanced. At the end of grade 4 the overnight is always a highlighted memory to the students. As always, the 4A classroom is an exciting and energetic place to be!


Mr. Banner

Here’s what’s going on in 4A! Reports are out and conferences are this week. Students are getting all set up for three way conversations about their learning. We’ve been reflecting on the whole year and trying to decide what we want to show parents in these meetings. We’ll be discussing our growth in all our skills including our learner profile attributes. It will go by quickly but it’s a meaningful experience for the students to have some honest discussions about their growth.

We are currently finishing up our Unit of Inquiry about Migration! Students in 4A have been reading and learning about the historical fiction genre this month so students have chosen a point in history to set a historical fiction story about an immigrant and their experience. This blends their understanding of the reading and writing genre we are learning about with the lines of inquiry we have been following in the migration unit. After we finish this piece we will begin a new Unit of Inquiry with more of a science focus. Check back after the Chinese New Year holiday for information regarding our next unit.

In Math, students have been exploring geometry. We have been learning to use new math tools like protractors and developing our skills in the mathematical practices (precision, effectively using tools, making sense of problems). Making sense of geometric figures requires a lot of new vocabulary and students are busy trying to understand and integrate a whole new set of mathematics skills. We’ve also developed some pretty fun games to play with this new geometric understanding.

We have sadly had to say goodbye to some of our class members as their international lives continue in other cities and continents but are also excited to welcome new students into our midst. As always it’s been a dynamic and exciting month in 4A and we’re looking forward to what’s next. I hope to see everyone Wednesday for a conference!


Mr. Banner

What’s New in 4A

Hello Parents!

What a busy time of year this can be. Well, it’s no different in the classroom. Here’s an update into what we’re studying in the different subject areas in grade 4. In Math, we are deep into the study of multi-digit multiplication and division. It’s all about learning multiple ways to represent our thinking and deepen our understanding of the core operations. From partial products and partial quotients to area models and the standard algorithm, our study of multiplication and division is pushing students to use all their previous math knowledge and bring it further.

In writing, we are really getting a handle on our understanding of persuasive essays and the five-paragraph essay format. Students have written multiple essays and are developing their ability to plan logical and convincing arguments. They have learned to outline thesis statements and supporting reasons. Next, they build upon their reasons with details. Recently we have been using non-fiction text to support our arguments with quotations and evidence. Students are noting page numbers and authors to legitimize their arguments and employing persuasive language to strengthen their vocabulary.

Reading non-fiction texts has supported writing and our unit of inquiry. Students are using text features like the index and table of contents to determine where the information they need is. They can then look in multiple books in the library and pick out the texts that will best support their writing plan. These types of research skills and comfort with the library and non-fiction text are the building blocks of further projects and units of inquiry.

We are starting our unit of inquiry called ‘Where We Are in Place and Time’. This UoI focus on migration from an economic, geographic, and sociological perspective. We will look into the factors that push people out of their home countries and create refugees. We will also explore the factors that pull people to new locations such as jobs, education, and religious freedom. We all have a history of migration as very few people in the modern world have lived in the same location for generations. This unit hopes to impart empathy and understanding into the students for those in difficult situations. It is also designed to help students better understand their own place in the world, where they come from and where they might go. The central idea of the unit is: Humans migrate in response to challenges, risks, and opportunities.


Thanks for checking in!


Mr. Banner

            We’ve been busy in 4A and here’s what we’ve been up to! In our Units of Inquiry, we’ve wrapped up the “Who We Are” unit with some final reflections and the successful creation of our very own cultures. Please look to SeeSaw for audio recordings explaining the cultures the students created as well as written reflections explaining how students have learned about their own identity and culture during their inquiry. We have just launched our next unit titled “How the World Works” about Earth’s features and landforms. Students will be exploring how Earth’s systems create landforms, how we record the Earth on maps, and even designing and making some inventions to mitigate damage from natural disasters!

In writing students have started a unit on writing essays. These essays are based on opinions and forming string arguments to support them. We’re looking a planning with graphic organizers, building strong thesis statements, and structuring essays with powerful reasoning. Do be surprised if students start to develop stronger opinions at home!

In reading, we have started our unit on reading nonfiction. We’re reviewing the features of nonfiction texts and also how to pick just right books in the genre. Students will use these skills to support their learning in PYP units as well as build stronger arguments in opinion writing. Persuasive writing is always more convincing when supported by facts and research.

Our current Math unit focuses on metric unit conversion. This builds positively on our study of place value and the base ten number system. Students will be looking and converting between units and understanding how measurement has a place in almost everything we do. 4A is working hard and making great progress. Keep it up!