About Susan Kim

Grade 4 teacher at Shekou International School

Weekly Wrap Up (November 11 – November 15th)

This past week was a busy one! Students have been working on completing their summative assessments for our Unit of Inquiry on patterns of the Earth. Parents also came to visit 4D to learn about what they are doing in science, math, reading, and writing during their share out on Friday. 4A, 4B, and 4C will be doing their share out with their parents this Wednesday, November 20th and Thursday, November 21st. Students also took their math assessment on metric measurement and area and perimeter. Our next math unit will focus on geometry. Students can use the Quizlet link mentioned below to preview the math vocabulary that will be taught in this unit.

Students are still working on their reading and writing units which deal with reading nonfiction for research purposes and writing research essays. They will be applying their skills to begin drafting essays focusing on one of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This week we will launch our next Unit of Inquiry, which will focus on the topic of economies and how “resources influence systems of exchange”. In preparation, students should preview the vocabulary for the unit by using the Quizlet link that was sent out today. Students should also try to think back to what they learned about goods and services in second grade (if they were here at SIS at that time).

Sustainable Development Goals

4D share out last Friday, November 15th


Weekly Wrap Up (November 4th – November 8th)

Last week we spent a lot of time working on our natural disaster persuasive writing, practicing area and perimeter, and continuing to read and research our topics.

We are now reaching the end of our current Unit of Inquiry. This week, students are working on showing their learning in a summative task that they co-created with their teachers! Students and teachers reflected together on the learning engagements that they had completed during this unit, and thought about which learning objective they best fit under. The students can now select the activity that they feel best shows their learning for each objective! Please ask your children about this at home. At the same time, they are preparing for a math assessment on metric measurement and area and perimeter.

Students will be sharing out the learning that they have done so far this year either on November 15th (for 4D) or November 21st. Please come if you are able! Hope to see you there!

Below is an example of the summative assessment from 4B. Each class’s summative assessment will look slightly different since the teachers and students created it together.


Weekly Wrap Up (October 28 – November 1)

This past week was a busy one as well! Grade 4 students reflected upon their takeaways from the Week Without Walls field trip and continued with their studies for our current unit. This week students thought like scientists by observing rock layers and drawing conclusions based on the fossils that can be found in each separate layer. Students also moved into a study of area and perimeter with a review of arrays and their connection to multiplication and division. The week was also capped off with a very successful Halloween event organized by the PSA! Students enjoyed a haunted maze, Halloween-themed sensory and gross motor stations, and a parade to show off all the different Halloween costumes!

Weekly Wrap Up (October 21 – October 25)

This week concluded with our Week Without Walls trip with Dragonfly to Sai Kung, Hong Kong. After extensive preparation, students were safely whisked through both borders and then enjoyed beautiful weather and various team building and outdoor activities! These included a hike through a mangrove forest, animal and plant species identification, and kayaking!

Students were also able to identify some real-life examples of weathering and erosion in action. There were examples of root wedging, chemical erosion, and water erosion. On Friday afternoon, everyone arrived back at school exhausted but happy. We hope everyone was able to relax and recuperate over the weekend!

“Mangrovians” getting ready for our hike through the mangrove forest!

Crossing a stream as a team!

An example of chemical weathering

An example of root wedging

Ghost crab or fiddler crab?

Searching for shells and crabs near a bunch of mangroves!

Ready for kayaking!

Weekly Wrap Up (October 14-18)

Students have been busy during their second week of our second Unit of Inquiry of the year! This is a unit with a science focus on patterns of the Earth. Since the IB profile traits we are emphasizing for this unit are thinker, knowledgable, and reflective, students have been busy with science experiments of all kinds! Students have been learning about weathering and erosion by doing experiments that show the results of different kinds of erosion (temperature, chemical, wind, water, and glacier). They have also been learning about natural disasters and how people can engineer solutions to build more weather and disaster-resistant building materials. This week students decided on different proportions of sand, water, and glue to try and create bricks that were both strong (capable of holding a significant amount of weight) and resistant to water.

We are also continuing our study of place value in our second math unit on metric measurement. Students are extending their understanding through conversions of metric units. In reading, we are moving from a study of realistic fiction to nonfiction, focusing on our science topic of how the Earth changes. In writing, students are learning how to write persuasive essays using the essay structure.

This week, we also had Mr. Madonna come in to show students about the most efficient way to pack for our Week Without Walls trip next week!

How the World Works

How the World Works 

 Central Idea:  

Recognizing patterns within our changing world can lead to new solutions. 

Lines of Inquiry: 

Students will inquire into: 

~Identifying patterns in Earth’s features
~Cause and effect relationships of Earth’s physical events
~Engineering ethical solutions  

Key Concepts: 

Form, Causation, Responsibility 

Related Concepts: 

Patterns, Impact, Cause/Effect  

Learner profile: 

Thinker, Knowledgeable, Reflective 

Key Vocabulary: 

weathering, erosion, landforms, fossils, rock layers, earthquake, tsunami, volcano, design, floods, glaciers, cause and effect, continents, claim evidence reason, eruption, plate tectonics,  Overview: 

In this next Unit of Inquiry, students will use both a Science and a Social Studies lens to investigate patterns in the Earth’s land features. Students will look at how the Earth is constantly changing in both fast (earthquakes and landslides) and slow ways (plate tectonics). They will identify landforms and look for clues as to how they might have been created. 

Students will participate in a range of experiments and inquiry-style science investigations that will get them handling sand, soil, clay and other earth materials, investigating layers in land formations, and watching weathering and erosion in action. They will make earthquake-proof buildings and test them in a simulation, simulate landslides and tsunamis in the classroom, and look at the impacts these types of natural disasters have on a community. 

Students will also explore systems that communities have in place to provide early-warning systems for impending disasters, as well as explore the community response after a major natural event.  

Literacy Integration: 

As we delve deeper into the reader’s and writer’s workshops, our grade 4 text analysts and authors are focusing on more complex works. This includes continuing with fictional texts but also integrating a more detailed use of the nonfiction genre. Students will be working on opinion writing through the lens of research and uncovering information through their nonfiction reading and other multimedia sources.  

This unit emphasizes organization, detailed note taking, and providing reasoning through evidence to support our claims in our thesis and topic sentences. In reading, students will review text features and be able to identify and use more sophisticated vocabulary as they use each feature. They will reflect upon strategies they can use to better comprehend informational text as they read. As a whole class they will be reading nonfiction texts based on various physical features, landforms, and patterns present on Earth. These texts will embed literacy within our unit of inquiry to ensure the unit remains transdisciplinary. The nonfiction books and texts we will be reading will be rich with diverse and complex topics, vocabulary, and encourage complex thinking.  

Finally, students will continue developing reading and writing strategies that provide a platform for growth and goal-setting as they reflect on the past two units as a whole and compare the growth they see within themselves as progressing readers and writers. Stay tuned for an invitation to view students’ published writing pieces (among other student work) in our next unit. Math: 

The focus of math Unit 2 is measurement. Students will use length (km, m, cm), mass (kg, g), and volume (L, mL) in the metric system to convert between units using place value knowledge. We will explore the patterns in the place value system through metric unit conversions to prepare for fraction and decimal operations which come later in the year. This unit will also include time conversions between hours, minutes, and seconds. 

In this unit, students will also be introduced to the multiplication model based on the area of a rectangle. This will support conceptual array models.  We will practice various ways to model these problems, moving from concrete (using manipulatives) to models (pictures) to abstract symbols (equations). Flexibly thinking about numbers is stressed above memorizing facts. The multiplication algorithm is not addressed until grade 5. During this unit we will solve division problems using what we know about inverse multiplication equations (i.e. 18/3=? will be solved by “using what we know” and thinking about missing factor multiplication problems 3 x ? = 18.) 

Key words and vocabulary will include 

  • Length: the measurement of something from end to end 
  • Kilometer (km), Meter (m), centimeter (cm): units of measure for length  
  • Weight: the measurement of how heavy something is   
  • Mass: the measure of the amount of matter in an object  
  • Kilogram (kg), gram (g): units of measure for mass  
  • Capacity: the maximum amount that something can contain  
  • Liter (L), milliliter (mL): unit of measure for liquid volume  
  • Mixed units: e.g., 3 m 43 cm  
  • Convert: to express a measurement in a different unit 
  • =, <, > : equal, less than, greater than 
  • Estimate: an approximation of the value of a number or quantity) 

 Please see the “I can” statements below: 

  • I can tell relative size of measurement units (km, m, cm, kg, g, L, mL, hrs, min, sec). 
  • I can convert larger units of measurement to smaller units. 
  • I can solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money.  
  • I can tell that the formula for perimeter of a rectangle. That means Perimeter = 2L + 2W or L+L+W+W.  
  • I can tell that the formula for area of a rectangle. That means Area = L x W  
  • I can use the formulas for area and perimeter of a rectangle to solve real world and math problems.  
  • I can explain multiplication strategies.  
  • I can use strategies based on place value and the properties of operations to multiply numbers.  
  • I can explain my answer using written equations.  
  • I can explain my answer using rectangular arrays and area models.  
  • I can explain my answer using the relationship between multiplication and division  


In order to practice the skills needed for this Unit of Inquiry, students should be reading more nonfiction texts both at school and at home. It is important that students who need more support with their English read more than the daily 20 minutes currently required for homework. Ideally, students will be reading 30-40 minutes a day and keeping track of any new vocabulary they may find.  

Please encourage your child’s learning by discussing the content from this Unit of Inquiry using your home language, especially if it that is the language that both of you are most comfortable with.  

In order to familiarize themselves with the vocabulary for this unit, students should use Quizlet (https://quizlet.com/_751euk) for a few minutes each day.  

How you can help at home: 

  • Go on nature walks and talk to your child about the landforms and rock formations you or he/she may notice. Encourage your child to think about how they may have formed. 
  • Discuss and breakdown the important vocabulary terms we will be exploring in this unit like weathering, erosion, landforms, earthquake, tsunami, and eruption in your home language. 
  • Use a graphic organizer to compare/contrast solutions to natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and/or volcanic eruptions and how those responses look different in different places. For example, compare an earthquake in Japan and the engineering solutions applied there to an earthquake in Haiti and the engineering solutions applied there (Venn Diagram, T-chart, and/or checklist). 
  • Be an active listener when your child reads their opinion essays. Add an encouraging note in their writing journal or on Seesaw. 
  • Try to read and spark interest in earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and floods in your home language.  
  • Talk about major natural disasters you know about from your home country or that you may have experienced. Story telling is one of the best ways to cultivate interest! 

 How you can help with math: 

  • Using metric measurement tools, encourage your student to measure objects around the house  
  • Use measurement tools when baking or cooking.  
  • Compare items by length, weight, or capacity. 
  • Take an object and estimate the weight. Then use a scale to determine the exact weight and compare the two amounts.  
  •  Use a ruler to measure objects around the house in centimeters and meters.  
  • Continue to talk about place value patterns with your child, e.g. how many 10s in 100? How many 100s in 1000? 
  • Review basic math facts up to 100 (e.g. 3×4= 12). Aim for 3 seconds. 
  • Review math vocabulary terms like conversion, length, width, height, weight, capacity, and volume. 
  • Discuss the term conversion and how it works in metric measurements like millimeter, centimeter, meter, and kilometer for length, and milligram, gram, and kilogram for weight. 



Weekly Wrap Up (September 23-27)

Students have been busy this week finishing up their final assessments for our first Unit of Inquiry! They have been finishing up their Cultural Heritage summative projects in the form of either a Keynote or an art piece. Some of these may be submitted to a local art festival in Shekou!

Students also took their Unit 1 place value and rounding post-assessments this week along with assessments in both reading and writing. Everyone has been doing a fantastic job of completing their Realistic Fiction writing pieces as well! Finished pieces include dialogue, “showing not telling” details, character traits, and an ongoing progression from the establishment of the problem, the rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution!

Please congratulate your children on their hard work and be sure to allow them a well-deserved break over the holiday. However, please encourage your children to bring along a book or two in their luggage to relax with!

Also, today is “Dress to Express Yourself” Day!

Have a wonderful holiday!

G4 Team

Weekly Wrap Up (September 16-20)

Dear Parents,

It’s been a busy few weeks so far! In Grade 4, we have completed our MAP tests and various beginning of the year assessments which were shared with you during our Goal Setting Conferences this past Wednesday. The teachers and students  have worked hard to build a close-knit community and to both teach and model the IB Learner Profile Traits within the classroom.

Please continue the learning conversation at home by asking your children about what they have learned at school and reading to your child as much as possible in your home language. In terms of homework, your children should be reading a “Just Right” book for at least 20 minutes daily and working on necessary math skills on IXL.

Congratulations to 4B on their wonderful collaborative assembly with 2C! They were real risk-takers! We learned about the Learner Profile Traits from a student’s point of view and got to listen to an amazing drum performance, also featuring Mr. Damroth!