December 5

Picture Day

5B’s picture day is Friday, 8 December before lunch. Please have your child dress appropriately.

Holiday Party

Here’s the link to sign up for bringing in treats for the Grade 5 Holiday Party on Friday, 15 December. Thanks for your help with this!

Spirit Day

Friday, 15 December is also our next STUCO Spirit Day! Students should come to school wearing regular shoes, but then they can change into slippers if they want. They can also bring in one stuffed toy if they wish.

December 1

Thanks to all of you for sending in the items for the Boxes of Hope! What a great, real-world application to what we’ve been learning in class.

The kids looked fantastic in their national dress today. They had a great time with their buddies.

Friday, December 8 from 11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m. is 5B’s picture day. We will be taking class photos and individual photos. Please have your child dress appropriately.

We will be starting unit 4 in math next week: adding and subtracting fractions. Click here for the newsletter to read about ways you can help your child with this unit: Unit 4 Newsletter

In reading, we finished reviewing figurative language to help us when we start to analyze poetry next week. In writing, we wrote different types of poems that addressed various stereotypes or were written from different perspectives. We’re looking forward to sharing them with the 10th graders next week to get their feedback.

November 28

Tomorrow is the unit 3 math test on division.

  • The kids need to make sure they know how to use the words divisor, dividend, quotient, and remainder.
  • They also need to know how to solve problems like 5.74 / 2 using base-10 blocks and an algorithm. They then need to be able to explain how the picture and algorithm are related.
  • They need to know the three things to do with a remainder–ignore it, round up, or change it into a fraction/decimal.
    • A group of 347 people have signed up for a bus trip to a football game. Each bus holds a maximum of 42 passengers. How many buses will be needed to take all the people to the game? (round up)
    • Andre and his sisters picked 105 pounds of grapes for their family’s farm stand. They put the same amount of grapes into each of 30 bags. How many pounds of grapes were in each bag? (make a fraction or decimal)
    • Mr. Parker owns The Glass Store. He received a shipment of 144 glass animals. He put an equal number of glass animals on each of 11 display shelves. How many glass animals were on each shelf? (ignore)

Today in social studies, we read a book called, If the World were a Village. We realized that we are among the few privileged people of the world who have access to a lot of resources and opportunities that many people do not. It compelled us to want to use our privilege to help those in need.

The Box of Hope appeal that the PSA is holding right now is a perfect opportunity for us to do this! I have 2 shoe boxes that I would love for us as a class to fill. Tomorrow we will be dividing up what each person can buy for the boxes. Please have these supplies brought to class by Thursday. This is a great opportunity for the kids to put their learning into action.

If you’d like to do a box as a family, I’m providing the information below.

Don’t forget that Friday is the International Parade! Students should come dressed in their national dress. They can bring other clothes to change into after the parade if they want.

November 27

Students and adults are to come in their national dress for the parade.

We have TWO field trips coming up. One is ice skating and one is to Bayside where we will be sharing our poems with some Grade 10 students. Please fill out BOTH forms as soon as possible.


Ice Skating:


November 22

5B invites you to come and enjoy Pirates 2! Tickets are 10 rmb. The show is tonight and tomorrow night (22 and 23 November) at 5:00 p.m. in the SPAH. Doors open at 4:45 p.m.

International Parade

We are having an International Parade this year! It will take place on Friday, 1 December at 8:30 a.m. on the Sports Field

For the parade, everyone is encouraged to wear something resembling their national/cultural identity or that of a different country they associate with.

This is a great opportunity to recognize the many cultures represented in our school and a lovely lead up to the International Winter Bazaar that will take place on Saturday,  2 December. Parents are invited to attend.

November 20


  • Pirates 2! performances are Wednesday and Thursday, 22 and 23 November at 5:00 p.m. in the SPAH. Tickets are 10 rmb. Students MUST be accompanied by an adult. Doors open at 4:45 p.m.
  • Friday, 24 November is an early release day. Students go home at 11:30 a.m.
  • Report cards will be available for viewing online starting at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, 24 November.
  • Please make sure your child is at school before 7:50 a.m. I have quite a few children not getting here until after 8:00 a.m. and our lessons have already started. Thanks for your help with them.

Week in Review

In writing, we worked on revising and editing our informational text to get it ready to be published.

In reading, we finished up the nonfiction unit by analyzing author’s craft techniques.

In math, we made instructional videos on division. If you haven’t seen your child’s, please ask him/her for it. We also started working on dividing with 2-digit divisors.

In science, we took the end of unit test on the properties of matter.

FIRST Lego League

This Saturday, twelve 5th graders competed in an FLL practice tournament at AISG in Guangzhou. They had to give three presentations and try to complete tasks by programming a robot. It was a long, but fun day, and the kids learned a lot! One team won an award for presentations, and the other team won an award for teamwork! Well done!

November 12


  • There are no ASAs this week.
  • There IS Drama Club and FLL this week.
  • November 22 and 23–Pirates! 2 the musical 5:00 p.m. in the SPAH–Tickets go on sale this week.
  • November 24 is an early release day for students. Students go home at 11:30 a.m.
  • November 24–Trimester 1 reports will be available to view online.

Week in Review

In reading, we worked on finding relationships between people, events, and ideas in nonfiction text. We also used inference skills and context clues to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

In writing, we worked on typing and revising our informational texts to make sure all the detail sentences matched their topic sentences.

In math, we deepened our understanding of division by using base-10 blocks, base-10 drawings, area models, and partial quotients algorithms.

In science, after we reviewed chemical and physical reactions with the classic Coke/Mentos experiment, we made videos to explain that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. Those who finished quickly were also able to make videos to explain how the mixing of substances sometimes makes a new substance and the mass of substances does not change when you mix it or heat it or cool it.

The kids will be taking the science test on Tuesday. They will be reviewing on Monday and will be able to use any notes during the test. Some key vocabulary to review: matter, mass, volume, states of matter (solid, liquid, gas), property(ies), conservation of mass, mixture, solution, solute, solvent, physical reaction, chemical reaction

Math Olympiad

Yesterday was the Math Olympiad in Guangzhou for 5th and 6th graders. We got to take 4 teams of 4, so 16 5th graders. These 16 kids have given up their morning recesses for the past two weeks in order to prepare for this event. They all represented SIS so well! They communicated, collaborated, and used critical thinking skills all day. It was fun to see them really enjoying math. In the end, one of our teams received 2nd place, and one of our teams received 1st place! Well done to everyone!

November 4


  • Friday, November 10 is the last day for Trimester 1 ASAs. (This does not include Drama Club or FLL.)
  • Friday, November 17 is the last day for Trimester 1.

Week in Review

If your child hasn’t been coming home telling you all about Felix and who possibly killed him, then you need to ask them what we’ve been doing all week! This mystery festival allowed the kids to use their observation skills, inferring skills, and questioning skills to really become investigators. They had to figure out what happened to Felix and who did it based on the evidence. As the culminating activity, the students had to record themselves explaining their ideas. Some recorded these in class on Friday, and some need you to record them. If they already recorded their conclusions in class, please ask them to show it to you. Be sure to question them as to why they made the conclusion that they did.

While this was all going on, we also wrapped up our multiplication of decimals unit. We’ll be starting our unit on division next. Once again, we’ll be using the Number Pieces app. If you haven’t played around with this app, I encourage you to download it and have your child explain how to use it.

As we go into our division unit, please DO NOT teach your child the standard algorithm. Fifth grade is the final year to really solidify the CONCEPT of division, especially as we start to divide decimals. Our goal is to understand WHAT division is and be able to record it in a way that makes sense based on CONCRETE examples. The standard algorithm has it’s place, but not until AFTER the conceptual understanding is firmly in place. Thank you for your support in this.

In writing, we wrote the drafts of our three body paragraphs for our information writing on investigators. The focus was on writing precise, yet engaging topic sentences, as well as using higher level transitional phrases and words in the detail sentences.

We are nearing the end of our science unit on the properties of matter. This week we looked at chemical reactions–when the mixing of two or more substances creates a new substance that cannot be changed back into the original substances. Ask your child what happened when we combined baking soda with calcium chloride and citric acid.

Here are some other questions to ask your child to help them review for the upcoming text in about a week. Be sure to ask, “HOW DO YOU KNOW?” after each question:

  • What happens to the mass of objects when they are combined?
  • Does the mass change during a chemical reaction?
  • Does combining substances create a new substance?
  • What happens to the properties of matter when they are heated or cooled?
  • What happens to the mass of an object when they are heated or cooled?
  • What is matter?
  • What can you use to identify an unknown substance?

October 27

What a fun day today! Thanks to our awesome PSA for organizing the crafts, treats, and Spooky Space! It was a fun time.

Remember, there is NO SCHOOL on Monday, October 30. It is a Professional Development Day for teachers. Wednesday, November 1 at 8:15 a.m. is the Math Parent Session for 4th and 5th Grade. Thursday, November 2 at 6:00 p.m. is the Classical Recital.

In reading, we’ve been investigating ways to tackle more complex nonfiction. We’ve learned that readers look for main ideas and details to summarize sections of text, readers use text structures to help organize their thinking and are able to compare and contrast them, and readers think about the relationships between people, events, and ideas as they read.

In writing, we’ve been investigating investigators! Students chose an investigator they wanted to research. Then we’ve spent the rest of the week researching what and how they investigated, what caused them to investigate what they did, and what the consequences were of these investigations. Today we started organizing our notes into graphic organizers based on the text structure that best fit each section. ***These graphic organizers are due on Tuesday. Because of this, there is not an interactive journal due this week.***

In math, we’ve been investigating what the multiplication patterns were when we multiplied decimals. (4 x 8 = 32; 0.4 x 8 = 3.2; 0.4 x 0.8 = 0.32; 0.4 x 0.08 = 0.032) When the digits in one of the factors is moved over one place to the right, the digits of the product are also moved one place to the right, and so on. We also have been investigating how the base-10 model and area model are related to the partial products algorithm when multiplying decimals. ***Ask your child to show you how to multiply 2.7 x 1.8 using the Number Pieces App and then how that relates to the partial products algorithm.*** We will be taking the math test on Friday. Students will need to be able to do the above problems, along with multiplying whole numbers using a standard algorithm.

In science, we’ve been investigating the properties of matter. Our focus questions have been: What is matter? Is air matter? What happens to the mass of a substance when it is mixed with another substance? What happens to the mass of a substance when it is heated or cooled? What happens to the properties of a substance when it is heated or cooled? They should also know what properties are and how we can use them to identify an object. ***Ask your child to explain the answers to these focus questions and to prove it by explaining what happened in the experiments we have done.***

Enjoy the pictures below from Buddy Reading and today’s Halloween festivities. 🙂

October 16

Reminder: Wednesday, 18 October from 2:10-2:50 p.m., parents are invited to the 5th grade classes to take part in the science lesson for Learning Comes Alive. At the end of the lesson, we are asking for feedback. We’ll have these questions posted and we’ll give you sticky notes for you to write one or two responses. Responses can be in whatever language you are most comfortable with.

-What I learned (from the lesson)
-What I enjoyed
-A question I have

Last week was a crazy full week! We had a great time at the Shenzhen Museum. Chaperones, please send any pictures you took to me so I can put them on the blog.

We also had a fantastic kick-off to our unit on investigators. All of 5th grade went up to Level 5 to take part in 4 rotations where they learned and practiced different skills that investigators use. One focused on using observation skills to observe and question. Another focused on learning the difference between qualitative vs. quantitative observations. A third one looked at different ways to measure and the importance of making predictions. The fourth one kind of combined all of those skills into one.

In reading and writing, we’re now in our nonfiction unit. We’ll be investigators in writing as we learn how writers use research to find answers to questions. We’ll also be investigators in reading as we read with the purpose of figuring out what the author was trying to say and what techniques they used to convey that information. This past week we starting building up our research skills by paraphrasing and determining main idea.

In math, we are investigating how the different models for multiplication relate to the algorithm. Last week we focused on comparing expressions without evaluating them. The kids should be able to tell you that (33 x 28) x 7 is 7 times greater than 33 x 28 without having to solve the expressions. We then started using Number Pieces to build base-10 models for multiplication. The kids’s homework tonight is to explain how to use that app and how the model relates to the partial products algorithm.

I apologize for not sending home the goal sheets last week. They were sent home tonight. Please sign them and return them tomorrow.

Last week was also our 5B assembly! The kids did so well! They wrote the whole thing based on all the research they had done in the civilizations unit. Mrs. Sheppard recorded it for me. I will see if I can share it somehow.