January 21

Important Dates

  • January 22 – End of Semester 1
  • January 23 – Disco Spirit Day–NO UNIFORMS–WEAR PARTY CLOTHES
  • January 25 – Parents can access Semester 1 report cards via SchoolBase
  • January 26 – Discover China Day 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. on the Sports Field
  • January 30 – Three Way Conferences (parents, student, teacher) – NO SCHOOL for students
  • January 31 — Chinese New Year Assembly and Lion Dance 8:15~9:30ish a.m. starting in the SPAH
  • February 1 – February 10-—Chinese New Year Holiday – NO SCHOOL Please contact me via email if your child will be leaving early for vacation
As Semester 1 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect on all the positive elements of class 5A and what we have been able to accomplish. Along with this, we should always have a growth mindset and continue working to improve always.
Among our areas of great successes, students have shown a great sense of perseverance. While learning new content, students have embraced challenges and been incredible open-minded risk-takers. Three PYP units of inquiry have been taught, learned, and reviewed with students: Who We Are, How the World Works, and How We Express Ourselves. In these units, social studies content has been covered for grade 5 standards in its entirety. As a whole class community, we have stayed on track with the curriculum for reading, writing, and language usage. Many students have shown growth in these areas and continue to develop. Remember, growth is the big push this year.
Areas in which we can grow as a class include expanding our vocabulary as we read, write, and speak. Even for native English speakers, we can certainly integrate more complex vocabulary in our everyday speech. Science will be embedded within most of the remaining units. So, when you see many science standards are N/A (not applicable) on the Semester 1 report cards, there is no need to be alarmed. Lastly, I would like to encourage all students to use www.typing.com, Moby Max (also online and as an app), and Epic! (not just graphic novels, but also leveled non-fiction) while at home, on vacation, and during any spare time.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me through email. Otherwise, I am looking forward to our conversation on January 30 at the mid-year conferences.

January 15

Important Dates

  • January 16 – MAP Testing in 5A – Language Usage
  • January 21 – MAP Testing in 5A – Mathematics
  • January 22 – End of Semester 1
  • January 23 – Disco Spirit Day
  • January 25 – Parents can access Semester 1 report cards via SchoolBase
  • January 26 – Discover China Day
  • January 30 – Three Way Conferences (parents, student, teacher) – No school for students
  • January 31 — Chinese New Year Assembly and Celebrations


Our unit on adding and subtracting fractions has begun. Click here for ways on how to help your child during this unit. Unit 4 Newsletter

Reading and Writing

Our units on argumentative texts has started, as well. In reading, students will be analyzing argumentative texts to see if the reasons and evidence are strong and unbiased. They will be gathering research to hold a debate on a given environmental topic.

In writing, students will be researching to write their own persuasive essays based on strong evidence.


We are doing a brief unit studying the distribution of water on Earth and how the different spheres (geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) interact. We made models today on how the water on Earth is distributed and how much of it is actually drinkable. Ask your child what they learned and have them explain the models they made.

December 10

Important Dates

  • Wednesday, December 12: Ice skating field trip with lunch at McDonald’s
  • Thursday, December 13: “Books ‘N’ Cocoa” Spirit Day
  • Friday, December 14: Grade 5 Holiday Party
  • Friday, December 14: Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m. (last day of school before the Winter Break)
  • Monday, January 7: First day back from Winter Break

It is a busy week this week!

For the field trip, remember that students need to bring either 50 RMB for lunch at McDonald’s or a packed lunch. They also need to wear their RED PE shirt, a jacket, and a helmet. Thick socks (or 2 pair) and gloves are highly recommended.

For Books ‘N’ Cocoa Spirit Day, students need to bring in their own mug.

Please sign up to bring something for the Grade 5 Holiday Party on Friday. Here’s the link. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0d45afaf29a4fa7-grade3  Thanks to all who have signed up already!

November 30

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, December 4: Discovery in the Dark field trip – Be at the sports field at 6:50 a.m.
  • Friday, December 7: Grade 5 Showcase at The Level 5
  • Wednesday, December 12: Ice skating field trip with lunch at McDonald’s–more info to come
  • Thursday, December 13: “Books N’ Cocoa” Spirit Day
  • Friday, December 14: Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m. (last day of school before the Winter Break)
  • Monday, January 7: First day back from Winter Break

Only two more weeks of school before the holidays… and we have so much going on at SIS!

Hour of Code

All next week, in connection with Computer Science education week, SIS will be participating in the global annual initiative, HOUR OF CODE! I’m looking forward to some amazing programming / coding from our grade 5s.

A Message from a Middle Schooler

“Dear Elementary School,

We would like to invite you to our Service Learning community event. This event is dedicated to honouring Ms. Rosana Walsh, one of the Middle School teachers who is leaving SIS to return to New Zealand due to ill health.

Ms Walsh was involved in a project for Syrian refugees, knitting hats and raising money for them. We would like to honour and support her by continuing this project on her behalf as well as raising money for lung cancer Research in New Zealand.

Our event is on Monday 3 December at 6pm in the Bayside Amphitheatre. It is a night where we will share more information about the organisations that we are raising money for. You can learn how to knit, have fun and spend time with your friends. Even if you are a total beginner at knitting, or have no idea how to knit, that’s absolutely fine! This will be a great time for everyone to some together as a community to support each other and projects that Ms Walsh is passionate about.

This event will take place on December 3rd, from 6pm to 7:30pm in the Bayside amphitheater. We welcome everyone of all ages, including parents and teachers, even grandparents too, to come and join this informative community event.

Spread the word. This event is going to be happening this Monday. We sincerely hope that you all can come to this event.

Thank you!”
Lee Moulton (Grade 7)


Grade 5 Showcase!

Join us at the Level 5 for an interactive tour of what your child has been working on throughout the first three units of inquiry in grade 5. Student leaders will share how they and others have displayed a growth mindset during this first semester along with a showcase of works they are most proud of. All students will have their work on display during the entire event. Parents / staff / students are able to come to any of the times below regardless of the homeroom class, but these will be the times grade 5 student leaders will be facilitating the event.

5A will lead 8:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

5B will lead 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

5C will lead 1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Please respond to the invitation HERE as soon as you can. Thanks!


Spirit Day

Our last Spirit Day of 2018 will be on Thursday, December 13: BOOKS ‘N’ COCOA! Students should come to school this day in their pajamas with a mug and a book… & a stuffed animal, if they wish, as well.


Field Trips–Dialogue in the Dark AND Ice Skating

Lastly, don’t forget the two grade 5 field trips coming up. Tuesday, December 4, we will be going to Hong Kong for our “Dialogue in the Dark” experience. Please read the permission slip very carefully concerning drop off / pick up times. Wednesday, December 12, we will be going on our annual social ice skating field trip. More information will come as that time approaches.

November 26

We are so excited to begin our next unit of inquiry, “How We Express Ourselves,” with the central idea: “Being aware of our historical perspectives and biases may lead us to take responsible action.” The key concepts we will focus on are causation, responsibility, & PERSPECTIVE.

With this in mind, there are a few dates coming up that connect with student learning:

Important Upcoming Dates:


  • Wednesday & Thursday, November 28 & 29: “A Kid’s Life” – Drama club’s musical (5:00pm in the SPAH); Tickets are 10 RMB each.
  • Tuesday, December 4: Discovery in the Dark field trip – Please read the permission slip very carefully when it comes home.
  • Friday, December 7: Grade 5 Showcase at The Level 5 (5A will lead 8:15 – 9:30, 5B will lead 10:30 – 11:45, and 5C will lead 1:45 – 3:00; but parents can come at any of these times.)
  • Wednesday, December 12: Ice skating field trip with lunch at McDonald’s–more info to come
  • Thursday, December 13: “Books N’ Cocoa” Spirit Day – Students should come in their pajamas with a mug / cup.
  • Friday, December 14: Early dismissal at 11:30 a.m. (last day of school before the Winter Break)
  • Monday, January 7: First day back from Winter Break

What have we been learning?

Tomorrow the students have a test in reading. They need to know how to summarize a nonfiction text; how to find relationships between people, ideas, or events in a text; how to compare and contrast two texts based on the topic and text structure; and how to determine the meaning of an unknown word by using context clues.

In math, we are continuing with our division unit. Soon we will be solving word problems and deciding what to do with the remainder. This is a challenging skill, so if you would like to help your child practice, ask them problems like, “If there are 92 students going on a field trip and the vans can only hold 8 students, how many cars will they need?” or “If a company had 430 carrots and they were putting them in boxes of 15, how many full boxes will they have?” Then ask them to decide what to do with the remainders–round up, ignore it, or make a decimal/fraction.

In writing, we just printed our investigator informational books. We will be taking the on demand on Friday where students will pick a topic of their choice, decide which 2 questions they want to research, and write a 4-paragraph essay on it complete with nonfiction text features.

Our poetry reading and writing unit will be next.


Thanks again to everyone who volunteered to present to the class during International Week. It was so much fun!!


November 8

Up-coming Dates:

  • Friday, November 9–Popcorn Day
  • Tuesday, November 13–Kindness Day
  • Monday-Saturday, November 19-24–International Week
  • Friday, November 23–International Parade–WEAR NATIONAL DRESS
  • Friday, November 23–EARLY RELEASE–Dismissal is at 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, November 24–International Winter Bazar–Boxes of Hope DUE
  • Wednesday and Thursday, November 28-29–Kids’ Life the Musical 5:00 p.m. in the SPAH

What have we been studying?

With the overall central idea being “Investigations allow for a deeper understanding of our world,” here is how we have been learning this throughout all of our subjects:

We are finishing up our math unit on multiplication. The test is tomorrow. Task cards for review are on Teams. Next week we will start investigating what division means. 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.

Please read the Unit 3 Newsletter for ways to help your child develop the concept of division.

In reading, we have been investigating the text structures of nonfiction. We are now comparing and contrasting two different texts based on their topics and text structures. Next week we will be working on finding the main idea and details of a text in order to write a summary. As your child reads at home, please ask them what the main idea is. This should be stated in a sentence form. (“How dogs eat” is a title, not a main idea. “Dogs are messy eaters.” is a main idea.)

In writing, we have drafted the three body paragraphs for our investigator research booklets. Each student picked an investigator and found out what was investigated, why they investigated, and what the consequences of the investigation were. Next week we finish drafting the booklet and start revising.

In science, we just finished a week long investigation into the Case of the Missing Millionaire. (see below) We’re now getting back into investigating the properties of matter, discovering whether heating or cooling an object changes its mass or properties, and whether mixing two substances together creates a new substance.

Shenzhen Museum

As a final tie-in to our previous Unit of Inquiry, grade 5 students visited the Shenzhen Museum to find evidence of different human-made systems in Shenzhen and how they have changed over time. Students were asked to find photographic evidence of such systems as money and trade, art and architecture, agriculture, religion, and communication. Then students had to work in their groups to evaluate and select the most meaningful photos for each system. Besides being educational, it was just a really fun experience for all!

The Case of the Missing Millionaire

As part of our PYP Unit of Inquiry on investigation, students got the opportunity to pretend to be forensic scientists and use evidence to determine the answer to what could be a murder mystery!

We began by examining the crime scene up on Level 5. Students then collected the evidence and carefully recorded information about each piece they found.

We began setting up a clue board and then went back to the evidence to conduct some crime labs or forensic tests to give us more information.

On Monday, students conducted 5 different crime labs:

1. Brown Stain test = Students did a simple chromatography test to determine if the stain on a paper towel was from a felt pen or food coloring.

2. Cola test = Students used pH (or litmus) paper to determine if anything had been added to the victim, Felix’s, cola.

3. Fingerprint test = Students examined fingerprints on Alfredo’s and Felix’s cups.

4. Smell test = Students smelled the colognes/perfumes of four of the suspects to determine which was the one they found on the torn towel at the crime scene.

5. Thread test = Students burned both cotton and wool threads and examined how they burned in order to identify mystery threads found at the crime scene.

On Tuesday, students conducted the 5 remaining crime labs:

6. DNA testing = Student examined the DNA of all the suspects and the victim to determine whose hair was in the comb at the crime scene.

7. Ice cube test = Students used the pH paper again to determine if anything had been added to the melted ice cubes found at the crime scene.

8. Secret Note = Students had to piece together a torn up note and then identify the writer based on handwriting samples.

9. Powder study = Students added drops of iodine to 5 different powders to identify the powder found on the shoes of two of the suspects.

10. Tape lift test = Students did a tape lift on all of the suspects’ clothes to find evidence such as grass, human hair, dog hair, wool, and cotton thread. Does the evidence match with what they said they had been doing?

Students then had to look at all of the evidence and decide what happened to Felix. Who did it? Ask your child to find out.

October 12

Hello parents,
As next week quickly approaches, I just wanted to remind you of three great events that will also be taking place.
  • “SIS Stories” Podcast Global Event on October 17 all day – from the convenience of your own home or workplace; just click HERE on that date
  • Annual Bayside Halloween Haunted House on October 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – at SIS Bayside Campus; 20 RMB for students, 10 RMB for accompanying adults
  • 2018-2019 PSA Family Movie Night on October 20 starting at 5:30 p.m. for food stalls and 6:30 p.m. for movie – at SIS Jingshan Sports Field
  • NO SCHOOL for students-PL Day for teachers on October 26
Looking for a way to study key vocabulary words in preparation for our science unit on matter, mixtures, and solutions? Here are two great Quizlets shared by Mrs. Gibson to help your student in their endeavors:
In mathematics, we have begun investigating the order of operations and numerical expressions. If you would like to review some of these concepts so far instructed, here are a few resources to assist:

If you would like to get a head start on upcoming lessons, here are some videos to watch:

As we complete our “Who We Are” unit of inquiry, we are also wrapping up our reading interpretative book clubs and narrative writings. We are now crossing over to our second unit of inquiry, “How the World Works” where we will be delving deeper into nonfiction text and research essay writing. Please keep a look out for our big wrap up at the end of the next unit where students will showcase their mastery learning from each topic / unit.

October 8

Welcome back! I hope you all had a restful break.

This week in math we are starting our unit 2 on multiplying decimal numbers. The big thing is to understand the concept of what multiplying decimals means, not just being able to follow some steps. Please read over the newsletter for tips on what you can do to help at home. Unit 2 Newsletter

In reading we are working on finding the THEME of a book. The theme should be a statement that shows what lesson or message the author wants us to learn. Some examples of themes are: “Don’t judge people on their outward appearances.” “Stay loyal to your friends.” “Hard times can make you strong.”

Students will be asked to state the theme, and then give EVIDENCE from the book from MULTIPLE places. As your child reads at home, please ask them what they think the theme is and HOW THEY KNOW. Make them quote from the book.

In writing we are finishing up our narratives. We will work on adding advanced transitions and clear endings.

This week we will also be starting our unit in science. We are delving deep into what it means to be investigators. We’ll be investigating matter to begin with.

September 20

Important Dates

  • Friday, Sept. 21–PL day for teachers–No school for students
  • Monday, Sept. 24–Mid Autumn Festival–No school for students
  • Tuesday, Sept. 25–Math Test
  • Thursday and Friday, Sept. 27-28, 11:30 a.m.-12:40 p.m–Civilization Presentations
  • October 1-5–October Break–NO SCHOOL

This week…

What a crazy short week! I hope everyone stayed safe over the typhoon days.

It was great meeting with everyone on Wednesday. Thank you so much for all of the books! The kids will love them.

The main things we focused on for the two days we had this week were

  • finishing up the math unit and reviewing for the test that will be on Tuesday.
  • working on the presentations in social studies that will be on Thursday and Friday.
  • working on identifying story elements and quoting from the text in book clubs.

As I said, the math test is this coming Tuesday, September 25. The students started on the review questions today in class and they need to finish it over the long weekend. They should also watch the educreation videos (see the Instructional Videos page of this blog) to review anything they had problems with on the review. Here are the questions and answers.

Unit 1 Math Review Task Cards

Unit 1 Review Answer Key

Next Thursday and Friday are the Civilization Presentations. The students should be spending time over the long weekend on the Keynote presentation. They do not have to have it finished, but the more they can get done, the better. Here’s the information on it.

Civilization Presentation

Civilization Presentation Rubric

Presentation Guidelines

The presentations will be from 11:30 a.m. -12:40 p.m. Parents are invited to attend. If you are able to come, please plan to stay for the entire time so as to not disturb the presenters. Also, please plan for traffic delays due to the on-going tree clean-up around town.

Thursday, September 27, 11:30 a.m.-12:40 p.m.

  • Elise
  • Klara
  • Otto
  • Emily
  • Tracy
  • Isabelle
  • Jason
  • Sunghoon
  • Chris

Friday, September 28, 11:30 a.m.-12:40 p.m.

  • Amara
  • Helena
  • Haoning
  • Lee
  • Isa
  • Joanne
  • Lawrence
  • Catherine
  • Aarav


September 11

Important Dates

  • Week of Sept. 10–T1 ASAs begin
  • Wednesday, Sept. 19–Parent Teacher Conferences–No school for students
  • Wednesday, Sept. 19–PSA Book Sale
  • Friday, Sept. 21–PL day for teachers–No school for students
  • Monday, Sept. 24–Mid Autumn Festival–No school for students

This week…

In math we are continuing our decimal numbers unit. We worked on converting between all three number forms (standard form, word form, and expanded form) yesterday. We will use number lines to compare and round decimals. We will also be modeling how to add and subtract decimals.

For review, students have videos they can watch on their educreations app in the 5A classroom. These videos are also posted on the Instructional Video page of this blog. This unit’s videos go from “Comparing the Value of Numbers” to “Subtracting Decimals with Place Value Chart”.

In reading, we are starting book clubs! Students will be mixed with other students from all three classes. They will be applying the mini lessons from the week to their book club books. This week’s mini lessons focus on how one part of the story is related to the whole story. They will be identifying story elements (introduction of characters, introduction of setting, problem, character change, theme development, solution) and explaining how it fits with the rest of the story as a whole.


In writing, students are continuing with their narratives. We are working on constructing exciting leads, using descriptive phrases and vocabulary to SHOW not tell the story, and using dialogue correctly.

In social studies, we will be researching how the Incas developed systems based on their human experiences. Then, students will choose another civilization of their choice to research.