Tales from 5A

Shekou International School

January 22

Hello parents,

I wanted to let you know about some happenings here at SIS in the next few days / weeks:

This Thursday, January 25th, is going to be jam packed! Students should come to school wearing their red SIS shirts for our January spirit day which is “SIS SPIRIT DAY!” There will be face painting during recess times and posters all over the school. In addition to spirit day, Thursday is also our second “Learning Comes Alive” day. You are invited to attend 5A’s math lesson on that day from 11:20 – 12:15. I would love to see you there for this hands-on mathematics session, learning with the students.

This Friday, January 26th, will be an early dismissal day; students will leave school starting at 11:30am. Please make sure your child knows exactly how they will be getting home or where they should be going after class. All school transportation will still function… but just earlier that day.

Thursday, February 1st, will be no school for students. On that day, we will conduct parent / student / teacher conferences. A sign-up genius link will be emailed to all parents on this Thursday afternoon. Please look out for that if you wish to sign up for a time slot.

Saturday, February 3rd, will be “Discover China Day” here at Jingshan from 12:00 – 3:00pm. I’ll be there too soaking up all the amazing cultural knowledge I can; hope to see you and 5A students there. If it rains that day, the event will be rescheduled for February 10th (somebody’s birthday!!!)

Tuesday, February 6th, there will be a magician visiting school. Grade 5 students will participate in this activity 10:00 – 10:45am.

Friday, February 9th, will be school photograph make up day at the Level 5. This option is available for new students, students who were absent, or any that are dissatisfied with their previous photographs.

Wednesday, February 14th, will be the last day of school for students before the Chinese New Year holiday. Students will be off from February 15th – 25th. I will see all students back at school to start the Year of the Dog on Monday, February 26th.

More information to come on the following events:

Fifth grade overnight field trip in Hong Kong is approaching. We will have a meeting for parents to attend with more information after everything has been finalized.

Friday, March 9th, will be the last day of trimester 2.

Saturday, March 10th, will be our SIS ES swim team meet with many swimmers coming from room 5A. Come on out to support these amazing swimmers!

January 10

Welcome Back! I’m so glad to see all my students back from Winter Break. As we are now in the second trimester, I would like to extend two wonderful opportunities to see / experience what your child is doing at SIS.

1) On Monday, January 15th, fifth grade students will be displaying their writing samples at Level 5 (fifth floor at Parkside campus) for our publishing party taking place 8:15 a.m. – 8:55 a.m. These samples will include research papers on influential people who helped change the world, poetry from varying perspectives, and even some artwork.

2) On Thursday, January 25th, SIS will be hosting our second Learning Comes Alive event, inviting parents to come and experience what and how their child is learning here at our wonderful international school. Fifth grade will be hosting parents 11:20 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in our classrooms during our normally scheduled math block.

I hope you are able to make it out on either or both of these days. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate in contacting me at pdamroth@sis.org.cn or through the Class Dojo app.

December 11

Hello parents,

I can’t believe it is already the last week of school before Winter Break! Time has flown by.

All students have their parent QR code invitations to Seesaw. This is a great tool that the school and 5A will be using to showcase student work and their growth as they continue to learn and develop. Please use this QR code to have access to your child’s portfolio on Seesaw and see their work that they are posting. P.S. There is also a free Seesaw app called “Seesaw Parent and Family” if you want to download that on your phone.

This week is going to be a busy one. Here are a few future happenings:
Monday – Trimester 2 ASAs start
Wednesday – Picture Day for 5A (11:30-12:10)
Thursday – Ice Skating Field Trip (10:30-15:00 or earlier)… more info to come
Friday – Last Day of School before Winter Break (dismissal at 11:30)

Thank you to all parents that signed up to bring in items this Friday for the fifth grade Holiday party! I’ll see you then.

December 5

Picture Day

5A’s picture day is Wednesday, December 13th right before lunch. Please have your child dress appropriately.

Holiday Party

We are looking for volunteers to bring in items for the Grade 5 Holiday Party that will take place on Friday, December 15. The items can be sent in with your child, or you can deliver them to 5B at 9:00 a.m. You may sign up for more than one slot if you wish. Thanks!


Pajama 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.

November 27

Two important pieces of information concerning upcoming fifth grade events:

1. We have TWO field trips coming up. Our first field trip is to Bayside on December 5th where we will be sharing our poems with Grade 10 mentor students and they will discuss varying perspectives we have discussed in our unit of inquiry. Please click HERE to complete the necessary information for this trip to our middle / high school campus. Our second field trip is our team-building ice skating trip on December 14th. Please click HERE to complete the necessary information for the field trip. Both forms need to be filled out by December 1. These also serve as the permission forms.

No parent chaperones are needed for the Bayside trip as we will have teachers with us. However, we can take up to 5 parents per class to come as chaperones for our ice skating trip. If you would like to come, please email me directly at pdamroth@sis.org.cn; please do this this before Wednesday, November 29. To be fair, if there are more than five parents that express interest before this date, I will select names randomly and then reply to your email.

2. This week is an exciting week with a wide array of different cultural activities that help support international mindedness at SIS. Each day, fifth graders will have a globally focused book read aloud to them. We will also be delving deep into our Sharing the Planet unit with themes of anti-stereotyping and promoting cultural diversity. Students have already and will continue to explore privilege in different settings, a week of groceries in various countries around the world, and numerous TED talks focusing on issues arising throughout Asia, Africa, and Central America. Check out the powerful videos we have seen on the instructional videos tab.

For this year’s parade on Friday, each class will take a lap with their buddy class (ours is 2B). We will begin on the sports field with each pair of classes. Parents are welcome to stand around the perimeter of the track or the stands to watch the parade. Everyone is encouraged to wear something resembling their national/cultural identity, or that of a different country they associate with. Hope to see you there!… Also, Winter Bazaar is this Saturday.

International Celebration Flyer Final copy-1ltyiw1

November 21

Here’s a list of some of the amazing happenings at SIS now until Winter Break. I’ll update if anything else is added:

  • Pirates 2! performances are Wednesday and Thursday, November 22nd and 23rd, at 5:00 p.m. in the SPAH. Tickets are 10 rmb and can be bought currently in the Parkside office. Students MUST be accompanied by an adult. Doors open at 4:45 p.m each of these nights.
  • Thursday, November 23rd is our Giving Thanks spirit day. We are encouraging our students to think about those individuals they may overlook in showing appreciation. For instance, students are currently writing cards to custodians, crossing guards, Nom Nom staff, Teacher Assistants, and office staff.
  • Friday, November 24th is an early release day. Students go home at 11:30 a.m. Also on this day, report cards will be available for viewing online starting at 12:00 p.m.
  • Monday – Friday, November 27th – December 1st is our International Week. There will be numerous events occurring inside the classroom and all across the school at various times, culminating with an International Parade on Friday, December 1st starting at 8:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, December 2nd is SIS and PSA’s annual International Winter Bazaar. More information will come about this event as the date draws nearer.
  • Thursday, December 14th will be a field trip taken by Grade 5s. Please be on the lookout for more information through emails, We Chat, and Dojo in the near future.
  • Friday, December 15th will be the last day of school before Winter Break begins. Students go home at 11:30 a.m.
  • November 6


  • 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.

    Last 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 will finish this Google Form in class today. 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 mathematics unit on multiplying whole numbers, multiplying decimals, order of operations, and writing expressions. 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.

    In writing, we wrote the drafts of our three body paragraphs for our information writing on investigators. The focus was on writing 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 past 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. We will be delving deeper this week with our review, a final demonstration tomorrow, and students brainstorming / implementing their own reactions with wonderings / hypotheses / observations using video recordings.

    Here are some other questions to ask your child to help them review for the upcoming test 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 20

    I hope everyone has a great weekend. Please remember that tomorrow is the ladies’ soccer tournament. An email was sent from the office earlier concerning transportation and other important information if you are interested. Also, family movie night will be tomorrow. Hope to see you at the SIS Soccer Field at 6:30pm!

    Halloween festivities will take place this upcoming Friday. Please pay attention to the following schedule and guidelines for costumes. Can’t wait to see what all students are dressed up as.

    Lastly, Disco Day will be taking place on Tuesday, October 31st. Students are encouraged to dress up and practice their best dance moves. Dancing / overall fun times will be taking place at lunch recess time at the sports field that day.

    October 19

    Hello parents,

    The letter at the bottom of this post will be emailed to you as well but I wanted to make sure you understood it. Aleks math is a website / digital program for students to refine math skills. The great thing is this site will provide middle school course work for those students needing enrichment beyond fifth grade standards. It will also provide remedial skills for students needing an increased study in foundational mathematics. In addition, several parents asked at our goal setting conferences for an increased amount of homework. Students can spend as long as you wish on this website at home. It is much better than any worksheet I can provide as it will be targeting specific skills at the level your child needs to grow in mathematics. I hope you enjoy and if there are any questions / concerns, please let me know. Thank you!


    October 17

    Reminder: Wednesday, October 18th 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

    Also this week, we will be having the PSA sponsored movie night on Friday. Please see the flyer below. Hope to see everyone out there for one of my favorite “newer” movies: TROLLS!

    Last week was a crazy full week! We had a great time at the Shenzhen Museum. Big thank you to all parent chaperones and those that volunteered to do so. Hope to see you on our next field trip as well (more information will come on that).

    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 started 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 homework tonight is to explain how to use that app and how the model relates to the partial products algorithm.

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