September 22 Newsletter

Coming Soon


Mon Sept 25:  Buu Long Field Trip for Ms. Rayle’s and Ms. Carnahan’s class

Wed, Sept 27:  NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS – Professional Development for staff

Oct 5: Principal’s Coffee w/ Dr. Keller

Oct 9-13: October Break – no school

Grade 5 Business

Buu Long Field Trip: Please double check the packing list for our field trip to make sure your child is prepared for a great day! On the day of your child’s trip, please have them meet their classroom teacher in the Plaza near the main gate. The bus will depart by 8:00AM and we will return at approximately 4:30PM.

20-hour project: Throughout September your child’s primary homework time will be to work on their project. This includes time spent on practicing the new skill or activity, as well as documentation. Thank you for your continued support!

Learning Updates (Pictures soon!)

Math: This week students took a test for the Order of Operations unit. They tests have been scored and discussed with students. They are coming home Tuesday with an “IPP” or “Individual Profile of Progress” that shows how they did and what areas they may need further practice on. (I apologize–I intended to send it home Friday but was caught up in end-of-day final details for Buu Long and forgot!)  On the reverse of the IPP, there is a box with the math practices.  Please sit with your child and have them reflect and self-assess how they do in this areas. Please sign and return the test to school with your child next by the end of next week.

SuperUnit: This week Grade 5 students continued with a series of mini-classes on nutrition, personal safety, and documenting their 20-hour projects. They have been looking over the rubric to ensure that they are prepared with their documentation and reflections of learning throughout the process. It’s so much fun to see all the new learning taking place!

English: In writing, students are preparing to write narratives. This week they made brainstormed story ideas, began to develop a main characters, and reviewed the elements of story. They were mindful of important story elements, and carried these ideas to strengthen their own writing.

Looking Forward

Next week, students will be participating in a field trip where they will work to challenge themselves, set goals and see their growth. The learning on this adventure trip will last for many weeks to come! They will also work on their 20-hour projects and work to reflect, adjust, and document all the time they’ve been putting into learning a new skill or activity! In math, students will continue learning about multiplication.

 

September 15 Newsletter

Overview of the race course in Chattanooga

I apologize for the lack of a post last week. As many parents know, I was “on the road” on a marathon trip to Tennessee, USA for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Unfortunately, I became quite ill with food poisoning two days before the race–too sick to put out a newsletter or blog post! Luckily, I was able to recover enough to start and finish Saturday’s race, though my time and placing were far from what I had hoped. It’s good to be back in Vietnam and remain in the same time zone for more than three days! We have an exciting few weeks coming up in Grade 5.

Coming Soon

Sat, Sept 16, 11 am- 2 pm – Family Fun Day at SSIS

Wed, Sept 20, 10 am – Parent Meeting for Buu Long Field Trip – Room B310 ES Flex Room
Mon. Sept 25 – Buu Long Field Trip (for Ms. Rayle’s and Ms. Carnahan’s classes)

Oct 5: Principal’s Coffee w/ Dr. Keller

Grade 5 Business

Passport copies for Buu Long Field Trip: If you have not already had a chance to send in your child’s passport copy, please do so as soon as possible so we are prepared for our field trip preparations.

Field trip slips went home today. Please take time to read, sign and return them as soon as possible with the 1850,000VND ($81) trip fee. This is the slide show that will be shared at the parent meeting (optional) on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

If you want your grade 5 child to be able to walk home or ride their bicycle home without an adult escort at the end of a regular school day, please print, sign and return this permission form to the Elementary school office.

20-hour project: Throughout September your child’s primary homework time will be to work on their project. This includes time spent on practicing the new skill or activity, as well as documentation. Thank you for your continued support!

Learning Updates

Math: This week we continued our unit on the Order of Operations. Students also focused on patterns in both multiplying and dividing by powers of 10. Students continued to work on building complex equations through games and in class tasks.

SuperUnit: This week Grade 5 students continued with a series of mini-classes on nutrition, personal safety and social/emotional wellness.  Students continued to work on their 20-hour projects at home and had time in class to share some of their challenges and triumphs with peers. Students saw peer examples of different ways to document their practice time and learning progress. Students also reviewed a rubric to know what is expected by the end of their 20-hour project.

Experimenting to find out about nutrients in food

English: Students continued to think critically as they read and wrote this week. They were mindful of important story elements, and carried these ideas to strengthen their own writing.

Looking Forward

Next week, students will continue their learning in SuperUnit rotations. They will also work on their 20-hour projects and work to reflect, adjust, and document all the time they’ve been putting into learning a new skill or activity!

 

Grade 5 Weekly Update: September 1, 2017

Coming Soon

Monday, Sept. 4: No school (Vietnamese National Day)
Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2:40-3:00 Individual School Pictures
To be Rescheduled due to Ms. Rayle’s absence: Class Picture
Thurs, Sept. 7, 8:30 am, Room B310: Principal’s Coffee w/ Dr. Keller
Sat, Sept 16, 11 am – 2pm Family Fun Day at SSIS

Ms. Rayle will be out from Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Tuesday, Sept, 12 for Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennesee. Sub is Andy Apgar. I will try to keep in touch by e-mail as much as possible, and give updates on the adventure via the class blog.

Grade 5 Business

Individual and Class Photos: Students should wear school uniforms for both individual and class photos. If their picture takes place on a P.E. day, please ensure students bring a collared SSIS polo shirt for the photo.

Just a reminder to also check our class blog where we will be posting weekly updates.

Learning Updates

Math: This week we continued our unit on the Order of Operations. In this unit students will:

  • Learn to apply the Order of Operations and evaluate expressions with parentheses or insert parentheses to makes number sentences true.
  • Identify or write number sentences that match a number story
  • Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying by the powers of 10 and explain patterns of decimal placement when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10.

SuperUnit: Grade 5 students discussed the difference between being a perfectionist and pursuing excellence.  In addition, students began to look about how nutrition can help us pursue excellence in anything we do by keeping our bodies and minds healthy.  

They also learned strategies anyone can employ when learn something new:

  • Deconstruct the skill
  • Learn enough to self-correct
  • Remove barriers to practice
  • Practice intentionally for 20+ hours

Please talk to your child this weekend about their ideas for their upcoming 20-hour project. You may also want to watch this video and be inspired to learn something new along with your child this month!

English: This week students wrote a realistic story for beginning of the year baseline writing assessment. This writing will assist with individual writing goal setting. Students also continued to develop their writing skills in their reading responses.

Looking Forward

Next week, students will continue to dive deeper by learning about nutrition, personal safety, first aid, and awareness of social and emotional pressures. Learning about goal setting in each of these areas will help them gain a better understand of themselves as pursuers of excellence . They will also begin their 20 hour project this week! Look for some exciting new learning to take place as students plan and execute their own acquisition of a brand new skill.

 

Weekly Update: August 25, 2017

 Coming Soon

Monday, August 28: Fall ASA’s and sports (basketball and badminton) begin.

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 8:15-9:45 AM, Room B310: New Parent Workshop (optional)

Monday, Sept. 4: No school (Vietnamese National Day)

Tuesday, Sept. 5-Tuesday, Sept. 12: Ms. Rayle gone to USA for Ironman 70.3 World Championships; sub Andy Apgar. For urgent matters, I should be able to check e-mail daily.

Thursday, Sept. 7, 8:30 am, Room B310: Principal’s Coffee w/ Dr. Keller

Grade 5 Business

Weekly Homework In Grade 5: On Monday, Aug 28, students will receive their first official homework post on Edmodo. Each school night students will be asked to read for a minimum of 20 min, as well as post to their online reading logs in Biblionasium. Please keep in mind that 20 minutes is the minimum time and we highly encourage and expect that many students will average more than 20 minutes a night. The online reading log includes a reflection of their reading.  In addition to reading, they will have math practice that will be due on Fridays. Please check the weekly document for specific connections to our SuperUnit and other classroom content.

Learning Updates

Learning to play the math game “24”

Math: This week we completed several beginning of the year math assessments and have begun our unit on the Order of Operations. In this unit students will:

  • Learn to apply the Order of Operations and evaluate expressions with parentheses, or insert parentheses to makes number sentences true.
  • Identify or write number sentences that match a number story (word problem)
  • Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying and dividing by the powers of 10, and explain patterns of decimal placement when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10.

SuperUnit: Grade 5 launched our first SuperUnit this week: Mission Possible: The Pursuit of Excellence! Learners were introduced to the essential question of the unit and began to work through the design process, with a focus on reflective thinking and self-evaluation. You can support your child by asking them how they worked together as a team on both their first and second attempts to save Pong!

Brainstorming about the SuperUnit theme

English: This week students continued to increase stamina in both reading and writing. They have begun their reading logs on Biblionasium. Students continued to develop their ability to predict and summarize.

Ms. Ronzetti talking with students about “building a reading life”

Looking Forward

Next week, students will continue diving deeper into the new math unit and the Super Unit: Mission Possible. This week also begins the first homework post on Edmodo.

Reflections for Launch Challenge #1 (Pong’s Zipline)

Thinking Reflectively About our Launch

Challenge #1

Backward-Looking

What problems did you encounter while you were working on this challenge? How did you solve them?

Inward-Looking

What was satisfying to you or frustrating to you during the challenge?

Outward-Looking

In what ways did your product meet or not meet the goals of the challenge?

Forward-Looking

What would you change if you have a chance to do this challenge over again?

Feelings: What were some of the different feelings you experienced during the challenge?

 

September 18 Newsletter

G5 Weekly Update: August 18, 2017

Note: From now on this will be a collective post/newsletter from the Grade 5 team, but I will be adding some photos and news specific to our class.

Solving puzzles about learning

Coming Soon

Friday, August 25, 8:15-9:45 in auditorium: Welcome Coffee Morning w/ Head of School Mark Sylte

Monday, August 28: Fall ASA’s and sports (basketball and badminton) begin.

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 8:15-9:45 AM, Room B310: New Parent Workshop (optional)

Monday, Sept. 4: No school (Vietnamese National Day)

Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Tuesday, Sept. 12: Ms. Rayle gone for Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee (sub TBA)

Grade 5 Business

Managing Technology at Home: For those of you who are looking for guidance on managing technology with your children at home and were unable to attend the parent workshop on digital citizenship with Alfredo Papaseit last week, you can access his workshop slideshow and many helpful link here. See the last tab, Laptops in Your Life for information and resources for parents.

Curriculum Night: We were delighted to welcome so many of you at Curriculum Night. Here is the slide show presentation:

Tech News: This year we have welcomed 22 new SSIS students to our Grade 5 community. It is wonderful to have so many new and eager learners join us. We have designed a special Macbook bootcamp for them. All Grade 5 classes should be up and running with class blogs and Edmodo by the end of August. Thank you for your patience while we bring our new SSIS Dragons up to speed.

Learning Updates

Math: This week we worked on getting to know ourselves by writing expressions of numbers that represent us. Learners were also introduced to math games designed to develop their mathematical thinking skills.

SuperUnit: Students and teachers worked to build our classroom communities in preparation for starting our SuperUnit year next week. SuperUnit time was spent learning classroom expectations and doing team-building activities.

English: Students began building their 5th grade reading lives through reflections on reading and exploring the classroom libraries. The students spent time reading silently in order to rebuild their stamina for reading. In writing workshop, the students prepared bio poems and did flash-draft writing. We also utilized some of our English time for technology boot-camp activities designed to familiarize students with their Macbooks and get them up to speed for the school year.

Looking Forward

Next week, students will be completing beginning of the year math and writing assessments. We will also begin our first Super Unit: Mission Possible. Homework routines and expectations will also be a part of the week’s learning.

 

 

 

 

 

First Week of School! (August 11 Newsletter)

 

Welcome students and parents to Ms. Rayle’s Grade 5 blog! I normally do a weekly post on Thursday or Friday of each week, and a copy is also sent in e-mail form to parents. Posts will remain on the blog all year in case you want to quickly find pictures or information from a previous newsletter.

The posts/newsletter usually have four main sections: Upcoming Events, to keep you posted on events in the next few weeks; Math Update, Reading and Writing Workshop, and SuperUnits. Occasionally I will include other information as well.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Tuesday, August 15: Curriculum Night. Grades 3-5 parents will meet in the auditorium at 7 PM for introduction by Dr. Keller and Mr. Sylte, then head to classrooms (mine is A413) for teacher presentations from 7:30 to 8:20 PM.

Monday-Friday, August 14-18: Online signup for Fall ASA’s and Sports

Monday, August 28: Fall ASA’s and Sports begin

CLASSROOM HAPPENINGS

Much of the first week involves class activities to help students (and teachers) get to know each other and to become comfortable with classroom routines. It’s often hard to separate “English” time from “Math” or “SuperUnit” when we are working on things that are fundamental to all subject areas all year. So instead of separate sections, here are some of the things we have been doing in class this week!

Measuring each other as part of a “Time Capsule” project

Calculating mean, median, and mode for the our class’s height data
Learning about cafeteria and playground rules
Drawing ourselves for a class bulletin board display

LOOKING AHEAD

Next week we will begin some more serious “work” in class, with a variety of informal assessments in math, reading, and writing. Kids can expect to see homework on some nights (there was none this week). Regular assignments, and our first SuperUnit, will probably begin the following week.

Information, Please!

At the beginning of each new school year, students and parents have many questions about things like class rules, supplies, and schedules. We will talk about these during the first weeks of school, both in class and during Curriculum Night (for parents) but for your convenience, I have also posted this information all in one place on the blog. I will try to update this post if there are any changes to this basic class information during the school year.

While the SSIS Core Values of Dedicated Service, Academic Excellence, Respect for All, Balance in Life, and Sense of Self do not change from year to year or teacher to teacher, students usually find that their new teacher does things a little bit differently than last year’s teacher. For a list of our class policies and expectations, and assorted advice for a happy, healthy, and successful year, please click on the link below. (Students will also receive a hard copy during the first week of school.)

Ms. Rayle’s Class Policies

In years past, some kids have and parents have struggled with bringing healthy snacks. Basically, a healthy snack meets the SSIS Food Policy, is low in sugar and fat, and contains enough nutrients to help the child stay focused and energetic between breakfast and lunch. Snacks that have some protein and healthy fats help keep kids full and focused longer. A snack that is pure carbs, such as fruit or crackers, may give a quick energy boost and healthful vitamins, but may not satisfy the child through lunchtime. Adding some cheese, nuts, or nut butter will help. Kids who are growing rapidly, eating little or no breakfast (I know–it happens!), and/or doing workouts (such as Swim Club) before school may need a more substantial “snack” that looks closer to a mini-breakfast or lunch. This is not a problem–time is given to eat and I am snacking myself! Below is a poster I’ve found helpful in thinking about my own snacks.

 

CLASS SUPPLIES

Families should have received a list of needed supplies for fifth grade over the summer.  Please put your name on supplies with permanent marker whenever possible. (I will have markers available in class.) Don’t worry if you don’t have everything on the first day. For the first week, you will mainly need pencils, erasers, uniform and PE clothes, a hat for recess, and a water bottle. You will need most or all of the supplies starting next Monday.

Please note that notebooks need to be A4 size. You can find A4 size notebooks in our school store and some local stationary stores.

DAILY SCHEDULE

A note for students and parents who are new to our elementary schedule: We operate on a two-week rotation. The two weeks are called A and B. Classes are similar but not totally identical between the two weeks. Academic classes (math, English, unit studies, Vietnamese) are basically the same each day and time each week, with minor changes due to timing of specials (Art, Music, PE, Library, Drama). Occasionally a lesson may run shorter or longer than scheduled in order to finish a lesson, activity, or test.

Afternoons often see a flexible integration of reading/writing with Superunit time–the schedule shows a clear division, but many of our Superunits are heavy on reading, research, and writing, so in fact students may be doing some combination of all of these for the entire afternoon! For those new to SSIS, Superunits include a combination of subjects that are often taught in Science or Social Studies classes in some schools. Our first Superunit focuses on goal-setting, planning, and personal wellness (health habits) including nutrition, personal safety, and first aid.

Here is a link to our daily schedule as it now stands; it will also be given to students to paste in their planners on the first day of school, and available to parents at Curriculum Night.  Students will also receive a monthly calendar listing their specials for each day.

Note for those who have already logged in before the first day of school–although we are scheduled to have PE at 8:05 AM on Wednesday, we will not be doing that on the first day of school. I think we need to spend some time first getting to know each other. I know that for many of you, PE is a highlight of your day, and I apologize for taking a class from you. But it’s just really bad timing on the first day of school! Our first special of the year will be Library first thing Friday morning, and you will start PE first thing next Monday.

For now, PE will be in the gym or on the playground (depends on the activity and sometimes the weather–be prepared for either each day with sports shoes, water bottle, and hat). Our class will have two “blocks” when PE will be in the pool for several weeks. The first one is later this fall, so unless you are joining the “Seven Dragons” swim club, which starts next week, there is no need to bring swim supplies yet. (See me or Ms. Elizabeth if interested in Seven Dragons.)

CONTACTING MS. RAYLE

The best way to contact me in a non-emergency situation is by e-mail (krayle@ssis.edu.vn). I check that e-mail several times during the school day, as well as early morning (around 5 AM) and at least once or twice after school in the evening.  (Please be aware that because I get up very early to train, I go to bed quite early–any e-mails received after 8 PM will probably not be read till morning!)  If you wish to meet in person, please e-mail to set up a convenient time to meet. For quick questions that don’t require privacy (such as arranging a time to bring birthday treats), you can usually catch me after school in my classroom until about 4 PM. (Except on days when I coach track from November to March.)  If the message is time-sensitive  (for example, you need to pick up your child early or change his/her after-school plans), please phone the school office, and they will forward the message to me immediately so that I can let your child know.  For homework concerns and other messages, you can also write a note in the comments section of your child’s planner.

I look forward to meeting all of you soon at Orientation and Curriculum Night!

Welcome to Grade 5!

Rayle-Karen_R headshot3 resize

Dear New Grade 5 Students and Parents,

I hope you all had great summer vacations and got to do a lot of relaxing (and reading).  It seems like just yesterday was the last day of school!  It’s been a very busy and active summer for me and I imagine for many of you as well.

A quick introduction to your new teacher: I am from Eugene, Oregon in the USA. I’m single with no kids, but have two “fur children” (cats), Smudgee and Tomoko. You can see their pictures above my desk. Smudgee is five years old, and Tomoko will be four soon. Weird but true–Tomoko and I share the same birthday, but I’m 44 years older!  I’ve had Smudgee and Tomoko since they were kittens. They were born here in Saigon. Our vet jokes that they must be Vietnam’s largest and smallest adult cats–Smudgee is over seven kilos, and Tomoko is less than three! But they are best buddies despite their different sizes.

Smudgee (left) and Tomoko (right) on top of the fridge
Smudgee (left) and Tomoko (right) on top of the fridge

I’ve been teaching for over twenty years, mostly grades four to six. I’ve also taught grades 2-3, and middle school math, science, and EAL.  I’ve worked in the USA, Taiwan, mainland China, and Vietnam. I speak and read Chinese fluently, and have taught Chinese in an elementary school in the USA. I have also taught middle school and Grade 4 at SSIS, and this will be my seventh year of teaching Grade 5 here. It’s a fun grade to teach, because there are great books to read, interesting and challenging things to learn in math, and very cool Superunits.

When I’m not teaching, coaching, or doing other school work, you can usually find me on the road or in the gym or pool training for triathlons (races that combine swimming, biking, and running), cooking and eating, or lying on my couch or bed with a cat (or two) and a good book. I travel a lot on school breaks, and enjoy hiking, biking, and kayaking. I also like to collect interesting fabric that I find on my travels, and use it to design my own clothes. You will probably see me wearing some of my “creations”.

After finishing World Championships in Australia last fall
Bike touring in Sri Lanka last year at winter break
Bike touring in Sri Lanka at winter break in 2014

This past summer, I spent a lot of time training for triathlons, as well as helping my parents get ready to move to a new house. Two weeks after I came home, we drove to Idaho for a half-ironman race (that’s 1900m of swimming, 90 km of biking, and 21 km of running). To be honest, it didn’t go very well. My swim and run were okay, but the bike was extremely hilly, and I think my training here didn’t prepare me enough. It can be hard to train for a hilly race in a very flat place!

The only thing worse than the bike was running 21 km after it! It wasn’t a great race for me, but I was really glad to see the finish line!

I also did a shorter race in my hometown (called Olympic distance, it’s 1500m of swimming, 40 km of biking, and 10 km of running) and was happy to win my age group and break my best time by four minutes. I’m also training to do the half-ironman at the World Championships in September. I’ve had some problems with running this summer due to minor injuries, and hope I’ll be able to stay healthy and fit enough to have a good race at the longer distance.

Before the start of the swim. Good luck finding me–I’m toward the back, third from right. (I actually started near the front–we’re just posing on our way to the start line.

I spent much of the rest of the time going through things in our house to see what to keep and what to get rid of. (My parents’ new house is much smaller–they’re getting old and don’t want to care for a big house and yard.) Then I packed A LOT of boxes, I think 42! If you’ve ever been through a big move (maybe some of you did over the summer?), you’ll have an idea what that is like. The worst part was that I just moved to a new apartment myself in May at the end of the last school year. I’ve spent way too much time packing and unpacking boxes lately!

I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable summer and got the chance to do some of the things you love and spend time with the people (and animals!) you care about. I look forward to getting to know you soon.

Sincerely,

Karen Rayle