Happy Monday!

If you have not done so yet, please bring in any old t-shirts you have at home tomorrow.  Any size or color will do!  These will be used for an art project for younger students. Thanks!

Highlights for the Week:

  • We are back from Cat Tien! It was an amazing trip that included moon bears, gibbons, shooting stars, barking deer, bonfires, and songs. We're so glad every student from our class got to go! We will be connecting our trip to the rest of the unit about sustainability, so talk to your child about Cat Tien and how it connects to our new unit!
  • We are excited to work with our visiting artist, Lee Tracy this week!  She will help us make a mural called, "Hate Ruins Everything," which will be on display after it's finished. We will also work on individual art pieces called "Demandments."  
  • In math, we will begin learning about fractions, and how to add and subtract unlike fractions and mixed numbers
  • In literacy, we will focus on expository and persuasive texts, and learn how to better identify the texts we are reading. We will also note the key language used in these types of text so we can use them in our writing.
  • In unit studies, we are focusing on Sustainability Thinking. We will learn about the process of considering how our daily choices affect our environment. Students will generate ideas for a proposal for making a sustainable change at SSIS.

Connecting with Specialists:

  • In art class students will work with our visiting artist, Lee Tracy They can tell or even show you what they did at home!  You can also ask your child to tell you about their spray-painting of their 2-D to 3-D figures, and what they liked about spray-painting.

  • In music, students are learning about guitars! They're working on fingers, strumming, frets, and E minor chord. Use this link for practice at home.

  • In PE, students are finishing up scooter games.  Talk with your child about the games they played and how they worked in their teams.


  • February 28: Innovate SSIS 3:30- 6:30.  All parents and students are welcome!

Thanks for all you do!

Erin Johnson and Ms. Kim

Dear Students and Parents,

Cat Tien is just a few days away!  I'd like to share the packing list and informational letter once again with you.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  We look forward to a fantastic trip and learning experience!

Dear Parents,
Your child is going to Cat Tien National Park for their fifth grade Ecosystems trip from 14 February to 16  February, 2017. The following SSIS staff members will be traveling on the trip: Mrs. Johnson, Ms. Rayle, Mr. Edwards, Ms. Fox, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Poff, Mr. Binh, Ms. Kim, Ms. Tram, and Ms. Chi. This trip will involve an overnight stay at the cabins at Cat Tien National Park. To prepare for this journey, we need to get your permission allowing your child to join the group.

Here is the proposed daily itinerary during the trip:

  • Tuesday, February 14 – all students come to school as usual between 7:45-8:00 with their luggage. We will leave SSIS at 8:10 am by bus. We will arrive at Cat Tien by 11:00 am. See attached agenda for a more detailed itinerary.
  • Wednesday, February 15 – Students will study the ecosystems and endangered animals in the park. See attached agenda for a more detailed itinerary.
  • Thursday, February 16 – Students will leave Cat Tien at 11:30 and arrive back at SSIS before 3:00. If we are delayed, we will contact families.


  1. Visit to Dao Tien Primate Rescue Center  
  2. Visit to Moon Bear Sanctuary  


  1. Nature Walk - students will make their way through a small portion of the forest on a clear trail. This will allow the students to see how the living and nonliving things in the ecosystem interact with each other.
  2. Night Safari -Students will ride in a safari vehicle and observe the nocturnal animals of Cat Tien.
  3. Campfire activities- students will have an opportunity to lead songs, games, and stories as we sit around the campfire.


Please note: Cabins, mosquito nets, bedding, towels and pillows are provided at Cat Tien.

Clothing Items
School PE uniform (wear on Day 1 of trip)

4 T-shirts

2 pair of pants  

1 pair of sport shoes or tennis shoes

1 pair of slip on shoes or sandals (ie. Crocs)

3 pairs of shorts

4 pairs of socks

4 pairs of underwear


Raincoat or poncho!


Light jacket or long sleeved shirt
Optional Items


Some spending money no more than 500,000 VND

Cards or small travel games (no electronics)

Pillow – (if you desire your own)

Any medication you may need with instructions (give to teacher)

A watch

Nutritious snacks for the bus ride

Flashlight (torch) with new batteries

Water bottle – reusable

Insect repellent!

Sunscreen (lotion or cream)

Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush/comb, shampoo, and soap

A plastic bag for dirty clothes

Extra towel/washcloth

Backpack (big enough for day hikes)

Small suitcase to pack all items

Small pack of tissues and moist wipes

Book (long enough for three days)

Pencil case with sharpener, eraser, and a few color pencils


Upcoming Events:
Wednesday, Jan. 18
  • Sports Day!
  • Bring clothes that can get wet (or wear a swimsuit under free-dress clothes)
  • Bring a school uniform to change into after Sports Day
  • Bring a towel!
Thursday, Jan. 19
  • Digital Project Due!
  • Students will need to post to their blogs by 1:30 p.m.
  • Be sure to check out their amazing work!
Tuesday, Jan. 24
  • Tet Assembly!
  • Time to be announced
  • Students may wear festive Tet dress to school on this day
Thursday, Jan. 26
  • Principal's Coffee for Parents!
  • 8:15-9:30
Friday, Jan. 26 - Sunday, Feb. 5
  • Tet Holiday!
  • No School
Thanks so much,
Erin Johnson

Dear SSIS Fifth Grade Parents,

We are excited to share information about our upcoming field trip to Cat Tien National Park on February 14th – 16th, 2017. Overnight trips are often a highlight of students’ fifth grade year. Our trip to Cat Tien National Park will be no exception. We will meet with animal researchers, observe animals in rescue and research centers, observe ecosystems closely as scientists, and hike through them. The trip will be the cornerstone of our ecosystem unit as scientists. A minimum of ten SSIS teachers will join the fifth grade on this trip.

We would like to invite you to an informational meeting about our trip to Cat Tien on Friday, January 13th at 8:00 in room A409. This meeting is for parents and family and will go no longer than 9:00 a.m. The meeting will provide you with an opportunity to get much more information about the trip, and to ask any questions you may have.

In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions.


The Fifth Grade Team

Ms. Rayle – krayle@ssis.edu.vn  and Ms. Tram

Mrs. Johnson -- ejohnson@ssis.edu.vn and Ms. Kim

Mr. Edwards – medwards@ssis.edu.vn and Ms. Chi

Dear Grade 5 Parents,

Welcome back to school and Happy 2017! I hope that you all enjoyed the time together as a family over the break and are feeling relaxed and refreshed. Mr. Johnson and I took his parents who are visiting from the U.S. to Cambodia. We also had a good time exploring Saigon and even took a Vespa tour of the Mekong Delta!

Today our class will be starting a Human Development and Sexual Health unit. The learning goals of the lessons will be that students:

  • Know physical changes at puberty

  • Know parts of the reproductive system   

  • Develop positive strategies in dealing with stress and pressures and relationships

  • Understand the increasing importance of personal hygiene

  • Acquire greater skill in talking about puberty with comfort and dignity

We see families, the school and community as key partners in helping students move through this important stage of their life. Children benefit when they have access to developmentally appropriate puberty and sexual health education.  This helps them to acquire the necessary information and skills to enhance their health and self-esteem.  Children who are informed and comfortable communicating about this topic are believed to be at lower risk for sexual abuse.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your child’s classroom teacher, Tina Fossgreen, Curriculum Director,  curriculumdirector@ssis.edu.vn, or Jacob  Humes, School Psychologist, jhumes@ssis.edu.vn.

Thanks for all that you do!

Dear Parents and Students,
Thanks so much for coming this morning to our Monday Muffins & Math event!  It was great to see so many of you learning along with your children.  Math can be creative, fun, and more than worksheets...and seeing the reflections after the activity were awesome!  Some great realizations took place.  Nice work, parents and students!

Highlights for the Week

  • There is no HW packet this week, but there are assignments to do at home:
    • Encourage your child to read for 30 minutes each night
    • Reading blog post due by Tuesday morning
    • Science Reflection video due by Wednesday morning
    • Science blog post due by Thursday morning
  • Friday we will have a holiday celebration. We will make a craft and play holiday games
    • You are welcome to send in a treat for the party.  It would be nice to have some healthier options:  fruit tray, cheese, pretzels, etc.  🙂


  • Progress Reports sent home - Friday, December 16th
  • EARLY DISMISSAL/ Free Dress Day!  -  Friday, December 16th: 12:15
  • 5th Grade Trip to Cat Tien Parent Meeting - Friday, January 13: 8:00 a.m.

Thanks for all you do!


Kind regards,

Erin Johnson and Ms. Kim

Dear Parents and Students,
Here are our updates for this week:
What students are learning: Students are continuing their “Dream Location” selfie.  They have chosen their location photos as inspiration and have learned acrylic painting techniques in preparation for painting their backgrounds on canvas.
Home connection:  Take your child to a gallery to look at paintings.
What students are learning: Students will be introduced to recorders and do xylophone work.
What students are learning:  We are organizing our research essays.  Students made their central idea sentence today, that will help guide their entire piece.  This week we will write the sections, and work on our introductions and conclusions.
Home connection:  Ask your child to share their central idea for their essay.
What students are learning:  We are taking our Unit 3 test this week.  The main focus is multiplying and dividing with fractions.  We are also practicing how to explain our thinking and show our work in different ways, such as with diagrams or words.
Home connection: Be on the look-out for the Unit 3 IPP and student reflection sheet this week.  Take time to look at it and have your child explain their work.
What students are learning:  We are coming up with our own proposals in science.  Students will be designing their own experiments and reflecting on the process through video blogs. 
Home connection:  Ask your child what experiment they will do and how it relates to Mixtures and Solutions
Thursday, Dec. 4

Book Fair Visit


    • Our class will visit the book fair on this date, but you are more than welcome to visit before or after school Tues-Fri.
    • If your child would like to buy a book, please have them bring money on the 4th.

Monday, Dec. 12
Monday Math and Muffins

A409 (Our Classroom)

    • Come join the classroom and your child!  We will play math games and have a light morning snack.  Learn new math skills the same way your child does at SSIS!
    • 8:00-8:35 in our classroom
Friday , Dec. 16
Holiday/End of Term Celebration
A409 (Our Classroom)

    • We will celebrate the upcoming holidays and end of the term
    • Feel free to send in healthy snacks!
    • We will do a craft, play a game, and eat.
Friday , Dec. 16
Early Dismissal at 12:15
Report Cards sent home with students
Thanks for all that you do!
Mrs. Johnson & Ms. Kim

Dear Parents and Students,
I'd like to introduce to you Mr. Ryan Dalton, who will be in our classroom twice a week until Christmas Break.   Mr. Dalton is working on his program to become a certified teacher, and is thrilled to get to be in our class seeing all the good learning that is happening in Grade 5!
Here are our updates for this week:
What students are learning: Students will be taking a 2-D shape of their and turn it into a 3-D sculpture using foam board.  They will be putting into practice the Design Principles of Unity, Emphasis and Balance.  Students will spray paint their final pieces.
Home connection:  Discuss with your child the 3 dimensions of Sculpture.
What students are learning:  We have taken a step back to learn note-taking strategies.  Students are working to be organized, neat, write in short phrases, and determine importance.  We will be using this skills as we move further into the research process.
Home connection:  Have you asked your child what their research question is?  We have some fascinating questions that we are going to discover answers to!

Left: Steps to take notes.  Middle: Example of note-taking.  Right: Student reflection on the lesson
What students are learning:  We are learning how to divide numbers with decimals.  Students are also evaluating videos about dividing with decimals to determine their quality.  We are practicing how to explain our thinking and using online games for practice as well.
Home connection: Have your child show you their favorite video about dividing with decimals.  Have your child show you the Mangamath website and play a game with them.
Inline image 1  Inline image 3
Students model the difference between 2 x 0.2 and 0.2 x 0.2
What students are learning:  We are looking at chemical reactions and learning that when 2 chemicals are mixed, they can create a completely new substance!  Students made chalk by combining 2 chemicals with water!  
Home connection: Have your child share their homework packet and look for mixtures and solutions in your home together.
Inline image 4
Students observe chemical reactions during science class.

Thursday, Dec. 1
4/5 Music Concert at 6:30 p.m.


    • All students expected to attend
    • Students come to Mrs. Johnson's room between 6:10-6:20 (parents can stay in auditorium)
    • Wear the white concert shirt (if you have not purchased, must purchase in school store by Thursday.  150.000 VND)

Monday, Dec. 5
Monday Math and Muffins

A409 (Our Classroom)

    • Come join the classroom and your child!  We will play math games and have a light morning snack.  Learn new math skills the same way your child does at SSIS!
    • 8:00-8:35 in our classroom
Thanks for all that you do!
Mrs. Johnson & Ms. Kim

Dear Parents,

Thanks you so much for making both Ms. Kim and me feel so special for Teacher's Day this year! We truly appreciate your kindness and love working with your children.

I'm trying a new format for the weekly updates. It includes what we are learning, and connections you can make at home. I'm also including birthdays on our upcoming events to help us all celebrate special moments for our students. Please let me know what you think!



  • What students are learning:  Students are learning how to reflect upon their artwork using Pages. They had a lesson on how to take a successful photo of their artwork and were asked to write about their piece.  They asked themselves: What did I learn during this unit?  Why do I like the piece of art I chose to reflect upon?  What would I change to make my art better next time?
  • Home connection:  Ask your child why it is important to reflect about our work.


  • What students are learning:  ABC Plays: Students are creating short plays using the alphabet. Each letter begins the first line of dialogue.
  • Home connection:  Try one at home!

1: Ahhhhh!  A spider

2: Bro, that is a huge spider!

1: Can you get it out of here for me?

2: Dude, there is no way I’m going near that thing…. etc.


  • What students are learning:  Concert preparation. Recorders and xylophones.
  • Home connection:   Practice songs: Henry Martin, Tailor and the Mouse


  • What students are learning:  Basketball: Shooting: Layup (use the backboard), Shooting with one hand, bend the knees, jump. Dribbling/passing. Look at basic basketball game strategies.
  • Home connection:  Take your family to watch a Saigon heat basketball match. Shoot some hoops with your children on a court near your house.


  • What students are learning:   Level 1-3: Adjectives and order of adjectives in Vietnamese sentences + Vietnamese Teachers' Day.
  • Home connection:  Students are encouraged to use adjectives to describe a person and sing the song about teachers "Cô và Mẹ."


  • What students are learning: We are looking at the Kids InfoBits database - learning how to search and navigate through related searches, as well as how to highlight and annotate the articles.
  • Home connection: Access Kids InfoBits from home!


  • What students are learning: We are reading nonfiction texts, taking notes, and learning how to put these notes in our own words so we do not plagiarize.  We are also learning how to be organized in our research process, so we can stay on task, use our time wisely, and be ready to take our notes and use them for writing.
  • Home connection: Work on finding the information you need from your saved sources, and then put them into your own words.


  • What students are learning: We are going to be discussing strategies for multiplying with decimals this week. Lots of practice opportunities, lots of discussion of how and why we are using our strategies, and opportunities for playing games to build this particular skill
  • Home connection: Visit http://www.coolmath.com/prealgebra/02-decimals/08-decimals-multiplying-01 See what you think about the explanation for multiplying with decimals. Write a blog post with your thoughts.


  • What students are learning: We are investigating chemical reactions in our chemistry unit! Students have completed an assessment investigation today, and are now moving into experiments that will have exciting results! Our focus continues to be on inquiry, following procedures, being able to explain our thinking, and using scientific vocabulary
  • Home connection: Watch this great video together about Mixtures and Solutions! Find 2 solutions and 2 mixtures at home as a family.



  • ES Track & Field starts this week
  • Monday, November 21 Session 2 ASAs begin.  (ends March 2)


  • Tuesday, November 22 Happy Birthday to Brooklyn and Kiwan!
  • Sunday, November 27: Terry Fox Run at 8:00
  • Monday, November 28: Kindergarten Post Office begins!

As always, if you have questions, please let me know! I'm happy to help. Thank you for all that you do at home to help make each day successful for your child.

Dear Parents,

Today we've had a guest author in our room!  Marc Tyler Nobleman is on campus and is the author of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman. Both explore the stories behind the creation of two of the most famous superheroes.  Marc’s detective work as an author has influenced who DC Comics credits for the creation of Batman. Marc will be doing a variety of presentations and workshops with K-12 students during his visit; please ask your child about their experience!

Books are being sold in all libraries, and can be autographed by Marc at one of the author signings. 3-3:30: Monday and Wednesday, November 14 and 16 in ES Library
Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (Paperback 200,000 VND)
  • Please have your child read for 20 minutes each night, and log their reading on Biblionasium.com
  • Students are working on note-taking and paraphrasing with nonfiction texts
  • We are starting our next unit on Multiplying and Dividing Decimals.
  • The Parent Letter for Unit 3 is coming home today.  It has an overview of what is being taught, as well as examples
  • Unit 2 test will come home this week.
  • Math homework will come home Tuesday
  • We have learned about concentrations, how to dilute solutions, how to saturate solutions and are coming up with our own experiment ideas!
News:  The stomach flu is traveling through the community.  Please be aware that this strain seems to be very strong, so please take note of your child complains of an upset stomach.
Upcoming Events:
  • Monday, November 21 Session 2 ASAs begin.  (end March 2)