Tesla Talk November, 2021

Tim Vanderpool

Director of Studies

Newsletter 29 November 2021

Over the last several weeks I have been observing the Units of Inquiry (UOI) at all the different grade levels and the tremendous amount of work being put in by the students. Obviously there have been a lot of individual assignments and activities, but there have also been several projects where students have had to work collaboratively. A recent conversation with a parent has inspired me to write about “group work” because it is an essential, yet complex, aspect of student education and sometimes it can be misunderstood.

Group activities have always been an important part of the learning experience. Regardless of students being on-campus or online, they provide opportunities for students to develop individual skills like:

  • Breaking complex tasks into smaller parts and steps.
  • Planning and managing time.
  • Refining individual understanding to communicate in group discussion.
  • Reflecting, and the ability to give and receive feedback.

Collaborative work also builds skills necessary to be successful in the social dynamic of a group. Students are required to:

  • Delegate and accept individual roles within the group.
  • Share and consider diverse perspectives.
  • Negotiate, compromise, and commit.
  • Take risks to voice their own opinions and reveal their individual identity.

In addition to all the positive outcomes, group projects can also be a tremendous challenge. For students, the questions of fairness always enter the picture. Is there equality with the amount of work for each member of the group? What happens if someone does not fulfill their obligations? Is my individual grade affected because of someone else?

What’s interesting is that those are the exact questions teachers ask themselves when they are planning collaborative activities. In addition to organizing and facilitating the group dynamic, they are also responsible for creating a process that allows every student to provide evidence of understanding at certain points during the activity or project. These are called benchmarks or formative assessments, and provide teachers with valuable information to determine the individual contributions of the entire group.

Although there is always room for improvement, I have been quite impressed with the dedication of our teachers so far this year. Balancing individual achievement and effort is delicate and they have been doing an excellent job of collecting evidence to achieve overall goals of student collaboration.

Kindest regards,

Tim VanderpoolDirector of Studies

Ms Ciara Lucey

UOI English Teacher

As part of our unit, Where We Are In Place and Time, students in Grade 4 have been learning about discoveries, inventions and innovations. As part of their performance assessment, students were challenged with creating an invention or improving an existing product. This invention had to be environmentally friendly. Each group then presented their inventions in the style of The Shark Tank TV show. With teachers and guests acting as the Sharks. It was an incredibly exciting and inspiring event to see the innovative inventions each group presented. In the end, the Sharks voted The Solar iPhone as the winning invention. Congratulations to Tran Khoi, Han Nghi and Bao of Grade 4 and creators of The Solar iPhone. 

Ms Doan Thi Huynh Hanh

Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher

Grade 5 students have participated in the Asean-C Summit at the end of the unit: Where we are in place and time. In the conference, students shared, discussed various problems about the people and culture of different countries. They also made decisions on cross-country Travel Visas to maintain the strong relationship between nations. The connection of Geography – UOI – EAL and Arts in the project Asian Culture has been successful: https://youtu.be/emWEgL31id4 
To celebrate Vietnamese Teachers’ Day, the children cut and decorated flowers for their teachers along with the words of gratitude: https://padlet.com/danielemoretti/c7mwa3xyl8m83ujw
They also edited the lyrics of a beautiful song for their teachers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1JbNaCA8GE
Furthermore, the unique activity was the experience of “One day as a teacher” in the game “Running man” Tesla version.
The girls experienced being teachers in the reading session “The End of Apartheid” https://youtu.be/-k10mHZUolo
The boys moved through the stations and completed tasks such as: using the KWL technique to say what they wanted to know, using Google Earth to find the location of South Africa, learning about the Apartheid system and President Nelson Mandela, reading and answering the questions. The winners of the “Running man” were Tran Xuan Phuc (First Prize), Le Quang Duy (Second Prize), Do Huy Khang (Third Prize). Finally, we would like to congratulate Do Huy Khang on the bronze award at the National Finals of the Copernicus Internation Olympiad 2021.
By the end of November, students had a chance to participate in a Field Trip on November 26 with the game Running Man – Tesla version. The children learned about Champa culture at Ponagar Tower in Nha Trang. They have experienced the specific structures and cultures with the instructions from the tour guide. They then moved through each station and completed tasks such as using the KWL technique to say what they wanted to know, using Google Earth to find the location of the temple tower, experiencing Champa Cultural Dance, drawing a picture of the temple they like or writing a paragraph about what they have learned during the trip, asking and answering questions.
In addition, 5th graders collaborated with Discoverers students to lead the Assembly with the theme of Spirit Day: Stuffed Animal Day.
They performed Dance Monkey: https://youtu.be/N7OJEWE8Ja8, listened to the bilingual story “Homeless” about the Porny family: https://youtu.be/U3K87yi8q3A shared about the project Asian Culture and organized games for students throughout the school. The activity helped them to develop collaboration skills and a spirit of teamwork, as well as more confidence in the process of organizing the event.

Mr Daniele Moretti

EAL English Teacher

The last few weeks I have collaborated with Ms. Hanh to encourage the G5 students to implement the writing and speaking skills they learned in their language arts class in my EAL class. To that end I had the students take their cultural presentations about the ASEAN country that was assigned to them and helped them translate them into English. With the G4 students, we worked on writing science fiction stories using the storyboard as a base for planning.

Ms. Le Minh Anh

Science Teacher

I was really surprised when I received this gift. Thank you, Xuka! Thank you, parents! Thank you, Mr. Phuong – ICT Teacher! https://drive.google.com/file/d/12THEPki7jI8tb88_VNz9CYDMlqnu4v6X/view  In a KG Science class activity “Get Ready for a Storm,” students learnt about different types of storms and came up with ways to prepare well for storms.

I had a great time with Grade 1 students in online classes. For Math, students can add numbers within 10, compare numbers and explain mathematical models. For Science, students are able to understand animal habitats. They also know that plants are living organisms just like animals.

Student’s Product: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-kp2EftkYu0EbXtunxBBKPtar6h5SFO9/view 

Grade 2 students learnt to classify groups of animals and the traits that define each group. They went outside and recorded their experience of observing the birds!

Grade 3 students learnt in the Science classes: Why and how plants disperse their seeds, what those seeds need in order to grow, and what the adult plants need in order to survive and thrive.

In this Unit, Grade 4 students observed the movement of water through the different stages of the water cycle and determined what drives the water cycle. Students could recognize the effects of humans on water and air. Students had wonderful group work and hands-on activities.

In this Unit, Grade 5 students learned about Diseases (viruses, colds, and flu) and health awareness issues such as: Students stay healthy and drug-free! Learn ways they can say no to illegal drugs. For the final project, Grade 5 students worked in groups and created a poster campaign, and made a presentation. Teamwork is an important skill in the 21st century. Although young kids face many challenges during teamwork, working in groups will strengthen students’ bonds, and they can show empathy and understand each other. Let kids do it and they can learn from their mistakes and grow!Group 3 project:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GOocuT3hcoQJ8Z667uf2o0H7765JgzFC/view?usp=sharing

Ms. Tran Thi Ngoc Trinh

Early Years Teacher

When children can not go to school, what will they do at home? Many parents may wonder about this question. Here, the students of Discoverers class will send lovely messages and pictures when they stay at home during the pandemic. Children are very excited to attend the school’s online activities.

When children can not go to school, what will they do at home? Many parents may wonder about this question. Here, the students of Discoverers class will send lovely messages and pictures when they stay at home during the pandemic.

Ms. Bui Thi Thu Thao

Early Years Teacher

Fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic with the 5K message, Pioneers students had a skill and practice lesson: Washing hands properly with soap.

Ms. Vo Thi Ngoc Linh

KG Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Nguyen Thi Quynh Dien

Art Teacher

Happy Vietnamese Teachers’ Day! KG students made handmade flowers and wishing cards to their teachers. The flower branches have shown their efforts and gratitude. Besides, they were free to choose the colors of flowers and leaves to express their uniqueness. The activity connected Arts and Vietnamese subjects, which helped the children feel happy and love the products they made.

Tesla trở thành một hệ thống trường song ngữ hiện đại, hàng đầu Việt Nam đào tạo ra những công dân toàn cầu yêu thích và đam mê khoa học công nghệ, sẵn sàng học tập vì sự tiến bộ xã hội, có khả năng lãnh đạo và tiên phong.


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