November 2

Dear Parents, 

I am looking forward to seeing all of you in the next few days. I have attached the schedule for the Student Led Conferences (Goal Setting). Please check to see what time you are scheduled. 

Students have worked really hard preparing for these conferences. It is their chance to show what they are most proud of this year and set learning goals for the year to come. Your input will be important for setting and maintaining our learning goals for the remainder of the year. 

Students will be leading the conference and explaining to you what their goals are in each subject.  I will also be at each conference to offer my perspectives on their progress so far and to answer any questions you have. These conferences not only give us a chance to connect as a learning team, but it also gives the students an opportunity to practice real life-skills: communication, organization, leadership, self-reflection, and  understanding their learning through focused goal setting focused. Students will be presenting their S.M.A.R.T goals to you this week. Please take some time to read about SMART goals and how they are proven to enhance the learning of students, teachers, and parents

Take some time to read what SMART goals are and how they are vital to student achievement

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May 13

Middle School Talk, Soccer Day, and so much more!

What a great soccer day we had today! Thank you to the parents who came to support 5ST. The weather was great and the kids had a blast (See WeChat group for photos). 

This week we started our final science unit focusing on the Solar System. Students are simulating being a part of the Mar-One Project, where they are preparing to colonize Mars. It is amazing to think that when these kids graduate HS the first group of people will be sent to settle and start a community on Mars. Ask your child about the Mars-One project and how they are preparing for the change in gravity, seasons, and living conditions. 

We are also continuing our reading unit on “Reading for Argument and Advocacy”. We have had a flash debate and are preparing for a big debate on our topics next week. Students are learning how to gather information, suspend judgement, use debate language, and argument vocabulary. It is very passionate project full of energy and knowledge. 

Below is an important message from the Middle School counselors. Please see below for information about the transition coffee talk. 


Hello Middle School Parents!

You are invited to the final counselor coffee of the school year!  

It’s the end of the year, and for many of the people in our community, it’s time for change.  We will take an in depth look at the transitions our kids experience and what we can do to support them and help them thrive before, during, and after the transition.  If you or your child are experiencing any type of significant transition, then this coffee is for you!  

We will also be using our time to wish Ms. Kinsella “good luck” as she experiences her own transition.  Please come wish her a fond farewell and thank her for the years of great service she has provided our community.

See you on Thursday, May 19 at 10:00am in the Elementary School Library!

Warm regards,

John & Karen

May 5


Dear Parents,

We have a lot of great events coming up in what will be our final full month of the year all culminating in a wonderful transition ceremony for our future middle schoolers. Please check the ES calendar for more dates especially the May 9th Middle School parent talk.


Come visit our amazing Rube Goldberg machines. See how we used our science, technology, math and engineering skills to build a machine that raises more then one flag


Natural History Museum – May 17th

Science and Technology Museum – May 26th

Please let me know if you can join us on one or both of our two amazing field trips this month. They will prove to be an educational and memorable experience to connect to our science units.

Date with Dad: Friday, May 13th

SOCCER DAY:  Grade 5 plays on Friday, 13th May

Boys and Girls will play on mixed teams comprised of players from their own class. They will play several games in the morning, followed by lunch, and a few more games thereafter. There will be plenty of game action, but lots of rest too as the students from each class will rotate on and off the field in two groups of nine players. Please make sure your child dresses in appropriate sports clothing for this event. No soccer cleats, studs or boots are to be worn. Players should only wear running or tennis shoes (indoor, futsal rubber shoes are allowable).

Students should bring a packed lunch from home (Pizza is available from purchase under the Covered Court). Plenty of water will be available for them that day.

Teacher volunteers or parent volunteers will referee the games. In some cases the students own classroom teacher will fill this role. Every reasonable precaution will be taken to ensure the safety of the students. If you are prepared to assist with refereeing please contact your homeroom teacher.

The SAS schedule is as follows:

8:15 AM:                       Normal school day

9:45 AM:                       Welcoming Address @ Covered Court

10:00 AM:                     Games start

12:50 PM:                     Closing Address


Finally, if you would like to join us for the day, we would love to have you. Please contact your homeroom teacher if you are interested. If you have further questions, please contact the Activities Office at telephone number 6221-1445, ext 2576, or the Elementary Office at SAS.


April 27


a_simple_task_headline.0What is a Rube Goldberg?

For 55 years, Rube Goldberg’s award winning cartoons satirized machines and gadgets that he saw as excessive. His cartoons combined simple machines and common household items to create complex, wacky and diabolically logical machines that accomplished mundane and trivial tasks.
Goldberg believed that most people preferred doing things the hard way instead of using simpler, more direct paths to accomplish goals. The resulting inventions are collections of bits and pieces, parts of now useless machines, scraped together to achieve an innovative, imaginative, yet somehow logical contraption to conquer the job at hand.

Icy-PavementWhat will the kids do?

In this activity, students design and build a Rube Goldberg machine. The open-ended problem uses the engineering design process and can have a preset purpose, such as raising a flag. Designing and building is essential to engineering. Engineers use the design process to create solutions to real-world problems. These problems may be simple or complex and the wide variety of solutions can also cover a range of effort for the user. This design process mirrors the steps of the creative process including planning, audience consideration, material choice, purpose, and performance. In general, complex designs require more effort to develop than simple ones. Rube Goldberg designs are meant to show the unnecessary complexity in machines that is sometimes a result of modern technology. Each student created Goldberg machine will have it’s own theme, invented by the engineering team. The key aspects of building a Rube Goldberg machine are collaboration and an inquiry based approach to problem solving, both of which are present in real world engineering.

There are 5 simple phases to build a machine:

  1. 1. Concept Phase – Forming the vision for the machine
  2. 2. Step Building Phase – Designing the main steps of the machine
  3. 3. Linking Phase – Linking the main steps together
  4. 4. Test Phase – Testing the entire machine
  5. 5. Performance Phase – Running the machine for all to see

Where is the science?

This project will incorporate many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills that students have been developing in their model and design science unit and across the curriculum. These skills include but are not limited to:

  • Ability to create a conceptual model.
  • A working knowledge of simple machines.
  • Collaboration with a team of peer engineers.
  • Application of the creative process in project development.
  • Exhibit appropriate time management/project management skills.
  • Conducting adequate research.
  • Using technology to document and share their process.


During this week long project, student will continue to have at home learning. The may also need to purchase some specialty  items for their machine. The total group limit is 200 rmb, but they are encouraged to be creative and reuse “junk” from home.


How can I see these amazing creations?

On May 6th at 2:15, students will present their machines, design process, and reflection video. Please pop in at any time  between 2:15 and 3:00 to celebrate our learning.


April 19

Thank you 5ST Families

Wow! What a great celebration of learning we had during Student Led Conferences. Thank you for taking the time to see all that your child has accomplished thus far. I saw students reflecting on their learning, sharing their inquiry experiences, and creating goals for future learning. Your dedication to your child’s education is evident. If you would like to follow up on anything during a private meeting please feel free to contact me and we can schedule a good time to meet.

In the mean time please take some time to fill out the confidential parent survey on Power School. It is a valuable tool for me to grow as a teacher and better understand the perspective of the parents.

As spring has sprung there are many exciting events to look forward to. Below is a list of a few with links to more information.

Earth Week – April 18-22, 2016

This year the Roots & Shoots  clubs in the ES, MS and HS are encouraging everyone to participate in EARTH WEEK 2016 in these optional activities:

MONDAY, APRIL 18th Water Conservation Day! -Use as little water as possible

TUESDAY, APRIL 20th Stash Your Trash! – Carry all the trash you generate for the day in a reusable container and see how much packaging, disposable cups, paper towels etc. that you use!

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20th Power Down Day! —Turn off lights and use as little power as possible during the school day and at home!

THURSDAY, APRIL 22nd  Wear Green! BE GREEN! – Wear green clothes, hair and hats to raise environmental awareness! High School Roots & Shoots has Million Tree Project T-Shirts for Sale!

FRIDAY, APRIL 22nd Green Market! – Come around the Eagle Shop and buy some plants for your home or classroom! Roots & Shoots Merchandise will also be on sale etc!

April 18th – 22nd Relay For Life

Please be involved in Relay for Life!

  • Create a luminary bag that will be sent home with a message of support or a dedication to someone you know who has battled cancer.  These bags will circle the track and illuminate the relay throughout the night of April 22. Return the luminary bag decorated with a message of support to the Eagle Leader table in the ES lobby beginning Monday, April 18.
  • Make a donation of any amount for American Cancer Society research and return to the Eagle Leader table in the ES lobby beginning Monday, April 18. 
  • Support the fund-raising initiatives of Eagle Leaders, SAS Puxi Girl Scouts, and other ES groups raising funds for cancer research.  

Middle School Library Visit – April 21st 

We will be visiting the Middle School Library on Thursday the 21st. Please ensure your child has their school ID with them so they can check out books from their “new” library.


January 15



Chinese New Year celebrations are upon us and we are all excited to welcome the year of the monkey! Below is a list of important dates during the week of Chinese New Year.

  •  Tuesday, February 2: 5th Grade CNY feast 12:35-1:30
    • (Parents set-up before 12:35pm)
    • Students and parents are encouraged to wear Chinese New Year celebration wear.
  • Wednesday, February 3: Class picture day (time TBD)
    • Wear Class T-Shirt
  • Thursday, Feb. 4 @ 9am, CNY Assembly  in PAC



January 5

Happy New Year 5ST

I hope you have all enjoyed a restful and relaxing break. I had a great time traveling and eating around Southeast Asia. I have enjoyed hearing about the fun adventures your families have had everything from amusement parks to family dinners. All the students have returned to school refreshed and ready to build on the skills acquired last semester.

I would like to happily introduce  Megan Zhang  and her  family who just joined the 5ST SAS community. Megan has started to make many friends at SAS and we look forward to getting to know her in the coming weeks. Please take some time to reach out to Megan and her family and welcome them to SAS. IMG_9367IMG_9354

As a class we are continuing many of the projects we started before break including our skyscraper models, science investigation, and poetry. We will also have a few new units to look forward to in the coming weeks. We will be starting our next writing unit with a focus on informational writing as well as our inquiry into fractions and decimals.

As part of our science unit on mixtures and solutions, 5ST paired with 5EP to test the theory of conservation of mass in the science kitchen. We weighed our ingredients before, during and after baking. It was a fun way to learn that even with heating, cooling, and mixing the weight of matter stays the same. Students will be conducting their own experiments this week to test the effects of heating, cooling, or mixing on the weight of matter.Check with your child to see what they plan to do for their experiment. I appreciate your help in assisting your child with finding the items needed to conduct their experiment.

Science in the kitchen

Science in the kitchen

IMG_8830As always feel free to email any thoughts, comments, suggestions, or concerns Here’s to the start of a 2016 full of learning, laughter, and wonder. 


December 7

Hour of Code is Here!

Dear Parents,

We live in a world surrounded by technology. And, we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. However, only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and fewer students are studying it than a decade ago.

That’s why SAS is joining in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14). Last year, 15 million students tried computer science in one week. This year, we’re joining students worldwide to reach 100 million students! Our Hour of Code is a statement that SAS is ready to teach these foundational 21st century skills. This is a chance to incorporate the 21st century learner skills that our children’s future will demand in a fun and challenging way for our ES students.

For more information or to give coding a try yourself, please visit: 

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November 30

Thank you families for a fantastic feast

As it was my first Thanksgiving in Shanghai, I could not have been more grateful for all the love and support you have share in the past few months. Wednesday’s feast was not only delicious but memorable. Students shared their poems, talked about what they were thankful for, and shared the traditional turkey meal. A very special thank you to the parents who came to celebrate and especially those who came early and stayed late to set up and clean up. We are so lucky to have you as part of our class community.

Along with our grateful poetry anthology 5ST has started to work on our math project (Up Up and Away). We are studying the purpose, function and design of sky scrapers. Students will be working in groups to design a blue print and 3D model of a skyscraper. It is essential that students keep up with the math calendar for homework and keep up with the Math Journal assignments in order to help their group design their model. Please check this unit’s math calendar to ensure your child is on track. Although many students will say they “know” how to divide, we are noticing students are unable to explain what it means in the real world. During this unit students will be assessed on their ability to solve an equation in a variety of ways and talk about the strategies that they use. This may not be the same strategy that you or I use and that is OK. I actually encourage students to share the differences in their thinking. Attached is an informative link to explain the process and importance of creative math and talking about our strategies.

As we finish our social studies unit on the Revolutionary War, students will be posting their original songs about the declaration of independence on their blogs this week. The groups are proud of their work and we can’t wait to share our creativity. We will be starting our science unit, mixtures and solutions, in the coming weeks. Look for at home links that will be sent home in a few days.

As always please contact me with any questions, concerns, class photos, or restaurant recommendations 🙂 . Have a wonderful week!

-Jamie Stevens


November 20

Giving Tree and Giving Thanks

5ST had a great experience at our local migrant school this morning.Our Giving Tree experience began with a speech from the school’s principal. We then had the special opportunity to see some of the classes perform two dances for us. Following this treat, a select group of students sang a few songs and received gifts made by the local school. Our class split into two classrooms and passed out gift bags to each student. It was wonderful seeing the excitement and joy on everyones face. We then played some fun games together to get to know each other better. As a group we are feeling joy for helping others and have reflected on how grateful we are for all that we have. 

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thanksgiving flier




















In the spirit of our gratefulness I want to invite all of you to our class Thanksgiving celebration. It is a time to gather as a class community to give thanks, share in the bounty that we have, and celebrate a wonderful first trimester. 

Some students will present samples of their poems for our class anthology “Just Saying: A book of Complaints and Thanks” . I encourage each of you join us from 11-12 on Wednesday, November 25. If you are unable to join in the celebration please send a dish to share with your child. It will be an event to remember!