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Library lesson news

December 3, 2014 by · Comments Off · 2014-2015, Elementary Topics, Ipads, Programming

It’s been a busy last couple of weeks in the library what with our storyteller visit and the Beijing Book Fair. It’s been busy too in our library lessons!

For this session, the Grade 3 students have been integrating the iPads into their Cities unit of inquiry.  After some initial tuning in activities that explored the needs and wants of inhabitants and key vocabulary such as infrastructure, students began planning their individual cities using an app called Hoopa City.



Download the app here.

This app is rated in the Top 5  Kids’ apps at the App Store in more than 30 countries and was also awarded an Editor’s Choice Award by Children’s Technology Review.  The app has allowed students to build their own city and consider how the concepts of nature, economy, society and well-being are a necessary part in their planning.  3K students were so excited about building their cities that they even downloaded the app at home, to build there, too!

Click on these video links to see the students in action:  IMG_0863       IMG_0861[1]

Yesterday, students shared with their peers how they had used the compass model prompts (Nature, Society, Economy & Well-being) to review their cities.  The next stage will see the Grade 3′s share their city plans and, in small groups, decide on a final plan for their city and actually build it in the classroom.

Go Grade Three’s!

Grade 4 have continued working on inferring and questioning strategies during our Reader’s Workshop sessions in the library, using Shaun Tan picture books.  We’ve also been practicing making connections while they read: Text to Text; Text to Self and Text to World.  The students have also been just loving digging into the many graphic novels we have in our collection, during their independent reading time.

photo 5


Having just finished their advertising unit and taking a deep breath before the onset of the PYP Exhibition unit after the December break, the Grade 5′s spent last week exploring some new coding apps on the iPads.  Here’s a screenshot of the apps currently on the iPads:



The apps are all free and can be downloaded at the Appstore.

The Grade 2′s have continued to work on storytelling as part of their Culture through Stories unit.  This week, during our library lesson we shared How the world woke up by Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters and made connections with other aboriginal stories we’ve read and listened to.

The Grade 1′s were introduced to a new app we purchased called My Incredible Body.  

my body1 6a010534998f56970b01a3fd01fd7a970b


Download the app here.

With this app, students can zoom inside a skeleton, muscles, organs, nerves, and blood vessels to learn where everything is and how everything works. They can jump on board a rocket for a ride through the human body to learn how blood flows and understand how messages travel to and from the brain … and lots more.  

Kindergarten have been creating their own story based on the wordless adaptation of Aesop’s fable, The Lion & the Mouseadapted by Jerry Pinkney.

lion and the mouse


The students had so many questions in connection with the illustrations and ideas and predictions about the story.  This week, in connection with their Animal Characteristics unit, we also began looking at Actual Size by Steve Jenkins.  The students were quickly hooked by the ‘actual size’ of the animal illustrations in the book and the easy-to-understand fascinating facts.  Watch this clip for a closer look inside this fabulous book.

Book Fair: 60 boxes of books have arrived!

December 1, 2014 by · Comments Off · 2014-2015, General Topics, New Books


Beijing Star Kids Book Fair will be happening in the library on Tuesday and Wednesday, 2 & 3 December. It opens at 8 am on both days, closing at 4:30 on Tuesday and 3:30 on Wednesday. There is a great selection  of books. What a great opportunity to buy holiday presents. Give the gift of reading!


A Breath of Fresh Air from Ireland

November 25, 2014 by · Comments Off · General Topics

 Storyteller Kate Corkery honoured us yesterday with some very engaging storytelling. She arrived late, (agh!), so the Grade 6-8 morning assembly was a bit stunted. However, Kate is a professional and soon had these students listening and participating. It was a nice recovery.

(Special thanks to Diane Holloway, our resident storyteller/Science teacher, who filled in while we waited for Kate’s taxi to arrive).


The Ecstasy!

The Ecstasy

She sped on to deliver three stellar performances for elementary students. Kate’s stories exposed our students to a variety of multi-cultural tales, many from Kate’s childhood: The Red Bus, How The Shannon River Came To Be, Princess. Kindergarten and Grade 1 were treated to interactive songs. Her lively actions and Irish lilt were beacons for the students who used their listening skills to pay close attention.

The Agony.

The best part of the day was seeing these students so focused despite the lack of a screen. The IST Library hopes our students remember the creativity they were exposed to yesterday.

Thank you, Kate!




Birthday Boy

November 18, 2014 by · Comments Off · General Topics

We are so happy students are participating in the Library Birthday Book Club.  Cheol Gyu from 2L donated LEGO superheroes: Batman Visual Dictionary by Daniel Lipkowitz.


This book celebrates the action-packed world of LEGO Batman and LEGO DC Super Heroes with all of the vehicles, weapons, locations, gadgets, and minifigures.  Cheol Gyu was so excited to be the first student to check this book out, today.  His classmates are keen to get their hands on the book too so be sure you put a hold on the book, if you would like to check it out!

Grade 5 advertisements

November 17, 2014 by · Comments Off · General Topics

Last week, Grade 5 students completed their advertisements for their Persuasion UOI unit.  Students had a choice of using the following iPad apps: ‘Puppet Edu’, ‘Glogster’ or ‘Adobe Voice’.  Some students also chose to use an ‘iMovie’ trailer to advertise their product, using MacBooks.

Glogs are interactive posters loaded with text, music and videos.  Here is an screenshot of a glog, by Kevin Schindler:

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.15.28 PM

‘Adobe Voice’ is an app that allows students to use photos and video clips from the camera roll on their iPad, record and embed their own voice and add text/music.  ’Puppet Edu’ is similar to ‘Adobe Voice’; however, the app is aimed at students who are new to using iPads as a means to communicate.  Here is an example of a ‘Puppet’ by Reik & Valdemar:

Storyteller visits IST

November 17, 2014 by · Comments Off · General Topics

Next Monday, November 24th we will welcome Irish storyteller, Kate Corkery to IST.

kate corkery

Kate Corkery is an Irish storyteller with a background in acting, singing and language teaching.  Ms Corkery is Storyteller in Residence at the Irish Cultural Centre in London and her input at the centre was recognized by the Fringe Report Awards 2009, when she was awarded ‘Best Storyteller’ for her outstanding work.  We are really looking forward to some fun and engaging presentations!  Members of the IST community are warmly invited to come along and join in the fun, during any of the following sessions:
  • Grade 6 to 8 – 8.15-9.05 (theatre)
  • Grade 4 & Grade 5 –  9:20-10:20 (theatre)
  • K & Grade 1  - 10:45-11:25 (2-5 playroom)
  • Grade 2 & 3  - 1:05-1:50 (2-5 playroom)
 For a preview of Ms Corkery in action, take a look at this youtube video of one of her performances:

Author Visits

November 12, 2014 by · Comments Off · 2014-2015, Author, Book Club, DP Programme, Secondary Topics

After a great visit to IST secondary last week by Bali Rai, the importance of author visits has really been highlighted. An in-house visit, when done right, provides a learning experience that is as special as any other.

The excitement builds!

The excitement builds!

The MYP Book Club with author Bali Rai

The MYP Book Club with author Bali Rai

Mr. Rai conducted four one-hour workshops for Grades 11, 10, 9, and 8 respectively. He taught creative writing and delineated the “road map” of a story. Reinforcing an idea that “The Two Steves” brought to IST last year with their author visit, Bali asserted that no story is original; stories are based on a set of road maps, or basic structures,  particular to their genre.

For example, there are 3 basic road maps for a romance. In the first, the male and the female are together, there is a conflict, and they end up back together. In the second, the couple is not together, there is a conflict, and they end up happily ever after together also. In the third, the couple is not together, there is a conflict, and the couple does not end up together. (This is the least popular road map and the one Mr. Rai employs).

Bali went on to dissect the basic frames of mysteries, dramas, horror stories. He also connected road maps to popular trilogies and their film versions. The movies Kung Fu Panda and Ratatouille also provoked discussion of literary devices such as personification.

The learning became very visible when Mr. Rai helped Grade 10 students with the short stories they had just drafted. Students volunteered their road maps, Mr. Rai asked constructive questions, and ways of improving these stories developed.

Students get very excited when an author visits. And they look forward to more.  Already, Grade 8 student Esther Nicol has “tumblred” with popular YA author Cassandra Clare about a possible visit next year. Thanks, Esther!

This is a tumblr.

This is a tumblr.


Library Lesson News!

October 25, 2014 by · Comments Off · General Topics

As part of the Grade 5’s UOI on persuasion, students designed their own logos, using a free app called ‘LogoBuildingKit’.  Students also tested their knowledge of commercial logos using ‘PicLogos’, ‘Neon Logo’ and ‘Logo400’.

We used ‘Airserver’ to share the student’s creations as a class.  For their assessment task, students will be creating an advertisement using apps on the iPads.  Watch this space!

Reader’s Workshop has been launched in Grade 4.  Students came to the library to choose three books following a mini-lesson on how to choose ‘just right books’.   This week, both classes started looking at questioning and inferring as strategies for comprehension.  Shaun Tan is our feature author for this month in Grade 4, so 4M used ‘Rules of Summer’ and 4A used ‘The Red Tree’ as a stimulus for their questions and inferences during the mini-lesson.  Students then used their own ‘just right books’ to practice making their own questions and inferences.

Earlier this year 4A started using their ‘genius hour’ to pilot a coding programme in the Elementary School.  Learning how to code is now recognized as a crucial skill we need to arm students with, as 21st Century learners.  Some students have been so excited about learning to code that they have continued to use the online coding curriculum  ( from home.  We have also used apps such as ‘A.L.E.X’ (which is a particular 4A favourite!) and ‘Scratch’ to support their learning.   These are free apps and students who have access to devices at home are working on these at home, too.

Grade 3 have started a unit on body systems.  Following a number of lessons on how to navigate the Library OPAC, students used the iPads to find and gather books for their classroom to help with their research.

This week students also used the ‘ScienceHero’ app to learn about digestive systems and the ‘Build a Body’ app to, quite literally, try piecing the human body together!

Grade 2 have been using ‘Symbaloo’ as a pathfinder to help them learn new information about China.  In the coming weeks, the students will be using ‘Puppet Edu’ to create their own slideshow presentation of their thinking and learning.

This week, Grade 1 started looking at how to choose just right books.  We made an anchor chart of the student’s thinking:

Kindergarten tried out a new and fun app called ‘Sock Puppets’.  This app allows students to manipulate puppets and record their voices at the same time.  The students really enjoyed creating their own story.

Library Week!

October 24, 2014 by · Comments Off · 2013-2014, 2014-2015

What a week it’s been in the library! Last Friday, Character Dress Up Day and the Grade 1 & 2 Book Club Assembly launched Library Week at IST.  This year was the highest participation in the annual dress-up since records began and four Elementary classes, who all managed 100% participation, each won a 250RMB voucher to buy books for their classes at the Book Fair. Take a look at the gallery below to see some of the great outfits at the Library Assembly.

The Beijing Book Fair took place in the library on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  There were some great books to be had to suit all ages and interests.  It was great to see so many students, parents and teachers so excited about buying books!

D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read!) was happening all over the school this week, at all kinds of times!  Surprise daily announcements were made in both Elementary and Secondary buildings and students and teachers, literally, needed to drop everything and grab a book!

It was a great week of books, books and more books!  Thanks to everyone for all their support and great spirit in helping make our Library Week so memorable  :)

1R Students Loved the New Books Added to Their Class Library

October 21, 2014 by · Comments Off · 2014-2015, General Topics

1R just wanted to say a big thank you to the library team for the wonderful new books that we have in our classroom library.  These books are the ones that we were given at the assembly on Friday as well as two books that we purchased today as part of our Character Dress Up Day prize.  Thank you – we love the books!Unknown-1

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