Birthday Girls!

Happy Birthday, Ava & Jin A!

Congratulations and thanks to Ava & Jin A for their donations to the library. Ava’s birthday book donations of Peter Lerangis’ The Tomb of the Shadows and The Curse of the King from the Seven Wonders series will be very popular additions to our library.  Jin A’s birthday book donation of Ellie McDoodle : new kid in school by Ruth McNally Barshaw has already proved to be a hit.  Jin A checked her book out on Wednesday and has read it twice, already!



A nameplate on the title page of the books commemorate Ava and Jin A’s birthdays. Thanks, girls!


Children’s Choice Book Award Winners & Finalists for 2015

The winners of this American award are chosen by kids and teens of all ages. This is the only national book award chosen this way. Voting ran through May 3. The full list of all category winners may be accessed through this website:

The winner of Teen Book of the Year is one that is very popular here at IST: The One by Kiera Cass. This dystopian novel is Book 3 in The Selection series, commonly described as “Hunger Games meets Cinderella.” It’s a lovely fairy tale and romance set in an intriguing futuristic world. The novel is available on four of the library Kindles. Book 4 in this series was released May 5th. Odds are it will be one of the 2016 finalists!

A popular series!

A popular series!



Comic Life Final Product

Below please find one comic recently created by a grade 7 Science student. This comic is an exemplar. The student went beyond our expectations and actually tells a story. This student is an English Language Learner who responded very positively to this technology as you can see in his creation. We will post more soon!

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Wikipedia: It’s Here To Stay

The IST Library & Information Literacy Center teaches information literacy. We want our graduates to demonstrate mastery of tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry. Therefore, we have committed to teach our students to use Wikipedia effectively. A 2010 study showed that 8 in 10 students turn to Wikipedia for their first source of research (Nagel). University professors often refuse to accept Wikipedia as a valid source because it is “crowd sourced,”  but is actually subject to very rigorous reviews by the editors. Each Wikipedia site has several forms of control designed to cross-check information and mistakes are caught within hours. To learn more about these controls, visit Wikipedia’s page on oversight and control.


Nagel, David.”8 in 10 Students Turn to Wikipedia for Research.” Campus Technology.              23 March 2010.Web.25 April 2015.

Redefining Research. 2015. Web. 25 April 2015.

Inquiry: The Reasons Behind the Earth Day Benefit Concert


IST will be hosting a benefit concert to raise money to help rebuild schools in Vanuatu, which were damaged in Cyclone Pam. If you are interested in learning more about the causes behind Cyclone Pam, an interesting article came out today from The Telegraph that refutes the assumption that Pam was yet another result of global warming. It’s interesting to seek and consider different perspectives. It is also a skill in the MYP Approaches to Learning’s Transfer Skills: “inquire in different contexts to gain a different perspective.” One excellent database the IST Library subscribes to is Newsbank’s Access World News which contains news articles from:

  • 3,741 Sources
  • 143 Countries
  • 10 Source Types

A search in this database quickly pulls up on other perspectives, modelled in the 2 photos below.

There is a book display in the library for elementary students with an assortment of Earth Day and weather books. Inquirers in Grades K-3 can use the database PebbleGo to explore Extreme Weather. They may also use the World Book Online database to locate Vanuatu and find out more about this area of the world.

It’s Not Science Fiction But Science Comics

Comic Life 3

 Grade 7 Science students are studying implications of science and the Periodic Table of Elements. Science teacher Mrs. Holloway is collaborating with Teacher-Librarian Mrs. Morgan and integrating iPad technology. Students are each inquiring into a different element or a element family/group/classification or an associated scientist. Breathing some new life into this traditional unit, students are sharing their investigations by writing their own comics. Students are creating superheroes like Captain Silver Element!

The app they are using is Comic Life 3. This app offers many features that support storytelling in a comic book medium and is particularly suited for use with diverse learning styles. A learner who is not strong verbally can use pictures to shape their answers. While these students may not all be writing a story, the answers to their scientific inquiries are being recorded so that they have to think visually. Another benefit of the comic book medium is that the students are encoding the information is a multi-sensory pathway. This method helps learners take in and recall information more effectively.

(For more information on Cognitive Information Processing Theory (CIP), please visit the IST Library professional development section or ask a librarian.)

Poetry Month @ IST, Day One

The IST Library & Information Literacy Center traditionally celebrates Poetry Month in April. Immediately upon returning from spring holidays, this celebration started off with a SLAM. Yes, we had a Poetry Slam! The slam was completely student-led and produced. The Personal Project of 10th Grader Marie Beste, it was held this past Tuesday during the lunch period.


Poetry Slam poster created by M. Beste

What is a “poetry slam?”

In Marie’s Personal Project report, she writes: “A Poetry Slam is a poetry competition. The authors present or rather perform, their texts more through extensive acting, speaking melody, or other techniques which don`t require anything except the text itself and its writer. The winner of a competition is mostly elected directly by the audience. ” Marie’s goal to “plan and prepare a Poetry Slam” was certainly achieved.

Personal Project

Personal Project student Marie Beste


The Library’s green stage area was the scene of some very forceful performance poetry. Six Middle Years Programme students competed. In the end, the audience did indeed choose the winners: a pair of Grade 6 students who slammed about fireflies. It was enlightening.


Poetry events will continue throughout this month. This was the perfect way to kick off a month that celebrates this form of the written word.




Libraries & Literacy

Eight IST teachers are here at the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) Teachers Conference in Kota Kinabalu. For the past two mornings, we have been treated to two excellent keynote speeches: the first by John Wood and the second by Anne Sibley O’Brien. Both speeches brought tears to my eyes.


John Wood is the founder of Room to Read. He left his high profile Microsoft job and devotes his life to providing education to kids in developing countries. Focusing on literacy and gender equality in education, he’s a real hero to librarians. He started out by using yaks to deliver books in Nepal! Room to Read now publishes books in the mother tongues of these developing countries, effectively raising literacy levels. His non-profit has opened 17,800 libraries and reached 9 million children.


Anne Sibley O’Brien spoke about her life as a third culture kid
and how it has led her to her role today. She’s an author-illustrator who is equally internationally minded. Her blog “looks at issues of race and culture in relation to creating and using children’s literature.” Just as her thinking considers racial identity and unconscious bias, her multicultural books do also. For example, her illustrations depict children of different races all together. We have nine of her books in the IST Library catalog, and Charlotte McMulkin, the IST pre-K teacher who is also at the conference, has a collection in her classroom.

These two speakers have really reinforced my belief in the power of books and story. There is power in raising literacy levels and bias consciousness. It is an incredible learning opportunity here at EARCOS and I am so thankful to the professional development program funded by IST.

The 2015 Panda Award Results

More than 3,100 votes were cast from 44 schools around China, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and the United States.

The winners of the 2015 Panda Awards are:

Younger Readers:
The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt (Author),
Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)


Middle Readers:
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
by Chris Colfer


Older Readers:
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
by Chris Grabenstein


Mature Readers:
Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell


Thank you for voting IST!