Elementary Library Updates

Library and Information Skills Integration: Grade 4

The grade 4 students are wrapping up their 5-week “Sharing the Planet” unit. The library has been collaborating with grade 4 during this unit with a focus on research skills. We worked on finding good sources of information for our research, note-taking with graphic organizers, and creating bibliographies to show where we got our information. Grade 4 students learned how to use the iPad app “Puppet Edu” to create their final projects showing their understanding of unit concepts. Below are some photos of the grade 4 students as they work on their final projects.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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.)

The IB in the LIB

Have you noticed the ten (10) new posters in the library? Look up as you enter; they are straight overhead. They match library books to the IB Learner Profiles, linking a main character, theme, or other symbol to each specific profile. Some links are obvious, while others force the viewer to think about the connection. Under each book image appears a “word cloud.” You may have seen these word clouds used by professions as inspiration or to visualize a mission. The image is a collage of words. In general, the larger the word is, the more significant is the meaning.

The iPad app Word Collage was used to generate the word clouds. With this app, the user either types his own words or pastes text into the app and the app will generate the cloud. If unhappy with the results, the user can re-click and a new pattern will appear. The colors and fonts can also be personalized.

word collage

This app can pull together ideas and concepts in a way that supports visual learning styles. In the classroom, Word Collage is best used as a mini-project. For example, students can brainstorm ideas or create a representation of their notes. Or, they can create a Word College image to present or display their own writing. In every case, this app is very easy to use.

Are you Courageous? Are you an Inquirer? Are you a Thinker? What can you create with Word Collage?

Library Lesson news


As part of their Animal Characteristics PYP unit, the Kindergarten students have been reading, Actual Size and What do you do when something tries to eat you?, both by Steve Jenkins.

IMG_1063 IMG_1055

We have a great selection of books by Steve Jenkins in the library and he has become a favourite author amongst the Elementary students in recent weeks!  His super illustrations and unusual facts have the students hooked.

Grade 1

Grade 1 students have also been enjoying a book by Steve Jenkins, called Bones. 


This book takes a look at skeletons and how they work with an emphasis on the human skeleton compared to animals.

We have also been reading one of the new additions to the library, called The Holes in Your Nose by Genichiro Yagyu.


This books is a really fun book for younger students, taking readers on a journey showing what our noses look like inside and out and their function as part of our body system.

Grade 2

Grade 2 have started a new PYP unit: Endangered Animals.  This week, students started exploring an app called, WWF together

Some of the features of this great app include:

* In-depth, interactive stories of endangered animals, including giant pandas, tigers, monarch butterflies, marine turtles and polar bears.
* Origami of each animal that folds up, creating an animated video you can share with your friends and family through Facebook, email and Twitter – plus, download instructions for making your own origami.
* 3D interactive globe – discover exactly how far away you are from 70 different animals around the world.
* Up-to-date conservation and wildlife news
* Cool and unusual animal facts. (Do you know what a panda and a stick of butter have in common?)
* Multiple ways to get involved and help protect these amazing animals.

And, best of all, the app is FREE!

Grade 3

As part of their literacy unit on poetry, Grade 3 students have been looking at different types of poems in their library lesson.  This week, we shared poems from Paul Fleischmann’s poems for two voices, Joyful Noise.





Students then practiced a poem of their choice with a partner and, some courageous students, performed their poems to the rest of the class.

Grade 4

Grade 4 students have been looking at the features of non-fiction texts in their reader’s workshop lessons in the library.  First, students used their chosen non-fiction text from their book box to brainstorm features with a partner.  In the follow-up lesson, students co-constructed a chart showing their thinking about the purpose of the different features of non-fiction texts and how they help us as readers.


During their independent reading time, students used the FQR chart strategy (Facts, Questions and Reflections)  to record their thinking and questions as they read their non-fiction book.

Grade 5

Grade 5 students are well under way with their PYP Exhibition unit.  Students have opened iCloud accounts using the Pearltrees app as a place to store their work as they start digging deeper into their chosen topics.    During their library lesson, students co-constructed an anchor chart showing their thoughts on ‘What do good researchers do?’


The students had some fabulous ideas and we have since used this chart to create a what do good researchers do – checklist that students and teachers can use to assess the students’ research skills, as part of an ongoing process.

Students have also been using the Popplet app to map their thinking and have begun experimenting with the Explain Everything app that will be one of the options students will have for sharing their learning as part of the technology component of the exhibition.



Library lesson news

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.

iPads in the Library

Photo Credit: Laurie Sullivan via Compfight

If you are thinking of investing in some technology for an IST student this summer, you might consider buying an Apple product. Most IST staff members already use MacBooks. And this fall, the library will be introducing 40 Ipads into the library program: twenty for elementary classes and 20 for secondary classes. The IST Science department is leading this initiative with an additional 20 Ipads loaded with science software. Students will be using these Ipads to collaborate and create in a transformed learning environment. The Ipads will be loaded with a variety of apps. Below please find some of the apps that will be used throughout the school.




Mobile App Available


Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)




Microsoft Office is an office suite of desktop applications.  It comprises Powerpoint, a presentation program, the word processing and desktop publishing application Word and the spreadsheet application, Excel.

iWorks (Pages, Keynote, Numbers)









iWork is an office suite of applications created by Apple. It comprises Keynote, a presentation program, the word processing and desktop publishing application Pages and the spreadsheet application, Numbers.

Collaboration online


Safari or Chrome browser





ManageBac is designed for students in the MYP and DP.  Students upload  


Safari or Chrome browser



Dropbox is cloud storage that can be accessed from any computer or mobile device.


Safari or Chrome browser



Evernote is a tool that provides students a way to organize and save their ideas.  In Evernote students can take notes, snap photos, create to-do list, record voice reminders—and it makes everything searchable.





This tool is used for marking up pdf’s and images.





Flipboard allows teachers and students to collaborate and make class magazines. 


Safari or Chrome browser



Turnitin’s OriginalityCheck helps a student avoid plagiarism by checking your writing for citation mistakes or inappropriate copying.  When you submit your paper, Turnitin compares it to text in its massive database of student work, websites, books, articles, etc. With the online grading feature, teachers can edit and grade student papers online.




This App will allow students and teachers to create their own podcast.  Also, courses could subscribe to free audio and video podcasts.


Mac (10.9)


ebook and PDF reader

Kindle Reader




ebook and PDF reader

iBooks Author



This software allows students to create stunning interactive books.  Students start with one of the Apple designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts.  Students can add their own text and images with drag-and-drop ease.  Also students can use multi-touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more.  Once finished the iBooks can be published and shared.

iTunes U

* part of iTunes



iTunes U provides an easy way for faculty to organize and distribute digital materials to IST students. iTunes U allows for the following materials to be distributed in a course; video (mp4, m4v, mov), audio (mp3, m4a), documents (pdfs, iWork, Microsoft Office), eBooks (iBooks, ePub), iTunes apps, photos (jpg, png), iTunes store materials, and web links.





This app provides access to presentations by some of the world’s most fascinating people: education.  More than 2,000+ TEDTALKS that cover a wide range of topics.

Explain Everything




Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets the students annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.

iCloud Drive


*available fall 2014

Safari or Chrome browser


iCloud Drive, you can safely store all your presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, and any other kind of document in iCloud and access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.