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.

End-of-year Check Out Dates

Reminder –

  • 20 May – all library materials were due
  • 2 June – summer checkout starts (8-10, 12-1, 2-4:00)


Returning students who have cleared their accounts by 1 June are invited to checkout up to 10 books each for summer reading beginning on 2 June. This is the day of the Community Fair.

Elementary students will need a signed permission slip from parents for summer checkout. Permission slips will be sent through homerooms.

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!


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. OpenSite.org. 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.

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.

Parent Workshop Reminder

Parent Workshops Offered on 11 March: Library Resources

The Library will be offering workshops on Wednesday, 11 March. There will be three sessions: Parents of Secondary Students: 9-­‐10 am Parents of Elementary: 10-­‐11 am Combined, offered in Chinese: 10-­‐11 am.

Please email if you plan to attend! Let us know which session: jinx_morgan@istianjin.net

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.