Character dress-up day is coming on Friday, October 20th

It’s time to start thinking about costumes again! This year, in celebration of International Schools Library Week, our Elementary students and teachers will come to school dressed as our favourite characters on Friday, October 20th. There will be plenty of activity in and around the library during that week and we’ll tell you a bit more about those things after our National Day holiday week. In the meantime, we wanted to give everyone a reminder to plan their costumes.

Back in April, Ms. Simon wrote this blog post with many excellent ideas for costume ideas. Be sure to revisit that post for a refresher. For more inspiration, look at this list of “100 Book Character Costumes.”

We won’t be surprised if we see a few Baby Mouse costumes after the success of our recent author visit from Matt Holm!


International Schools Library Week is coming!

ISLW Oct 24 to 28

International Schools Library Week at IST–Monday, October 24th to Friday, October 28th.


You can begin to look forward to the week of October 24-28th when there will be lots of action in and around the library. We’ll be launching this year’s Panda Book Awards, offering Apple Store workshops, giving prizes, hosting the Beijing Book Fair and more. Watch this space for details and updates.

If you are interested in being a guest reader for an elementary class, please contact Ms. Simon at Linnea_Simon at istianjin dot net to let her know what you’d like to read and when.

Hour of Code 2015 #hourofcode

What is code? Code is short for coding, which is computer programming. Coding can be fun and creative. At IST, we introduced Ozobots during International Schools Library Week. These were very elementary robots that moved based on color and light codes. Minecraft games are even available for coding! Coding is a topic near and dear to my heart. My younger son is a coder. He works as a Java Script Programmer. At age 23, he earns more money than I do…

This week the Hour of Code is being celebrated all over the world. There are almost 190,00 related events taking place in more than 180 countries. This is a global campaign started in 2013 by the non-profit organization  The website has tutorials and offers choices for hour-long coding “events” that students and teachers can choose to do at designated times.  At the heart of the mission for is the belief that anyone can learn the basics of coding. Hour of Code is intended to take some of the mystery out of coding. Students can learn that computer science can be fun!

Check out the website if you would like to start:

Or use the Symbaloo to explore links on your own:

Our Commitment to Literacy

This gallery contains 4 photos.

The strength of the library was tangible during IST’s celebration of International Schools Library Week (ISLW) in October. New programming energized this traditional observance. The following week, IST hosted a greatly respected author, Kenn Nesbitt, former USA Children’s Poet Laureate. Former USA Poet Laureate (2013-2015) Kenn Nesbitt Visits IST On the heels of ISLW, elementary […]

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.