G5 Exhibition Tomorrow

The grade 5 students have been hard at work on their G5 Exhibition projects for the last few weeks. The official Exhibition ceremony will be tomorrow, from 6 to 7:30. It promises to be an excellent showcase of student learning, and we’re hoping the whole IST community will attend. See the poster below.

One of the components of the G5 Exhibition at IST this year was an essay outlining the research students found on their topics. Each student had to prepare an essay based on joint research they did in their topic group. The topics ranged from animal welfare to air quality in China.

As principled inquirers, the grade 5 students included a bibliography of the sources they consulted for their essay. Citing their sources is a skill that they will be expected to master in their secondary and beyond learning. We start teaching elementary students about citing sources from grade 1, and the Exhibition bibliography is a culmination of that teaching, as well as preparation for middle school.

All of the mainstream students cited their sources on a separate bibliography page, in full MLA format, as will be expected of them in middle school. The ESL students also created a bibliography page, listing only the URLs and titles of books they consulted.

Most of the grade 5 students consulted a variety of print and online sources. The average number of sources cited was 7, and the smallest number of sources was 3.

A few weeks ago, before the grade 5 students began their research in earnest, we reviewed how to evaluate websites for credibility. It was encouraging to see how many students considered the credibility of their sources, with all but 2 students including credible sites like UN portals and databases in their bibliographies.

We are looking forward to seeing the completed Exhibition projects tomorrow and Friday. Let us know in the comments if you were particularly inspired by one of them.

Invitation to grade 5 Exhibition

Update on G5 Environmental Project

You may remember a post from last week, in which I described a project by Larry in grade 5. He wanted to recycle paper and I asked him whether the library could have paper to put in our library printer. We feed that printer paper that has already been used on one side to reduce the impact we have on the environment.

Today, Larry came with a big stack of paper. He had sorted it to usable pieces, free of wrinkles, tape or staples. We’ll be using that paper in the printer today. Our library printer gets a lot of use by students and teachers, and we’re always in need of paper.

Thank you, Larry! We hope you’ll keep bringing us paper for our printer even after the exhibition is over.

Larry's re-used paper donation

G5 Exhibition Animal Welfare Project

Inspired by their love of animals, Mimi and Andreína in grade 5 are taking action for their G5 Exhibition by collecting blankets, and cash, for rescued dogs at Auntie R’s Animal Shelter. They will be taking the blankets and cash donations to the shelter this Saturday, 15 March, so be sure to look through your old blankets and towels soon. Send them or bring them to the grade 5 classrooms by Friday.

If, like Mimi and Andreína, you love animals, perhaps you too will be motivated to take action with these titles from our library collection. As usual, all covers and summaries from the library OPAC, except otherwise noted.

Cover for ASPCA

RR 179.3 SUE

ASPCA: The American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

by Anastasia Suen

Discusses the origins of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and looks at how the group works to provide training, shelter, and health care for animals.

Reading level: grades 3 to 6

Note from Mrs. Fitzgerald: This book is actually part of a reading group set used in the elementary school and is not available for general circulation. You can find more information about the ASPCA at their website: www.aspca.org.


Cover for Working with Animals

361.7 CHU

Working with Animals 

By Diane Church (Series: Charities at Work) – This book looks at a wide range of charities working with animals. It examines some of the problems animals face, and explains how the charities are trying to solve them.

Reading level: Age 6+

Cover for Why Do People Harm Animals

179 MAS

Why do people harm animals?

By Chris Mason (Series: Exploring Tough Issues) – Discusses varying opinions on ways in which humans may hurt animals by raising them for food, using them as entertainment, and even keeping them as pets.

Reading level: 6.7

Grade 5 Exhibition Recycling Project

The Grade 5 Exhibition is running full steam ahead. Students have completed their research and are now taking action on their topics. Updates on the G5 Exhibition can be found on the blogs of:

Be sure to follow what the grade 5s are doing, as it’s very exciting to see them take charge of their learning.

This Wednesday, as her G5 Exhibition action, Ye Jin will be leading grade 2 to 5 students in an activity to re-use plastic bottle containers as flower pots. It should be a fun and creative activity. See Ms. Hilleson’s blog for an invitation. 

Another environmentally minded project is Larry’s paper recycling drive. He is collecting paper for recycling. Lucky for us, he will be donating all clean sheets of A4 size paper to the library, where we will use in our environmentally-friendly printer which only uses paper that has already been used on one side. Thanks, Larry! Remember, clean paper with no staples or tape on it.

For those students who leave Ye Jin’s activity motivated to recycle more trash into crafts, here are a few library books with ideas. All covers and summaries from the library OPAC.

Cover for Let's Recycle

363.72 LLE


Let’s Recycle

by Clare Llewelyn – Describes what recycling is and why it is important, looks at the many items that can be recycled, and discusses some of the uses for recyled materials.

Reading level: 3.6

Cover for Eco Art

745.5 CAR

EcoArt: Earth-Friendly Art & Craft Experiences for 3-to-9-year-olds. 

by Laurie A. Carlson – Presents art and craft projects that benefit the environment through such activities as recycling.

Reading level: 5.7

Cover for Crafts from Recyclables

745.5 CRA

Crafts from Recyclables

edited by Colleen Van Blaricom ; illustrated by Ron LeHew – Presents ideas for creative projects using common household items, including instructions for making earmuffs, a jewelry box, piggy bank, and bowling game.

Reading level: 2.8

Cover for Crafts from Junk

745.5 LAM

Crafts from Junk

by Violaine Lamérand ; translated by Cheryl L. Smith. (Series: Step by Step) – Provides patterns and detailed instructions for fifteen crafts made from junk.

Reading level: 3.3

See the pattern in the call numbers? The first book is about recycling, so it’s in the 300 section with the books on social sciences. The crafts books are all in the 700’s section with the arts and recreation materials.

Do you have a favorite book on recycling or craft making? Let us know in the comments.


Grade 5 Evaluates Sites

The grade 5 students are in the midst of research on their chosen topics for the G5 Exhibition. This last week we reviewed how to evaluate a website for credibility. While there are millions of websites out there, not all of them are credibleThe credibility of a website, or any resource, depends on the authority of its author, its currency, its relevance to the topic at hand, and its purpose, among other criteria.

For the lesson on web evaluation, we used this checklist which asked students whether it was easy to answer these questions. They did not need to write down the answers to the questions, just check the answers to the questions were obvious.

The questions we used followed the acronym CARDDS:

Credibility/Authority: Who wrote the information on the website? Can I trust them?

Accuracy: Is the information correct? Can I check it?

Relevance: Is this information I need?

Date: How old is the information?

Design: Is the website easy to navigate? Is it at the right reading level for me?

Scope and Purpose: Why is this information published?

The fifth graders have been applying these criteria to the websites they are finding with great results. Some of the websites they have found include government and United Nations sites as well as not-for-profit organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty (ASPCA). All of these fulfill the criteria on the evaluation website and therefore will offer relevant and accurate information.

Two websites that should help our fifth graders on the action side of their projects are Care2.com and DoSomething.org. Both of these websites invite young people to get involved in improving the world around them.

Both of them were brought to my attention by fifth graders this week who had found them in the course of doing research. These websites are a great way of connecting with other students around the world who share the same interests. They are credible because they are written by experts on the topic, they are relevant to the grade 5 exhibition, and they are updated frequently.



A third website, Kids Are Heroes, was the basis for homework for the fifth graders this week. This website features children who are taking action in many different forms. The third graders also use this website for their Heroes unit, and all students find it inspiring.

Kids Are Heroes


P.S. In the course of writing this post, I found this, the ABC’s of Website Evaluation on a website by Bethel Crockett. I like the ABC list to be a better way of remembering, so I may start working with that mnemonic.

Do you have a different way of evaluating a website? Share yours in the comments.

United Nations Millenium Development Goals

In the year 2000, the United Nations set 8 goals for global development. These 8 goals are the UN Millennium Development Goals and were meant to be achieved by 2015. The goals are:

  1. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
  2. Achieving universal primary education,
  3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women,
  4. Reducing child mortality rates,
  5. Improving maternal health,
  6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,
  7. Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
  8. Developing a global partnership for development.

Our grade 5 students are inquiring into the UN MDGs and how they will take action to support those goals. Other grade levels at IST also study the United Nations and its institutions, and so I’ve created a page on the Visual tab to collect links related to the UN and the MDG.

To visit the UN MDG page on the Visual tab, go to the library OPAC.


Enter by clicking on the blue link “IST Library.”

Click on the Visual tab.

Visual tab on the OPAC

Scroll down the page. The UN Millennium Development Goals button is at the bottom of the page.

UN Millennium Development Goals on Visual tab

Our fifth graders are concentrating on four of the MDGs, and those are the goals that have received the most attention so far, but it is my aim to include links to sites for all 8 MDGs in the near future.

Click on the UN icon for each goal to see the links associated to that goal.

UN Millennium Goals page on Visual tabThanks to Ms. D for her help in locating many of these links. If you have suggestions for links that you would like to see on the page, please add them in the comments.

Source for the UN MDGs:

“United Nations Millennium Development Goals.” UN News Center. United Nations, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013. <http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/>.