The Library is a Reading Place!

The IST Library was delighted to host the grade 2 students and their parents for their traditional tales ‘read-together’ session this afternoon.

The grade 2s have been inquiring into the theme, “How we express ourselves” through the lens of traditional tales. We have a healthy collection of folk tales that we were happy to see so well used during their unit. As the central idea for their unit was, “Stories retold and shared can reflect the belief and values of different cultures,” I feel that it was particularly appropriate that this activity included a sharing of traditional tales, affirming our shared value of familial devotion.

Some photos from today:

Using Call Numbers

Let’s say you want to find a library book about dogs. You look up the word “dog” in the library OPAC and you find the title you want. Now what? How do you go from the book title on the screen to finding that same title on the shelves? The answer is you use the call number.

The call number is written on a white sticker at the bottom of the spine of all our library books. The call number will have at least two lines. The top line or lines will tell you where the book can be found in the library. The bottom line tells you who wrote the book as it is the first three letters of the author’s last name.

Fiction books are organized by section: E for the picture books, ER for the early readers (we also call them the red sticker books), and ELE F (we call them yellow sticker books) for the beginning chapter books. Within each section, books are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name, or rather by the three letters of the bottom line of the call number.

Non-fiction books are also organized by Dewey Decimal sections. Each of the section corresponds to a broad range of subjects. To locate a non-fiction book by the call number, one must first read the top line/s and find that number on the shelf. Once you have found that number, you then look at the bottom line and use alphabetical order to find the three letters on the shelf.

Grade 2 and 3 students have been practicing their call number location skills. They will be using those skills all year when looking for books to support their unit and personal inquiries.

We start out with a review of alphabetical order. I print out book slips from the library OPAC, and on those book slips we notice

  • availability (if the book is in the library or has been checked out)
  • the title
  • the call number
  • the cover image, if the OPAC has one. (Not all books have cover images.)

Armed with the call number slips, the students then pair up and go retrieve the books. After we’ve used up all the slips, we put the books back – using the same call number skills that we used to find them.

The second and third graders love finding books on the shelf. Last week we only looked in one section, the ELE F section because it has books that are almost all the same size and the spines are mostly wide enough to see the whole call number. Next comes getting call number slips from different parts of our fiction collection and then the non-fiction collection. Soon enough, they will be able to find books in any section of the library.

Click on the first image in this gallery for an “Anatomy of a Call Number” sheet that summarizes what the different parts of the call number mean.

Grade 2 Students Inquire into Communication

Our grade 2 students are inquiring into the PYP transdisciplinary theme Where we are in place and time. They are specifically looking into the central idea, “Humans have developed different ways to communicate over time.”

As part of their inquiry, the grade 2 students came to the library last week to research via our subscription databases. While using a search engine like Google, Yahoo! Kids, or even our OPAC’s WebPath Express can be useful, databases are a high quality source of information.

Databases offer:

  • information that is authoritative (from experts)
  • information that is accurate
  • citation information in a convenient “copy and paste” form

In addition to these, some of our databases are differentiated by reading level or interest.

To help our second grade students, I created links to the databases* I felt would give them age-appropriate information on their topics of interest. I posted these on our OPAC.

To see the links I’ve set up for grade 2, go to the library OPAC and click on the Visual tab.

Visual tab on the OPAC

Navigate to the grade 2 folder, by starting on the PYP UOI button of the Visual tab.

PYP UOI button on the OPAC's Visual Tab


From the grade 2 page, click on Communications. The page for the Communications unit has a list of books in the library and links to several useful websites. It also includes several folders, each with links to databases or websites on a particular topic of interest to second graders. They have usernames and passwords to these databases pasted into the unit of inquiry notebooks.*

Grade 2 communication topics on the OPAC

*The IST community can use the databases on our OPAC free of charge, but must supply username and passwords. For a complete list of these, please log in to the OPAC with our quick log in or your own personal account. If you need help, please contact us via email, library at istianjin dot net, or come to the library.

Library Books Go Round and Round

The grade 2 students are inquiring into the PYP theme, “How we organize ourselves.” As part of their unit, they visited the library to see how our circulation system was organized. They followed a book from the shelf, to the circulation desk, to a library and back again into the library and onto the shelf. See the Comic Life posters below to view how our library books go round and round. Click on each page to enlarge.


Is It Endangered?

Grade 2 is embarking on an inquiry into how we share the planet. They are focusing on endangered animals and were in the library earlier this week looking for books and websites about different animal species.

Not all animals are endangered, thankfully. To know which animals are endangered, grade 2 students – and other animal lovers – can use the library catalog. Click on the link below to see a screencast that will show you how.

Endangered Animals List