June 20, 2017

Wrapping up school year 2016-2017 at ISE Library

Enjoy the ISE library antics through the below photo show. Our library is a busy place where learning, socializing and fun in general happens.

Let's start off with a regular state of the library on any given Wednesday, period 8, when almost all middle school, well except year 4 is in having a class, group investigations or independent work.

Our IT Integrator Ms. Glyka introduced books including augmented reality during our last PYP literature circles meeting. Grade 3 students were eager to make connections on how innovation changes the ways we read, and access books and information, something that we have been discussing in the library in conjunction with their Innovation UOI.

Meet the Gruffalos in Reception. Students loved Gruffalo stories by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, as well as the lovely film based on Gruffalo book that gave a sneak and peek in "behind the scenes" of the story.

In February Year 5 students hosted the Human library on their Personal project topics. We has 12 exciting and knowledgeable Books sharing their learning stories with the community.

Visitors from the youngest to the oldest of our students.

 And then this happens... I told you...

... fun ...
... sometimes sorrow ...
... and love.

Till the next year! Have a great summer holidays! Päikest!

Systems for organizing information

During grade 2 unit of inquiry "Systems" the class explored the system ISE Library uses for organizing books. Students learned grouping books by type (fiction and nonfiction), numbers and letters. Through inquiring into and discussing information they saw on the books (call numbers) and on the shelf labels they discovered the ten groups of the Dewey Decimal System, and that books on the similar subject are together on the shelf. Touring around the library students noticed that not all books have numbers which led us talking about the alphabetical order and types of book that are organized this way.
What Dewey section are your favourite books in?
We then looked into the library online catalog and noticed the call numbers there as well. Combining the learning students worked as detectives following clues (call numbers) to solve a problem (finding a book of interest from the shelf). Next time we revolved the activity and students worked as library assistants putting books back to their correct places on shelves. This activity turned out to be more a challenging one. All students though, some with a little help from a friend, managed to find books of interest. One student in particular displayed the calling for a librarian profession by quickly understanding how the library system works, and efficiently carrying out the duties of retrieving and returning books to the shelves. He insisted keeping re-shelving books during free reading time. What joy!

Our next exploration into systems of organizing information, building on learning from this unit, is looking into how can we use alphabet to find things? We will be exploring enrollment lists, dictionaries offline and online and look into online directories. The objective of this unit is to learn how to search online by using the alphabet and how children's directory sites are organized.

Exploring lists and dictionaries
As a summative activity we explored the Endangered animals site that organizes its information alphabetically. Grade 2 created their own A-Z book of endangered animals using information from that site. This activity was completed in collaboration with the "Endangered animals" unit of inquiry. Students were able to transfer their knowledge and terminology learned (extinct, endangered, threatened) across subjects. Look at some examples from the book. Do you know who is an axolot, or where can you meet quoll. How is uguisu's poop used, and how x-rat tetra looks like?

May 15, 2017

Whose is it Anyway?

During the month of April we explored with grade 4 how can we use other people's work respectfully with an objective of understanding plagiarism and citations. For provocation I used puppets students had made during their Drama unit, claiming I made some of them. Afterwards we discussed how this made the students feel (shocked, surprised, confused), and what I was really doing (stealing and lying). I got reminded of my "bad" behaviour multiple times during this unit.

The new knowledge was applied to writing citations for the individual investigations about an ancient civilization during grade 4 unit of inquiry. We started with looking at how to cite a book, and rather sooner than later students came back with questions like: "How do I cite an article from a webpage?" "What about the videos from YouTube?", and "I used an article from World Book Online. How do I cite it?" I worked with small groups in grade 4 classroom based on their needs, explaining the above situations and introducing Easybib programme. We started with simple citations, and a few steps when using Easybib for the students to understand why and how to cite.

We then looked at citations and elements included in a citation, discussing reasons for adding these parts. For example, the author name which comes first to acknowledge and give credit to the person who created this piece of work.e, what tools to use, and what do the elements in the citation mean."

... because then you don't show respect.

At the end of the unit I asked students to share their biggest takeaway/learning. Here's what one student said: "I learned that when you use someone's work you need to give credit and respect to the people because if you don't it's plagiarism." And another wrote: "Always cite or else you are stealing."

I learned that you have to give credit if you use someone's work.

Lesson well learnt:)

April 11, 2017

Exploring the rings of responsibility

Instead of an online approach through eTextbook (see December 18, 2014 post "Grade 3 eUnit "Rings of Responsibility"), this year, I decided to engage with the offline learning to explore this important topic, and use smart surface library tabletops instead of iPads to record students' thinking and ideas.


  • reflected upon their offline responsibilities
  • examined their online responsibilities
  • learned that good digital citizens are responsible and respectful in the digital world (and beyond).

We discussed offline and online activities to self, friends and family and larger community and realized that it is important to be kind and respectful in both face-to-face and online world. This approach worked very well and students were excited to us an alternative media to record their thinking.


April 3, 2017

What's at the library?

In preparation for their Exhibition grade 5 students got acquainted with our library and the resources it offers. We discussed advantages of doing research at the library and evaluated the importance of various library resources. We looked at books and online databases available, and above all a librarian to help out. Students worked in groups to create posters with catchy phrases reminding other students to consider the library when doing research.

Personal favourite "ISE Library: Better than the Internet!"

Welcome everyone to see and check out our library!

March 17, 2017

Reflecting on the Personal project showcase

As a community we took time to reflect on the Human library showcase format that we used for Personal projects showcase for the very first time. This evaluation served the purpose of reflecting on common experiences to improve the planning, implementation and running a successful event for all partakers (books, readers and librarian) during future events.

The reason for using the Human library format was to engage in personal, deeper level conversations on mutual topics of interest. We addressed the following questions.

     1. What did you find most enjoyable? Responses included-
Books (students) were very knowledgeable about their topics. Books enjoying telling their stories. The setup where a Book (student) was in a separate place which allowed the full attention of the audience and valued and honored their work. The smaller venues, set up in different classrooms, where everyone had a chance to ask questions and comment the work. It was particularly nice to see year 4 students engaged, clearly starting to think of what they might do.
Readers (parents, teachers, fellow students) were supportive and interested in the stories.
Getting to know some of the students from my child's class a bit better. Also having time to talk to some of the teachers and parents.
I appreciated the last round in the end, with all books present, that allowed seeing everyone's project.

     2. What were some challenges, if any? Responses included-
Books had to tell their 20 minute story 6 times to different audience. One student commented that she felt like a college lecturer and was surprised that this is the way the lectures are done...).
Having mixed feelings about the 20 minute session, not being sure  what would work during that length of time.
Readers wanted to read more books.
Year 5 students wanted to read their classmate stories.
The last round, with all books present, was chaotic and readers tended to chat with each other rather than with books.

     3. What would you do differently next time as a Book/Reader? Responses included-
Pay attention to go to a correct room. The mistake turned out to be a happy one though:)
Learn about the stories and books more thoroughly beforehand.
Try to visit all Books even if during the last "speed" round.

     4. What improvements would you like to see in the set-up of /managing the library? Responses included-
Host the Human library on two days. First for the school community (during/at the end of the school day), second to the families and friends (in the evening) to ease the tension and manage stress of presentations.
Find a way how year 5 students can read their classmate stories.
Have a clear guidelines for the book about the expectations for the presentation.
Review rules for the readers for guidance for the last round.
More noticeable labels on the classrooms.

Personally as a Librarian I have always struggled with the check-out process. This year we tried pre-choosing books which saved a great deal of time during the event but took a considerable amount of librarian's time to manage this type of check-out. Nevertheless it was a worth trial which I will applied during the future events. One area to consider how best to remind the Readers Books they chose.

Overall everyone thought that the Human library format was a huge success and worked well, was engaging and allowed the students to be in the center of the attention and shine. All partakers Books, Readers and the Librarian learned a lot and were happy but exhausted at the end of the event. Some things to consider for the future events are spreading the event onto two days, giving clearer guidelines to Books and Readers to be prepared and confident and find a way for year 5 students to participate as Readers.

February 20, 2017

MYP Personal projects showcase 2017

I am exited to share the MYP Personal project showcase 2017 event.

Personal project is a cumulative project each student is required to complete during their final year in the MYP. It provides an opportunity to investigate a topic of interest (RESEARCH), produce a creative piece of work (PRODUCT) and reflect on the project process (REPORT) with a specific focus defined by one of the six the global contexts.

Since September Grade 10 students have been engaged in self-led, in-depth study on a topic of interest - a Personal project. During the showcase they shared their products developed based on their project goals, along with their learning journeys to show the new knowledge and understandings of the topic, and their growth as an independent IB learners. This showcase recognized and celebrated year 5 students' efforts over the past 6 months. It offered grade 9 students and families great examples for when you will engage with the Personal Project.
     Although the students’ learning has been largely independent and self-led each student was supported and guided by a project supervisors whom I would like to recognize and applaud for Ms. Beth, Mr. Dan, Ms. Reelika, Ms. Kuhn, Ms. Sandhya, Ms. Triin, Mr. Paulo, Ms. Karolina, Mr. T, Mr. Smith, Ms. Maren and Ms. Anais.
     This year the showcase followed the format of a Human library. Books in this library are human beings and the Books and Readers enter into a personal dialogue. Grade 10 students became Books on their project topic and guests became Readers who borrow a “Book” for a limited period of time to learn and converse on the mutual topic of interest.
We opened the Human library for two sessions-
  • afternoon session at the end of the school day for the school community (grade 5 up) ;
  • evening session for grade 10 and 9 families, friends and supervisors.
Below are 12 thrilling titles and summaries from year 5 students from the Human library catalog.
     Title: Ragga style in dancing
Summary: Have you ever heard about ragga dance style or dancehall? If you feel like you are interested in dancing or you would like to know more about Jamaican music/dance culture, then this book is just for you. Be ready to let your hips loose!
Image may contain: 2 people
Create a ragga dance routine, make a video
and use it to inform and inspire audience about that dance style.

Title: The Young Screenwriter                                                                            Summary: Have you ever wondered what a tough job do screenwriters go through? It's their brains, where the ideas of directors gain adequate and interesting shape. It's their nerves, which go wasted on writing dialogues and describing the settings. It's their passion and will, that make a movie a masterpiece. Screenwriting is art, and not a single good movie has a bad script. In this human library, I, the simple student will share my personal experiences with how screenwriting is done.
Image may contain: 5 people, people sitting, table and indoor
Write a quality, 20-40 pages, script.

Title: Humanization of Death
Summary: Have you ever thought how death would look like if it were a human? Is it possible to collect different human beliefs and values in one painting? We will be talking about how the humanized death would look like based on the philosophical, religious and psychological beliefs of people.
Image may contain: 3 people, people standing
To understand trough research, why people are afraid of the concept of death.
How the humanized Death would look like, based on psychological, religious and philosophical beliefs.

Title: Medieval armor and HEMA tournaments                                        Summary: Learn about blacksmith work nowadays and during medieval times. Hear about three aspects of armor: defense, mobility and firepower and learn about HEMA (historical European martial arts) tournaments. See the armor I made.
Image may contain: one or more people and people standing
To show how three aspects of armour can affect the outcome
of a (medieval melee) tournament

Title: People pushing our progress up
Summary: Have you been thinking how the ideas can change world? Do you know who the people who bring these ideas into real life are? Can we meet a new Leonardo Da Vinci nowadays? Interesting? Come and read!
Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, table and indoor
Ideas , technologies and innovations of humanity.
      Title: Portrait Photography

Summary: Come see the unique and diverse personalities of the 10th grade shown through portrait photography! The photos were taken this fall at ISE to help me achieve my objective of learning how to use my camera.

To learn the technical aspects of my cannon rebel camera in order to take high quality portraits that reflect the personality of the subject.

Title: Wisdom and Knowledge through the Eyes of the Owl
Summary: We will be learning about creating our own toys, through crocheting. We then make our own owl out of paper cups. Can’t wait to see you there, hoot hoot hooray!
Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, table and indoor
Acquire the skill of crocheting, to become more experienced
in hand made work, to help me to extend and enjoy my creativity.
      Title: What is a micro controller
Summary: What is a Micro controller? How to use them? What is programming? If you wonder about these questions my book is good for you :)
How I can program a micro controllerby learning c++ programming language ?

         Title: The Vegan Life
Summary: Explore the world of veganism through recipe ideas, learning about the lifestyle, and an opportunity to relish some vegan food.
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting
To research about healthy, eco-friendly, and vegan diets/foods and video making,
creating blogs/websites in order to produce a website with nutritious and vegan cooking videos
for people that would like to follow a healthy diet and reduce their carbon footprint.

         Title: Clothing and fashion design
Summary: This book is about how to design and manufacture a few pieces of clothing connected together by a the look, aesthetics and specific theme (music album).

What are the possibilities of implying Abstract Expressionism into fashion?
      Title: Electrical motors
Summary: This book is about the electrical motors, how they work and are built. I built my own to use this motor control for turning a solar panel.
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor
Electrical motor turning a solar panel.

Title: Animated music video
Summary: Come and learn how to animate a music video digitally.

I was truly blown away with the diversity of the projects, the knowledge and expertise students demonstrated of their project topics. An evaluation to reflect on common experiences to improve the planning, implementation and running a successful future events for all the parttakers (books, readers, and librarian) will follow soon.