Research skills

In our library lessons I will be facilitating students in their journey in understanding one particular area of PYP’s Transdisciplinary Skills:


Our first task is that we’ll seek the definition of it:

Research is searching carefully, with a method, so that you can answer a question. It is wider than finding out a fact and more focused than reading widely around a subject.

Our second task is to understand the process

We will also learn the PYP language:


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The PYP Library @ KIS

Our library supports and enhances the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme(PYP)  and is guided guided by the IB mission.

 Therefore, we aim to:

  •  Develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect
  • Encourage students to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right

At KIS library we will have resources to help you complete effective research as a student in a digital world. These resources will provide guidance on the essential steps in completing a research project, from finding information to guidelines on how to use others people’s work ethically.


Plan, Do and Review is from “The Super3” by Michael B. Eisenberg and Laura Eisenberg Robinson.



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Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is usually a term that we associate with high school and college students, however like every good habit of mind it all starts forming right from the beginning here in the PYP.  This is made possible by the continuums that we have between the IB programmes, such as Approaches to Learning and Internationalism.

continuumIn an IB World School academic honesty is a principle informed by the attributes of the learner profile. In teaching and learning, and assessment, academic honesty serves to promote personal integrity and instill respect for others and the honesty of their own work. Sustaining academic honesty helps to ensure that all students have an equal and equitable opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and understandings they acquire during their personal inquiries.

Learner ProfileAcademic honesty is an essential principle of any academic program that enhances an educational organization’s credibility and position as a leader. As stated in the learner profile, all members of KIS community strive to be principled;

“Acting with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice, and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups, and communities”.



Good practice—recommendations for students

  • Ensure that all sources you have consulted are acknowledged in your work using the referencing style agreed with your teacher.
  • Make sure that information you have used is acknowledged in the body of the text and is fully listed in the bibliography.
  • Use quotation marks or indentation to show all text that is someone else’s exact words and do not forget to show whose words they are.
  • Cite your sources so that readers can find them; if you cannot state the origin of the source it is probably better not to use it.

Why do we cite?

Proper citation is a key element of academic scholarship and intellectual exchange. When you cite, you:

  • show respect for the work of others
  • give the reader the opportunity to follow up your references
  • help the reader distinguish your work from the work of others
  • give the reader the opportunity to check the validity of your interpretation
  • receive proper credit for your research process
  • demonstrate that you are able to use reliable sources and critically assess them to support your work
  • establish credibility and authority of your own knowledge and ideas
  • demonstrate that you are able to draw your own conclusions. Plagiarism misrepresents the work of another person as your own.

Essential Agreement

  • Make clear which words, ideas, images, and works are not your own.
  • Give credit for copied, adapted and paraphrased material.
  • If you paraphrase an idea—that is if you restate it, but alter the exact wording—you must still cite that source.
  • You must cite the source of images, maps, charts, tables, data sets, musical compositions, movies, computer source codes and song lyrics—any material that is not your own.
  • Make clear where the borrowed material starts and finishes; this can be done by using quotation marks, using an opening indication and a closing page number.
  • All sources cited in the text must also be listed in the bibliography (or reference list/list of works cited).

IB publications used for this article were: Academic Honesty Learner Profile and Poster  Academic honesty – principles to practice

Citing Rules from Research and Style Manual

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TED Talks

I am sure you already have heard about TEDx Talks by now. I am a huge fan of them and here is another reason for you to head over to and find out more about them

A TEDx Talk is a showcase for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes.

So they are short, concise, and usually very funny. Here is one example about a library:

I watched this TED Talk and thought you would find it interesting.

Michael Bierut: How to design a library that makes kids want to read

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Helping children’s development of inquiry skills

I love being a PYP teacher because for me inquiry is the natural way children learn. All young children love to ask questions. It’s one of the ways in which they make sense of the world and their place in it. These questions are also a powerful tool for educators to promote children’s thinking and learning. They exercise their sense of agency and develop valuable and complex problem-solving skills. When children are able to pose questions and investigate the answers, they feel in charge of their own learning. PYP as an inquiry-based approach to learning harness this spirit of investigation, creating an interesting, engaging and meaningful curriculum that uses children’s interests and questions as a starting point for holistic learning.

My job as a PYP Coordinator and teacher librarian entails many facets, but my primus imperative has always been, (and will always be), helping children’s develop their  inquiry skills. Within the PYP Curriculum model we support this with various ways:

PYP Curriculum Model


  • Providing opportunity to use inquiry skills in the exploration of materials and phenomena at first-hand.
  • Asking question that require the use of the skills (and allowing time for thinking and answering).
  • Providing opportunity for discussion in small groups and as a whole class.
  • Encouraging critical review of how activities have been carried out.
  • Providing access to the techniques needed for advancing skills.
  • Involving children in communicating in various forms and reflecting on their thinking.

How is this evident in a PYP Library and what is its relationship of homeroom Units of Inquiry you might ask?

Here at KIS we recognize that there are inquiry opportunities all around us. In the library, we plan for inquiry by providing provocations and artifacts for students to interact with. We use multimedia resources to engage students imagination and creativity

As we all agree that Media Literacy and Digital Literacy needs to be taught from early on, we also provide access to digital platforms as Kids A-Z, Seesaw, and others

We also regard computational thinking and digital storytelling to be valuable 21st Century skills now and in future. That’s why we introduce students to Cubetto, Sphero, Scratch Jr. and Scratch coding early on from EY.

These skills are developed together in the PYP under the heading of Approaches to Learning. They are an integrated part of transdisciplinary learning and understanding the world around us. An inquiry that is provoked and nurtured often leads to extended, ongoing investigations. Learning experiences that extend beyond one-off activities, that can be repeated or returned to, and that lend themselves to ongoing involvement, encourage deep learning and ultimately lead to action. Thus we need to facilitate learning by guided questions, challenges, and feedback. So that every learner has an opportunity to enhance and master their Social, Thinking, Self-Management, Communication, and Research Skills

Above all an inquiry means to me an opportunity to create a culture of investigation and active learning.


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Importance of Digital Literacy

Curate, Collect, Create, and Collaborate:

A Digital Literacy Framework for International Schools

What exactly is digital literacy, and how can we ensure that students are learning the digital skills they need in school? We classify competencies for digital literacy according to four main principles: Curate, Collect, Create, and Collaborate. These principles form the basis for our digital literacy framework.

In today’s multimodal society our students require to master a vast variety of incredibly differential skills and strategies to make sense of the world. For our students to be able critically to assess information’s validity and meaning, they need to be more than just consumers of information. We are using an Ontario based inquiry framework with PYP transdisciplinary approach focusing on those ATL skills

Key Concepts for Media Literacy

During library research lessons we learn to:

1. Media are constructions

“This is arguably the most important concept. The media do not simply reflect external reality. Rather, they present carefully crafted constructions that reflect many decisions and are the result of many determining factors. Media Literacy works towards deconstructing these constructions (i.e., to taking them apart to show how they are made)` —

Media products are created by individuals who make conscious and unconscious choices about what to include, what to leave out and how to present what is included. These decisions are based on the creators’ own point of view, which will have been shaped by their opinions, assumptions, and biases – as well as media they have been exposed to. As a result of this, media products are never entirely accurate reflections of the real world – even the most objective documentary filmmaker has to decide what footage to use and what to cut, as well as where to put the camera – but we instinctively view many media products as direct representations of what is real.

Guiding Questions:

  • Who created this media product?
  • What is its purpose?
  • What assumptions or beliefs do its creators have that are reflected in the content?

ATL Skills:

  • evaluate
  • synthesise

2. Audiences negotiate meaning

The meaning of any media product is not created solely by its producers but is, instead, a collaboration between them and the audience – which means that different audiences can take away different meanings from the same product. Media literacy encourages us to understand how individual factors, such as age, gender, race and social status affect our interpretations of media.

Guiding Questions:

  • How might different people see this media product differently?
  • How does this make you feel, based on how similar or different you are from the people portrayed in the media product?

ATL Skills:

  • Comprehension
  • Reading
  • Analyze

3. Media have commercial implications

Most media production is a business and therefore, tries to make a profit. In addition, media industries have concentrated into a powerful network of corporations that exert influence on content and distribution. Questions of ownership and control are central – a relatively small number of individuals control what we watch, read and hear in the media.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the commercial purpose of this media product (in other words,
  • How will it help someone make money?
  • How does this influence the content and how it’s communicated?
  • If no commercial purpose can be found, what other purposes might the media product have.
  • How do those purposes influence the content and how it’s communicated?

ATL Skills:

  • Evaluate
  • Synthesize
  • Analyze

4. Media has implications upon society

Media conveys ideological messages about values, power and authority. In media literacy, what or who is absent is often as important as what or who is included. As a result, media have great influence on politics and on forming social change.

Guiding Questions:

  • Who and what is shown in a positive light? In a negative light?
  • Why might these people and things be shown this way?
  • Who and what is not shown at all?
  • What conclusions might audiences draw based on these facts?

ATL Skills:

  • Evaluate
  • Synthesize
  • Analyze

5. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form

The content of media depends in part on the nature of the medium. This includes the technical, commercial and storytelling demands of each medium: for instance, the interactive nature of video games leads to different forms of storytelling.

Guiding Questions:

  • What techniques does the media product use to get your attention and to communicate its message?
  • In what ways are the images in the media product manipulated through various techniques?
  • What are the expectations of the genre towards its subject?

ATL Skills:

  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis

We integrate these skills and strategies into Units of Inquiry from G3: Digital Media, G4: Propaganda and G5: Expressing Identity and Exhibition in addition to stand-alone research and library lessons.

Should want to find out more: and

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2016-16 G5 PYP Exhibition Video Channel

Dear Parents,

Here are all the PYP Exhibition Videos:

G5 PYP Exhibition YouTube Channel

And here is the Youtube Stream from our performance

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Doing Internet Research at the Elementary Level

Here are some tips for

Search: Start with some general keywords. If your results aren’t what you want, alter the keywords to make a more specific search. I often encourage my students to put the word “kids” in to find child-friendly websites and articles. The Power Search with Google website provides detailed lesson plans on teaching search skills. Google search guide also summarizes some of Google’s advanced search features.
Delve: Always look beyond the first few results. Flick through a few pages if need be. There are many websites that use Search Engine Optimisation to improve the visibility of their pages in search results. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the most useful or relevant sites. Learn to use Smart URL searches.
Source: Look at the actual URL address to see where you’re going before you click on a search engine result. Use some intuition to decide whether it seems reliable. Is it from a well-known site? An educational or government institution? Is it a forum or opinion site?
Validity: Is this website credible? How can we make sure that the information we found is true? Make their own judgment by checking more than one source.
Purpose: Be wary of websites that are cluttered with advertisements or might be trying to sell you something.
Background: When reading articles, try to look for the author’s name and when the article was written. Is it recent or outdated? Has the author written something else as well?

Teacher tips:

Teach: Integrate the teaching of these skills into everything you do. Model your searches explicitly and talk out loud as you look things up. Researching skills don’t need to be covered in stand-alone lessons.
Justify: When you’re modeling your research, go to some weak websites and ask students to justify whether they think the site would be useful and reliable.
Path: Students might like to start their search with some sites they know or have used before rather than randomly googling.
Cite: Give students lots of practice of writing information in their own words, and show them how to use quotation marks and cite sources. Remind students about the seriousness of plagiarism and copyright infringement. These are terms even my grade two students used. It’s

These are terms even my grade two students used. It’s never to early to learn about web literacy.

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Student Driven Portfolio


I am happy to announce that this year we have been trialing a new digital tool that has already had a tremendous impact on student learning.

Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that empowers students of any age to independently document what they are learning at school and share it with their teachers, parents, classmates, and even the world.


We have been using Seesaw across the Primary school to record, reflect, and create content. Here are couple of examples:!/

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How to prepare for Exhibition research

Here is a flow chart of how a typical research progresses:

How to do Research

  1. Plan, 2. Search For Information, 3.Take Notes, 4. Use the Information, 5. Report, 6. Evaluate.

Now that we have a common understanding of the process, you need to decide what type of research you are making, let’s head over to PBS KIDS LAB to learn about some of the options

PBS KIDS LAB is funded by a 5-year Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The Department requires all of its grant recipients to conduct research in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the materials and products that are created with the grant money. This section includes reports on all the research and evaluation studies that have been conducted to date on the PBS KIDS games and other learning resources that are on PBS KIDS LAB.


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#GRABFG #BFGSlowchat

During Global Read Aloud month we will be participating in a twitter chat to connect with classes all around the world:

Follow @kispypniko @kisicteric for updates


How it works:

  • We will use the GRA hashtag #GRABFG as well as #BFGSlowChat to help us find each other on Twitter.
  • Host classrooms will post a list of questions on twitter on  Sundays in the form of Q1/Q2 etc. You can also check this document for quick reference.
  • All questions will be posted at the same time but can be answered on twitter at any time during the week in the form of A1/A2 etc.
  • This chart will be updated with questions.
Week Dates Chapters
1 10/2/16 – 10/8/16 The Witching Hour through The Cave Posted by @SMozer

Q1: Why doesn’t Sophie leave the window when she sees something strange?

Q2: Why doesn’t Sophie wake the other children?

Q3: What were Sophie’s first impressions of the giant?

Q4: What is one character trait you would give Sophie?

2 10/9/16 – 10/15/16 The BFG through Snozzcumbers Posted by @MartinCISD @KTruebloodCISD

(Wednesday- we’ll let you know time before that day -we’ll be posted our questions LIVE!)





3 10/16/16 – 10/22/16 The Bloodbottler through Dream-Catching Posted by @TellsStudents





4 10/23/16 – 10/29/16 A Trogglehumper for the Fleshlumpeater through Mixing the Dream Posted by @rowlak5 (Third Grade Love)
5 10/30/16 – 11/5/16 Journey to London through The Royal Breakfast Posted by @mrsbclass232
6 11/6/16 – 11/12/16 The Plan through The Author Posted by @mccrorey_2nd
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Book Club

163966-ml-1327967Great News! We’re running a Scholastic ISBC to earn free books for our school. We’ll be sending the Book Club leaflets home so that you and your child can choose from the latest exciting selection of books. Please place your order online at by April 30th, 2015.

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Game Design for G3 – G5

I am happy to introduce to you our Game Design team! We have 12 enthusiastic hackers from grades 3 – 5 learning some basic coding skills.

We are currently using

In the future we will also start assembling our own computers as well.

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WebQuests for students

Under PLAN – DO – REVIEW I have published some WebQuests, have fun!

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.”
                                          — Confucius –

The six building blocks of a WebQuest are:

  • The Introduction orients students and captures their interest.
  • The Task describes the activity’s end product.
  • The Process explains strategies students should use to complete the task.
  • The Resources are the Web sites students will use to complete the task.
  • The Evaluation measures the results of the activity.
  • The Conclusion sums up the activity and encourages students to reflect on its process and results.

See more:

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Super 3 @ Grade 2

This week we start using super 3 process to find out about history

Today we Plan


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