Review and Connections: Ada’s Violin


“With her violin, Ada could close her eyes and imagine a different life.”

Ada is a young girl who lives in a slum on a rubbish tip. Everyone in her family and community earn a living by collecting materials to recycle. It is a hard and difficult life.

Ada and many of her friends love music. They sign up for lessons; but, unfortunately it is not safe to keep the expensive instruments in their homes and they need to practice. The community comes together to make instruments from the materials that they find at the rubbish tip. The children are able to practice and they form a ‘recycled’ orchestra.

Ada’s Violin is a story about a community that showed how creative and innovative they could be when faced with a problem to solve. It shows perseverance; and, individual and communal commitment towards a goal.

To find out more about the true story that inspired this book:

Recycled Orchestra a Video


Learner Profile Attributes: Thinkers (creatively used recycled materials to create instruments), Communicators (used music to express their ideas and communicate with others).

Attitudes:  Commitment (Ada showed commitment to learn the violin), confidence (demonstrated confidence in her own ability when performing in front of an audience), cooperation (to be a successful orchestra you have to have a cooperative relationship with members), enthusiasm (regularly practiced to improve her musical abilities), creativity (creatively used materials to make musical instruments out of recycled materials)

PYP Concepts: Connection (e.g. How is music linked to Ada’s self belief?), Causation (e.g. Why do people live in rubbish dumps?) , Form (e.g. What is a slum?),  Function (e.g. How does a musical instrument work?), Perspective (How would the audience view Ada’s life differently?)

Links to transdisciplinary themes: How we Express Ourselves , Who We Are, Where We Are In Place and Time, Sharing the planet.


Review and Connections: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh


“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the Pooh. This quote aptly describes the relationship between the two main characters in this beautifully written true story. “Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh” describes the relationship between Harry Colebourn and a bear named Winnipeg. It documents the true story of how Harry came to own Winnie and their adventures in the Canadian Military, highlighting the deep personal connection that the two form.

Winnie, who was an American black bear ended up traveling to England with Harry as a mascot for the troops. As the war worsened Winnie found herself living in the London Zoo, this is the place where the character, “Winnie-the-Pooh” was born. The stories of Winnie-the-Pooh are now a part of popular culture.


Learner Profile Attributes: Caring (Harry showed empathy and compassion towards Winnie), Risk-Takers (Harry decided to take care of Winnie).

Attitudes:  Commitment (showed commitment to caring for Winnie), cooperation (it took a team of people to care for Winnie over her life time), empathy (showing empathy towards the survival of Winnie), enthusiasm (Willingly took care of and learnt from Winnie).

PYP Concepts: Connection (e.g. How is the bear connected to the fictional character Winnie-the-Pooh?), Causation (e.g. Why was Winnie for sale? Why are there wars?) , Change (e.g. How did Winnie’s living conditions change over time?),  Responsibility (How did Harry help Winnie? Who was responsible for Winnie?).

Review and Connections: A Boy and A Jaguar


“This book made me cry tears of sympathy, and joy. You and I are this boy; you and I are this jaguar.” Sherman Alexie

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chien is a beautifully written and illustrated biography about zoologist and conservationist, Alan Rabinowitz. It describes Alan as a young child and documents the challenges he has to overcome in order to become a successful advocate for animals. Alan has a stutter that stigmatizes his educational experiences and effects his self esteem. The stutter prevents him from communicating effectively; however, through an experimental program Alan is provided with a range of strategies to control it. He makes a promise to his pets “that if I can ever find my voice, I will be their voice and keep them from harm.” Alan grows to achieve his dreams, he studies animals in the wild and is their voice.

Caitia Chien’s illustration throughout the book are stunning, working perfectly with the text.The illustrations draw the reader into the story. The colours and techniques that are utilized add to the mood of the story, enabling the reader to feel happiness, shame, apprehension, fear, anger, joy and compassion.


Learner Profile Attributes: Knowledgeable (about the need to protect animals and create preserves), Communicators (expresses his knowledge confidently to convince others to protect animals), Principled (demonstrates a strong sense of fairness and respects the right to life of all animals), Caring (shows empathy, compassion and respect towards all animals).

Attitudes: Appreciation (appreciating the wonder and beauty of the natural world and the animals that live in it), commitment (showing commitment to overcoming learning difference and keeping his promise to conserve wildlife/the environment), confidence (in his ability to share his knowledge and convince others of the value of protecting wildlife, empathy (understanding the value of conservation).

PYP Concepts: Connection (What are the links between creating preserves and saving animals?), Causation (e.g. Why are animals hunted? What causes speech impediments?) , Change (e.g. What is the role of the government in creating wildlife preserves? How are peoples beliefs about protecting animals changing?), Function (could facilitate a discussion about the function of wildlife preserves and government decision making), Responsibility.

Principled Creators and Consumers of Online Content

A few weeks ago I attending the, “School Libraries in a Global Context” workshop facilitated by Dianne McKenzie in Seoul. It was a great opportunity to learn, connect with people in different contexts and share ideas. I had been thinking about how to introduce and reinforce the idea of academic honesty to primary aged students in a more engaging way and this workshop provided me with a variety of ideas that I thought I could utilize.

Authentically developing the ATL skills associated with academic honesty is challenging. In the past, I have found that the children understand the concept of academic honesty; but, are not necessarily motivated to modify their practices to acknowledge sources. An idea that Dianne suggested involved the children creating something then another child receiving the accolades for the creation. I thought I could modify this idea to my context. The Grade 5 children were recently introduced to the Morning Calm Medal, which is an annual book award created by teacher librarians at international schools in Korea. Upon entering the library I provided the students with this challenge:

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They were provided with the appropriate resources and given a very short time frame to complete the task. The students were excited and completely engaged in the design process. After the allotted time they were required to write their name on the completed badge and I selected the four best as winners.

I photographed the winning badges after crossing out the creators name and replacing it with mine. I then posted this tweet:

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And shared the post with the children. The reaction to the post included:

  • Lots of giggles.
  • Annoyance.
  • “You made a mistake.”
  • “You stole my work!”
  • “That is not fair!”
  • “Why did you change the name?”

I responded by telling the children that because I had taken the photos of the work and it was me that had created the tweet it was okay to say that the work belonged to me. This provoked a great discussion about ownership and sharing permission. I linked this conversation to their individual blogs and posed this question: How is what I did different to the way you share images and photographs on your blogs?

As a group we then explored our roles as creators and consumers of digital content:


The initial provocation enabled the students to connect with the idea of acknowledging their sources and the importance of this in terms of being a principled creator of digital content. They are returning to their individual blogs to identify the source of their images. The next will require them to reflect on and acknowledge where they find information.






Book Response

Choose one of the following:

Story Box: Create a story box for one of the books you read over the summer. Look at this fabulous example: The Imagination Tree: Little Red Riding Hood Box. You can add photographs of your story box to this page.


Letter to the Author: Write a letter to the author of a book that you read over the summer. What did you like about it? What else would you like to know about the characters? What happened after the story finished? How would you find out how to contact the author? Would you post or email your letter?

Character Diary Entry: Write a diary entry from the perspective of a character from a book you have read this summer. What are their secrets? Dreams? Hopes?

아래 항목 중 하나를 선택하세요.

이야기 상자: 여름방학동안 읽은 책들 중 한권에 대한 이야기 상자를 만들어 봅시다. 여기있는 좋은 예시를 살펴보세요.  The imagination Tree: Little Red Riding Hood Box

작가에게 편지쓰기: 여름방학때 읽은 책의 작가에게 편지를 써봅시다. 책에서 무엇이 좋았나요? 등장인물에 대해서 더 알고 싶은 것이 있나요? 이야기가 끝난 후 어땠나요? 작가에게 연락할 방법을 어떻게 찾아낼 건가요? 여러분의 편지를 우편이나 이메일로 보낼건가요?

캐릭터 다이어리 작성: 여름에 읽었던 책 속 캐릭터의 관점에서 일기를 써봅시다. 그들의 비밀, 꿈, 소망은 무엇인가요?


故事箱子 :为你在暑假读过的一本书做一个故事箱子。请看例子:The imagination Tree: Little Red Riding Hood Box

一封给作家的信 :向你暑假读过的这本书的作者写一封信。你为什么喜欢这本书?关于主人公你还想知道什么?故事结束后发生了什么?你如何找到联系到作者?你会选择写信还是写电邮?

写主人公日记  :为你书中的主人公写日记。 她/他们的秘密是什么? 梦想?希望?

Review a Book

Choose one of the following options:

아래의 활동 중 하나를 골라보세요 :



Recommend a Book

책 추천하기


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Create a Book Trailer

Create your very own book trailer. Here are a few examples:

Add the link to your book trailer in the comments section.

북 트레일러 만들기

나만의 북 트레일러를 만들어보세요. 아래의 예시를 참고하세요 :

직접 만든 북 트레일러의 링크를 코멘트 란에 적어주세요.


制作你的图书预告片。这里有一些例子 :


Tweet a Review

Twitter is one of the most popular forms of social media. Each tweet can be a maximum of 140 characters. Twitter can be used to share anything. Your challenge is to write a review for a book you have read over the summer that could be shared on Twitter.  The only rule is that it MUST Not be more than 140 characters. Share your review in the comments section below this post.

책 리뷰 트윗하기

트위터는 가장 인기있는 소셜미디어 중 하나입니다. 각 트윗은 최대140자까지 가능합니다. 트위터는 어떤 것이든 공유하는데 쓸 수 있습니다.여러분이 도전할 과제는 트위터에서 공유될 만한 여름방학때 읽었던 책의 리뷰를 써보는 것입니다.  단 한가지의 규칙은 140자를 넘지 않는 것입니다. 아래의 코멘트란에 여러분의 리뷰를 공유하세요.


推特是最有名的社交软件之一。每一篇推特最多只能写140字。推特可以用来分享一切。 你的挑战是为自己在暑假读的一本书写一篇书评并发布在推特上。 唯一地规则是书评的字数必须在140字以下。你可以把自己的评论分享在评论框

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Illustrator Study: Unpacking Form Using See Think Wonder

Grade Two classes explored the central idea, “Creativity enables us to express ourselves.” This unit provided an excellent opportunity to authentically look at picture book illustrators. The exploration focused on illustrations as a form of self-expression. 

Small groups of children in each class were given a selection of titles by a particular illustrator (e.g. Emily Gravett, Anthony Browne, Graeme Base, Eric Carle). They were asked to identify the key element of the illustrations that combined to create a particular artistic style. The “See Think Wonder” routine was used to facilitate an in-depth analysis of the illustrations. The children were provided with a graphic organiser with guiding questions to help support the investigation. Their findings about each illustrator were shared with the class.

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The children identified the artistic elements that were used by the specific illustrators to create their images. They could see how they could apply these styles in different contexts. The “Think” guiding questions prompted a lot of discussions about creativity and who was creative. Lively debates about the creative merit of each illustrator followed. The children had a lot of wonderings for the authors and illustrators. For example, Why did the illustrator use dark colours? How did the author choose the illustrator that they wanted? Why were the pictures drawn in this way?