Cite it Right!

Why do we cite?

As exhibition approaches, Grade 5 has been continuing to develop their research skills in preparation for their independent inquiry project. This week the Grade 5 students were introduced to creating bibliographies in MLA style. We discussed why how we cite before practicing making citations for new books about science experiments.

Where can we find information for our citations?

After they understood the philosophy behind citation and practiced making citations by hand, the students were introduced to RefME, a powerful citation tool new to the YIS community. Anyone with a YIS email can create an account with RefME.  Watch this space for more information about RefME as we roll it out over the next few weeks.

Want to learn a little more about how to cite your sources according to the 8th edition of MLA? Check out our Grade 5 Citation Guide.

Research RoundUp – 2016

Research :Mediterranean Center of Medical Sciences under CC BY 2.0
Research :Mediterranean Center of Medical Sciences under CC BY 2.0

Research RoundUp – 2016

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell therein.”

Zora Neale Hurston, “Dust Tracks on a Road”

Lately in the Library – This section includes recent research lessons that involved the library, whether through direct instruction or collaboration

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the conversations about research during this first half of the school year. Each “Lately in the Library” section of the Research RoundUp will include an update about recent research lessons that involved the library in some way, whether through direct instruction or collaboration. This post highlights, amongst other work, some of the collaboration with the library and Grade 7 I&S and Science.

Grade Level & Subject Research Skill Resource
7 – Science Step 1 – Task Definition: Students establish clear and focused inquiry / research questions within a determined topic Mining for Mobiles notetaking sheet
Modeling it off of the Influence notetaking sheet the students had used in another unit,  Grade 7 developed this notetaking sheet as a class, creating the inquiry and research questions off of the task sheet.
7 – I&S Step 3 – Location & Access: With support and scaffolding, students can select and navigate age-appropriate general library resources (databases, encyclopedias, catalogs, etc) to locate specific information sources. Encyclopaedia Britannica Tutorials
Students watched tutorials on how to use Encyclopeadia Britannica effectively and discussed helpful tools and features before starting their background research. There was a strong emphasis on EB’s usefulness in the early stages of research, developing effective keywords and search terms, and using the available tools.
7 – Science Step 3 – Location & Access: With support and scaffolding, students can evaluate sources for currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy and purpose CRAAP. CRAAP Test
Fake Websites
Evaluating & comparing Web resources
Students were introduced to the CRAAP method of evaluation, used it to determine whether websites were fake or authentic and then analyzed resources they found for their inquiry.  
7 – I&S and Science Step 4 – Use of Information: Students take notes with the appropriate MLA citation information. Influence Presentation Sheet
Mining for Mobiles notetaking sheet
Each of these notetaking sheets contain an explicit place for students to record from where they got the information.
7 – I&S Step 5 – Synthesis: Students will use signal phrases to indicate the origin of their research. Grade 6-8 MLA Citation Quick Guide
Signal Phrase Bingo


New Resources – This section features resources to support student research, developed collaboratively between librarians and classroom teachers.


Grade Level Research Skill Resource
4 – STP 1. Task Definition

Provide outline of task definition; Define the information problem; Identify information needed

Tips for Generating Keywords
4 – STP 2. Information Seeking Strategies

Students are able to determine all possible sources and select the best sources.

Choosing the Best Electronic Resource for Me (PebbleGo, Ducksters, EB)
Electronic Resource Evaluation Tool
4 – STP 3. Location and access

Students are able to locate sources and perform an evaluation of possible sources.

Using Keywords to Read NonFiction Texts
4 – STP 3. Location and access

Students are able to locate sources and perform an evaluation of possible sources.

Exploring Encyclopaedia Britannica
5 – HTWW 3. Location and access

Students are able to locate sources and perform an evaluation of possible sources.

Take it A.P.A.R.T.


Spotlight On – This section highlights research resources developed independently by classroom teachers.

Grade Level & Teacher Research Skill Resource
Weekes & Nanwani – Grades 3 & 5 1. Task Definition

Provide outline of task definition; Define the information problem; Identify information needed
2. Information Seeking Strategies

Students are able to determine all possible sources and select the best sources.

Planning my Research – Julian created a resource template for Grade 5 students to plan/track their research resources, and Sangeeta modified it for Grade 3. I recommend using this as a planning document to help students direct their research, not as a mandatory checklist for required types of resources.
Weekes – Grade 5 1. Task Definition

Provide outline of task definition; Define the information problem; Identify information needed

Inquiry Questions through key Concepts – Julian created a template for students to brainstorm inquiry questions through the lens of the PYP key concepts. Great way to get students thinking about what they need to know!

Do you have any resources you’ve found or created to support student research? Please share them on
this form so we can start a bank of resources.

Research about Research – This section includes research on best practices for teaching research skills to elementary and/or secondary students.

Using Inquiry Based Instruction to Teach Research Methods to 4th Grade Students in an Urban Setting
– The findings and discussion section of this article (last two pages) will be most interesting to YIS teachers.

Welcome Back

It’s a new school year and we’ve got a new library space for you! Come by the library today and check out all of the changes.

More Space: By deleting dated materials from the collection, we were able to remove several shelves and open up more space. Now we have a dedicated secondary space in the back for study hall students as well as classes, plus a wider elementary space in the front for reading and whole group instruction.

Japanese Nook: We’ve got a Japanese nook with the Japanese language books and three couches which is reserved throughout the week for our Japanese class visits as well as any other mother tongue classes. When it’s not being used for studying Nihongo, anyone can settle in and enjoy.

New Hours: The library will be open from 8-5 Monday through Thursday and 8-4:30 on Fridays. As always, you’re welcome before and after school, during break and lunch. Come by today to check out a book.

New Picture Book Shelves: Our new record style shelving means it’s easier to see the covers and explore our picture book section. Come in for a shuffle through; you might discover something new!

Of course, some things will stay the same:

Food in the library: Snacks and small lunches from home are okay. Full cafeteria meals need to be eaten in the cafeteria.

Sakura Medal Books: They’re here! We’re processing brand new Sakura medal books. Check in this week to see when they’re ready for you to take home.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.55.22 AM

A big thanks to our student helpers, without whom we couldn’t have made these exciting changes happen.


Summer Reading

The time has finally come! Vacation starts today, and no matter where you’re going, you’re going to need a book. Instead of putting together a prescribed list of books, students at YIS have put together their best recommendations. Whether you’re staying in Japan or traveling for the break, check out what your classmates think you should be reading this summer.

Sakura Book Bowl 2016

11 schools from Tokyo and Yokohama participated

Congratulations Sakura Book Bowlers! In a tight finish, the YIS book bowl team won 2nd place at the 2016 Sakura Book Bowl competition. On Tuesday April 12, eleven teams from international schools all over Tokyo and Yokohama came together to compete for the honor and glory of winning the Book Bowl championship trophy.

Over the course of the school year, members of the book bowl team read the 20 chapter books that are contenders for this year’s Sakura medal. Book Bowl includes five different rounds of competition in which teams had to answer questions that showed their knowledge of the stories by identifying quotes, recognizing symbols, and answering comprehension questions.  There is also a highly competitive expert round, where one representative from each team goes to the front of the room to answer questions about a specific book they’ve been assigned to know inside and out.

While YIS students were pleased to place 2nd at the book bowl, they said the best part of participating is getting to work as a team and read a lot of really interesting books. 4th and 5th graders are eligible to participate every year. We hope to see many of you join us next year as we attempt to win back the trophy!

Thank you to Adam Clark for taking photos of our day.

WordUp! 2016

Word Up March 2016-3-XLThe library is happy to have hosted YIS’s first spoken word poetry event, WordUp! 2016, on Thursday March 17th. It was a powerful evening of sharing a mixture of original pieces and personal favorites.

Thank you to to Adina, Ms. Barbour & Ms. Katy, Mr. Stanworth, Juna, Sam, Aru & Sukran, Vivien, Mr. Snowball and Mr. Clark.  It takes a lot of courage to perform, and you should all be proud of your efforts.

We hope to see you (and many others?) reprise your performances at STITCH 2K16 on April 28th.


Grade 10: Edo Period Research

Today we will be working on exploratory research for your historical investigation on the Edo period of Japan. Effective researchers use a variety of academic sources in their research. To start, you can use Wikipedia for academic research, but maybe not in the way that you think. Watch this video to see how Wikipedia can be your trampoline into databases and digital libraries.

Now that you’ve developed a list of search terms, keywords, people and dates, it’s time to dive into the real academic resources. Do you know NOTHING about your topic beyond the quickie Wiki overview? Get background information on your topic by searching Encyclopaedia Britannica. (The first two minutes are most relevant to you. After that it gets kind of promotion-y.) You can access Encyclopaedia Britannica by going to our new YIS Library Research Portal. Get the password from your librarian.

Once you’ve got a basic understanding of your topic, it’s time to research using more sophisticated academic tools. Watch the tutorials and complete the “scavenger hunt” for these resources.

After this session, your class is going to be well prepared for next weeks’ field trip. Share something you learned today on our Padlets:

Interesting Edo Research padlet – Group 1

Interesting Edo research padlet – Group 2

Please fill out this short survey on today’s session.

Research: Quoting, Paraphrasing & Summarizing

Photo “Writing? Yeah” by Flickr user Caleb Roenigk under CC BY 2.0

Take more effective notes by sharpening your paraphrasing and summarizing skills. The Purdue University Online Writing Lab has an excellent set of resources to help you improve your skills.

Want some extra examples? Check out this presentation below for tips and tricks for quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing.

Extended Essay: Planning your research

Using the Big6 research model to frame and plan your research will lead to a more successful Extended Essay, particularly when it’s time to write your rough draft. This EE session will focus on the first two steps and touch on the third step.

Task Definition

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 9.54.47 AMIt’s essential to start your research by identifying your information problem and determining the information you’ll need to solve that problem. Start by completing the Task Definition sheet. Still between topics? Fill out two!

Have you read a sample essay yet? Visit the YIS EE Libguide and read a sample paper now. Seeing how others used information will help you determine what you need to know. Mine their bibliographies and see what kind of information successful EEs in your subject area cited.

Information Seeking Strategies

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 9.57.39 AMOnce you’ve determined what kind of information you need, now you have to figure out the absolute best possible sources to get that information. Dream big! Think of all the possibilities if there were no geographical or financial constrictions. Then brainstorm alternatives for sources that just can’t be accessed.

Start by filling out the YIS Research Planner. Think as broadly as possible. Aim for expert. Aim for variety. You will narrow down later, but it’s best to start broadly.

It’s great to start with Wikipedia as a trampoline into other resources. Step 2 is good time to review relevant Wikipedia articles for academic research, but remember you can’t use them on your bibliography. You need to be looking at authoritative, reliable resources. Make sure you evaluate all of your resources using the CRAAP method.

Location and Access

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 9.39.12 AMNow that you’ve figured out which resources will be your best resources, it’s time to actually get your hands on them. This means two things:

1. Starting an Annotated Bibliography

It is essential you keep an organized list of your resources, preferably in MLA format, as you conduct your research. Updating an annotated MLA bibliography as you research will ensure you never lose a source, have a snapshot of your research at all times, and are ready to cite any resource when you begin writing your paper. Each resource should include a full MLA citation followed by a paragraph, summarizing the content of the resource, evaluating the resource, and reflecting on its overall fit into your project. Visit the Purdue OWL for more information on annotated bibliographies and don’t forget our citation guide to make sure you get the MLA just right.

2. Effectively using library resources

The library subscribes to a variety of electronic resources to help you find reliable academic resources for your research. Using Ebscohost databases and JSTOR gives you access to materials you might have to pay to access otherwise.

  1. Ebscohost Tutorials
  2. JSTOR Tutorials

Another resource that can be useful if Google’s specialized search engine Google Scholar. Read Google Scholar’s About Us page and their Search Tips to get the most out of your experience.

Upgrade Your Blogging

Good afternoon YIS teachers! This post focuses on 5 easy ways to enhance your blog.

#1: TagLines

These are your own personal blog slogan.  You can edit your site’s tagline under Settings>General. Fix it RIGHT NOW.  You are not “Just another YIS Learning Hub site”.

#2: About Page

Not really sure on the difference between posts and pages? EduBlogs has got you covered.  Now that you’ve cleared that up, grab a new page and make it all About You!

via Flickr user lynetter under CC BY-NC 2.0

#3: Tags and Categories

Tags and categories are two different tools users use to navigate and explore the content on your blog. According to the EduBlogs help site, “Categories are like chapters of a book; they provide a general overview of the topics you blog about. Whereas tags are more like the index at the back of the book and explode the topic into a million bits (Categories versus Tags).

#4: Custom Menus

Custom Menus are the best secret no one knows about.  When you create custom menus to organize your content and juggle multiple classes, visitors to your blog think you’re some kind of fancy blog wizard.  Really, it’s as easy as SHAZAM!

via Flickr user lynetter under CC BY-NC 2.0

#5 Widgets

Don’t you look at other blogs and think, “Oooooh!  I want that rotating visitor map or a funky fish feeding game?”  You know you do.  And you can have it by going to Appearance>Widgets and dragging your favorite widgets to the right.  Don’t see the Widget you want?  Find the HTML code online and paste it into a text widget, the fanciest widget of all.

What’s that I hear? Ms. Katy, it seems like all you do is go to EduBlogs Help and search for how to do what you want to do?  SHAZAM, I say, SHAZAM.