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.

Research Tutorials: JSTOR

How to Use JSTOR by
How to Use JSTOR by

JSTOR is an online academic library that allows you access to journal articles, primary source documents and books. It is appropriate for DP research, particularly the Extended Essay, as well as some upper MYP research. Here’s a 1 minute video overview of searching JSTOR.

JSTOR in a minute: Search Tips from JSTOR on Vimeo.

Prefer more detail? This slideshow walks you through the basics of researching with JSTOR, including basic searches, advanced searches, organizing your results and using MyJSTOR.

JSTOR has recently expanded their eBook collection, and they’re quite proud of it. The video below gives a one minute overview of eBooks in JSTOR; watch it and learn how to make eBooks work for you.

Dōmo arigatō: An Anthology of Thanks

お礼 – Thank You photo by Flickr user under CC BY SA 2.0

Naomi Shihab Nye san, dōmo arigatō for the three wonderful days you spent with us at Yokohama International School. Everyone cannot stop talking about how fabulous it was that you came into our lives. There’s amazing writing going on, and the ripples of your visit are still being felt. Thank you so much for being your authentic self. You were kind, giving and just over all lovely. Please come back anytime!

We wanted to thank you for your time and generosity, so the best way we could think of to do that was to share some more of our writing with you. Here is our Anthology of Thanks, made of poems from our community.


302 Sunsets – Number Two

A Third Hand – Leah Edwards

Chinese Face – Adam Y.

Compliments – Larissa S.

Dear Naomi – Andrew Hutton

Mrs. Nye, See You Again, The Cat & Goodbye Mrs. Nye – Langston D.

Untitled – Dennis Stanworth

What she brought with her – CB


Researching with Ebscohost: Tutorials

Research :Mediterranean Center of Medical Sciences under CC BY 2.0
Flickr Photo “Research :Mediterranean Center of Medical Sciences” by MCMScience Mediterranean under CC BY 2.0

EBSCOhost is a powerful online reference system accessible via the Internet. It offers a variety of proprietary full text databases and popular databases from leading information providers. EBSCOhost offers customizable basic and advanced searching supported by Boolean logic, natural language, enhanced subject indexing and journal searching. With links from the full record display to related articles by subject, magazine issue or author, users can further explore their topic. In addition, EBSCOhost allows patrons to print, email or download multiple articles.

To learn more about how to use this resource, watch the EBSCOhost tutorials below.